Quran Quid Pro Quo

by Daniel Foster

UPDATED: The AP is reporting that “pastor” Terry Jones has in fact canceled his scheduled 9/11 Koran burning event, because GZ mosque developers have agreed to move their project:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Christian minister in Florida is canceling plans to burn Qurans on Sept. 11, heeding an international outcry that drew criticism from President Barack Obama and religious and political leaders across the Muslim world.

Pastor Terry Jones said Thursday that he decided to cancel his protest because the leader of a planned Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its controversial location. The agreement couldn’t be immediately confirmed.

Jones’ plans to burn Islam’s holiest text Saturday sparked an international outcry.

But both Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Liz Goodwin of Yahoo News are reporting from Park51 sources that there is no plan to move the mosque.

Jones made the decision in part because he received a call from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Robert Gates calls Terry Jones and gets him to cancel a Koran burning in exchange for mosque developers vacating a building that Donald Trump wants to buy. When did U.S. politics turn into Mad libs?

Curiouser and curiouser.

UPDATE II: The latest word is that the Koran burning hasn’t been canceled, but merely “suspended.”

Why is Rev. Jones reconsidering? He says he was swayed to call off the Koran burning by the promise of a face-to-face meeting with Imam Rauf in New York City, brokered by Orlando-based Imam Musri. But, as noted above, neither Rauf nor any of the other mosque planners had heard anything about such a meeting. Now Jones is saying Musri lied:

On Thursday, Jones met with Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Orlando-based Islamic Society of Central Florida, and the two held a joint news conference in which Jones said, “We have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday.” Jones said he will spend the anniversary of 9/11 flying to New York to meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the planned mosque and cultural center.

Jones also said he canceled the event after striking a deal to relocate the mosque, but backers of the mosque said there is no such deal. “I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qurans,” Rauf said Thursday. “However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam (Musri).”

Musri also later told the Associated Press that no deal had been reached. He said that he had offered only a meeting between Jones, himself and Imam Rauf.

Hours after the news conference, Jones said Musri “clearly lied to us.”

“Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision,” Jones said. “So as of right now, we are not canceling the event, but we are suspending it.” Jones did not say whether the burning could still be held Saturday.

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