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U.K. Bars Entry By Controversial Florida Pastor

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center speaks to the media, accompanied by Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010, Gainesville, Fla. Phil Sandlin/AP hide caption

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Phil Sandlin/AP

Terry Jones, the pastor from Florida who threatened to burn the Quran on the 2010 anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has been banned from entering the United Kingdom.

A U.K. spokesman said that he would be denied entry because "the government opposes extremism in all its forms."

Jones was reportedly planning to address members of a group called "England Is Ours" in February. The Guardian's report on the ban quotes England Is Ours member Barry Taylor as saying that the only thing his group sought was open dialogue.

"He said: 'I'm very disappointed. The whole object of the exercise is to have a discussion about the Islamification of the UK and just have dialogue about the problems.'"

"'The idea isn't to cause trouble or kick up a stink. These things do need addressing and people do need to speak about them. We shouldn't be frightened about them.'"

"Taylor added he had expected around 100 people to attend events organised for Pastor Jones including around 30 members of England Is Ours."

The AP reports that Jones, a pastor at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, was intending to speak against "radical" Islam:

"Stand Up America, a Florida-based group affiliated with Jones, said he was going to speak out against what the group called radical elements of Islam. It said his visit to Britain was to be part of a European tour."

The U.K. government said its action was not intended as "a method of stopping open debate."

That question, whether highlighting Terry Jones' beliefs calls more attention to them than letting him go ahead with his plans, is one Brooke Gladstone of On The Media addressed in a commentary last year about the media circus surrounding Jones:

As the week wore on, many mainstream news outlets made public avowals of their intention to approach the story with an emphasis on context, and a minimum of visuals. Fox News said it wouldn’t cover the story at all. The AP declared that its policy is not to cover events “that are gratuitously manufactured to provoke and offend,” which obviously this was. As Jones said: "A radical message is necessary. … We expect the Muslims that are here in America to respect, honor, obey, submit to our Constitution."