Pastor Terry Jones, famous for constantly threatening to burn Korans (and sometimes following through), won't be able to mark September 11th as he'd planned this year after being pulled over and arrested in a truck full of nearly 3,000 kerosene-soaked copies of the Muslim holy book.
Those not on Jones's mailing list may have missed his plan to burn the Korans Wednesday evening to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, which he's been advertising heavily for weeks. But that plan seems to have unraveled a bit when Jones's organization, Stand Up America Now, had to change the location of their Koran-burning event at the last minute. Because of that, the group didn't have a permit to set up and burn 2,998 copies of the Koran in a public park, all but begging the Polk County Sheriff's department to arrest him. Jones, anticipating a conflict, had said that he planned to go ahead with the event anyway, without a permit. But he didn't even make it to the park, probably because his transportation strategy for all those Korans was mind-blowingly hazardous:
Jones's vehicle was pulled over by the sheriff's office for allegedly transporting hazardous materials. Some of the 3,000 kerosene-soaked Korans were apparently inside a grill that was being towed behind a truck.
Jones was with Wayne Sapp, a pastor and friend of Jones who's often even more excited about burning Korans than is Jones himself. When Jones's church staged a Koran burning in the spring of 2011, the one that started deadly riots in Afghanistan, it was Sapp, and not Jones, who actually did the burning of the book. Both were arrested by the sheriff's office. Sapp's wife Stephanie Sapp said that the arrests were "a very dangerous sign to us as Americans, as citizens, and to the First Amendment."
Without any Korans to burn, or anti-Muslim pastors to do it, the planned event has been cancelled.
Update: here are the charges against Sapp and Jones, via the AP:
Polk County sheriff's deputies arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr., 44, each on a felony charge of unlawful conveyance of fuel ... Sheriff's officials said that 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.
Both were being booked Wednesday night into the Polk County jail.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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