Rev. Terry Jones on Threat to Destroy the Quran

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Pastor Terry Jones in New York in November 2010. Mary Altaffer / AP

What made you want to destroy the Quran in the first place?

Our point was basically that there is an element of Islam—we’re not talking about peaceful Muslims—that is radical, very violent, and in our personal opinion it’s much larger than people like to admit. We definitely proved that was true. We did not burn the Quran, we did not break any laws, but still we received over 200 death threats. We just got one today.

Were you surprised by all the attention?

Obviously when you start a campaign and call it International Burn a Koran Day, you expect you will get some attention, but the attention we got did surprise us.

Why did you finally cancel your plans?

As you know, at that time I received many phone calls, and I also received direct requests and indirect requests from the president himself, from the secretary of state, from General Petraeus, and actually Mr. Gates called me himself. They were fearful it would cause some sort of retaliation. Of course when people like that ask you to take something into consideration, that would be quite arrogant of me not to do that. And we felt as though God told us, impressed upon our heart, that we should stop.

Do you have any regrets?

Actually, we do not have any regrets, no. We definitely do not.

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