Qur'an burning pastor faces possible border trouble

Pastor Terry Jones. (AFP PHOTO)

Pastor Terry Jones. (AFP PHOTO)

Tom Godfrey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

TORONTO - Canada border officials say controversial Qur'an-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones may not be allowed into the country on Thursday to give a speech at a Queen's Park rally.

Jones, who claims to have received 400 death threats and has a bounty of $6.4 million on his head, has been banned from Britain and Germany.

He was fined $217 in Florida for burning a Qur'an, the Muslim holy book.

"I am concerned about crossing the border," Jones told QMI Agency on Monday. "I know that Canada and England have strong and close ties."

Jones, 61, gained international attention in 2010 for his plan to burn Qur'ans on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

He backed down then but ended up burning the Muslim holy book in April 2012 and was fined by Gainesville Fire Rescue for burning books without authorization.

He said people have warned him several times about crossing the border.

"I feel confident that we will get through," Jones said. "We expect they may search the car but we have nothing to hide."

He is leaving behind his weapons and driving to Toronto with an aide turned bodyguard.

"Canada is very important to us," Jones said. "We consider Canada a very secure place."

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refused comment, citing privacy laws.

Jones is slated to enter Canada from Detroit at a Windsor, Ont., border crossing and then drive to Queen's Park for a rally. He will stay in Toronto for the night and return home Friday.

CBSA frontline officers said Jones can be refused entry to Canada if he has prior criminal convictions, including breach of hate laws. They can also consider his ban from other countries.

Toronto Police have warned Jones about Canadian hate laws and will be monitoring his speech and visit.

Border agents said the pastor will be sent for a secondary examination to inspect for weapons or other contraband. They are also searching for copies of the controversial film, Innocence of Muslims, that portrays the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light.

Jones will debate Imam Steve Rockwell, director of Toronto's Sheikh Deidat mosque, about the movie.

Event organizer Allan Einstoss of Canadians United Against Terror said people will be disappointed if Jones isn't allowed into the country.

"In that case we have backup speakers," Einstoss said. "There will be a heavy police presence, and we expect an informative and peaceful event."

He said three other high-profile speakers are arriving from the U.S. but refused to reveal their identities fearing they'll be red-flagged for checks.


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