Terry Jones insists 'burning the Koran is not radical'

Pastor Terry Jones was arrested for the unlawful open carrying of a firearm and the unlawful conveyance of fuel before he could burn 2,998 copies of the Koran.(Photo: Reuters/Pierre DuCharme)

He is the number two target on Al Qaeda's international hit list, but Terry Jones, famous for burning copies of Islam's sacred book, is not cowering in some undisclosed location.

In fact, the pastor of the fundamentalist church Dove World Outreach Center is making comments once again regarding Islam.

While manning the cashier of his French fries stand in Bradenton, Florida, the controversial pastor told the Washington Post that burning the Koran is "not radical."

"I can understand if you don't agree with so-called burning someone's holy book," the 63-year-old preacher said. "But I don't know how you can agree with sharia. You don't see Mennonites going around chopping people's heads off."

Jones, who opened his Fry Guys Gourmet Fries in the food court of the DeSoto Square mall in November last year, earned notoriety in 2010 when he described Islam as fascist and tweeted that September 11 as "Int Burn a Koran Day."

In 2011, Jones burned a Koran live on the Internet to the outrage of thousands of Muslims. The act resulted in deadly riots in Afghanistan that left 20 dead, as well as threats to his life.

Jones made news again in 2013 when he announced that he would torch 2,998 copies of the Koran as a commemoration for the victims of the September 11 terror attack, but he was arrested before he could continue with his plan.

Jones appears alongside French editor Stéphane Charbonnier on the Al Qaeda's propaganda poster that lists him as wanted, dead or alive. Charbonnier was among the 12 killed by Islamic extremists during an attack on the offices of the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo on January 7.

Asked whether he is concerned for his safety, Jones told the Bradenton Herald, "We're not fearful, and we're not going to run and hide. If they (terrorists) come, we're going to try to get them before they get us."

Jones, who admitted he has received 400 to 500 death threats and that there is "an award for my life for $6.5 million," said that the Paris attacks reinforced his views on Islam.

"I will continue to speak out against Islam or even if you want to define it as radical Islam," Jones said. "I'm not putting everyone in the same box, but Islam itself is a very oppressive religion."