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Gainesville Church thinks 'Islam is of the Devil'?

If you haven't heard by now, there's been quite a controversy stirring in Gainesville, Florida, surrounding a sign posted outside an evangelical church. The sign states “Islam is of the devil”.

The Sign
The sign was put up in early July by Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, a self-described 'New Testament, Charismatic, Non-Denominational Church that believes in the whole Bible and that we are to act in response to the word of God in order to change the times we are living in.'
Pastor Jones and his congregation justify the sign as their way of 'expressing love for the followers of Islam' by letting them know their way of life, Islam, is 'evil'.

A not so insignificant chunk came out to speak up against what they rightfully detected as hate speech, proving that the majority of people in Gainesville are decent people.

Understanding this is unacceptable hate-mongering, Muslims, Christians, Agnostics, and Atheists, all showed up in unison to protest the sign.

Upon seeing this protest and the media attention, one would think, 'Okay, the community has spoken. The Church might have acted a little radically by posting this sign, but they got their media attention. The Pastor(s) will apologize, this will all go away, and everyone will be the wiser.'


Not only did the Church not recant the message, they have actively defended it, and have actually taken their campaign a few steps further.

The Shirt
They have now created t-shirts which prominently display the same message on the back.

Unfortunately, one of the Pastors at the Church, Wayne Sapp, has his children convinced of the same line of thinking. On August 24, his 10-year-old daughter, Faith Sapp (yes, that's her real name), wore the shirt to her elementary school. The school Principal had the decency to request the child change her shirt, or at least cover the anti-Muslim sentiment, citing it violated school dress-code policy. The policy being that it would offend other students, and be divisive. When she refused, they sent her home.

The same day, his 15-year-old daughter, Emily Sapp, wore the shirt to Gainesville High. She was also sent home as well.

Both incidents happened on their first day of school.

Both of Sapp's children say it was their decision to wear the shirts.

Emily Sapp also admits she has no Muslim friends and “doesn't know why”.

On Tuesday, more children came to school bearing their “message of love”.

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident. The Gainesville Sun reported, “On Monday, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Talbot Elementary was sent home because of the shirt. On Tuesday, two Eastside High students and one Gainesville High student were sent home and a student at Westwood Middle had to change clothes because of the shirt, according to members of the Dove congregation.

An Out-of-Context Quote
Meanwhile, the church decided to follow up their wildly successful sign with another sign. This time, taking an out-of-context quote from the Holy Quran.

They posted “Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them” from Verse 5, Chapter 9 (al-Bara'at – The Immunity).

The context of that line, a line usually taken out of context to demonize Islam, is that it was revealed for the Muslims of the time. They were in an agreement for a peace treatise with the Meccans during a period of 3 or 4 holy months. The verses surrounding that line instruct the Muslims that should the Meccans resume fighting against them after the agreement expires, then, according to the rules of combat in Islam, the Muslims have the right to fight against the Meccans until hostilities are ceased. Verses 1 through 16 make that very clear.

So it's clear that the quote on the sign is out of context, and if anyone had done even half the research I did (I didn't actually have to do much), they would understand that this line declares nothing close to instructing Muslims to indiscriminately 'kill all disbelievers', as the sign, the Dove World Outreach Center, and other Islamophobes, would want you to think.

Apparently it's what they believe
Wayne Sapp says his children decided it was time to "stand up for what they believe instead of saying the rules might not let me do it". This would be fine if they had a pro-Christian message, but, instead, they have an anti-Islam message. So what do they believe about Islam?

According to their website,
Islam is a lie based upon lies and deceptions and fear. In Muslim countries, if you preach the gospel or convert to Christianity - you will be killed. That is the type of religion it is.

This is all they post about Islam. Nothing to backup these wild claims. No proofs or examples. Nothing.

This only proves that they don't want to have an honest debate, nor are they interested in actually learning about Muslims, Islam, or Islamic Culture.

Should Muslims Be Offended?
Muslims and non-Muslims alike should be offended that this kind of speech is being actively promoted.

The identification of Islam being of devilish properties or as a product of the devil, infers that Muslims hold those qualities too.

By linking Islam with the devil, they are linking Islam with the properties associated with the devil. Mainly that it is evil, and that it is a promotion of values comprised of lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Essentially, anything that is rejected by the Ten Commandments.

