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Pastor says armed militia to protect church during Quran-burning event

By the CNN Wire Staff
Pastor Terry Jones says Right Wing Extreme will protect his church on "International Burn a Quran Day."
Pastor Terry Jones says Right Wing Extreme will protect his church on "International Burn a Quran Day."
  • The Right Wing Extreme is described as an armed Christian organization
  • The organization says Islam is a "violent cult"
  • The group will provide protection for "International Burn a Quran Day" on September 11
  • Islam
  • Christianity
  • Florida

(CNN) -- An armed Christian organization, Right Wing Extreme, will protect a church that is planning to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on September 11, the church's pastor said Tuesday.

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and to take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, the nondenominational church invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book.

Dove's Facebook page, set up for the September event, has nearly 6,000 fans. The initiative has also drawn critics.

Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones has accepted the support of Right Wing Extreme, which he said offered to come to the church with between 500 and 2,000 men on September 11. He described the organization as an armed civilian militia group.

"There is a need for this protection. It is absolutely necessary in light of the death and terror threats we have received," Jones said in an e-mail to CNN.

"We have met with the FBI who have warned us of the threats they have seen, not only against us but against other targets in Florida. We have personally received threats by phone and many by mail," he said.

No one from Right Wing Extreme was immediately available to comment on Tuesday.

But in a statement sent to CNN by the Dove World Outreach Center, Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson said: "We fully support Dove World Outreach Center and its efforts to put an end to the notion that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is a violent cult with the goal of world domination."

Muslims and many other Christians, including some evangelicals, are fighting the church's plan to burn the Quran.

Religious leaders in Gainesville have planned an event billed as a "Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope" on September 10, in response to the church's proposal.

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public. In a statement, the group said it would give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

Separately, Jones has proposed a meeting with Abdul Rauf, the imam at the center of the controversial proposal to build a mosque and Islamic center near New York's ground zero.

The meeting would be meant to negotiate a "peaceful resolution," said a statement from Dove World Outreach Center on Tuesday.