21 January 2011
Terry Jones, an extremist pastor from Florida, who said Judaism was “of the devil” and last year threatened to burn a Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, has been denied entry into the UK. A spokesman for the British government said the decision had been taken because of “numerous comments” by Jones that were “evidence of his unacceptable behavior.” Members of the Inter-faith Council of Imams and Rabbis had sent a letter to the British Home Secretary Theresa May appealing for her to stop Jones entering the country. “His visit and his speech will inevitably strengthen the ideology of the far right and heighten their profile,” the group said in the letter.
Jones, 59, who preaches at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, said in a deposition in August 2010 that he believed non-Christian religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism were of the devil. Last month he boasted about coming to the UK to speak at a rally of the extreme-right English Defense League (EDL), only to be disinvited later because of his allegedly racist and homophobic views. Before the Home Office decision he had accepted an invitation to speak at a series of demonstrations next month organized by a new group called England Is Ours (EIO). The EIO claims to be dedicated to alerting people of “the growing menace and influence of Islam”.
A Home Office spokesman told the ‘Jewish Chronicle’: "Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right, and we are not willing to allow entry to those whose presence is not conducive to the public good. The use of exclusion powers is very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate."
Last week, Jones announced that in March he would hold a ‘Judge the Koran Day’. He said: “We are accusing the Koran of murder, rape, deception, and being responsible for terrorist activities all over the world."
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