A Christian pastor today canceled his controversial plan to burn copies of the Quran, saying that he had received a “sign from God” when a Muslim cleric agreed to move an Islamic center planned for a site near ground zero in New York. There was no immediate confirmation of any such deal.
Terry Jones, head of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., sparked an international uproar when he announced his church would burn copies of the Muslim holy book on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. President Barack Obama condemned the plan and Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, warned it could endanger American troops.
Jones announced this afternoon he had decided to call off the Quran burning and would instead fly to New York on Saturday to meet with the Muslim cleric who wants to build an Islamic center a few blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center.
“Our thought was the American people do not as a whole want the mosque at ground zero. If they were willing to cancel the mosque at the ground zero location or if they were willing to move that location, we would consider that a sign from God,” Jones told reporters today.
There was no immediate confirmation from Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf that he had agreed to move the planned cultural center or that he would be meeting with Jones on Saturday. Reports from sources close to the imam denied that any deal had been struck.
Meanwhile, real estate mogul Donald Trump said he had offered to $6 million to buy the planned Park 51 Islamic center — 25 percent over the $4.8 million purchase price of the location, the New York Daily News said.