NJ Dealer Gives Fla. Pastor Free Car for Not Burning Quran

Tight security expected

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    Dove World Outreach Center while Pastor Terry Jones speaks with reporters after earlier delivering the news Septemer 9, 2010 that Korans will not be burned at the church in Gainesville, Florida on Sept 11, 2010. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

    A Florida pastor who drew international criticism by threatening to burn a copy of the Quran will pick up his unlikely reward -- a free car -- on Friday from a New Jersey car dealer.

    Former New York Giants tackle Brad Benson, who is now New Jersey's largest car dealer, offered Florida pastor Terry Jones a 2011 Hyundai Accent worth $14,200 if he would agree to never burn the Muslim holy book. Jones had threatened to do it on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

    Jones never burned the Quran, which probably would have outraged Muslims around the world, and is set to pick up on the car on Friday morning.

    The pastor told The Associated Press that the offer Benson had made in one of his dealership's quirky radio ads was not the reason. Jones said he only heard about it a few weeks after Sept. 11.

    However, that delay hasn't stopped the pastor from Gainesville, Fla., from wanting to collect the prize, which he said he plans to donate to a shelter for abused women.

    Benson paid for the pastor to fly out to New Jersey to pick up the car at Brad Benson Mitsubishi Hyundai in South Brunswick so he can fill out paperwork.

    "I'm just really glad that in the end something really good came out of all this,'' Benson said.

    Tight security at the dealership has been arranged for Jones' arrival. Benson said that the FBI notified local police that Jones was coming and State Police will also be on hand to help with security.

    When Jones threatened to burn the Quran -- which many Muslims would view as sacrilege -- his plan drew opposition across the world.

    President Barack Obama appealed to him on television, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates called him personally. Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, said carrying out the plan would have endangered American troops.

    Benson said he originally offered Jones use of a car for a year if he refused to burn a Quran ever. But he's now giving Jones the car outright because he doesn't want to be connected to whatever the Florida pastor does with it.

    Before he made his decision, Benson asked listeners to weigh in on whether he should honor his promise.

    More than 3,500 people responded by phone and e-mail, and the vast majority, Benson said, urged him to keep his word.

    One caller suggested painting sayings from various religious books -- the Quran, the Talmud, the King James Bible -- on the car.

    "What you didn't say was what the car was going to look like when you gave it to him,'' the caller said.

    The Quran commercial was part of a regular "idiot award'' segment Benson does which singles out newsmakers. Others have included actress Lindsey Lohan, actor Mel Gibson and baseball star Roger Clemens.