Koran burning may still take place -- pastor

STUNT: Church leader says imam lied over NY mosque

Jonathan Gray

The pastor who planned an "International Burn-a-Koran Day" backtracked today on his decision to call off the protest.

Pastor Terry Jones agreed to cancel the book-burning after he said he was promised that a proposed mosque in New York would be moved away from the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

But later, outside his church in Gainesville, Florida, Mr Jones claimed he was "lied to" after Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, and the leader of the New York mosque said there was no such deal.

Mr Musri said there was only an agreement for him and Mr Jones to travel to New York to meet the imam overseeing plans to build the mosque.

He said: "I told the pastor that I personally believe the mosque should not be there, and I will do everything in my power to make sure it is moved.


"But there is not any offer from there (New York) that it will be moved.

"All we have agreed to is a meeting, and I think we would all like to see a peaceful resolution."

In response, Mr Jones, leader of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Centre, said he was now putting the protest, planned for the 9/11 anniversary tomorrow, on hold instead of cancelling it.

"Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision," he said. "So as of right now, we are not cancelling the event, but we are suspending it."

The White House, the Vatican, and the commander of international forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus all urged Mr Jones to call off his protest.

The pastor's supporters posted copies of the Islamic holy book -- which Muslims believe should be treated with the utmost respect -- to put on a bonfire in Gainesville.