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. Christians have the truthby many REAL prophets...

    I can tell you that this pastor may be crazy..but if you read his BOOK...its tells MORE than you know. He tells the truth not only as he sees it but as others as well. He breaks down their belief and cross reference there quran and will tell you where to go and look it up. He might be crazy...but alot of crazy people are smart in a different way, and he truly knows religion. His book has all the answers that AMERICANS REALLY NEED TO READ..get educated..you will be amazed of how the devil smiles not only behind your back, but right in your face!

    December 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Atheist

    This is the proof that there is moronic life outside the USA.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  3. sean

    Why are people still talking about this ignorant redneck. Please people...ignore him...hopefully he'll go away.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Keith

    $180,000 a true Christian could have put to good use by following the teachings of Jesus. Another example of what happens when a self-righteous person wraps himself in the cloak of pseudo-Christianity.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  5. moose

    Its pastors like him that made me stop goin 2 church. maybe he needs 2 go back 2 whatever college he got his degree from and ask 4 his money back, because its obvious that he forgot that the bible teaches us that we should love our brothers and sisters no matter what religon they belive in and tryin 2 burn their book of worship sure dont sound like love 2 me. and all muslims arent terrorist, im a retired marine and served in both iraq and afganistan and have read the korahn and nowhere in it dose it say 2 kill inocent people in the name of alah. its the "radical" jihadests that belive that they should kill inocent peoplf and they are the terrorists. so get your facts straight before you go and condem an entire religion.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  6. grim reaper

    Anyone that would follow the teachings, and the doctrine of a pedophile prophet has got to be either ignorant or out of their mind. mohammed besides being a murderer,and thief, was also a child abuser. i would be interested to hear from anyone who claimclaims to be muslim how they reconcile the fact that their 54 year old leader took for himself a 6 year old bride! all i can say is his false teachings, and words need to be burned!

    December 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Real Deal

    China, Egypt, France, England, India, Indonisia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, the Nederlands, Russia, Pakistan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden... these are just some of the countries with islamic terror problems. In fact, the main sufferers from the islamic terror desease are the muslim populations themselves, and there is nothing to do with US presence in Saudi Arabia or wherever... they simply want to impose their religious agenda through the so called JIHAD. That's all !!!!

    December 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  8. AQ

    Good, don't let him back in this country once he leaves. He's a terrorist too!!!

    December 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  9. BJD

    "Dove Outreach Center"? Sounds more like "Buzzard Outreach Center"

    December 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  10. Truthis

    All these Opinions And words of hate. We Were All Formed in a Mothers Womb By The Will of the Same GOD . Study Islam and what it has Done for Muslims and what Muslims Have done For The World.

    Let's Stop allowing the tv to Be our Conscience.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  11. gmh

    Faith in God is good. Organized religion is sometimes dangerous. One man trying to inflict his will on another by using God's name. Very dangerous. Love one another and God rejoices. Stop preaching hate and prejudice. God loves us all.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  12. dude

    for every quran burn't i will burn 10 bibles and 10 torahs.

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

      No you won't. You are just another boastful little troll living in your parents' basement.

      December 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  13. ProudAmericanMuslim

    Muslims need to stand up using the same veiws of Ghandi, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and Martin Luther King Jr....The tolerance projected by such leaders led to better societies. By using NON-VIOLENCE to counter injustice is much more productive than using violence...We are Humans before being Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish, lets stand against injustice as humans...If Islamic scholar Dr. Niak was refused a visa, we can protest if we do not accept the decision..and if Pastor speaks we should let him spit out his hate(he has a right to speak so let him) , though we should highlight against the hypocrisy in the UK visa policy... It is better all faiths of People interact to understand each other...It is not fault of Americans or Europeans or Asians or Africans for being deny the true picture of other people, it is in the interest of governments to pit one against another to compete for resources, power and influence...So lets not fall into their trap. Humanity requires we understand each other, we are able to understand the smallest of insect and the most remote objects..yet lack understand of eachother, Lets build bridges between different people and our difference in this beautiful world( according to our genetic make-up we are only .000001% different).

    December 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ProudAmericanMuslim: Fantastic! I absolutely support your point of view. Non-violent protest is the only way to really make it known that muslims are as interested in peace as non-muslims.

      December 13, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  14. coolia45

    And there are a LOT of men that abuse their power with Islam, but thats not what Islam is all about. As for the headscarves, its a way of women preserving their dignity, integrity, and modesty. i realized the more I myself learned about Islam, the more I LOVED it, for there is a reason for it all. But i'm not so sure about the whole terrorism...

    December 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  15. lazer007

    If i were you i would NOT go there its a trap and it could be bad news...again..DO NOT GO THERE!!!..thay could do something real nasty...in plain french..thay my plot your death..its a trap do not go there..do not trust them..you dont know them..i am just a freand that cares.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • Frogist

      @lazer007: Besides your ridiculous ranting, you might want to re-read the article where it says he invited himself along. He was not asked to attend. He told them the wanted to go.

      December 13, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  16. coolia45

    Hey now, I'm a muslim myself, and I sure as hell am not a terrorist of any sort. it's that small population that is ruining it everywhere for muslims all over the world. all those ignorant commenters need to grow up, and get the facts right. its sad to see that a 13 year old like me is even more understanding than many of these ignorants.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Frogist

      @coolia45: This is true.

      December 13, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  17. truthinrock

    I can't believe the media is giving this IDIOT yet more press!!!

    December 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  18. EagleEyes

    WOW... He really got his fame!!!.. That makes me intrigued!

    December 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  19. billclinton3

    i have tried to be understanding of islam, but its a hateful philosophy. if you care about women's rights at all, you can't be tolerant of islam.

    in saudi arabia women can't leave the house WITHOUT A MALE ESCORT. in iran they can't shake hands with a man. both of these are punishable by imprisonment. they are forced to wear headscarves everywhere they go, not allowed to drive or make decisions of their own. everything is controlled by men.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Frogist

      @billclinton3: And you think the oppression of women is about Islam? You won't find anything in Islam that isn't in Christianity regarding the secondary place of women. Much of what you speak is cultural, and pointing to religion as the sole factor in the position on women is short-sighted.

      December 13, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  20. Answerman28

    Be careful over there Mr Pastor.. I hope you're going to wear armor at that speech. The muslims are brainwashed enough to be deeply offended by what you were planning on doing with thier stupid book. They would consider it a great honor to die while killing you in the process for insulting thier god.. especially with the media coverage your visit will recieve..

    December 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
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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.