The Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church will host a continuous reading of the Quran on September 11, 2010 in response to the “International Burn a Quran Day,” organized by an anti-Islamic church in Gainesville, Florida.
The event is being organized by the Louisville church as a counter demonstration against the book burning and a show of solidarity with Muslim Americans who church leaders say are being discriminated against and threatened because of the actions of a few religious extremists.
“This isn’t as much about promoting Islam, which we have no objection to, but of promoting freedom of religion and equality, which is supposed to be the American way,” says the Rev. Todd F. Eklof, a local activist and Clifton UU Church’s minister. “The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is no time for any of us to retreat from freedom in the name of radical fear and hate.”
The church has more than 30 volunteers who will take 20 to 30 minute turns reading portions of the Quran aloud throughout the day while opening the church’s sanctuary to anyone who might want to sit and listen, says Eklof, who is the former Kentucky Farm Bureau employee who was fired by the state insurance company for protesting their opposition to gay marriage.
The book burning is being organized by Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and has gained international attention.
In an e-mail sent to The Associated Press, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, condemend burning the holy book of Islam and said it would endanger American troops. At a press conference, the U.S. State Department called the plan “un-American.”
Still, Pastor Jones, who is the author of the book “Islam is of the Devil” said that while he understands the general’s concerns and noted public pressure, he plans to go forward with the demonstration to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks.