English Defence League Dumps Terry Jones: Jones Accepts New Invite from National Front

Well, that didn’t last long. A statement has appeared on the EDL Facebook page:

The English Defense League wish to correct a falsehood that is being propagated by the international media: we did not invite Terry Jones to speak at any EDL event, he approached us and we agreed in principle but we have since taken an indepth look at him and his church.

Talk of the “media” propagating a “falsehood” is transparent bluster – the issue is that the EDL was “proud to announce” Jones as a “guest speaker”, not whose idea it was. And even if the detail is incorrect, the EDL needs to blame Jones, who maintains that he was invited. The statement continues:

Terry Jones won international notoriety by threatening to burn the Koran. We believe firmly in upholding the principles of free speech and free expression, and believe that he should have been free to do so, and protected by law enforcement authorities from those who would have tried to harm or kill him had he done so.

At the same time, we strongly disapprove of burning the Koran, precisely because we believe in those principles of free speech and free expression. We do not believe the Koran should be burned, but rather read, so that people come to understand its inherent violence, supremacism, and hatred and contempt for non-Muslims. It is essential that people know what the Koran teaches, so they can see how far its teachings are from the free traditions of England that we have pledged our lives to uphold and defend.

Once again, the notion of the EDL supposedly having no problem with “moderate” Muslims is shown up as a farce: from the above, the only “moderate” Muslim would be one who repudiates the Koran. Further:

The English Defence League has made it clear in previous press statements that it has a great deal of sympathy with some of the views and opinions of Pastor Terry Jones specifically related to Islamic Extremism. We share similar concerns with him regarding extreme Islam, shariah law and of course the Qu’ran. We are also deeply concerned over his personal targeting by the home secretary, Theresa May, with respect to a possible U.K. banning order. These issues notwithstanding, we still have some reservations about Pastor Jones and we do not agree with all of his opinions or indeed all he stands for.

The EDL is extremely proud of its diverse support base including it’s primary base of geographical divisions from all across England encompassing much ethnic diversity. In addition we have specific divisions drawn from groups particularly threatened by encroaching Sharia: a Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Division; a Jewish Division and recently a Pakistani Christian Division. The EDL also enjoys the active participation and support of many former members of the Armed Forces. In light of our strong commitment to these groups and some of the Pastor’s statements and associations, we feel it inappropriate to offer Pastor Terry Jones an invitation to attend an EDL demonstration.

The EDL can confirm that Pastor Jones will not be attending the English Defence League demonstration against sharia in Luton on 5 February. We wish him success in his efforts to oppose the rise of sharia in the United States and thank him for his interest in the EDL.

There follows a link to a CBS report about Westboro Baptist Church picketing a soldier’s funeral – Jones has made links with the Phelps clan. According to a report in the Guardian:

EDL spokesman Guramit Singh said the decision had been taken after the group carried out “further research” on Jones and discovered he held some “homophobic and racist” views.

This evening Jones, a pentecostal preacher who runs the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, denied he was homophobic or racist, adding that the EDL had bowed to pressure from the government and media.

Fran Ingram, one of Jones’s followers, has left a comment under the EDL statement, expressing displeasure:

Last thing I expected, the edl backing out! God have mercy on England.

But Jones has found some new friends in the UK. According to the Dove World Outreach Center website:

The English Defence League has withdrawn its invitation to have Dr. Terry Jones speak at their rally in Luton, UK on February 5, because of pressure from special interest groups.

Dr. Jones has now been invited to speak and hold rallies with the National Front, as well as with the British National Front and has accepted these invitations.

The “National Front” is the same thing as the “British National Front”; perhaps in the latter case Jones means the “British National Party”. In any case, both parties are unquestionably hardcore far-right, although the BNP these days tries to create a veneer of distance from its racist origins. According to an NF website (banner: “the party of White family values”):

Andy Gray, East Mildands [sic] NF organizer has announced that following the utter cave in by the EDL and the withdrawal of their invitation to Pastor Terry Jones of the American Dove Outreach ministry to address an EDL event planned in Luton, the National Front have stepped into the gap and openly invited Jones to attend an event to be organized by the NF instead. (1)

A second posting adds that the NF has “just received a reply from Dr Terry Jones in which he expresses his delight at being invited”.


UPDATE: Darcy Jones notes a Daily Star article on how the EDL had “snubbed” Pastor Jones and declared that his “offer” was “inappropriate”. There is no mention of how the EDL had formerly announced that it was “proud” to announce Jones’ participation, or of Jones’ claim that he had been invited.

UPDATE 2: The next day, the National Front explained that:

It now appears that Dr Terry Jones will not be attending an event in the UK after all. It seems that following the EDL canceling his engagement and subsequent alterations to his international itinerary the UK will probably not feature in his list of engagements.

It is also suspected that diplomatic representations to the US may have had some bearing on him ‘changing his mind’.

Jones, meanwhile, has quietly removed his post on the subject.