British far-right group 'withdraws invite to US pastor'

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British far-right group has cancelled plans for firebrand US pastor Terry Jones to speak at one of its events after saying it disagreed with his views on race and homosexuality, the BBC reported.

But Jones, who sparked an international furore after threatening to burn the Koran, the holy book of Islam, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, said he would likely still come to Britain and planned to organise an event in London.

Far-right group the English Defence League (EDL), which organises protests against what it terms as the "Islamification" of England, had invited the controversial pastor to speak at a rally in February.

There were concerns his presence could inflame community relations in Britain and interior minister Theresa May had said she was considering whether she should block Jones from coming.

But the EDL said Monday they had decided Jones would not be speaking at their rally.

EDL spokesman Guramit Singh told the BBC that "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."

He added: "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."

But Jones said the EDL "had bowed to pressure from the government... and people within their own organisation," in comments to the BBC.

"We will probably come to London sometime in February and organise something in London," he added.

Jones had earlier said he would fight an attempt by the British government to block him from visiting the country.

The EDL rally is taking place on February 5 in Luton, a town north of London which has a significant Muslim population.

Police have been searching a property in the town, believed to have been the home of a suspected suicide bomber who blew himself up in a attack in Stockholm on Saturday.

© 2010 AFP

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