Far-right group invites US pastor Jones to Britain: report

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A far-right English group has invited firebrand US pastor Terry Jones to visit Britain next year to speak "against the evils and destructiveness of Islam", The Observer newspaper reported Sunday.

Jones caused a domestic and international firestorm earlier this year after threatening to torch hundreds of Korans -- the holy book of Islam -- to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He has now reportedly been invited to speak by the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right group which has emerged in the past couple of years to fight against what it says is the spread of militant Islam in Britain.

The Guardian quotes Jones' website as saying that he intended to visit during an EDL demonstration in February in Luton, a town north of London which has a significant Muslim minority.

"During the protest, Dr Terry Jones will speak against the evils and destructiveness of Islam in support of the continued fight against the Islamification of England and Europe," the website is quoted as saying.

Anti-racism campaigners deplored the idea of such a visit. Hope Not Hate campaign co-ordinator Nick Lowles told The Guardian: "Paster Jones's presence in Luton will be incendiary and highly dangerous."

Opponents of Jones will likely appeal to Home Secretary Theresa May to ban him, as she has the power to exclude or deport an individual if she thinks their presence in Britain could threaten public order or national security.

A Home Office spokesman told AFP: "We do not routinely comment on individual cases."

Eleven men were arrested by police in Peterborough, eastern England, during an EDL march on Saturday. About 1,000 people attended the march and another 200 held an opposition rally staged by the local trades union council.

© 2010 AFP

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