This is why this should be so contemptible for Muslims. Associating us as the 'Other' and as a result of that, of 'evil' qualities, it suggests that Muslims do not belong in America and are to be driven out.

Freedom of Speech?
It seems, when confronted after the shirts fiasco, they are trying to turn this into a rights issue. Wayne Sapp said that society has grown "so tolerant of being tolerant" that free speech is eroding.

But, what I don't think Sapp understands is that freedom of speech does not absolve you of the consequences of what your speech incites. Freedom of speech is a right that ends where another persons rights begin.

On top of that, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in several cases that public schools may quash speech deemed disruptive "even if it steps on the other child's free speech rights."

So there is little leg to stand on by claiming this as an issue of free speech.

Why the shirt it contemptible
The sign is one thing, but in schools, children have the right to not be excluded for any reason related to age, sex, gender, race, or religion. By wearing a shirt like this, the parents of the children wearing these shirts, and the children themselves, are signaling to Muslim children that they aren't wanted. That they are the 'Other'. A population to be excluded.

The bigger problem for the children arises because many Muslims are visible minorities. Discrimination based on religion can easily escalate into ethnic/racial discrimination. In Gainesville, out of the 114,000 residents, 6% are non-White, non-Black, non-Hispanic, and non-Native Americans. The percentage of visible minority Muslim children is likely much smaller than that too.

Promoting this kind of hate, and seeking those who agree with this sentiment to stand up in favour of this kind of sentiment is irresponsible and highly contemptible.

I guess this is what that group of protesters from such varied and conflicting backgrounds saw when they first came out to protest.

If you could like to protest the signs and the shirt, you can contact the Dove World Outreach Center, here is their contact information.

5805 NW 37th St
Gainesville, FL 32653




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Anonymous said... September 15, 2009 at 9:11 AM

I would have been there protesting with you. Dale Edwin

Anonymous said... December 2, 2009 at 8:54 AM

I am Christian and this makes me sick! To hate someone for their faith is sooo wrong!!! They should be ashamed of themselves! GOD does not like when people do his job of judging! jesus would imbrace his fellow man and the Devil walks even with the face of a Pastor!

Anonymous said... January 31, 2010 at 7:19 PM

So sad that so many people have a heart filled with hatred. Shame on this group. Allowing children to school with a message of hatred - so incredibly ignorant.

Anonymous said... April 20, 2010 at 7:15 PM

The Muslim preaches hate, rape, slavery and child molestation by adults who feel it is ok as long as you marry the 12 year old girl.

Islam disgusts me and anyone else who has read the vile filth that it the Koran. A toilet is too good for this wicked work of evil.

Anonymous said... May 4, 2010 at 8:26 PM

Disgusting- I even heard that the 15 year old girl said that, and I quote, the "people can be saved like anyone else". Saved from WHAT?! Nothing! Islam- true Islam, not the radical junk you see on TV- is a religion of peace!

And @ Anonymous #4: What are you, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church? If you aren't, I highly recommend you joining. They need more idiots like you.

Anonymous said... May 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

This is something everyone should see , It seems dove research Paster terry jones was kicked out of a church in Germany by the name of Christliche Gemeinde Köln , research them and see for yourself.

Anonymous said... May 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Their Paster Terry Jones was kicked out of a church in Germany after some tax evasion problems , the churches name in germany is Christliche Gemeinde Köln , research them and see , start by going to youtube and typing in ..

Germany: Tolerance Stops at the Church Doors

Anonymous said... June 24, 2010 at 11:48 AM

@ anonymous #4. really.... get educated before you make serious hatful comments like that. I'm not a Muslim and I'm offended by what the church is doing..

Anonymous said... July 29, 2010 at 5:31 AM

Hate will always be the american way of life. Whether hating african americans cause of the skin color god gave them or hating jewish people.

soozaloozakpow said... August 1, 2010 at 5:29 AM

I find the level of ignorance displayed by those making the kind of statements seen in #4's comment is astounding. Such blanket generalizations made by people with no intelligent or educated argument (or even uneducated irrational argument) to support their claims only highlight the hate and feelings of self-righteousness motivating their ugly words. Surely I am not alone in seeing the irony of these gross accusations coming from people with such vile natures and complete lack of decency and compassion.

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