September 8th, 2010
02:02 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Pastor Terry Jones

Two spiritual leaders plan to go ahead with actions that have sparked worldwide debate. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will talk with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday evening about his decision to move ahead with the controversial Cordoba House, a community center and mosque to be built within blocks of New York’s ground zero. Meanwhile, Pastor Terry Jones told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night that his congregation will probably continue with its plan to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Both men have faced fierce criticism for their decisions. Rauf’s efforts have resulted in protests on the streets of New York and media attention on a global scale. Jones has reported death threats and has been told that Gen. David Petraeus believes the action at the 50-member Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida, could cause harm to U.S. troops overseas. On Tuesday, protesters in Afghanistan reportedly burned an effigy of Jones.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Wednesday morning, Rauf described the center as a recreational facility with prayer spaces for not only Muslims but Christians and Jews as well. The name comes from a Spanish city where Muslims, Christians and Jews thrived culturally during the Middle Ages, he explained. “Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures,” he said.

Jones told Anderson Cooper that his church is weighing its options, but he is inclined to follow through with the Quran-burning. “We are simply burning a book,” Jones said. “General [Petraeus] needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them.”

In May 2009, 15 Afghan citizens were killed and many more injured after Newsweek magazine reported that U.S. military interrogators flushed a Quran down a toilet. The report was later retracted.

CNN: Pastor weighing plans to burn Qurans amid U.S. warnings

NY Times: Building on faith

Michael Bloomberg

The New York mayor - who supports the Islamic community center being located near ground zero - also affirmed the right of Pastor Terry Jones' Florida church to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday.

"In a strange way, I'm here to defend his right to do that," Bloomberg said Tuesday. "I happen to think that it is distasteful. I don't think he would like it if somebody burnt a book that in his religion he thinks is holy. ... But the First Amendment protects everybody."

WSJ: Bloomberg defends pastor's right to burn Qurans

Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel

After 21 years in office and more than four decades of leadership by a Richard Daley, the Chicago mayor has announced that he will not seek a seventh term. The decision shocked many and immediately brought speculation about what it might mean for Chicago-born White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“Simply put, it's time," Daley said Tuesday. "Time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."

The 68-year-old Democrat is the son of the iconic Chicago mayor also named Richard Daley, who died in his 21st year in office. After taking the job in 1989, the younger Daley was easily re-elected to five more terms. This year, however, he faced dismal approval ratings and a $655 million budget shortfall, reported Chicago Breaking News.

Personal issues had also come to the forefront. His wife is being treated for metastatic breast cancer that has spread to her legs and made it difficult for her to walk. She was at his side Tuesday.
Emanuel expressed his shock in a statement released Tuesday, while the White House downplayed any notion of him leaving for Chicago. Still, an April interview with Charlie Rose has fed speculation about Emanuel’s plans. "I hope Mayor Daley seeks re-election," Emanuel told Rose at the time. "I will work and support him if he seeks re-election. But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."

Politico: Hizzoner? Rahm Emanuel must decide fast

Charlie Rose: Interview with Emanuel

Reggie Bush

Conflicting reports from Yahoo Sports and ESPN leave the fate of the 2005 Heisman winner’s trophy undetermined. However, it appears likely that Reggie Bush will be the first football player in the award’s 75-year-history to have it taken away.

Bush, who is now with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, will lose his trophy by the end of September, according to a report by Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports. Citing two sources, Yahoo reported that the decision was made because Bush was deemed ineligible for NCAA play during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, when he accepted illegal cash and gifts while playing at the University of Southern California. However, the Heisman Trophy Trust, which governs the decision, denied this report to ESPN late Tuesday.

USC has been punished for the violations, including a two-year suspension from bowl play and a reduction in scholarships, according to reports. Additionally, the university has been ordered to return its version of the Bush Heisman and eliminate any reference to him in its football program.

Bush has yet to comment on the issue.

Yahoo: Sources: Trust to take Bush's Heisman

ESPN: Heisman Trust calls report inaccurate

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. cece

    I have been to saudi arabia and you are not allowed to bring your bible or any religious artifacts, and if they find one they have stamped and even spitted on a bible and destroy it. So what is the difference with that?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tom Degan

    Take a Muslim to lunch this week
    Show them we're a decent bunch this week
    Let's give in and all do the "brotherhood" bit
    Just make sure we don't make a habit of it

    Give Mohammad's kids the crown this week
    Overlook the fact they're brown this week
    We know everyone can't be
    as American as we....
    Take a Muslim to lunch!

