TICK TICK TICK – TWO HOUR DEADLINE to stop the Qur'an burning

The Gainesville pastor at the centre of the Quran-burning row has given a New York imam two hours to contact him about plans to build an Islamic centre near Ground Zero.

SKY NEWS Pastor Terry Jones and his colleague Pastor K A Paul read out two telephone numbers live on television and urged the Imam to contact them as soon as possible. They did not say what would happen if he failed to get in touch by the time the deadline expires.

Sky News’ US correspondent Robert Nisbet, who was at the news conference, said: “This is absolutely extraordinary. “It appears the pastor has reconsidered his earlier deal over the New York mosque.” He added: “Worryingly, none of the US cable networks showed the press conference – so imam Rauf may not have seen it!”

Pastor Jones had planned to fly to New York tonight in the hope of meeting imam Feisal Abdul Rauf tomorrow – on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He was forced to reconsider when the imam said he had no plans to meet the pastor, although he was open to seeing anyone “seriously committed to pursuing peace”.

Mr Jones tonight said he had “a challenge to give to the imam in New York.” Mr Jones initially called off the protest last night, saying he had been promised the centre’s location would be changed. But he then admitted he was reconsidering after it emerged no such commitment had been made by the imam.

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