Protesters oppose Terry Jones’ Jacksonville appearance
A handful of protestors showed up to protest the appearance of Terry Jones — the controversial religious leader who sparked worldwide protests by planning to burn Qurans at his Gainesville church in 2010 — at a Jacksonville hotel last night.
Jones was in town to speak to the Republican Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida, a group that says its goal is to “restore liberty, not restrict it; shrink government, not expand it; reduce taxes, not raise them; abolish programs, not create them; promote the freedom and independence of citizens, not the interference of government in their lives; and observe the limited, enumerated powers of our Constitution.”
Protestors, organized by Occupy Jacksonville’s Tiffany Arnold, gathered outside of the Fairfield Inn at which Jones delivered his speech, “Freedom of Speech, Religious Liberty, Christianity and Islam.”
Though the national Republican Liberty Caucus claims it has ties to Florida legislators on its website, at least one of those, Jacksonville Republican Lake Ray, says he is not affiliated with the organization.
“On behalf of Representative Ray, he has never been a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus,” Ray’s District Executive Assistant Nicole Spradley writes in an email to The Florida Independent. “Over the course of his two terms as Representative he has spoken to their members on one or two occasions at the RLC’s request. Representative Ray is not familiar with the RLC’s current calendar of events.”
Jones, the pastor of Gainesville’s Dove World Outreach Center, has said he aims “to expose Islam for what it is … a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to masquerade itself as a religion of peace, seeking to deceive our society.” His planned “International Burn a Koran Day” — which was harshly criticized, even by members of the KKK — was canceled while violent protests broke out in Afghanistan over the planned book-burning.