Muslims react to Koran controversy

Muslims in Lincoln are reacting to news that a pastor in Florida may have canceled his plans to burn the Koran this weekend. 

The pastor of a tiny Gainesville church said on Thursday he will not burn Korans this Saturday as originally planned, then later back-pedaled, saying he was rethinking his decision.

Pastor Terry Jones held several news conferences and first claimed that the Imam, at the center of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, had agreed to move its location.  That, he said, was the sign from “God” he had been waiting for.  Jones said, “it is my understanding and I have his word that he will move the Ground Zero Mosque to a different location.”

In New York, however, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf made clear that no deal had been struck.  After Jones' announcement, Rauf said, “my major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be Islam is under attack in America.”

Jones replied with, “we really felt like that was the will of God, that was a sign, that is what we should do.  Now we're a little bit, not totally, but a little bit, back to square one.”

There was fear the demonstration could endanger American troops abroad along with FBI concerns that Islamic radicals might have launched attacks at the event itself and around the U.S.

Emotion has already been stirred up in Muslim countries.  There have been three demonstrations in Pakistan including this flag burning in Karachi.

While the book burning protest may or may not be on, some local Muslims are sharing their thoughts on the controversy.

Muslim students and faculty at UNL say it's not their position to say whether it is right for mosque leaders to strike a deal to move the proposed Muslim center in New York further away from Ground Zero.

They do say any news that their most holy book may not be burned is exciting.  they not just for their community, but for Christians, Jews and non-religious people alike.  Maliha Zuberi is president of the Muslim Student Association at UNL and says the hatred behind the burning could have a negative affect all across the world.  “I was excited to hear that he wasn't going to burn the Korans.  I think everybody in the Muslim community has a sigh of relief, but the idea that now he might still go along with it, it is like a roller coaster.”

Hany Makkawy advises the group and says, “to portray it by burning a book of our religion, it doesn't serve anybody.  It doesn't serve any purpose.   It's just showing hate.”

All this controversy comes at the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan.  Zuberi and Makkawy say they hope it all means they can celebrate with good news as they celebrate the end of their fasting.