The U.S. pastor behind “International Burn a Koran Day” said he would “possibly” try again to enter Canada after border officers turned him back Thursday as he was on his way to speak in Toronto.
“We will see,” Terry Jones said in an interview. “We were looking forward to coming there and we were looking forward to speaking. … We were definitely disappointed and we were surprised.”
At the Windsor border crossing, Canada Border Services Agency officers questioned Mr. Jones and searched his car and luggage for more than four hours before denying him entry on the grounds of criminality.
The CBSA also confiscated signs found in his car that read “Islam is the New Nazism” and “Koran Burning Site.” But he said they were from a rally in Michigan and he did not plan on burning any Korans in Canada.
Ever since Mr. Jones accepted an invitation to speak on the lawn of the Ontario legislature, there had been debate over whether he should be allowed into the country to argue that “Islam is not compatible with Western society.”
The U.K. had already barred him for “the public good.” But Canada lacks a similar law, although a bill currently before Parliament would give the immigration minister the power to deny entry to visitors on the grounds of “public policy considerations.”
Mr. Jones, 60, was an unknown Florida pastor until two years ago, when he announced he would burn Korans on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, prompting an angry backlash. He backed down but recently returned to the spotlight by speaking in support of the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims.”
In the end, it was not concerns about the violence his visit might incite but rather his criminal history that derailed his trip: Mr. Jones was fined by the German government a decade ago for calling himself “doctor” when he lived in Cologne as a missionary.
A letter he received from CBSA on Thursday said he was required to provide a criminal records check before attempting to enter Canada again. It specifically requested English translations of the court records from his German case.
Mr. Jones said he had appealed the German fine and won the right to use the title doctor (he has an honorary doctorate). He claimed Canadian border officials were simply delaying him so he would miss his scheduled appearance on the lawn of the Ontario legislature.
“The whole story is that Dr. Jones fought that, he fought the German government for the right to use his doctorate title, and that was then allowed,” said Fran Ingram of Stand Up America Now, an organization that promotes Mr. Jones.
“So this old German charge that they dug up was long ago overturned, it’s a very old issue … it’s this old thing that they pulled out of their bag of tricks, I guess and said this is why we are denying you entry.”
The man Mr. Jones was traveling with, Wayne Sapp, was also denied entry on the grounds of criminality. He had been arrested last year in advance of a planned demonstration at a Detroit mosque.
The CBSA declined to comment directly on Mr. Jones. “Admissibility of all travelers seeking to enter Canada is considered on a case-by-case basis based on the specific facts presented by the applicant at the time of entry,” the agency said in a written statement.
“Every person seeking entry to Canada must demonstrate that they meet the requirements to enter and/or stay in Canada. The CBSA is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.”
Mr. Jones had been invited to Toronto to debate issues surrounding “Innocence of Muslims,” the amateurish online video that sparked angry demonstrations throughout the Muslim world last month.
Organizers had planned to have him square off against Toronto imam Steve Rockwell, U.S.-based Muslim author Masud Ansari, and Sikh community leader Bikram Lamba. The debate went ahead without him.
“I think it’s a very sad day for free speech,” said Allan Einstoss, who organized the event. He did not believe Mr. Jones was denied entry solely because of his past troubles in Germany. “This is political,” he said.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/11 ... lm-debate/
I think it's pretty obvious the REAL reason why he was denied and the criminality reasons are pretty flimsy IMO. Had he refused to withdraw, I bet everyone at Windsor would have pooped their pants.
This isn't the first time this has happened either. I remember a few years ago members of that "West Attleboro baptist church" (I think it's called) that protest the funerals of soldiers were supposed to be coming up to Canada to protest at a Canadian soldier's funeral. Luckily, I don't think they ever showed up...
These stories really highlight the old war between the Western notions of free speech and religious sensitivities. It probably would have made a good episode of Star Trek!
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