Local religious leaders in Gainesville, FL speak out against Qur’an burning
In a time when threats against the Muslim Holy Scripture and their faith itself have been made by The Dove World Outreach center, several religious congregations in Gainesville, Fl., will stand together at a variety of interfaith events in affirmation of one another and, specifically, the Muslim community.
“The intent of the Dove World Outreach Center to burn the Quran on September 11th has no place in our faith, our religious communities, our town or in our nation,” said United Church of Gainesville Minister Larry Reimer.
In 1933 Berlin, Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels began a campaign of burning books by Jewish authors across the square from famous Humboldt University. Today, on that site, there is a plaque with the prophetic words of German poet Heinrich Heine written in 1820, “There, where they burn books, they will in the end burn people.”
Congregations of Jews and Christians from many denominations are standing together in a variety of ways to say to those who espouse this hatred – not here, not now, not ever. In common affirmation of one another, several interfaith activities are planned and others are emerging.
- Sept. 11 and 12 – A call to all religious communities to join in the sharing common readings from the Quran, Hebrew Scripture, and Christian scripture at their worship services. Each will include these readings in their own places of worship at their own Sabbath services.
- Sept. 8- An interfaith service of prayer and readings is planned at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at noon.
- Gainesville Muslim community is sponsoring a Gathering of Peace and Unity, Saturday, September 11 from 5-9 and the Gainesville Downtown Plaza. It includes a blood drive, feeding the hungry, and an address by Mayor Craig Lowe at 7:00 p.m. followed by a candle light vigil.
- There will be an open house for all at the Hoda Center and Islamic Center on Sept. 17. The time will be announced.
The following clergy and congregations have already committed to one or more of these events. The group invites all religious communities to add their names to this list that we may live the faith of love and care for all God’s children across the barriers that too often divide us. Contact any of the communities listed below to add your names to this list.
Rev. Larry Reimer, United Church of Gainesville
Dr. Saeed ur Rehman Khan – Past President, Muslim Association of North Central Florida
Ismail Ibn Ali, Islam on Campus
Dr. Wajid Khuddus, Islamic Center of Gainesville
Ahmad El-Mahdawy, Hoda Center
Father Roland Julien, St Patrick’s Catholic Church
Pastor Greg Magruder, Parkview Baptist Church
Rabbi David Kaiman, B’Nai Israel Synagogue
Dr. Dennis Shuman and Renee Hoffinger, P’Nai Or Synagogue
Rabbi Michael Joseph, Temple Shir Shalom
Rev. Meredith Garmon, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville
Rev. Milford Griner, Pleasant Plain United Methodist Church, Jonesville & Hall Chapel UMC, Rochelle
Rev. Jim Merritt, Trinity Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Carl Romey, First United Methodist Church
Dr. Zoharah Simmons UF department of religion
Rev. Louanne Loch, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Eve MacMaster Emmanuel Mennonite Church
Gene Beardsley, clerk, Gainesville Friends Meeting (Quaker)
Rev. Martha McInnes, United Church of Christ
Rev. David Dean, Disciples Presbyterian Student Center
Rev. Tom Murphy, Episcopal Chapel of the Incarnation
Rev. Michael Collins, University Lutheran Church
Rev. Alisun Donovan, Presbyterian Church USA
Rev. Jack Donovan, Highlands Presbyterian Church
Dr. Wajeeh Bajwa, President, Orlando chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Contact– Larry Reimer, Larryr@ucgainesville.org, 352-378-3500 w; 352-281-2684 cell