Even though it’s unclear whether a Florida pastor will follow through with his plans to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders from Lawrence still intend to gather Saturday morning on the steps of the oldest church in Kansas.
“We feel that this is what needs to happen in this country right now,” said the Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church. “The moderate voices need to stand up because the extreme voices of hatred are way too dominant in the media.”
The Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of a small Florida church, gained media attention for criticizing the Quran, saying it incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims. His plans to burn Islam’s holiest text sparked an international outcry.
“I think it’s worth our while to continue to show goodwill towards Islamic people,” said the Rev. Josh Longbottom, Plymouth’s associate pastor, who is organizing the Lawrence event.
The service, “Interfaith Solidarity in the Wake of 9/11,” will be from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the steps of Plymouth, 925 Vt.
Baha Safadi, executive director of the Islamic Center of Lawrence, said a member of the center will speak about Islam and peace.
“People who respect each other’s religions feel comfort and feel solidarity,” Safadi said. “It makes the whole society a happy, flourishing society instead of a society with animosity, dislike and distrust to each other.”
Eve Levin, a member of the Lawrence Jewish Community Center who will speak Saturday, said the center wanted to participate based on past world events when Jews were targeted and the Torah was burned.
“It’s incumbent upon us to speak out publicly and say, ‘No, we do not want this to happen,’” she said.
The Rev. Jill Jarvis, of the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, will also speak Saturday.
“As a people of faith, we stand together against fear,” she said. “We stand united on the side of love.”