    RAH! RAH! RAH!

    -Stan Freberg, 1961
    (Slightly updated for obvious reasons)

    I never met a Muslim I didn't like. Seriously! As a rule they tend to be lovely people, great neighbors, very well mannered – and don't get me started on their food! Having lived a good portion of my life in New York City I have come to know oodles of people who follow that faith. All of them are fine people and an asset to this country. God bless America.

    The question is just screaming to be posed: Has Terry Jones ever even bothered to read the Sermon on the Mount? I was just wondering.

    Tom Degan

    September 9, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Reverend Trey Noran

    America and the world, Terry Jones needs prayer for he does represent neither Christians nor God in any way possible I am ashamed that he claims to be a pastor and comes in the name of God. Jesus comes in love and caring for all. This really gets me that he continues to attack groups and those he does not agree with, but then on the other hand I totally blame the media for giving this confused man the PR that he desperately carves. We are a bright country and we know that a church that carries guns and has statements of hate is not of God, so we must not give this confused man any more PR and he shall stop.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry Davis

      I agree Reverend Trey, and I have read about you and all your great work with the homeless. Thank you for being a real man of God. Jerry and Laura Davis

      September 9, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tim O'neal

    I agree with Reverend Trey as well, Terry Jones is a major nut case. Reverend Noran wish you God favor with your homeless ministry, now that is what the media should report on a real need not the coverage of a crazy man.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Donna Haines

    Come on CNN do a story on Reverend Trey Noran his cause is a great one instead of a nut case like Terry Jones. Reverend Trey was in the San Fran Newspaper last month and his site is and he has a real cause with the love and passion for God. DH.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Blake Noran

    Terry Jones is of Satan, wow just looked up Reverend Trey Noran's site and looked him up on Facebook not we are not related but his efforts to open a homeless hotel are awesome. Best of God's blessing Reverend Trey. Now here is a story to report on, Satan has enough PR.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Efzaran

    Remember, many innocent Muslims working in the world trade centers also lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was an act of terrorism, not an act of Islam.

    The famous letter from a Rabbi, after Europe’s persecution of the Jews, found in Phillip Mansel’s book “Constantinople ”, reflect the reality of peace, justice, security and protection under Islamic Spain.

    “Here in the land of the Turks we have nothing to complain of. We possess great fortunes; much gold and silver are in our hands. We are not oppressed with heavy taxes and our commerce is free and unhindered. Rich are the fruits of the earth. Everything is cheap and every one of us lives in peace and freedom...”[1]

    Reinhart Dozy, an authority on early Islamic Spain, explained how the Muslims in power treated Christians in Islamic Spain (Andalus),

    “…the unbounded tolerance of the Arabs must also be taken into account. In religious matters they put pressure on no man…Christians preferred their rule to that of the Franks.”[2]

    Thomas Arnold, commenting on an Islamic source, states that,

    “…the Christians called down blessings on the heads of the Muslims, saying, ‘May God give you rule over us again and make you victorious over the Romans; had it been they, they would not have given us back anything, but would have taken all that remained with us.’” [3]

    Ulick R. Burke, a prominent historian specializing in the history of Spain, reached a similar conclusion,

    “Christians did not suffer in any way, on account of their religion, at the hands of Moors…not only perfect toleration but nominal equality was the rule of the Arabs in Spain.’[4]

    [1] Philip Mansel. 1995. Constantinople : City of the World's desire, 1453-1924. Penguin Books, p. 15
    [2] Reinhart Dozy, A History of Muslims in Spain , 1861 (reprinted 1913, 2002), Delhi , P.235.
    [3] T. W. Arnold , Preaching of Islam, London , 1913, P. 61.
    [4] Ulick R. Burke, A History of Spain , London , 1900, Vol I, P. 129.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pamela Sellers

    Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful and respectful comments on this subject.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. robert

    The Imam is a pig he and the muslim radicals have no respect for americans.Terry Jones is the only patriot willing to take a stand.The muslim world believes that they can do what ever they want while they spit in the face of america. They have Obama who spent the first half of his life being raised by muslims,then some kind of radical church.Obama is doing his best to play all of this down, hes very good at mixing up the truth about him and his true beliefs, then through in that illegal aliens have a free pass to do what they want. remember americans just suck it up,and do as your told.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
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