Pastor Terry Jones apparently got the sign he needed and has cancelled the Koran burning ceremony on September 11, replacing his Saturday agenda with a visit to New York to talk with the Ground Zero Mosque Imam. The pastor emerged from his Florida church Thursday afternoon to say: “Americans don't want the mosque there and of course Muslims don't want us to burn Korans.”
Jones claims New York Muslim cleric Imam Musri gave him his word that there would be a meeting with Imam Abdel Rauf, the leader behind the Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, and that there would be a deal made to move the Ground Zero Mosque to another location. “He has agreed to move it,” Jones said referring to the Ground Zero Islamic cultural center and mosque. “And we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday.”
Ironically though, Ground Zero Mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has released a formal statement saying, “I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qurans. However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony.” The developer of Park51, the planned Muslim community center, validated Imam Rauf's comments saying, “The project will proceed as planned.”
Defense Secretary Gates spoke to Jones on the phone today expressing grave concern for the safety of our troops if the Koran burning took place. This is an unprecedented move by the Secretary. Whether the Secretary, an Imam, or Christian voices around the nation influenced the pastor is unclear. I had previously written I would not be surprised at a lightning strike from above. Whatever God used to brighten this man's conscience, I am grateful.