Local Breaking News
Anti-Islam pastor plans to burn Qurans in Tampa
TAMPA - The Rev. Terry Jones is planning to burn 2,998 Qurans on Sept. 11 in Tampa, though the exact location of the event has not been announced. But on Jones’ Facebook page, Google Maps directs attendees to an exact location in West Tampa. The directions are very specific. Motorists are told to exit the interstate and get onto East Floribraska Avenue. Eventually, drivers are told to “turn right onto North Ola Avenue, and then immediately turn left onto West Street.” The directions say to go 517 feet to the location. “If you reach North Nevada Avenue, you’ve gone too far,” the directions say.“What?” said John Bates, whose home appeared to be on or right next to the “X” on the Google map showing where the massive Quran burning is scheduled to take place. “I don’t know nothing about it,” he said Monday morning as he wolfed down a breakfast on his front porch. Hector Cartagna has lived for the past dozen years on the narrow, tree-lined street of older houses that are homes to working class residents. “I don’t know about this,” he said. “That’s messed up.” Turns out the directions are a mystery to the Jones’ camp, too. “We haven’t given a location yet,” said Stephanie Sapp, spokeswoman for Jones group, Stand Up America. The location is somewhere in Tampa, she said, but not finalized yet. She said she doesn’t know how Google Maps settled on the West Street location, but she plans on fixing it as soon as she can. The event is scheduled for the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Jones said he will burn 2,998 Qurans, equaling the number of victims in the attacks. In April, Jones announced he is selling the 20-acre Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville and moving his 15-member congregation to Tampa sometime after the July 15 closing date. Over the past few years, he has become the face of anti-Islam fervor through his Quran burnings and mock trials of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.