The U.S. pastor behind “International Burn a Koran Day” said he would “possibly” try again to enter Canada after border officers turned him back Thursday as he was on his way to speak in Toronto .
“We will see,” Terry Jones said in an interview. “We were looking forward to coming there and we were looking forward to speaking. … We were definitely disappointed and we were surprised .”
At the Windsor border crossing, Canada Border Services Agency officers questioned Mr. Jones and searched his car and luggage for more than four hours before denying him entry on the grounds of criminality .
The CBSA also confiscated signs found in his car that read “Islam is the New Nazism” and “Koran Burning Site.” But he said they were from a rally in Michigan and he did not plan on burning any Korans in Canada.
Ever since Mr. Jones accepted an invitation to speak on the lawn of the Ontario legislature, there had been debate over whether he should be allowed into the country to argue that “Islam is not compatible with Western society .”
The U.K. had already barred him for “the public good.” But Canada lacks a similar law, although a bill currently before Parliament would give the immigration minister the power to deny entry to visitors on the grounds of “public policy considerations .”
Mr. Jones, 60, was an unknown Florida pastor until two years ago, when he announced he would burn Korans on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, prompting an angry backlash.
He backed down but recently returned to the spotlight by speaking in support of the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims .”
In the end, it was not concerns about the violence his visit might incite but rather his criminal history that derailed his trip: Mr. Jones was fined by the German government a decade ago for calling himself “doctor” when he lived in Cologne as a missionary.
A letter he received from CBSA on Thursday said he was required to provide a criminal records check before attempting to enter Canada again.
It specifically requested English translations of the court records from his German case.
Mr. Jones said he had appealed the German fine and won the right to use the title doctor (he has an honorary doctorate).
He claimed Canadian border officials were simply delaying him so he would miss his scheduled appearance on the lawn of the Ontario legislatureNumber of View :557