US pastor says would fight ban on speaking in Britain

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Firebrand US pastor Terry Jones said Monday he would fight an attempt to stop him visiting Britain to speak to far-right activists, after authorities here said they were "actively" considering a ban.

Jones said he would promote peace during his visit in February at the invitation of the English Defence League (EDL), which protests, often violently, against what it says is the growing "Islamification" of England.

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

Amid concerns his presence could inflame community relations in Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May said Sunday she was "actively" considering whether she should block Jones from coming.

"I don't know if I would just simply accept that. I think I would protest that," Jones told BBC radio from the United States.

"I would hope that that would not be the case because I have given my word that we will not do anything against the law or do anything that would cause an uprising or violence."

He added: "If I am there and have anything to say or any type of influence, I will definitely demand that we have a peaceful demonstration or a peaceful rally. I do not advocate violence of any form."

Jones' website says he intends to visit an EDL rally on February 5 in Luton, a town north of London which has a significant Muslim population.

"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 says.

Police were on Monday searching a house in Luton believed to belong to an Iraqi-born suicide bomber who attacked Stockholm on Saturday.

© 2010 AFP

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