Whether he’s an out-and-out nutcase or a calculating publicity whore, you have to give him credit for the Chutzpah.
The pastor at the centre of the Koran-burning row has given a New York Imam two hours to contact him about plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
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 just after 8.30 tonight.
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!"
Sky News was apparently the only major news outlet with a crew at the presser, but local outlets were present and probably uplinked it to their networks. And I’m sure that even if Fox News and the also-rans weren’t there, Imam Rauf got word.
I guess we’ll see what happens at 4:00 EDT.
Update: Meanwhile, Reuters is saying that the Imam has not agreed to meet with Pastor Jones, and ABCNews says “oh, hell no” Jones will not be flying to New York as a guest of the network. This just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Update II: The Wall Street Journal site has a more in depth article on the deadline, which passed approximately 10 minutes ago, and adds this little twist:
At a press conference outside his church earlier Friday, Mr. Jones said he would travel to New York with Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida. Mr. Jones said he planned to meet on Saturday with Mr. Rauf. Mr. Jones said he didn't have a scheduled meeting with Mr. Rauf and wasn't sure the imam even knew he was coming.
Rob Schenck, of the National Clergy Council in Washington, D.C., said on Friday he was helping arrange the pastor's desired meeting with the iman. He said he hasn't been in touch with the imam directly, but has been communication through high-level Islamic intermediaries.
After Mr. Jones issued his deadline to the imam, Mr. Schenck said: "This creates a new problem and complicates our role in it." He added: "Muslim culture is not given to deadlines and ultimatums." Mr. Schenck still plans to go to New York himself to meet with the imam.
Chalk it up to cultural ignorance, or chalk it up to calculation.
Update III: The deadline has passed. We wonder what happens now and wait with bated breath…
Update IV: And here we go.
The pastor at the centre of the Koran-burning row says the imam behind plans to build an Islamic centre near Ground Zero has ignored his deadline to get in touch.
Pastor Terry Jones and his colleague Pastor K A Paul had given the imam two hours to call them on one of two telephone numbers read out live on television.
They deadline passed just after 8.15 pm without "any word from the imam or his team."
Dr Hall said he was disappointed at the iman's silence but still hoped to fly to New York to meet him.
He revealed Pastor Jones had agreed not to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday as planned in the hope of finding a peaceful solution to their grievances about the location of the Islamic Centre.
There is still no word yet whether the Quran BBQ is on again, off again, or what.