NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) – The Florida pastor who threatened to burn Korans on September 11 in protest of plans to build a mosque at ground zero now says his church will never burn a Koran, even if the mosque is built.
Pastor Terry Jones flew to New York on Friday night in hopes of meeting with Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim cleric at the heart of the Ground Zero mosque controversy. He appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and said that his Gainesville, Fla., church’s goal was “to expose that there is an element of Islam that is very dangerous and very radical.”
He claimed that “we have definitely accomplished that mission.”
Jones admitted no meeting was planned with the imam leading the center, but he hopes one will take place.
Jones sparked international outrage with his plans for what he dubbed, “Burn The Koran” day.
Friday night, 2,000 people came together under a sea of candles to support the mosque and the Muslim faith.
“We’re getting all wrapped up with the concern of it being a mosque and in effect creating a different set of issues and standards for another people of faith,” said Pastor Bruce Schoup of Poughkeepsie.
“As long as they’re not planning to destroy America I don’t care what they’re doing,” one woman said.
Politicians from President Obama to local Community Board members have weighed in on the issue.
Caught up in the political firestorm were the families of 9/11 victims who have mixed feelings on the mosque. They will struggle and today will struggle to strike a balance between grieving for those lost and honoring their memories.