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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. Jeannot

    Is UK hungry for more Islamic Explosive Love?

    December 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  2. B. A.

    I wonder what idiot put the bug in this lunatic's ear about getting closer to the people who want him dead? He's been safe here, but hey, there radicals in UK, too. Someone could get kudos from both sides for offing this guy. They could end up CNN hero of the year next year LOL. Seriously, pretty stupid, oh wait, it's that Jones guy, yeah, well.

    December 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Evan

    I thought Terry Jones forgave Muslims and accepted religious tolerance into his life, making himself a role-model for those who hate those of other religious faiths. Am I mistaken?

    December 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  4. a Christian

    Clearly we agree religious fanatics are in All religions. However, to my knowledge Islam is only 1 remaining which commonly, to the letter, is enforcd as law & punishes those offending it or refusing to accept it as their religion; as well as using public humiliation & violence (torture, dismemberment, stoning & beheading) as means of punmishment. Upon arrival of Jesus, Christians (His followers), although taking generations to conform, were instructd to turn away from barbaric ways. Jesus came to abolish those old laws. He said "it was before".. "but I SAY.. NO More". In summary, if ALL would study teachings of Jesus in New Testament (red lettering found in Red Letter Editions Of the Holy Bible) & follow it..evil, hatred, torture & violecet would subside (except.for fanatics of course). Its calld 'NEW TEstament' for reason. His Testimony on how to live henceforth. Jesus taught Goodness, No Evil. & He Nevr said any1 should b persecutd if they refuse. Just forwarnd what to xpect in eternity.

    December 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  5. bailoutsos

    UK, when he arrives send Rev. Terry to Sweden and tell them he is Julian.

    December 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  6. RodBfromNC

    When he is over there let's invalidate his Passport and not let him back in the US.

    December 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  7. jane

    If he was with Nation of Islam and had planned to burn the Bible and Torah to protest western and Isreali injustice there would not have been 1/2 of 1% of this much attention paid to it.

    December 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  8. k12

    God or God's and religion are as about as real as Aseop's Fables, people get bored and look for meaning in their lives so they created God and religion to help control the population. The prolfiieration of religion actually boggles my mind, I can't stand it, the sooner the world learns to ignore religion and base policies on other valid facts the better.

    December 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  9. NamVet

    The Brits can keep Jones like they did Benedict Arnold.

    December 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  10. 2haired

    Kill em all, let god sort them out!!!!!!!!

    December 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  11. Iqbal khan

    And this Rap artist...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgSwY28dj2w&feature=related

    December 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  12. Iqbal khan

    Listen and read quran in many languages..
    http://www.Quranexplorer.com

    Surah #96
    Al-Alaq
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), (1) He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) (2) Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, (3) Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. (4) He has taught man that which he knew not. (5) Nay! Verily, man does transgress (in disbelief and evil deed). (6) Because he considers himself self-sufficient. (7) Surely! unto your Lord is the return. (8) Have you (O Muhammad (SAW)) seen him (i.e. Abû Jahl) who prevents, (9) A slave (Muhammad (SAW)) when he prays? (10) Tell me, if he (Muhammad (SAW)) is on the guidance (of Allâh) (11) Or enjoins piety! (12) Tell me if he (Abû Jahl) denies (the truth, i.e. this Qur'ân), and turns away? (13) Knows he not that Allâh does see (what he does)? (14) Nay! If he (Abû Jahl) ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock — (15) A lying, sinful forelock! (16) Then, let him call upon his council (of helpers), (17) We will call the guards of Hell (to deal with him)! (18) Nay! (O Muhammad (SAW))! Do not obey him (Abû Jahl). Fall prostrate and draw near to Allâh! (19)

    And they are coming and converting to Islam

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4EPFxBISr0&NR=1

    December 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Matt

      Wonderful propaganda for ignorant people who has no idea about history and world affairs. Scary and sickening

      December 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  13. Derek

    I only wish he would have followed through and burned the Qu'ran. To see people get so excited over a book of fiction is beyond ridiculous. If anything, this would have furthered our society's discussion on religion's place in society.

    December 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  14. IaCheNeHe

    Go ahead, set it all ablaze, as Jesus said in the lost teachings. I came to this world to start a fire. Burn everything you don't understand and man will recreate his new understanding without the need of so-called spiritual instruction that will never serve towards the advancement of human consciousness; as separation seldom fosters peace.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  15. sparky

    hopefully the sh_tbag stays there

    December 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  16. CyndyP

    True Christians, along with True Muslims do not practice hate or intolerance like this minister does. Like minds stick together; guess this 'so called minister' wasn't happy with just having 15 minutes of fame!

    December 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  17. Matt

    Very funny discussion and I am still laughing. Burning any book, holy or unholy is irrelevant. Let them burn Bible, let the guy burn Koran. It does not change anything except feeding all radicals and fanatics on both sides. Everything is about tolerance. And here is a problem. We are building mosques at every street corner and at the same time there is a criminal offence to practise Christianity or Judaism in most Middle East countries. People, wake up!! Tolerance is a two way highway!! Otherwise we will have this irrelevant discussions untill the end of the world. Solution for this mess: use your brain at least one more time in your life. If you do it successfully you won and whole civilization will win.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  18. READ HIS BOOK

    READ the pastors new book......the latest and the greatest...its better than going to school..clear and understood

    December 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  19. tpsnow

    The only way to bring all the religious people together is for an athiest to publicly burn all the major texts of all the great religions. This will give religious Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus a common enemy to despise. If a courageous atheist were to take on the collective hate of the religious world in this manner he would be...well...downright Christ-like.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  20. abc

    yep..read the book

    December 12, 2010 at 2:51 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.