SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) – Jews are being urged to oppose a church’s call to burn Korans on Sept. 11.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center has called upon Jews instead to read from the Koran during Shabbat services that morning.
The call comes as part of an interfaith protest against the Dove World Outreach Center, an evangelical church in Gainesville, Fla.
The church’s founder, Pastor Terry Jones, has announced that he will burn copies of the Koran on the evening of Sept. 11 to remember the victims of 9/11 and “to stand against the evil of Islam.”
Jones has declared Sept. 11 “international burn a Koran day.” A Facebook site dedicated to the project has more than 7,000 fans — for and against the project.
The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation’s largest umbrella evangelical group, has denounced Jones’ plan, and he has been denied a fire permit from the city. But Jones told reporters that he is going ahead anyway.
Faith leaders in Gainesville are planning a protest prayer service on the night of Sept. 10, and similar interfaith events are coming together nationwide. One is planned for 51 Park Place in New York City, the site of the proposed Muslim community center.
In a news release, the Shalom Center notes that Sept. 11 is Shabbat Shuvah, “the special Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when Jews focus even more deeply on turning themselves toward God and to changing their lives toward compassion and reconciliation with other people.”
The center suggests that synagogues add a passage from the Koran to their regular readings that day.
One of three suggested readings comes from Asad 49:13: "Behold, we have created you all from a single male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to deeply know one another [not to hate and despise each other]. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of God. Behold, God is all-knowing, all aware."