Washington/New York: After a day of flip-flops, a
Florida pastor, who earned international headlines and censure
after threatening to burn copies of the Quran on the 9/11
anniversary Saturday, "has agreed in principle" not to go ahead
with the controversial event.
Pastor Terry Jones arrived in New York City late Friday night
apparently for a still unscheduled meeting with the imam in charge
of the New York Islamic center planned near ground zero site of
the Sep 11, 2001 attacks.
"I don't have anything to say right now," he told a group of
reporters who followed him out of LaGuardia Airport and to a taxi
cab, according to CNN.
CNN also cited K.A. Paul, an evangelist in contact with Jones, as
saying that there will be no burning of the book Saturday evening
as had been originally planned.
Earlier Friday, Jones gave mixed messages about whether he intends
to carry out his plans, which have sparked international
Jones told CBS' "The Early Show" that "we have called the event
off". Soon afterwards, however, he told reporters in Florida the
burning is still being contemplated.
Jones also said a promised meeting with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was
part of what convinced him to halt the planned burning.
Jones said the meeting was promised Thursday by local Florida Imam
Mohammad Musri, who also told him the Islamic centre would be
moved in exchange for the burning being called off.
Musri said that a meeting may happen next week between Jones and
Rauf as it might be difficult for the parties to meet Saturday
because of events planned to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11.
Musri said he envisions a meeting Monday or Tuesday involving
Jones, Rauf and himself. "If we're successful to do it tomorrow,
(that) will be wonderful," Musri was quoted as saying. If not, he
said, they could meet Monday, Tuesday or "as soon as all three
parties can find the time to get together".
In a statement Friday, Rauf said that he was "prepared to consider
meeting with anyone who is seriously committed to pursuing peace"
but that no such meeting had been set up.
"Our plans for the community centre have not changed," he said.
"With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone
to take time for prayer and reflection."
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)