GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Some religious leaders in Gainesville are thankful International Burn a Koran Day never happened, even as the man behind it said he will not repent for coming up with the polarizing idea.
In a news conference today, Rev. Terry Jones said he has no conviction from God that he did anything wrong, and will not repent for the burning event planned for last weekend.
He said the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) asked him to apologize and to repent for proposing the Koran burning event.
"My response is this," he said. "We have no conviction from God to repent, therefore we have no intention and will not repent for standing up to the gospel."
Others don't see it that way.
At least one Muslim leader is Gainesville is relieved Jones did not carry out his threat.
"If he really wants to understand the true teachings of Islam, I would invite him to come speak to my Muslim community," said Wajeeh Bajwa. "We represent the peaceful face of Islam."
The man behind the peace rally held in Gainesville last Friday said he continues to pray for Jones.
"As somebody has said, we are polar opposites," said Rev. Dan Johnson with Trinity United Methodist Church. "I think he's gotten absorbed in his view of the world. He can't see any other way of looking at things."
Jones said the announcement and ensuing uproar over his plans for Sept. 11 "revealed the destructive nature of radical Islam."
Jones maintained throughout the days leading up to Sept. 11 that radical Islam was his target and the reason he wanted to burn copies of the Muslim holy book.
"We have broken no laws, we have not even burned a Koran, but still violence erupted around the world," he said this morning.
Jones said that is the "face of radical Islam," violence and the spread of fear.
His harshest words, however, were for his own flock. "Not only did we reveal the true nature of radical Islam, but we also revealed the sad condition of the church," he said.
Jones said the Christian churches have become "self-centered, selfish and cowardly."
"They have lost their guts to stand up for what is right...to stand up for Christianity, but instead they bow down to political powers and to the false doctrines of the nations," he concluded.
Jones' plan to host International Burn a Koran Day at his church drew criticism from across the globe, and incited a protest in Afghanistan wherein hundreds of people burned American flags and images of Jones.
As the day drew near, he met with a Muslim imam who convinced him instead to spend Sept. 11 in New York.
Jones said he planned to meed with the imam who is proposing a new Islamic center near ground zero in Manhattan, but that meeting never happened.
Jones said it was while he was in New York for that meeting that the WEA contacted him asking for an apology.
First Coast News