EDL withdraws invite to US pastor

Pastor Terry Jones speaks to reporters. 8 Sept 2010Mr Jones threat to burn the Koran brought widespread criticism
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A right-wing group has said plans for a controversial US pastor to speak at one of its events have been shelved.

Terry Jones, who threatened to burn copies of the Koran earlier this year, was invited to speak at an English Defence League (EDL) rally in Luton.

The home secretary was considering banning Mr Jones from entering the UK.

But a spokesman for the EDL confirmed the invitation to Mr Jones had been withdrawn because of his critical views on homosexuality and race.

Mr Jones told the BBC that he planned to come to the UK next year anyway.

“We will probably come to London sometime in February and organise something in London,” he said.

“We will probably announce our plans sometime this week.”

The EDL had said on its Facebook page that the rally in Luton on 5 February would be “our biggest to date”.

It said Mr Jones would be joining the event to “speak out against the evils of Islam”.


But speaking on BBC Radio Derby, Guraming Singh from the EDL, said Mr Jones had approached them several times wanting to speak at an event.

He said: “A few of us have been debating the question of whether we bring him or not and after doing some research and seeing what his personal opinions are on racism and homosexuality, we are not allowing him to speak at our demonstration.

“He is not the right candidate for us.

“Although the English Defence League are sincere to what he has to say about Islam, we do not agree with some of his manifesto such as some of his issues with homosexuality and some of his issues with race.

“The EDL is anti-homophobic and we are a non-racism organisation.”

Home Secretary Theresa May said she had the power to exclude an individual from coming to the UK if she considered they were not conducive to the public good or threatened national security.

Following her comments, Mr Jones told the BBC he planned to speak against “radical Islam”, not “all Islam”.

He also said any ban on him coming to the UK would be “incorrect and unfair”, and “unconstitutional” in the US.

Unite Against Fascism said it would be holding an anti-racism demonstration to coincide with the EDL rally, and the anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate is urging the home secretary to act.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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