Pastor Terry Jones.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Florida pastor who was at the center of a Koran-burning controversy in 2010 spoke defiantly when asked on his ranking second on al-Qaida's most wanted list, the Bradenton Herald reported Friday.
"If they (terrorists) come, we're going to try to get them before they get us."
Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, had written a book titled Islam is the Devil
which promoted the view that the Muslim faith was a dangerous religion, though he himself maintains that not all Muslims are extremists.
"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."
Jones added that the recent events in Paris have only reinforced his convictions regarding Islam.
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo
magazine, during which 10 of its employees and two police officers were killed, but which was only part of the three day crisis in the French capital, is significant since Stephane Charbonnier, one of the satirical publication's editors, was also on the al-Qaida hit-list.
The gunmen who struck the magazine head-quarters, Said and Charif Kouachi, French citizens of Algerian decent, were allegedly trained in Yemen by al-Qaida's local affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, before returning to France.
Jones had burned a Koran as recently as 2011, despite a request by then-secretary of defense Robert Gates to refrain from doing so, but his most recent venture has taken him into the culinary trade, operating a fry stand at a small local mall. The sign of the small business, called "Fry Guys Gourmet Fries", is plastered by Jones' likeness, a decision that has sparked concern in the mall's manager who was not aware of Jones' past until he spoke with a representative from the local news service.
Jones agreed to remove his face from advertisement but insisted that the change would not hamper his ambitions to open more stands in more locations.
The controversial reverend has received approximately 400 to 500 death threats and has alerted authorities to the fact that there is a $6.5 million dollar bounty on him offered by al-Qaida but has only received, in his words, "semi-regular" protection.