Pastor Who Burned Koran Demands Retribution
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ and DON VAN NATTA Jr.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Before a Koran was burned at his modest church here on March 20, the pastor Terry Jones held a self-styled mock trial of the holy book in which he presided from the pulpit as judge. The prosecutor was a Christian who had converted from Islam. An imam from Dallas defended the Koran.
Sitting in judgment was a jury of 12 members of Mr. Jones’s church, the Dove World Outreach Center. After listening to arguments from both sides, the jury pronounced the Koran guilty of five “crimes against humanity,” including the promotion of terrorist acts and “the death, rape and torture of people worldwide whose only crime is not being of the Islamic faith.”
Punishment was determined by the results of an online poll. Besides burning, the options included shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad. Mr. Jones, a nondenominational evangelical pastor, said voters had chosen to set fire to the book, according to a video of the proceedings.