Opposing what it calls “extremism,” the British government has told the controversial Florida pastor that he isn’t welcome. Ever.
“Coming to the U.K. is a privilege not a right and we are not willing to allow entry to those whose presence is not conducive to the public good,” a spokesmen for the Home Office said in a statement. “The use of exclusion powers is very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate.”
(More on Time.Com: Gainesville Rejects a Koran-Burning Pastor.)
Jones came to notoriety last fall when he proposed staging “International Burn a Koran Day” on September 11. More recently, he had plans to visit England to speak at upcoming demonstrations staged by “England is Ours,” a fringe anti-Islam group that opposes the construction of new mosques. “This ban exemplifies the sabotage of the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” he said in a statement. “The ban also proves the effectiveness of the threat of militant Islam in the U.K. as one is not free to travel to the U.K. due to the speculation of violence.”
Wayne Sapp, the assistant pastor at Jones’ church, said the letter from the Home Office claimed Jones’ views could “foster hatred that might lead to inter-community violence in the U.K.” (via BBC)
(More on Time.Com: Koran Burning: Cues from Osama bin Laden?)