Florida pastor may be barred from the UK
Monday 13 December 2010
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is to consider banning the US pastor Terry Jones from travelling to Britain at the invitation of a far-right organisation to speak on "the evils and destructiveness of Islam". Pastor Jones provoked widespread outrage earlier this year with his plan to burn a pile of Korans outside his church in Gainsville, Florida, and has been invited to address a rally of the English Defence League (EDL).
Ms May said after learning of the invitation to Luton in February that she will be "actively looking" at whether he should be allowed into the country. Any decision to deny him entry would be taken on the basis of whether it was regarded as "not conducive to public good" or on the grounds that national security was threatened. "Pastor Terry Jones has been on my radar for a few months now. This is a case that I will be actively looking at," she said.
The pastor has said he will speak in support of the fight against "the Islamification of England and Europe" but he promised yesterday he would respect Britain's laws and had no intention of provoking a riot.
George Readings, a spokesman for the counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, said the EDL's protests had a "track record of degenerating into violence" and added: "This suggests that his presence in the UK will not be conducive to the public good."
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said he should stay in the US: "The Home Secretary might be forgiven for thinking we have enough nutters of our own."
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