Terry Jones

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page is about the Islamophobic bigot from Florida, not the nice manWikipedia from Monty Python
Leather daddies for Christ
Inventing "The Other"
200px-Icon islamophobia.png
Fear And Loathing
The real regressives

Terry Jones (1951–) is the love-child of Ron Paul and Hulk HoganWikipedia a nutty American Christian pastor and attention-seeking troll currently based in Florida. He was the head of a small Gainesville church, ironically called the "Dove World Outreach Center", until 2013. Jones and his church's main claim to fame is their threat to stage a mass burning of copies of the Qur'an to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11 attacks in 2010. The book-burning was condemned by other religious leaders in a rare show of unity, and Jones initially wussed out. Eventually, on March 20th, 2011, he went ahead and burned a Qur'an and posted it on the interweb. This set off a massive shitstorm that led to many deaths in Afghanistan, as pissed off Muslims at protests turned violent.

Expulsion from Germany[edit]

In 2009, he was expelled from a religious group in Germany, which he had run in a climate of "fear and control" (and, it seems, financial impropriety).[1]

Book burning[edit]

The first Qur'an burners might have been Muslims themselves.[2] This burning, however, had initially been planned to go ahead on September 11th, 2010, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks but was canceled on the 9th after talks with Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Foundation of Central Florida. The rationale for canceling was an alleged agreement for moving the Park 51 site, although operators of that project have denied any knowledge of such an agreement.[3] It later emerged that no such agreement was reached, and the situation degenerated into confusion and farce. Fred Phelps and several others then announced that they would stand in the gap for Jones and burn Korans if he didn't.[4] By the time September 11th came around, Jones' church was swamped with the media, and it became clear that the entire affair was turning into (if it wasn't from the start) a farcical publicity stunt, with many in the media wondering if it was even right to afford Jones the publicity in the first place.[5]

An unbridled rage[edit]

On March 20, 2011, he fucking showed us, though. Dressed in judge robes, he held a mock trial against the Qur'an and, not surprisingly, found it guilty of some very bad things. He did not bother to have a mock appeals process: he immediately proceeded to burn the Qur'an. This was all streamed on the Internet with helpful Arabic subtitles.[6] This caused shit to blow up in Afghanistan. Protesters in Afghanistan were whipped into a frenzy by Muslim extremists; rioting ensued. Five demonstrators and seven UN workers were killed in protests in Mazar-e Sharif and at least nine were killed and many more injured in Kandahar.[7] Of course, none of the people killed by the protestors had anything to do with Terry Jones, his church, or any kind of book burning: they were innocent victims of religious extremism. Jones doesn't feel like he did anything over the top, though, and he is pondering putting Muhammad on trial.[8]

Other creepy shit[edit]

In June 2012, he and his followers hung an effigy of Barack Obama in front of Dove World Outreach Center headquarters for all of the usual batshit crazy reasons. The irony of him doing so in a state where racially-motivated lynchings were once common probably didn't occur to him; that, or he simply doesn't give a shit.[9] Later in early 2013, Jones set this effigy, along with an effigy of Bill Clinton, on fire, earning little attention except from the city of Gainesville, who cited the church for illegal burning.[10]

In September 2012, he and a mysterious "Israeli real estate developer"/filmmaker purportedly named "Sam Bacile" (who turned out to actually be an Egyptian Christian Copt Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, notorious for drug convictions, tax evasion, and bank fraud)[11] helped publicize a movie called Innocence of Muslims. The movie isn't much more than a collection of intentional slurs against Muhammad in particular and Islam in general. The release of a 14-minute YouTube clip had predictable results, namely violent demonstrations across the Middle East. It was also blamed for the murder of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other American citizens in the 2012 Benghazi attack,[12] but evidence would eventually show that the attack on Benghazi was actually premeditated.[13] Jones' reaction was pretty much what you'd expect in terms of taking personal responsibility,[14] which just means that he's graduated to an even higher level of the job classification "irresponsible douchebag".


In 2013, to the relief of his Gainesville Florida neighbors, Jones' Dove World church was closed and was sold off. Jones intended to move the church somewhere in the Tampa, Florida metropolitan area.[15] However, the land purchased for the church organization ended up being a rural homestead in the exurbs of Manatee County (near Bradenton, Florida).[16] While the church's incorporation remains active as of August 2023,[17] there is no evidence that any further Jones-led "church" activity occurred after this date.

In 2013, Jones also planned a stunt where he would burn 2,998 Qur'ans on September 11 2013 (one for each life lost on 9/11) in an event at a public park in the tiny town of Mulberry Florida. Rather than being outraged, a former board member of the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton named Hytham Bakr simply told the local newspaper that Jones was merely "looking for publicity" and informed people that "if you ignore him, he'll go away".[16] The town of Mulberry denied Jones a permit for the planned event, and then sheriffs arrested him on felony charges (unlawful conveyance of fuel) when he tried to go ahead with the event anyways.[18][19]

By 2017, Jones was no longer making any headline news at all, and indeed had faded into the background. Jones had opened a couple of other businesses (opening a french fry stand in a shopping mall and starting a furniture moving business), both of which quickly went bust.[20] In 2017, Jones told the Washington Post that his past notoriety played a part in the failure of the french fry stand. Jones also indicated that he was semi-retired and driving for Uber. After inquiries from the Post (who had initiated the article on behalf of a concerned Uber customer who rode with Jones), Uber fired Jones due to his habit of blabbering Islamophobic rhetoric to his passengers as well as his habit of carrying a 9mm gun in his car for "self-defense", in violation of Uber's firearms policy.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. Islamophobe's Past in Germany: Terry Jones Accused of 'Spiritual Abuse' at Cologne Church
  2. The Original Burn the Quran Day
  3. BBC News - US pastor Terry Jones cancels Koran burning
  4. Fred Phelps sticks in his oar
  5. BBC News - Media swamp Florida church at the center of Koran row
  6. Washington Post - Florida pastor Terry Jones’s Koran burning has far-reaching effect
  7. Christian Science Monitor - Terry Jones: How free speech and Quran burning can lead to violence
  8. The Guardian - Terry Jones defiant despite murders in Afghanistan over Qur'an burning
  9. Koran-Hating Pastor Hangs Barack Obama In Effigy In Florida Church's Front Yard, The Smoking Gun
  10. "Pastor who burned Koran sets fire to effigies of Obama, Clinton" by Times Editor, Tampa Bay Times, 2013 January 20
  11. [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org The Filmmaker Who Made the Anti-Islam Video That Sparked Violent Mideast Protests Is a Ghost,] Gawker
  12. Libya attack: Obama vows justice for killed US envoy, BBC News
  13. Benghazi Statement Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 28 Sept. 2012.
  14. [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org Florida Pastor Who Promoted Riot-Sparking Anti-Islam Film Unrepentant,] Gawker
  15. "Dove World sold, soon moving to Tampa Bay area" by Christopher Curry, Gainesville Sun, 2013 July 15
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Incendiary pastor is moving to Manatee" by Shelby Webb, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2013 August 25
  17. "Florida Not For Profit Corporation DOVE CHARISMATIC MINISTRIES, INC.", sunbiz.org (Florida Division of Corporations) search
  18. "Pastor Terry Jones Arrested Before Planned Quran Burning" by Eyder Peralta, NPR, September 11 2013
  19. "Pastor arrested in Polk before he could burn Korans" by Times Staff, Tampa Bay Times, 2013 September 11
  20. "You never know who is driving" by Chris Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2017 April 4
  21. "The Koran-burning preacher has been driving for Uber" by Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, 2017 February 4