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Dublin: 19 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

US pastor Terry Jones barred from UK

The controversial pastor who called a mass-burning of the Qu’ran last summer has been told he cannot enter the UK because of his “unacceptable behaviour”.

Pastor Terry Jones speaks to members of the media at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., Friday, Sept. 10, 2010.
Pastor Terry Jones speaks to members of the media at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., Friday, Sept. 10, 2010.
Image: John Raoux/AP/Press Association Images

CONTROVERSIAL US PASTOR Terry Jones has said that the decision of the British Home Office to bar his entry into the UK is “unfair”.

Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida – with a tiny congregation on 50 people – ignited outrage across the world last year because of his plan to burn copies of the Qu’ran at a rally to mark the 9/11 attacks of 2001. After widespread media coverage, public outrage and intense political pressure, Jones finally called off his “Burn a Koran Day”.

The UK Home Office said that Jones had displayed “unacceptable behaviour” and would not allow the entry of “extremists” into the country. A spokesperson told the BBC:

“Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behaviour. 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.”

Jones said that he was disappointed: “I’m not against Muslims, we are not against their religion. We have, here in the West, freedom of religion and limited freedom of speech which we don’t have in their countries.

“What I am against is the radical element,” he added, “If I came to England we would expect Muslims to rally with us.”

Jones had wanted to travel to the UK after being invited to speak to England Is Ours.

He had also been invited to speak at an English Defence League event recently, but this invitation was later withdrawn because of  Jones’ “critical views on homosexuality and race”, a spokesperson said.

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