Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gainesville mayor: Stay away from Quran burning event

Below is Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe's Sept. 7 statement on the planned Quran burning.
He condemns the planned event and tells residents to avoid the Dove World Outreach Center on Sept. 11.

From his statement:
This coming weekend, the City of Gainesville will play host to a number of well-publicized events. I would like to welcome and encourage local residents, students and out-of-town visitors to enjoy the various events and activities that make our city such a great place to live, work and play.
As mayor of our great city, I also want to encourage you to do your part to help all of us remain safe by acting responsibly during this busy weekend. I’ll share how you can help ensure the public safety in our community in a moment, but first I will address recent developments within our city regarding the announced plans of the Dove World Outreach Center.
As many of you have heard, the Dove World Outreach Center has achieved international notoriety because of their plan to burn copies of the Qur’an on September 11. The City of Gainesville denied the center’s application for an open-air burn permit because it did not comply with city ordinances governing such permits.
As I have stated on numerous occasions, I condemn the offensive behavior that has been directed at our Muslim neighbors and those of the Islamic faith worldwide. The Dove World Outreach Center is a tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community. They are opposed to Gainesville’s true character.
We may be of different religions, sexual orientations, races, genders, national origins or ages, but all are welcome here in our efforts to build a better community both locally and globally. There will be those who seek to create anger instead of reason, but Gainesville values a sense of community that is inclusive rather than exclusive and thrives on the contributions of people of good will from a myriad of backgrounds.
I hope that every citizen of our city will join me in continuing to assert our community’s true character.
In order to keep everyone safe during the coming weekend, I’m asking each of you to help law enforcement and other public safety officials. Here’s what I’m counting on you to do:
  • Stay away from the general vicinity of the Dove World Outreach Center location and surrounding residential areas, unless you live there, or have business-related reasons to be in the area.
  • If possible, find alternate routes to avoid travel on Northwest 53rd Avenue between Northwest 34th and Northwest 43rd Streets on Saturday, September 11.
  • Be alert and be watchful. The Gainesville Police Department is depending on you to be their eyes and ears in the community. If you see anything out of the ordinary, no matter how small it might be, report it immediately.
  • Report suspicious activity to GPD by telephone at: 352-955-1818. However, in the event of an actual emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Obey all local ordinances, state laws and instructions of all law enforcement and public safety officials. Avoid becoming the cause of any disturbance that may unnecessarily involve police.
As mayor of the City of Gainesville, I’m counting on each of you to do your part in helping to keep our community safe this weekend. By staying alert and knowing what to look for, you can do your part to ensure that we are all able to enjoy the many activities that our wonderful city has to offer. Thank you!

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