Tensions Mount as 9/11 Anniversary Approaches

Protests, passions and politics collide in lead up to Sep. 11.

ByABC News
August 13, 2010, 6:03 PM

Aug. 16, 2010— -- On Sept. 11, the ninth anniversary of the deadly terror attacks, as family members of those killed in the World Trade Center gather in New York City to read names of their loved ones, a Florida minister and his congregation will stand outside their church and mark the solemn occasion in another way.

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Fla., will build a bonfire of Korans and set the books ablaze, a statement he says sends a clear and indisputable message.

"We declared 9/11 International Burn a Koran Day," Jones told ABCNews.com. "The reason is to send a warning to Islam, that Sharia law that is not welcome in America. We started this a year ago, when we put a sign outside the church, 'Islam is of the Devil.'"

Jones said more than 100 people will meet at the church to "burn several hundred Korans" and many others around the country will burn the Muslim holy book on their own.

Passion and politics are inseparable from 9/11, but despite the passage of time, the lead up to this year's anniversary has been marked by a volatility and tension unseen since 2001, including protests of planned mosques, threats against Muslims and arsons at mosques.

A perfect storm of emotions may be brewing on the issue. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends on the sacred day of Eid, which is dictated by the arrival of a full moon. This year it is scheduled to arrive on or close to 9/11. The simmering tensions have Muslims asking for police protection at their mosques in some cities

Even in the months and years immediately after the 9/11 horror when the outrage and heartbreak were still fresh, the fury directed at Muslims and their institutions did not reach the intensity that has marked community protests and politicians statements this year.

The growing anger is likely stoked by the dragging wars in Iraq and particularly Afghanistan, along with fresh acts of terrorism on U.S. soil, including the foiled Christmas Day and Time Square bomb plots and the massacre of unarmed soldiers at Ft. Hood.