Notorious Florida pastor arrested en route to Qur'an-burningBy RT.com | Last updated: Sep 20, 2013 - 9:10:58 AM
Terry Jones announced in August that he intended to set thousands of Korans ablaze in rural Florida to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He said he would burn 2,998 copies of the holy book, one to commemorate every American killed in the tragic attack. Jones threatened a similar stunt in 2010 but called it off after U.S. President Obama and other leaders warned of the potential implications throughout the Middle East.
“The radical hand of Islam shows itself with violence against anyone who dares to stand up and speak the truth,” read a press release from Jones’ organization. “We at Stand Up America Now will not back down. We will not be silent.”
The Gainesville-based preacher was arrested en route to the park when police found the Korans already in a barbecue grill in the back of Mr. Jones’ truck, according to the local ABC affiliate. Both Mr. Jones and Wayne Sapp were charged with unlawfully transporting fuel while Mr. Jones was charged with openly carrying a firearm.
Mr. Sapp’s wife declared that the arrests were “a very dangerous sign to us, as Americans, as citizens, and to the First Amendment.”
A Polk County spokesperson told WTSP 10 News in Tampa that Mr. Jones, 61, filed for a facilities permit Thursday, Sept. 5, too short a time for the county to conduct a review and grant a permit.
“He must have the facilities use permit in order to have that type of event in a county park,” said Mianne Nelson. “We responded to his email asking where he was planning to have his event in the park because it is a large park, but he did not respond back to us.”
Mr. Jones said he was willing to be arrested for his cause, although the surrounding region has not been as passionate. His announcement that Mulberry would be the destination provoked anger and embarrassment through much of the community.
“Why would you come to little Mulberry, that is peaceful and diverse?” resident Suzanne Carter-Moore told WTSP. “We like it that way, and why come to our town and stir up the pot of hate and division?”
Mulberry Mayor George Hatch told reporters after Mr. Jones’ arrest he hoped “the world will not judge our community from the actions of one man who is not from here.” (RT.com)