Terry Jones was fined $3,800 by a German court for fraud (Dark side of mastermind behind anti-Islam video)
By: Sabir Shah
LAHORE: The 60-year old American pastor Terry Jones, the mastermind behind the blasphemous anti-Islam video film, was fined $3,800 by a German court for using the title of a “doctor,” when all he possessed was an honorary degree from an unaccredited school.
According to American media reports, he was also accused by his daughter for putting church donations in his pocket.
The ABC News had aired a report on September 7, 2010: “A former hotel manager, Jones, who worked as a missionary in Europe for 30 years, took over as head of the Dove World Outreach Center, a fundamentalist Christian church in Gainesville, Florida, in 1996. He is often seen on the church’s 20-acre compound with a pistol strapped to his hip. The property is valued at more than $1.6 million, but the 1,700-square-foot taxable portion is worth only $135,000.
An Associated Press report of September 8, 2010 had stated: “Jones previously founded a small church in Germany, the Christian Community of Cologne, and was accused by his daughter and a former church elder of using donations to enrich him.”
The afore-cited Associated Press report, which was carried by various leading American newspapers such as “The Boston Globe,” had further stated: “He (Jones) says he was given the diploma by the California Graduate School of Theology, an obscure school that boasts on its Web site that it’s so independent, it has never been accredited. In 2002, Jones was convicted by a Cologne administrative court of falsely using the title and was fined $3,800.” The globally-acclaimed American news agency had quoted Stephen Baar, a leader of a church in the German city of Cologne, as saying: “Jones was thrown out over a difference in leadership style.”
Prestigious British newspaper “The Guardian” writes in its September 9, 2010 edition: “The US Pentecostal preacher who ignited an international row with plans to burn copies of the Qur’an was dismissed from the board of a church he founded in Germany after allegations he mistreated his followers.”
The British newspaper also quoted Cologne Church’s Stephen Baar as opining: “He (Jones) only considered his version of Christianity as the right faith and didn’t listen to anyone else. The publicity has been very negative for us.”
Stephan Baar had asserted he was fearful that the “wrong type of worshipper” might now be drawn to the church, namely those who “like the Qur’an-bashing words” of its founder.
“The Guardian” further wrote: “It has emerged that Jones established the Cologne church, a charismatic community of bible fundamentalists, in 1982 after saying he had “received a sign from God. He had hoped to use Cologne as a base from which to spread his message throughout Europe and had voiced his desire to establish similar communities elsewhere on the continent. At its height the group had 800 to 1,000 members, many of them recruited at mass prayer rallies on the outskirts of Cologne and at events held in shopping centres and on the street.”
The Associated Press had claimed in its September 10, 2010 report: “The National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group for theologically conservative Christian churches nationwide, issued a statement July 29 (2010) urging Jones to cancel the burning “in the name and love of Jesus Christ.”
The Associated Press had claimed: “Jones met privately in the church with the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Imam Muhammad Musri, who afterward described their discussion as cordial and polite. At an interfaith news conference in Washington, religious leaders said some have tried unsuccessfully behind the scenes to reach out to Jones and stop him.”
It maintained: “Jones’ road to notoriety began in 1986 in his living room, where he founded Dove World Outreach Centre, which operates out of a sprawling property in Gainesville. Despite its impressive name, the church has only about 50 members. Its property has served as a sometime storage site for Jones’ furniture business, a violation of Dove’s tax-exempt status that was punished with a county fine and partial loss of nonprofit standing.”
It is imperative to note that Jones, an ‘ordained’ leader of the Dove World Outreach Centre, runs this 50-member Florida church his second wife, Sylvia. His first wife, Lisa Jones, had died in 1996.
This church had gained prominence during the late 2000s for its criticism of Islam and gays. It became more widely known around the world after Pastor Jones had planned to burn the Holy Quran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2010.
On March 20, 2011, Jones carried through on his threat, and set the Quran ablaze, following which, protestors in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif had attacked a United Nations Assistance Mission on April 1, 2011, killing at least 12 people, including at least seven UN workers.