USA (MNN) — As the ninth anniversary of the September 11
attacks against the U.S. approaches, one Florida church is planning to hold
"International Burn a Quran Day."
Evangelical bodies across the country are urging the Dove
World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church in Gainesville, Florida, to
cancel their plans to burn Islam's holiest book.
Senior Pastor Dr. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center
said in an interview with the Christian Post, "We only did it because we
felt there needed to be an outcry against Islam, because Islam is presenting
itself as a religion of peace."
In the past, the church has put up signs on its property
saying, "Islam is of the Devil."
Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA is outraged and said it's
indeed the opposite of what Christians are called to do: "It truly flies
in the face of Jesus' command to love our enemies. To have more than hatred
toward Islam and Muslims requires us to reach out in love to them … In many cases,
when they're shown love by Christians, they do come to faith in Christ. And the
best way to defeat a terrorist from an eternal perspective is not to kill him,
but to win him or her to Jesus Christ."
Moeller said this day will only serve to confirm what so
many Muslims believe: that Christians hate Muslims. As Islamic extremists learn
of this day, Moeller anticipates their reaction: "If, for example, there
were protests,and people died from Danish cartoons or a Dutch movie a few years
ago, how much more will the desecration of the Quran produce violence and chaos
in many countries."
"We have to recognize that fighting fire with fire only
builds a bigger fire," said Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland, A Church
Distributed. "Love is the water that will eventually quench the destruction."
Actions such as burning the Quran, Moeller said, is exactly
what the devil wants: "It harkens back to a pre-Christian worldview of
vengeance and retaliation. It's exactly the level our enemy, the devil–our real
spiritual opponent, would want us as Christians to sink to."
Moeller's greatest fear is not what Muslims will do to Christians
in America, but what they will do to what he calls the "soft targets"
or Christians of persecuted countries.
"Frankly, the actions of a few baffoonish people just
as a publicity stunt will not impact us here in America very much at all … but
the real focus we want to draw people's attention to is the impact on the
Christians in those countries around the world where Christians are vulnerable,"
Open Doors is standing up against this "travesty,"
as Moeller calls it, and beseeching Dove World Outreach Center to cancel this