TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Florida "pastor" is calling for a book burning, sparking a fire storm of criticism here at home and abroad.
Pastor Terry Jones and his Gainesville, Florida congregation called Dove World Outreach Church plan to burn Qurans in protest of the 9-11 attacks despite pleas from the top commander in Afghanistan not to do it. A war of words is already brewing even in East Texas.
Marine mom Leslie Holmes has some questions for Pastor Jones.
"Number one: I'm curious as to whether he's ever served in the military, or if he has family who's ever fought for our country," she said.
We caught up with the cowboy-church member on her way to Bible study. On her keychain is a picture of her son, Dane, who deployed to Afghanistan Monday night.
"My Bible says, 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.' Not, 'Blessed is the nation who burns Qurans.'"
"I resent him using my child as a human shield," she said.
The Quran-burning has already sparked protests in the middle east. General David Petraeus is asking the Florida church to call off the event. Petraeus says it would only inflame and incite more violence. Pastor Jones says it is not a message of peace or love but a warning to radical Islam.
"We are wanting to send a message to those who do not mind threatening president, who do not mind bombing buildings, or storming embassies," said Jones. "We're sending a message to them that we can go beyond talk."
"We're not fighting against Islam, we're fighting against a lunatic fringe that happens to wrap itself in the mantle of Islam," said Dr. Stuart Baskin, with First Presbyterian Church, Tyler.
Baskin calls it offensive.
"Somebody overseas might see this and think, 'You see, all Christians hate us,'" said Baskin. "That that represents the views of Christians in general just horrifies me."
"What the Quran teaches is to repel evil with goodness," said Faisal Ahmad, with the East Texas Islamic Society.
Faisal Ahmad calls it saddening.
"I hope that many people come together - Muslims and Christians come together to learn from each other and not give in to the voices of hatred and suspicion," he said.
Pastor Jones says he and his church have already received more than 100 death threats. He still plans to hold the book burning, this weekend.
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