Our Weekly: 9/11 Quran Burning: Rep. Maxine Waters and South L.A. Pastor John Hunter outraged
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and the pastor of the First AME Church today joined the chorus of outrage over a Florida minister's threat to burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11.
"America was created as a safe haven for religious freedoms,'' FAME Pastor John J. Hunter said during a news conference at the church. "At this time of remembrance of the 2,977 victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, it is the role of the church to urge communities to come together across all races and religions and to respect and defend the diversity of faiths of our fellow man.
"I am surprised and shocked by Pastor Terry Jones' outrageous plans. They do not represent America or American values of religious tolerance and inclusiveness.''
Jones recently announced his small Florida congregation would burn 1,000 of the Islamic holy books on Saturday's ninth anniversary of 9/11.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and many others have condemned the idea, saying it could threaten troops in Afghanistan, endanger national security and help extremists recruit terrorists.
Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, said Thursday he was going to cancel the book burning because developers of a proposed Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan had agreed not to place the center there.
After those involved with the center denied there was such an agreement, Jones said his event may still go forward unless he could meet with the Muslim imam in charge of the project.
Waters called Jones' plan "offensive,'' and also condemned the extensive media coverage given to the head of a small fringe congregation.
"What is worse -- the excessive media coverage gave Pastor Jones the soap box he craved, and helped make this an international crisis surrounding a day meant for personal and national remembrance and solidarity,'' Waters said.
"His recent misleading statements about the planned burning, the conversations with government and religious representatives, the trip to New York and the alleged deal to move the Islamic community center only serve to confuse the public and further promote the desecration of Islam, and quite frankly, all world religions.
"American citizens -- particularly our brave men and women deployed and working overseas -- have no doubt been put in an unsafe position because of the fallout from Pastor Jones,'' she said.
"We have already seen images of American flags being burned in direct correlation to these events out of Florida. Some international protesters have even been killed.''