POSTED: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 6:08pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 10, 2010 - 2:40pm
EL PASO - Despite disapproval from the White House and religious leaders, a Florida Pastor remains determined to carry out his plan to burn copies of the Koran on September 11th.
Rev. Terry Jones says he wants to send a message to the Islamic community as his small church in Gainesville, Florida, prepares to stage "International Burn-a-Koran Day." However... members of the local Muslim community agree... his plan only sends a message of ignorance and bigotry.
"We believe in that we believe. We believe in the Bible. We believe in standing up for it."
This saturday... Rev. Jones will torch the book of Islam to mark the 9th anniversary of 9-11... when the word Muslim became associated with terrorist.
"When you hear the word Muslim, people's mind...they see this bearded man. A terrorist can be any color of any race of any religion, but unfortunately, people have been programmed nowadays to associate Islam and Muslims with terrorism."
Bassam Abdelfattah... and other area Muslims... believe the reverend only seeks publicity or political gain by promising to execute what they consider... an outrageous display of intolerance.
"This gentleman doesn't know anything about the Holy Koran and that's why he thinks he can put his hate on the Koran."
These followers of Islam echoed the statement issued by Gen. David Patraeus... the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan... warning "images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan - and around the world - to inflame public opinion and incite violence."
"To certain people it's just pages and words on a page, but to Muslims, it's a lot more than that and by burning it, you will definitely, unfortunately see a very negative reaction around the world towards America."
Already... Afghanis reacted to the news by burning the likeness of the pastor along with the American flag... which accoring to Alaa Alquadi... has become the symbol of one man and his ideas.
"I don't think if you go to each American in this country would agree with what he's doing. No one does."
We spoke with First Baptist Church of El Paso Pastor David Lowrie by phone... and he told us... he also disaproved of Rev. Jones' plan.