Terry Jones, the famed pastor who threatened to burn the Koran in New York, is coming to Toronto on Thursday for a protest at Queen's Park outside the Ontario Legislature. The protest is described as a "freedom showdown" and memorial for Sgt. Chris Speer.
Last month, thousands of Muslims gathered in front of the United States Consulate in Toronto. They held a demonstration against the “Innocence of Muslims” film as well as against U.S. foreign policy.
One month later, Canadians United Against Terror and For Love of Charter are holding a rally at Queen’s Park where hundreds will remember Sgt. Chris Speer, the unarmed American medic killed by Omar Khadr, and discuss the issue of freedom of speech.
Slated to attend is Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who claims he has received more than 400 death threats and has a $6.4 million bounty on him. Jones will be the featured speaker and will debate Toronto Imam Steve Rockwell.
“As we see the outbreaks of violence in the Middle East concerning the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, here in America and in western countries, we see a definite lack, again, of Islam condemning those terrorist attacks,” said Jones in a press release. “Let us join together, stand up and protect our rights in America of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. On October 11, we will be in Toronto, Canada, where there is also a Muslim problem.”
It is still unknown, however, if Jones can attend. It was reported earlier this week that Jones may not be permitted to enter Canada, but the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has refused to comment on the situation. The controversial pastor is currently banned in Great Britain and Germany.
Thursday’s event will be one of many, according to event organizer Allan Einstoss of Canadians United Against Terror in an interview with the Toronto Sun, who noted that attendees will be upset if Jones is unable to attend.
“In that case we have back-up speakers," he said. "There will be a heavy police presence and we expect an informative and peaceful event.”