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GAINESVILLE, Florida — The leader of a small Florida church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy says he is canceling plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11.
Pastor Terry Jones said Thursday that he decided to cancel his protest because the leader of a planned Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its controversial location. The agreement couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
And it doesn’t sound like it will be. According to Reuters:
He said at the same time that an agreement had been reached with Muslim leaders to move the location of an Islamic cultural center and mosque planned close to the site of the September 11 attacks in New York.
But sources close to New York Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said there was no agreement to move the site of the proposed Muslim cultural center.
What IS confirmed, however, is that Donald Trump has said he will make an offer to buy the Ground Zero mosque building:
Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — Donald J. Trump offered to purchase the site of the proposed Islamic community center near New York City’s Ground Zero for the price paid plus 25 percent.
As part of the bid, any community center built would be located at least five blocks farther from the World Trade Center site, Trump said. The offer was made in a letter dated today and included in a statement received by e-mail.
“I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation,” Trump wrote in the letter to Hisham Elzanaty, a businessman who’s said he provided the majority of the financing for the two buildings where the center would be built.
Elzanaty didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message for comment.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, the center’s sponsor, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mail seeking comment.
Trump’s offer appears to be in response to a declaration made yesterday by Elzanaty:
A major investor in the mosque near Ground Zero said yesterday he is ready to pull the plug and sell some or all of the site if the price is right.
Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born businessman who says he provided a majority of the financing to gain control over the two buildings where an Islamic community center and mosque would be built, said he already has received offers for three times the $4.8 million price of the site.
“Develop it, raze it, sell it,” Elzanaty, who lives on Long Island, told the Associated Press.
“If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it’s all theirs.”
The AP is reporting that Trump’s offer has been declined.
I’m ready for Pastor Jones to go back to being an unknown preacher of a small church in Florida, for the GZ imam, Elzanaty, and anyone else who normally speaks on behalf of the GZM to, frankly, STF*U. Most importantly, I’m ready to commemorate 9-11 properly – and free from all this nonsense.
Update – 6:00 PM: Via the AP:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Florida imam says that no deal has been reached to move the site of a mosque at the site of ground zero in exchange for a Florida minister to call off plans to burn Qurans.
Imam Muhammad Musri tells The Associated Press that what he offered was a meeting among the Rev. Terry Jones, the New York imam planning the Islamic center and himself to talk about the mosque location.
Musri is president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida. He says he told Jones that he does not believe the mosque should not be there and would do everything in his power to make sure it is moved.
Jones says he believes a deal was reached to move the mosque and would fly to New York Saturday to discuss it.
Related: There’s a Westboro Baptist Church connection to Pastor Terry Jones? I think I’m gonna throw up.