Pastor Terry Jones Calls off Koran Burning, Ground Zero Mosque May Be Moved
A fiery Florida pastor called off his bonfire of Korans today after claiming he has a deal that will move a controversial mosque away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks, but the Muslim cleric planning the so-called Ground Zero Mosque quickly denied to ABC News that he has agreed to move his project.
Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., emerged from his church in Gainesville, Fla., along with Florida imam Muhammad al-Masri to announce his decision to cancel his Koran burning, saying he viewed the supposed deal as "a sign from God."
The fiery pastor said that Imam Abdel Rauf, the leader behind the Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, will meet with him in New York on Saturday.
"He has agreed to move it," Jones said referring to the Ground Zero Mosque. "And we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday."
"Americans don't want the mosque there and of course Muslims don't want us to burn Korans," said Jones.
Rauf, however, told ABC News that there is no deal.
"I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Korans," Rauf said. "However, I have not spoken with 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 here to barter. We are here to extend our hand to build peace and harmony," he said.
A denial also came from the developer of the property.
"The Muslim Community Center called Park51 in Lower Manhattan is not being moved," read a statement from SoHo Properties, the developer of the community center that is being called the Ground Zero Mosque.
Al-Masri, head of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, brokered the conversation between Jones and Rauf. He told CNN that he spoke with Rauf's wife, Daisy Kahn.
Al-Masri said he thought the planned New York mosque should be moved, saying, "the placement of the mosque near Ground Zero is unnecessary and it has become a clear provocation to many people to be violent against mosques across the nation."