In 2010 the pastor of a 60-person congregation near Gainesville, Fla. announced he would host an international “Burn a Quran Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and protesting “the brutality of Islamic law.”
Pastor Terry Jones’s announcement was met with international outcry, and US Gen. David Petraeus warned that the burning of the holy book could put US troops at risk in Afghanistan. Mr. Jones cancelled the 2010 event, but thousands of Afghans, reportedly encouraged by the Taliban, took to the streets burning tires and chanting “Death to America.”
Less than a year later, on March 20, 2011, Jones followed through with burning the Quran while hosting an “International Judge the [Quran] Day,“ where he put the text “on trial” and burned copies of the holy book. Though the event initially garnered little media attention in the US, it was condemned by the Pakistani government and when video of the burning was posted online it led to five straight days of large-scale protests and violence across Afghanistan.
In one of the most violent reactions, a mob of more than 100 people stormed the United Nations compound in northern Afghanistan and killed seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards and four Afghans. The next day nine more people died in mob-related violence in Kandahar.
Jones continues to rile people with his controversial statements on Islam, with some linking him to the recent “Innocence of Muslims” film, according to the Daily Mail.