The Reverend Terry Jones told NBC News that ‘we are a little back to square one’ after what he claimed was a deal for relocating a controversial mosque in proximity to the former WTC site in New York appeared not to have materialized.
Jones said earlier Thursday that he was dropping the plans in exchange for relocating the mosque. But mosque officials in New York denied there was an agreement to move the construction site.
‘Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision,’ Jones told NBC after the mosque officials denied a deal was in the works. ‘So as of right now, we are not cancelling the event, but we are suspending it.’
In an earlier press conference, Jones said he would cancel the event, adding that he accomplished his goal. ‘The American people don’t want the mosque there and of course Muslims do not want us to burn their Quran’.
Jones said he planned to fly to New York Saturday to meet with the mosque’s leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, but he later clarified he would not burn the Qurans regardless of what happens with the mosque. Late in the evening, he then appeared to waffle on that promise after the mosque’s denial.
Jones earlier spoke to reporters in Gainesville, Florida, the site of the his Dove World Outreach Centre, which has a congregation of about 50 people. He had declared Saturday ‘International Burn a Koran Day’, drawing fierce criticism from religious leaders of all faiths and top US officials, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Jones had planned to burn copies of the Holy Quran, Saturday on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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