*The Florida pastor at the center of an international firestorm for threatening to burn the Koran reaffirmed that he would not go ahead with the event on Saturday.
Radical evangelist Terry Jones first announced on Thursday he had scrapped the mass burning of the Muslim holy book on September 11 after a day of high-stakes religious brinkmanship.
But when his claims that a deal had been struck to relocate a proposed Islamic cultural center in New York dissolved in acrimony, he threatened to go ahead with the event to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
However in an interview with ABC News on Friday he said: “Right now, we have plans not to do it.”
“We believe that the imam is going to keep his word, what he promised us (Thursday).”
Jones met Thursday with Orlando-based imam Mohammed Musri, who helped set up a meeting on Saturday with Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the controversial New York project.
“He gave us the proposal that they would move the mosque from the Ground Zero location,” Jones told ABC, despite Musri’s denials of having made such a promise.
“The Muslims do not want us to burn the Koran. Americans do not want the mosque near the Ground Zero place. And we made the proposal on the radio, which he heard, that if they were willing to move the mosque from the Ground Zero location, we would be willing to cancel our event. He came back to me with that proposal,” Jones told ABC.
Jones, whose tiny Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has a congregation of only 50, had cast himself as having single-handedly resolved the standoff thanks to his threat to desecrate the Koran.