Concerns over 'Public Order': Germany Bars US Pastor Terry Jones

The German government has barred US pastor Terry Jones from entering the country. Jones, a notorious extremist who gained global attention in 2010 by threatening to burn the Koran, has said he backs the anti-Islam film that has sparked worldwide protests. Berlin acted on information that German far-right groups planned to invite him.

Florida pastor Terry Jones. The German government fears that letting him into the country could disrupt public order. Zoom

Florida pastor Terry Jones. The German government fears that letting him into the country could disrupt public order.

US hate preacher Terry Jones, one of the supporters of the anti-Islam video "Innocence of Muslims," is to be banned from travelling to Germany. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has asked the Interior Ministry to prevent Jones from entering the country.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said Sunday that a visit by Jones would "run counter to the interest of maintaining public order."

The ban came in response to information that German far-right groups such as Pro Deutschland and Pro NRW plan to invite the preacher to Germany in the coming days.

Sources close to the German Foreign Ministry said Westerwelle believes "hate preachers have no business being in Germany."

'Freedom of Art'

Jones came to worldwide attention in 2010 when he threatened to burn a copy of the Koran. Fanatics in the Muslim world responded to this deliberate provocation by staging violent protests in which at least 20 people died.

The controversial video, believed to have been produced in the US by a Coptic Christian convicted of bank fraud, has led to violent demonstrations in several Muslim countries in which people have been killed and injured.

In the Libyan city of Benghazi, the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US citizens were killed last Tuesday. The German Embassy in Sudan was attacked and set on fire on Friday. There has also been unrest in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

The head of Pro Deutschland, Manfred Rouhs, said he plans to show the film in Berlin. "For us, this is about freedom of art and opinion," he told SPIEGEL.

cro -- with wire reports

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