Update: Our Emma Teitel reports that Terry Jones has been held up at the border, though intends to speak in Canada on Friday.
Terry Jones, the U.S. pastor notorious for burning the Qur’an, is planning a trip to Toronto to participate in a debate about the film Innocence of Muslims, to be held outside the Ontario legislature.
Not only did Jones proclaim September 11th “International Burn A Qur’an Day,” he also authored the book Islam is the Devil and he wants to debate with Toronto Imam Steve Rockwell about a film that has incited violence in the Muslim world and has been responsible for at least 75 deaths.
Given his track record, not all Canadians are ready to welcome Jones with open arms, and there are questions about whether Canadian Border Services will let him into the country.
Even free-speech defending National Post columnist Jonathan Kay argues that Jones shouldn’t be allowed in. Kay argues that since Jones isn’t a Canadian citizen, we have no reason to allow him, particularly when his speech is very likely to incite violence. ”And it’s no act of censorship for Canada to tell Jones that he’s free to spout all the hate he wants, but that as an American citizen he has no right to enter Canada for the purpose of using the Ontario legislature as his sound stage,” Kay writes.
For his part, the pastor expects to be granted access into Canada from the Detroit border crossing. “There has been at this point, no problems, just a lot of people are questioning that. We have not been contacted and don’t anticipate any problems,” Jones, 61, told QMI Agency.
Even if Jones is allowed into Canada, there is also a chance his appearance won’t draw the anticipated crowds. A report on Michigan news website Mlive, says that an anti-Islam rally Jones planned outside a school in Dearborn, Michigan, on Wednesday attracted only about a dozen supporters, who were largely outnumbered by both security and media.