Terry Jones says Koran burning off for now

12:26 PM, Sep 10, 2010   |    comments
Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville.
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(CBS)   The Florida pastor behind a controversial plan to burn Muslim holy books on the 9th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks told CBS News on Friday that the event was on hold, "right now".

Anti-Islamic preacher Rev. Terry Jones backed off his plans on Thursday and then threatened to reconsider burning the Qurans, angrily accusing local a Muslim leader of lying to him with a promise to move an Islamic center and away from New York's ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a firm deal.

"Right now, we have called the event off, based upon the offer that the Imam gave us," Jones told "The Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith Friday morning.

The Imam who met Jones Thursday also appeared on "The Early Show" Friday. He told Smith the misunderstanding was due to ongoing efforts to secure a meeting with the figure behind the planned New York city Islamic center.

"We simply are in the process of a moving situation," Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, told Smith. "The first part was the understanding with the pastor about what's being done in Gainesville, and the second part was to arrange for the meeting and fly over to New York and sit down with the man responsible for the project over there."

Asked whether that meeting was scheduled, Musri said he had received a "commitment for a meeting," but the exact timing was not yet arranged.

"I am, of course, as you can imagine, very, very disappointed because that is not what the Imam told me yesterday," Jones said in response. "We were very, very clear."

The pastor's remarks left open the possibility that he would reschedule the Quran burning for Saturday evening.

Musri said New York Islamic center project leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would meet with himself and Jones, "to discuss the nature and the idea of moving the mosque."

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