UK bars U.S. pastor who threatened to burn Koran

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Florida Pastor Terry Jones, whose threat to burn Islam’s holy book on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks last year provoked widespread condemnation, has been banned from visiting Britain, Reuters reports.

The pastor, whose behavior has been widely condemned by Christians and non-Christians alike, had been invited by a group that is critical of Islamic immigration into Britain.

“The government opposes extremism in all its forms which is why we have excluded Pastor Terry Jones from the UK. Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behavior,” a spokesman for Britain’s Home Office (interior ministry) said.

Stand Up America, Jones’ newly formed group that advocates against Islam and for Christians in Arab countries, said in its own statement that the “ban exemplifies the sabotage of the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” the Gainesville Sun writes.

After Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, called of his publicity stunt the city billed him for the cost of providing security for the event. Jones’ church has fewer than 50 members.

In February 2009 Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, leaders of a hate group that calls itself the Westboro Baptist Church were also banned from entering the UK.

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This post was last updated: Apr. 4, 2011