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December 12th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Pastor who threatened to burn Qurans invited to England

Britain's government is considering whether to block the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran earlier this year from entering the country, a top government official said Sunday.

Terry Jones called off his planned protest amid increasing pressure from U.S. and international leaders. But he has been invited to speak at a 2011 rally by the English Defence League, a British far-right movement.

But British Home Secretary Theresa May, whose office can bar people from entering the United Kingdom, said the government is weighing whether to keep Jones out.

"Pastor Terry Jones has been on my radar for a few months now" she told the Sky News network. "It wasn't clear that he was definitely coming to the UK. But if it is now clear that he's definitely coming to the UK, then of course this is a case that I will be actively looking at."

The English Defence League pushes an anti-Islamic message with provocative marches through neighborhoods with large Muslim populations. It has cultivated links with European far-right groups with a similar agenda, such as controversial Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' anti-Muslim Party for Freedom, and asked Jones to speak at one of their rallies in February, a spokesman told CNN.

"He called us up and asked if he could come along to one of our demonstrations and speak and we said, 'Why not?' " Steve Simmons said. "We told him that as long as he doesn't break any existing law, we'd be delighted to have him here. We value the freedom of speech and surely he is entitled to his freedom of speech."

But Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, blasted the EDL's invitation and called on the government to ban him from Britain. Shafiq said Jones' "real agenda of racism and fascism" was bad for Britain.

"I am a strong defender of free speech, but when someone who will incite hatred towards Muslims and furthermore there is a real threat of violence, then the government must ban that person," said Shafiq, whose Muslim youth organization aims to promote co-existence among communities. "I would remind Mr. Jones that the UK is proud of British Muslims, our heritage and our contributions here. We are an integral part of our great country and if you come here to promote hatred and division then stay home."

Jones had planned to burn the Muslim holy book at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, on September 11 to protest what the church calls the "demonic" beliefs of Islam. The stunt provoked demonstrations around the Muslim world and led top U.S. officials to call on Jones to cancel, arguing that the anger it would stir put Americans overseas at risk.

After Jones yielded to that pressure, the city of Gainesville said that it would bill him more than $180,000 for security costs stemming from the threatened protest.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Florida • Islam • Quran • United Kingdom • United States

soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Bo Yeon

    Yet another example of how organized religion is divisive, not unifying.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  2. in OZ

    Christianity is just as bad.

    Make sure you know the history of Christianity before you post a stupid reply please.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • thorrsman

      "Christianity is just as bad"

      Perhaps you would do better to say "Christianity WAS just as bad". There has been a little thing called the "Reformation" a few centuries back. Once they got all that bloody mess straightened out, they've been much better. They haven't burned a witch or uprooted a stand of Holy Stones for a very, very long time. Islam is still in that bloody-minded pre-reformation stage, where they find nothing wrong in using artillery to destroy ancient religious statues–The Taliban, Afghanistan, August 2001–or sentencing a Christian woman to die for "blasphemy" based solely on the testimony of Muslims who have PROVEN their bias against that woman–Pakistan, today.

      December 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Frogist

      @thorrsman: There is no "was" about it. Christians still kill and condemn based on their biases. They try to influence govts. They kill abortion doctors and blow up buildings. Heck they still kill witch doctor children. And convert at the end of the sword. It's happening in Africa today. People who think Christianity has stopped being a force for violence is wearing blinders.

      December 13, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  3. in OZ

    Yeah! He is a hero...I bet he has 4 guns and 2 trucks..2 guns for each truck...git er done....this is Merica........No seriously he is a terrible guy. This is America we have freedom of religion here and it seems some forget it when it fits their agenda. Anyone should be embarrassed when they lump the whole Muslim religion with the radicals.
    It seems America is filled with a bunch of paranoid schizophrenics who would willing hand over their freedoms to feel safe and because of that they deserve neither!

    December 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  4. June

    Now you cam burn it in an app from iTunes. It's called Burn-A-Book.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  5. janda

    Hopefully, the Rev. Jones can help the country get back on the right track to defending itself against the invading muslim hordes!

    Islam – "the religion of peace"...HA!

    December 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • SigmundFreud

      That's right – just like Hitler promised to save Europe from the Communists!

      December 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • iLuv8T

      most Muslims,Hindus and Chinese smell bad

      December 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  6. George

    There is a movement in America to demand an end to Muslim immigration. Look at the problems Europe is having with its Muslim immigrants. Why don't they go to the countries where Sharia law is the law of the land?

    December 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • trainwreck

      so youd prefer a heretics christianity version of sharia law?

      December 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  7. George

    Islam is a cult of intolerant ideology, and does not deserve status as a religion.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • in OZ

      as if Christianity is all inclusive? You should read up on the history of Christianity before you start pointing those fingers

      December 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • omy808

      George, you do realize that the definition of a cult involves a "relatively small group of people"? I would hardly be able to say that 1.5 billion people adhere to a cult, now, would I?

      December 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  8. pablo

    amy pull yur head out before you get blown to bits in the streets of USA

    December 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  9. thorrsman

    You know, Terry Jones would be a complete unknown outside his congregation save that certain elements in the news media WANT him to be the face of Western Christendom. Now, why would that be, you must wonder.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  10. conoclast

    Now they've done it; the Brits have gone and encouraged this mutton-chop psychopath! He and his "flock" should maybe team up with the military funeral protesters - and then hopefully emigrate to...Guyana, how about? I'll buy the Kool-aid!!

