New York, Jul 31: A US church has sparked off a huge controversy by mulling an 'International Burn a Quran Day' to observe the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack.
The Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, will be hosting the event to remember the victims of the Sep 11, 2001 attack and has extended a invitation to all the Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at its premises from 6 pm to 9 pm.
"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," church pastor Terry Jones told CNN.
The church is promoting the event on its website, on a Facebook page as well as through a YouTube video.
The page on the social networking site, which reads "Eternal fire is the only destination the Quran can lead people to, so we want to put the Quran in its place - the fire!", has over 1,600 fans.
The page has sparked off an outrage on Facebook with several organisations and groups starting a campaign seeking the admin to remove the page.
"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy? No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil," Jones says in the YouTube video.
The pastor has also written a book 'Islam is of the Devil'. This phrase can be endorsed by anyone by buying T-shirts and mugs, which have these words printed on them, at the church.
Understanding that this event would offend and hurt the international Muslim community, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) issued a statement urging the Florida church to cancel the event.
"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbours of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said.