Britain bans entry of US pastor who threatened to burn QuranBy IANS
Thursday, January 20, 2011
LONDON - Britain has imposed a ban on the entry of the controversial US pastor who threatened to burn the Quran last year as a mark of protest against the Sep 11, 2001 terror attack.
“The government opposes extremism in all its forms which is why we have excluded Pastor Terry Jones from the UK,” a Home Office spokesman said.
According to the Telegraph, the pastor had been invited by the English Defence League to attend a Feb 5 rally in Bedfordshire against the presence of Islam in Britain, but that invitation was withdrawn.
Another group, England Is Ours, said on its website that it had invited the pastor to speak at a “series of demonstrations against the expansion of Islam and the construction of Mosques here in the UK” in the second week of February.
Jones said in a statement: “This ban exemplifies the sabotage of the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The ban also proves the effectiveness of the threat of militant Islam in the UK as one is not free to travel to the UK due to the speculation of violence.”
A member of his staff at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, US, said a letter from the British Home Office had been received Wednesday informing Jones of the ban. She said the letter mentioned the risk of “disruption”.
Jones said that if allowed to visit Britain he would respect the law and say nothing that would incite violence.
“I am a Christian and I have never promoted violence. We are for standing our ground, that is all and we are not against Islam the religion but radical extremist Islam,” he said at the time.
Wayne Sapp, assistant pastor at the church, said that the letter from the Home Office advised that Jones’ views could “foster hatred that might lead to inter-community violence in the UK”.
“That is pure speculation because we have never had any violence at any of our events,” said Sapp.
“We were surprised that the UK had fallen under such fear of Islam that they would ban free speech.”
Jones, whose church had a congregation of a few dozen people and is now up for sale, won global notoriety when he proposed holding an International Burn A Quran Day on Sep 11 last year.
It was cancelled at the last minute only after President Barack Obama and senior Pentagon officials warned that it would aid Al Qaeda and lead to demonstrations in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
He is now promoting International Judge the Quran Day March 20, which he said would put the Quran “on trial”.