Terry Jones could be in some big trouble for his controversial act of defiance against radical Muslims.
The Florida preacher, famous for burning Korans, has a $2.2 million bounty on his head from Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a radical Islamist group. Jones has generated controversy and death threats for years for his Koran-burning stunts, but he has garnered new attention in the wake of the terrorist attack against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The 63-year-old preacher said he is pointing out what he sees as the inherent violence in Islam. In the past, he has worn shirts reading “Islam is of the Devil” and commemorated 9/11 by burning the faith’s holy book.
“Burning the Koran, that’s not radical,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post. “I can understand if you don’t agree with so-called burning someone’s holy book. But I don’t know how you can agree with sharia. You don’t see Mennonites going around chopping people’s heads off.”
His organization, Stand Up America Now, has also furthered his cause.
“We are losing freedom of speech and freedom of the press to special interest groups and international forces. Our national politics is corrupted by multinational corporate interests and a rising world order that would see America manipulated and destroyed. Yet we act like a frog in hot water and wait.
“At Stand Up America Now, we are not content to wait. We use the resources we have and the growing support from around America and the world to hold meetings, lead protest and rallies, to use the freedoms we have on the internet, and the media attention we have received to warn and encourage a return to the spirit of our Founders, to save America from destruction before it is too late.”
Terry Jones has gotten in trouble with the law for his protests. In 2013, he was arrested while en route to a barbecue-style Koran burning event in Florida and charged with unlawful conveyance of fuel.
But now the Charlie Hebdo attack has put Terry Jones back in the crosshairs. He has been listed on a “hit list” put out by the English-language al-Qaeda magazine Inspire. The list also included editors and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo and author Salmon Rushdie. It was this same magazine that reportedly inspired Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Terry Jones has also become quite a polarizing figure. While he has found many supporters — the Washington Post points out that many people come to the fast food restaurant he operates simply to meet him — others have spoken out against his acts. The U.S. military has even asked that he stop the Koran-burning events, saying that it puts service members in danger.
Others have joined in. Terry Jones is barred from entering the U.K., and was banned from the UC Irving campus.
Despite the controversies and the $2.2 million bounty on his head, Terry Jones said he has no intention of stopping his protests against radial Islam.