MULBERRY, Fla. – A Florida pastor was arrested Wednesday before he could set fire to almost 3,000 Qurans on fire to protest the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Polk County sheriff’s officials said the Rev. Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor were arrested in the small central Florida town of Mulberry on Wednesday.
Media reports said he was stopped in a pickup truck that was towing a metal trailer filled with Qurans soaked in kerosene.
He had said he planned to burn 2,998 Qurans – one for every victim who died in the 9/11 attacks 12 years ago.
Jones is the pastor of a small evangelical Christian church. His congregation burned a Quran in March 2011 and last year he promoted an anti-Muslim film. His actions have sparked violence in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Jones’ website announced the plan to burn the Qurans in the Tampa Bay area on Wednesday at 5 p.m. His arrest came only minutes before the scheduled burning. As pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Jones’ controversial stances have drawn widespread scrutiny.
Last April, he organized a Sanford event in support of George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.