A British anti-Islam group is denying reports that Pastor Terry Jones will be speaking at their event in February, claiming that they “disapprove” of his thwarted plan to burn copies of the Koran last September 11.
Though the English Defence League does not condone Jones’ infamous plan, it might not be for the reasons you think. “We do not believe the Koran should be burned, but rather read, so that people come to understand its inherent violence, supremacism, and hatred and contempt for non-Muslims,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.
Here’s what happened:
Jones’ website said that the Pastor was planning to speak at an EDL rally in Luton, England on February 5. “During the protest, Dr. Terry Jones, will speak against the evils and destructiveness of Islam in support of the continued fight against the Islamification of England and Europe,” his site said.
The EDL, which describes itself as “leading the counter-Jihad fight in England” on its Facebook page, has recently made overtures to Tea Party leaders in the U.S., like Rabbi Nachum Shifren, an anti-Islam, former candidate for California State Senate who is also known as “the Surfing Rabbi.” Shifren has spoken at a number of Tea Party events, including the Beverly Hills Tea Party.
The EDL also has ties to anti-Islam, anti-Islamic community-center-near-Ground-Zero activist Pamela Geller, and even had a presence at her September 11 rally against the proposed Islamic Center.
But apparently the Brits were not too happy about the consequences of a Jones visit. As we reported, there were violent demonstrations in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the lead-up to Koran-burning event, and Interpol even warned of a higher global terrorism threat if his plan were to go through.
British Home Secretary Theresa May, who is in charge of internal affairs in the U.K., told Sky News this week that she was “actively looking at” whether she could block Jones from entering the country. “Of course the Home Secretary has the right to exclude people who are not conducive to public good or on national security grounds,” she said. “Pastor Terry Jones has been on my radar for a few months now.”
And though Jones told the BBC that he would not be burning copies of the Koran in England, and “I have given my word that we will not do anything against the law, or will cause uprising or violence,” his potential appearance apparently caused too much of a flap for the EDL. The group, whose protests have been known to turn violent and result in the arrest of multiple members, said Monday that Jones will not be attending.
In the statement on its Facebook page, the group claimed that “we did not invite Terry Jones to speak at any EDL event, he approached us and we agreed in principle but we have since taken an indepth [sic] look at him and his church.” And, it continued, though they agreed with his right to burn the Koran in principle, “we still have some reservations about Pastor Jones and we do not agree with all of his opinions or indeed all he stands for.”
“We wish him success in his efforts to oppose the rise of sharia in the United States and thank him for his interest in the EDL,” the statement says.