Berkeley to rally against Qur’an burning

As the Florida minister Terry Jones continues to insist he will burn a Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, on Saturday a group in Berkeley is planning a counter-rally to show tolerance for Islam.

Or Hadash USA, a Jewish project concerned with constitutional issues, is calling for an interfaith public reading of the Qur’an at Ohlone Park in Berkeley at 3:15 pm. Jones plans to hold his burning from 3 pm to 6 pm Pacific Time.

“We shall all symbolically stand with Muslim Americans and read aloud in English parts of the Qur’an, affirming that we will not stand by silently while others perpetrate un-American acts of hate in the name of patriotism or religion,” the organizers of the event announced in an email.

Since today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Berkeleyside could not reach the organizers.

Saturday, September 11 marks the 9th anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks against the United States, and Jones and his evangelical church of 50 plan to mark the occasion by burning Islam’s most holy text. Jones’ act has drawn wide outrage, including from President Obama, who said on Thursday that Jones’ “stunt” would serve as a “recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda”.


Reverend Terry Jones. Photo: Associated Press.

September 11 is also Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

September 10 marks the end of Ramadan, the month where Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down. Organizers of the event at Ohlone Park will make information about Ramadan available at the rally.

The group will meet at the corner of Sacramento and Delaware streets.

Update – 14.14: Terry Jones has said he is calling off the Florida Qur’an burning event after the group behind a planned mosque close to Ground Zero in New York agreed to relocate it according to the BBC.


Frances Dinkelspiel is co-founder and executive editor of Berkeleyside. Email: frances@berkeleyside.com.