GAINESVILLE, Fla., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A Florida church's planned burning of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, could result in violence, a student at the University of Florida says.
The Gainesville-based Dove World Outreach Center plans to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11 to commemorate the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, The Miami Herald reported.
"Things have escalated," said Ismail ibn Ali, president of the university's Islam on Campus student organization. "We're hoping people will not protest because it might turn into a volatile situation."
Some Muslims have left town, fearing violence, and 13 mosque leaders in South Florida issued a call for non-violence as the event approaches.
News of the event has sparked protests around the world, and Terry Jones, the Dove Center's pastor, has received death threats, the newspaper said.
Jones said the burning would go ahead as planned.
"I'm not doing this because it's popular," Jones said. The church has lost about half of its congregation since first put up signs on the churchyard last year that said, "Islam is of the Devil."