    December 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  11. mike

    I guess ignorant stupidity isnt an american monopoly after all. thanks uk!

    December 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • pumpernickel1988

      Your comment is ignorant.

      December 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Jordan

    I am just wondering what urges this guy (who represents a church) to do this unwise action!!!!!!! Isn't he just serving someones' agenda?? The result: Hurt Muslims feelings and expose all christians in the world to revenge danger. His thoughts are against bible and christianity. Did Jesus ever hurt anyone's feelings??

    December 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • pumpernickel1988

      Jesus probably hurt a lot of peoples feelings. It's called conviction. People are foolish to believe that Islam will be tolerant of anything other than their line of thinking. It is not compatible with western secular society.

      December 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • Jordan

      Still, why would he do this? Regardless of Islam "intolerance" to anything else. Ok, burn the Quran, then what? any good outcome other than more terrorism. This is just gona motivate extremists to do more killings and they think it will be justified...

      December 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • BibleReader

      YES ! Christ hurt the feelings of Many ..... mainly the Jewish elite , who he repeatedly told, you have left the path God set for you. The Pharisees And Saducees were the leading religious figures at the time. Christ told them to their faces time after time that they were "a brood of vipers" and corrupt. THIS IS THE SECONDARY REASON HE WAS CRUCIFIED (the primary one being it was ordained by God prior to his birth to redeem the sins of humanity).

      December 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • BibleReader

      I think I made my point above, but I just want to clarify. Jesus demanded pacifism. He demanded love. He demanded non-vioence and the forgiveness to enemies. BUT he did not "go with the flow" he did not accept the norm, and he did not demand this of his followers, either. JUST THE OPPOSITE. He demanded that people see things clearly and judge what they saw by the standards of God, not earthly measures. Christ was a revolutionary figure.....not a kind of Mr Whipple that just did whatever someone else wanted. Thats not what Christianity is about.

      December 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Jordan: Like most opportunists, he is doing it for self promotion. He cares more about getting his name in the press than in fighting for any cause. Maybe he thinks he'll get a car out of this stunt too. And for all of you comparing this unethical mouthpiece to Jesus, are you kidding? Peace, love, kindness to those who are different? Forgiveness and humility? He is certainly not the Jesus I'm thinking of. Must be that warmongering, exclusionary Jesus people worship these days.

      December 13, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  13. Sally D

    @king Dave2 -Your right – Many religions claim to support and guidance in the bible!! Some of The opening words of the Bible are
    "Hope, Faith and Charity" – I do not see any of them giving each other the intent of those three words. Each claims to be "THE WAY" – to their own benifit??? How about to the betterment of mankind for a try???

    December 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  14. jorge washinsen

    Why don't someone make a list of the good Muslims, and 10 years from now, see how many of them and their children are still on it.Proofs in the pudding.We are the new territory for the spread of radical Muslims because some idiots failed to realize how dangerous they would be 235 years ago.Too much freedom cost us 3000 lives on 9-11.Does not seem it was a bad thing unless you are one of those who has gotten caught up in some of the deadly blasts in the past few years.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Frogist

      @jorge: "Too much freedom cost us 3000 lives on 9-11." Funny how that's what the terrorists said too. "They hate us for our freedom." Remember that old chestnut? The solution: appease the terrorists and reduce the amount of freedom we have... Oh wait...

      December 13, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  15. evil islam

    Wow.why ban him.he only said he would burn a evil book.england should ban islam and demo all mosq.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • omy808

      Germany, 1933.

      December 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  16. sam

    I happen to come from a muslim back ground n my family is from europe not eastern i my self do not believe in religion i believe in god or whom ever u want to call him the greater force religion to me is all based on belief if thats making u happy then who are we to judge how can someone say the quren makes u do tthings when uv never read same the bible on other peoples behalf we are animals n hate will only grow never with it dissapear we as humaans are too ignorant and simple minded world peace please

    December 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • jorge washinsen

      I agree with you.Religion is man made, for man to control man ,and has nothing to do with the Creator of this earth and the good things in it.

      December 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  17. jorge washinsen

    I don't think he is that dumb.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  18. Allison

    Disgusting.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  19. gary young

    Amy,Yes there are muslims who want to live in the u.s.a.and practice there religion without being violent,but right now
    there are other muslims living in u.s.who are plotting terror acts against masses of people.How about pointing them out to us.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  20. Suleiman

    Thank you kuffar for showing your true selves. All of this helps Muslims get stronger and come back to Islam. In the end of the day that's all matter. Haha its called a win-win situation.

    December 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • omy808

      You are SUCH a retard.

      December 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • SigmundFreud

      Suleiman:

      Don't let your mother catch you using her computer. I know that's the only way you have to relieve your frustrations, but your mother would tan your behind if she finds out what you are doing.

      It must be rough for you, Suleiman, being 30 years old and still spouting rubbish from your mother's basement.

      December 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sigmund Freud: Sigmund Freud talking about some guy's mother? Whodathunk?

      December 13, 2010 at 9:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.