SOUTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (AP/1010 WINS) — A Florida pastor who drew international criticism by threatening to burn a copy of the Koran picked up a free car on Friday, his reward from a New Jersey car dealer for calling it off.

Former New York Giants tackle Brad Benson, who is now New Jersey’s largest car dealer, offered Florida pastor Terry Jones a 2011 Hyundai Accent worth $14,200 if he would agree to never burn the Muslim holy book. Jones had threatened to do it on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 picture, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center speaks to the media in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, File)

Jones never burned the Koran. On Friday, the Gainesville, Fla., pastor arrived at Brad Benson Mitsubishi Hyundai in South Brunswick to collect a gray 2011 Hyundai Accent, which he promptly donated to a charity.

The pastor said the offer Benson made in one of his dealership’s quirky radio ads was not the reason he decided to cancel the Koran burning, and that he only heard about it a few weeks after Sept. 11.

“We thought if he wants to give a car, then why not take it and pass it on to another nonprofit organization,” Jones said.

Jones donated the car to a Jersey City shelter that helps abused women.

“Rev. Jones was very subtle when he was here,” Benson told 1010 WINS. “He still obviously harbors some very strong opinions but he was good, he was nice, he was very polite. I think he was genuinely happy that he was able to donate this car to this organization.”

Paul Johnson, the chief financial officer for Women Rising, said he was surprised to hear that the shelter was getting the car and under such unusual circumstances.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, I thought it was a prank,” Johnson said.

Benson added giant removable vinyl American flag-emblazoned peace signs on the hood and roof, which he said were meant as a “little jab” at Jones.

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2003 file photo, car dealer Brad Benson, a former New York Giants center, stands in front of his car dealership in South Brunswick, N.J. (AP Photo, File)

“I’m just really glad that in the end something really good came out of all this,” Benson said.

Benson paid for the pastor to fly out to New Jersey so that Jones could fill out paperwork.

Security was tight on Friday at the dealership. Jones said he has received more than 100 death threats since he first said he would burn a Koran.

“It was a pretty humbling experience for everybody involved,” Benson told 1010 WINS. “We got a chance to meet the interfaith group in New York who had been speaking to the Rev. Jones to try to get him to temper his position on things and they were actually the people that ended up receiving the car.”

When Jones threatened to burn the Koran — which many Muslims would view as sacrilege — his plan drew opposition across the world.

President Barack Obama appealed to him on television, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates called him personally. Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, said carrying out the plan would have endangered American troops.

The Koran commercial was part of a regular “idiot award” segment Benson does which singles out newsmakers. Others have included actress Lindsey Lohan, actor Mel Gibson and baseball star Roger Clemens.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (13)
  1. joe k says:

    Why this prejudiced bigot is getting rewarded is beyond me.

    1. steve M. says:


  2. WWJD says:

    No religious book should be burned….period.
    This pastor was very wrong in what he was going to do. If he is a true Christian he wouldn’t have threatened to so such a thing. He’s a disgrace to Christianity.

    1. Nick says:

      You’re right, WWJD. It should just be tossed into the garbage where it belongs. Along with other murderous cult literatures, like the NeoNazi’s, and HariKrishnas.

  3. steve says:

    BRUN THE BOOK and let freedom ring!

  4. steve says:

    Yet they can burn American flags without concern about retaliation. That’s just freedom of expresion.

  5. Richie says:

    No John we have the gov’t to do that for us .

  6. john says:

    everyone involved in this weak excuse for news needs to find a differant occupation and i believe the PREZ needs to look at Americas problems more than protecting a Religion. Are we paying this guy ?

  7. Richie says:

    I think your missing what the pastor is doing with the car. its a good cause lets not lose sight of that.granted what he did was wrong, someone else will benefit from this.

    1. john says:

      A good Cause ?? makeing Americans look as foolish as him.

      1. Steve M. says:

        Naa, we Americans can do that all by ourselves, no help needed….

  8. Barre Flynn says:

    With the two peace signs on his hood he will be a moving target for people to aim at going back to Florida. It will cost him $1000 or more in taxes. This guy is a wart to people of faith who have to somehow justify his convictions.

  9. 0bservant NYer says:

    The cost of the car is just small marketing expense for Brad Benson. He could not BUY this much publicity!

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