MULBERRY (CBSMiami/AP) — A Central Florida pastor who made headlines in 2010 when he threatened to burn a Quran on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks has been arrested.
Polk County sheriff’s deputies arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr., 44, after they were caught in a pickup truck towing a large barbecue-style grill filled with 2,998 kerosene-soaked Qurans to a park where they were planned to burn them to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Jones and Sapp were each charged with a felony charge of unlawful conveyance of fuel. Jones was also charged with unlawful open-carry of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and that Sapp faces a charge of having no valid registration for the trailer.
Mulberry’s mayor, along with area elected officials, a sheriff’s deputy and several Polk County residents have talked about the need to express love and tolerance for all faiths on Sept. 11.
Jones is the pastor of a small evangelical Christian church. While he did call off burning a Quran in 2010, his congregation did burn the Muslim holy book in March 2011 and last year he promoted an anti-Muslim film. All three incidents sparked violence in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The most violent protest happened after the 2011 Quran burning as hundreds of protesters stormed a United Nations compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards.
Jones has repeatedly ignored pleas from the U.S. military asking him not to stage his protests. Military officials say his actions put American and Western troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in danger.
Mulberry is a town of about 3,000 between Orlando and Tampa and has no connection to Jones’ church, which recently moved out of its Gainesville building.
An Egyptian court convicted Jones, along with seven Egyptian Coptic Christians, in absentia, sentencing them to death on charges linked to the film. The ruling was seen as largely symbolic because Jones and the other defendants live outside of Egypt.
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