A Florida minister whose tiny congregation had threatened to burn copies of the Islamic holy book on September 11 now says his church will "never" stage such an event.
The Reverend Terry Jones flew to New York and appeared on NBC-TV's Today Show Saturday. He said his 50-member church had succeeded in exposing what he called the "dangerous" and "very radical" element of Islam.
Jones' church, called the Dove World Outreach Center, generated worldwide condemnation when it announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. The pastor flew to New York Friday and tried to meet with the imam in charge of the proposed construction of an Islamic center near where the World Trade Center stood before the attacks. But that meeting did not take place.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the Quran-burning plan would endanger American troops overseas, tens of thousands of them in Muslim countries. Mr. Obama appealed for religious tolerance, and said the United States is "not at war against Islam," but "against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam."
Critics have said the proposal to locate a mosque near the World Trade Center site is disrespectful to those who died on September 11, 2001. Supporters say it would help bridge differences between the West and the Islamic world.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.