For anyone who has decided to defend the actions of this Nut in Florida for political gain, I thought you might be interesting to find out a little background on the Church, it's leadership, and its background.
History of the church
The Dove World Outreach Center (DWOC) was founded in 1985 by Donald O. Northrup and Richard H. Wright who served as co-pastors in 1987. It became known for participating in charitable endeavors. Wright led a subsidiary church in Waldo, Florida in the 1980s.
Northrup, who was affiliated with the now defunct Maranatha Campus Ministries (MCM), headed the DWOC from its inception until he died in 1996. (He repudiated the MCM before his death.) His wife, Dolores, continued to participate in various ministries of the DWOC as Woman's Pastor until 2004; she became estranged from the congregation in 2009 due to concerns about the church's future under the Jones family.
Donald Northrup and Terry Jones first became involved with each other as operatives in the Maranatha Campus Ministries. Jones founded and led the Christliche Gemeinde Köln, a church in Cologne, Germany from 1981 to 2008 initially as a branch of the Maranatha Campus Ministries. Jones was released from the leadership of the Christliche Gemeinde Köln in 2008 due to untenable theological statements and craving for recognition. Following Jones' departure, the CGK closed, then reopened under new, independent, leadership.
he DWOC also maintains a boarding school in Gainsville, called the Dove World Outreach Academy. According to the Gainsville Sun, students of the academy are prohibited from outside and family contact including attendance at family weddings and funerals, and work without compensation selling, packing, and shipping furniture for TS and Company, a business owned by Sylvia Jones.
In 2010 Jones published Islam is of the Devil, a polemic denouncing Islam as a violent faith. The church reportedly had fifty members in September 2010.
The church has been strongly criticized by various local religious and political figures in Florida for its stances against Islam and homosexuality. In response, a Gainesville Interfaith Forum was established in November 2009 with participation from the University of Florida Hillel, Congregation Bnai Israel and individual Muslim residents, and the forum's request for the declaration of September 11 as "Interfaith Solidarity Day" was honored by current mayor Craig Lowe. The Forum scheduled a "Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope" at Trinity United Methodist Church on the day before the planned burning.
In addition, Lowe has referred to Dove World as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community".
Twenty local religious leaders gathered Thursday, September 2, 2010 to call for citizens to rally around Muslims “in a time when so much venom is directed toward them.” .
National and international response
Beyond coverage of the organization by news media, the church has received condemnation from a diversity of political and religious leaders and organizations due to its anti-Islamic stance, including criticism by:
David Petraeus, US forces general in Afghanistan stated that it could endanger troops and the overall effort there
the White House
the Government of Canada
the Anti-Defamation League
the National Association of Evangelicals
the head of Iran's Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (who deemed the Quran burning proposal a "Zionist" insult).
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
the International Humanist and Ethical Union
the Organization of the Islamic Conference
John Rankin, President of the Theological Education Institute in Connecticut, has started a "Yes to the Bible, No to the Burning of the Qur'an" effort. Also Jennifer Bryson is advocating Christian intra-faith dialogue and Christian rejection of "Burn a Koran Day" .
Protests have ensued against the church in places such as Indonesia. However, when death threats directed against Jones were mailed to The Gainesville Sun in a letter postmarked from Johnstown, Pa., the American Muslim Association of North America issued a statement signed by 15 imams including Ahmed Al Mehdawi of the Islamic Center of Gainesville condemning the death threats.
Various other Muslims, such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have voiced that the Dove world Outreach centre is not following the true teachings of Christianity of tolerance and love. They quote from the Bible "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."(Matthew 5:44-45). The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has stated that "Religious extremism, be it Christian extremism, Muslim extremism or any other kind, is never a true reflection of the religion".
Indonesians took to the streets to protest the event on September 4, with thousands, mostly muslims, taking part in events across the country. Rokhmat Labib, chairman of the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir that organized the protests, called the planned book burning a provocation and predicted that muslims would fight back should it take place. Lahib said that Muslims must not stay silent when their faith is threatened.
General David Petraeus said "it is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community." On the same day hundreds of Afghans had protested in Kabul against the planned Qur'an burning event, chanting "death to America" and throwing rocks at a passing military convoy. Military officials also expressed fears that the protests would spread to other cities. Military officers at the Pentagon consequently said they hoped the rare incursion into politics by a military commander would convince pastor Jones to cancel his plans. The pastor responded to Petraeus' statement that, "We understand the General's concerns. We are sure that his concerns are legitimate. [Nonetheless] [w]e must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam. We will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats."
The US embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning the plans. Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, criticized the plans stating "any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern to this administration". NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the church's plans would violate NATO's "values" and may have a negative impact on the security of its soldiers.
Dove World Outreach Center was founded in 1986 by Donald Northrup and Richard Wright, and leadership was assumed by Terry Jones in 1996. The Gainesville church complex has a religious school, called the Dove World Outreach Academy, whose students are sequestered from the outside world, and work to pack furniture for TS and Company, which is owned by Terry and Sylvia Jones.
Terry Jones' daughter, Emma Jones, broke with the church, calling it a cult, and accusing her father and stepmother of a series of financial and labor abuses.
And finally, there is a link on Google that looks like the official link to the church However it didn't connect to anything.