A controversial American pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Koran has stirred up fresh outrage after announcing plans to give an anti-Islam speech in Britain.
Terry Jones, 58, caused widespread fury when he threatened to burn copies of the Islamic holy book on the anniversary of 9/11.
He has now caused controversy in Britain by accepting an invitation from anti-Islamic group England Is Ours (EIO) to speak at a rally in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
Home Secretary Theresa May is considering banning Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, from entering the country.
Mohamed Suleman, a trustee of the Milton Keynes Muslim Association, believes the pastor’s visit could damage race relations.
He said: ”There hasn’t been tension between muslims and non-muslims in Milton Keynes and this kind of thing is only going to cause more Islamophobia.
”I’m going to try to get together groups of all different cultures to try and block him from coming. We don’t want his toxicity in our great city.”
Matthew Collins, spokesman for anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, believes it is highly unlikely Terry Jones will be allowed to enter the Britain.
He said: ”He is on the Home Office watch list. He has been invited by a bizarre organisation called EIO who are trying to get publicity for themselves.
”I’m pretty certain that as soon as he applies to come to the UK he will be refused.”
Pastor Jones was due to speak at an English Defence League rally in February but this was cancelled for unknown reasons.
He has now been invited to speak at a series of EIO meetings to be held between February 9 and February 16 in Milton Keynes.
He will speak against the expansion of Islam and the construction of Mosques in the UK at Christian services as well in local meeting halls.
Barry Taylor, group secretary of the EIO, said his 30-member group invited Pastor Jones after his visit to speak as a guest of the EDL was cancelled.
He said: ”We are delighted that this gentleman is visiting us and sharing his thoughts and ideas. We like to have speakers with diverse political opinions.
”I would say that Dr Terry Jones has been misrepresented and his views presented as extreme.
”He is a Christian – we do not necessarily agree with all of his views but we would welcome his experience and hope to learn from him.
”Islam is a divisive religion which keeps communities from assimilating.
Locally there’s a campaign against the building of a large Mosque in a white community.
”It’s like building a Mosque in Piccadilly Circus, it’s right in the middle of the thoroughfare for the community.
”The local residents are up in arms but the local council seem to be going through hoops for the Muslim community.”