The English Defence League has dropped plans to have a US preacher who threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 speak at one of its rally next year.
Terry Jones had been due to speak about his views on Islam at the right-wing group’s rally in Luton in February.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the EDL said it was sympathetic to Jones’ views on Islam but had decided not to allow him to speak at its rally because of his views on homosexuality and race.
Speaking on Radio Derby, Guramit Singh of the EDL said: “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.”
When news of his appearance at the rally hit headlines earlier this week, Home Secretary Theresa May said she would consider banning the pastor from entering Britain.
She said the Home Secretary had the right to exclude people who were not conducive to public good or on national security grounds.
A statement on the website of Jones’ church, the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, said the EDL had disinvited the pastor “because of pressure from special interest groups”.
It said Jones had instead received and accepted invitations to speak at rallies planned by the British National Front.
He said earlier in the week that his message would be one of peace.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that he would only take part in peaceful rallies.
“I do not advocate violence of any form.”
A YouGov poll on behalf of The Sun newspaper found that more than half of Britons (55%) felt Jones should not be permitted entry to the UK.
English Defence League shelves invitation to pastor who threatened to burn Koran
English Defence League says pastor who threatened to burn Korans on 9/11 anniversary will not be speaking at its rally next year
Published 16 December 2010