A Florida pastor, notorious for publicly burning copies of the Koran, has removed his image from the front of a mall french fry stand he co-owns over concerns following the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in France, reports the Bradenton Herald.
Pastor Terry Jones, part owner in Fry Guys Gourmet Fries (“We take fries seriously“) located in a Bradenton mall, removed his image which sat on the counter beside pictures of the other two co-owners after the mall manager raised concerns.
“At first I thought the pictures would not be so recognizable,” Jones said. “They were supposed to be more of a cartoon type of thing.”
DeSoto Square Mall manager Robert Tackett was not previously aware of Jones history of burning copies of the Koran which landed him a spot on an al-Qaida ‘wanted dead or alive’ propaganda poster.
Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier who was also on the poster that was re-circulated on Twitter this week with an X over Charbonnier’s face after he was murdered Wednesday in an attack that killed 12 in his Paris office.
Tackett said he was “shocked” to learn of Jones’ background from the Herald, saying the Jones family appeared to be “very nice people” when they signed the lease.
“People have an opportunity to do business in America because we are a free country,” Tackett said. “He has not caused any problems or concerns. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard any of this.”
Jones said he agreed to remove the illustration from the counter, but that he would not be deleting his image from the company logo that adorns the fry stand’s packaging. He added that the events in France have not changed his belief in speaking out against what he calls “radical Islam.”
“I will continue to speak out against Islam or even if you want to define it as radical Islam,” Jones said. “I’m not putting everyone in the same box, but Islam itself is a very oppressive religion.”
According to Samir Khatib –a spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton– everyone has a right to free speech and to start a business, and that he doesn’t have a problem with Jones involvement with the french fry stand “as long as he’s not doing something stupid to invite trouble.”
According to Jones, he has seen a slight uptick in sales since his image began showing up on Twitter earlier this week.