Mon, Dec 13, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Far-right group invites US pastor to UK

The Observer, LONDON

British Home Secretary Theresa May is under intense pressure to ban controversial anti-Muslim preacher Terry Jones from Britain after far-right activists said he had agreed to address them at a demonstration about “the evils of Islam.”

The English Defence League (EDL) said it was “proud to announce” that the US pastor, who caused outrage with plans to burn the Koran on this year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, would be attending the event in Luton.

Jones on Saturday confirmed that he would be arriving in the UK. His Web site said he intended to visit the EDL’s “biggest demonstration to date” in February.

“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,” the Web site said.

The British anti-extremist campaign, Hope Not Hate, launched its own petition on Saturday night, urging May to ban Jones from Britain, while MPs demanded immediate action from May.

“Pastor Jones’ presence in Luton will be incendiary and highly dangerous. He will attract and encourage thousands of English Defence League supporters to take to the streets of Luton,” said Nick Lowles, Hope Not Hate’s campaign coordinator.

“Like the EDL, Pastor Jones indiscriminately targets all Muslims and their actions can only lead to increased tensions and racism in our communities. His appearance will rightly cause concern and fear among Muslims across the country,” Lowles said.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas said he would table an urgent parliamentary motion today demanding that the pastor be banned from entering the country.

“We have seen how Pastor Jones, with a very small congregation in Florida, created a firestorm by urging the Koran to be burned,” Cruddas said. “We should not allow racial hatred to be whipped up in this manner in our country.”

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