Tape Reveals Florida Imam Hoodwinked Qur’an-Burning Pastor
A newly surfaced audiotape demonstrates how Imam Muhammad Musri, director of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, deceived the pastor of a charismatic Christian church in Gainesville, Florida, to avert the burning of a Qur’an in September 2010. During the run-up to America’s annual 9/11 commemoration, Dr.Â Terry Jones, mustachioed head of the Dove World Outreach Center, made an international splash by threatening to ignite the Muslim holy book in protest. After personal appeals by the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, and a New Jersey automobile dealer who promised Jones a new car if he’d leave the Qur’an unlit, the pastor relented.
The Quran-burning provocateur, who is expected to protest in Dearborn next week, said he didn’t realize before he committed to coming here that the protest is planned for Good Friday.
At the time, however, Jones insisted that none of those appeals was decisive. Rather, he assured the news media that Imam Musriâ€”who stood beside him on September 9 before the reporters, cameras and microphones gathered in Gainesvilleâ€”had brokered a deal whereby New York City’s $100 million, 13-story Park51 mosque would be relocated from its proposed site within two blocks of Ground Zero.
Imam Musri, though, soon denied that any such agreement had been reached, pulling the Muslim prayer rug out from under Dr. Jones. The pastor was understandably irked, complaining that he’d been “clearly, clearly lied to” by the imam.
On Sunday, March 20, 2011, Pastor Jones belatedly followed through on his threat to burn a Qur’an. After a mock trial at Dove World Outreach Center, Islam’s holiest text was found guilty of causing murder, rape and terrorism, and was thereupon set on fire.
Yet what happened last September has remained a case of He Said, He Said as both sides stuck to their conflicting stories. Finally, on April 16, 2011, aÂ recently discoveredfive-minute tapeÂ documenting a key conversation between the two religionists was posted online by Jones’s group Stand Up America!
It clearly shows that Imam Musri first lied to Terry Jones and then lied to the media about having lied to Pastor Jones.
In private before their joint press conference, Musri advises Jones: “I told the media out there exactly what my plan is. I told them I’m gonna go in. This is what I’m gonna offer the Pastor: one for one exchange, OK?”
Musri assures Jones that he has “secured a commitment for a meeting in New York with the imam” in charge of Park51. “Pastor, this is your chance in history,” Musri lays it on thick.
“Let me get your message straight,” Jones cautiously seeks to clarify. “Your message is you talked to the imam andâ€””
“He is willing to relocate,” Musri affirms.
“The mosque,” Jones ventures, still intent on correctly understanding Musri’s offer.
“The mosque from Ground Zero. OK?” says Musri impatiently. “To an alternative location that is not controversial at all, away from Ground Zero. OK?”
“He is willing to do that?” Pastor Jones asks one last time, just to be safe.
“Yes,” says Imam Musri, who adds that the offer is conditional on Jones forgoing his Qur’an burning.
“Of course, obviously,” replies Jones.
A few hours after the tape’s release,Â The New York Times interviewed Muhammad Musri by telephone. The imam maintains Jones’s recording is a fake. “I don’t think it’s authentic,” Musri toldÂ The Times. “Even with whatever is in that transcript, it does not say I am promising him it will be moved. He made it up, as simple as that.”
Yet given the newfound evidence, it’s impossible to consider this another He Said, He Said matter. The tape’s audio quality is good. The transcript is accurate. The record speaks for itself. Imam Muhammad Musri is a liar.
And Pastor Terry Jones, for all his anti-Muslim rhetoric (his book is titledÂ Islam Is of the Devil), fell for it. Hook, line and sinker.
So what? Is everyone supposed to be savvy to Muslim lies?