LONDON – Home Secretary Theresa May has said she will be “actively” considering whether to ban the U.S. pastor who caused a diplomatic and media storm when he threatened to burn a Quran to mark 9/11.
According to a news posting on his website, Terry Jones has accepted an invitation from the English Defense League to speak about his anti-Islamic views and the "Islamification" of Europe at an EDL rally in Luton on February 5.
British Conservative politician May expressed her concerns about the pastor’s visit in an interview with Sky News Sunday.
She said, “Of course, the Home Secretary has the right to exclude people who are not conducive to public good or on national security grounds.
“Pastor Terry Jones has been on my radar for a few months now. It wasn’t clear that he was definitely coming to the UK, but if it is now clear that he’s coming to the UK, then of course this is a case that I will be actively looking at.”
Jones warned he would fight any attempt to ban him from visiting Britain.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Program, he said, “I don’t know if I would just simply accept that. I think I would protest that.
“I would hope that that would not be the case because I have given my word that we will not do anything against the law or do anything that would cause an uprising or violence.”
The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., insisted that his message would be a peaceful one.
“If I am there and have anything to say and any type of influence, I will definitely demand that we have a peaceful demonstration or a peaceful rally," he said. "I do not advocate violence of any form.”
A campaign group, Hope Not Hate, has set up a petition in opposition to his visit that has so far been signed by over 7,000 people.
Writing in the Guardian, Member of Parliament Jon Cruddas argued that Jones should not be allowed to enter Britain because his visit would divide communities and encourage criminal behavior by the English Defense League.
“Extremists of every persuasion will turn his visit into a jamboree of division and hate … mass disorder," he said. "Communities divided on racial and religious lines. Intolerance. Violence. Entire towns rent asunder. Over the top? Just ask those people who live and work in those communities where the EDL roadshow has already rolled into town.”
After much public outcry, Jones canceled the Quran burning event days before September 11 and further advised others against burning the holy book of Islam.