Florida Pastor Terry Jones Arrested for Trying to Burn Nearly 3,000 Korans on 9/11

Last year, Florida pastor Terry Jones had the divinely inspired idea of turning September 11 into "International Judge Muhammad Day." The act of bigoted brilliance sparked protests in many Muslim countries. Some experts even credited Jones' stunt with inspiring the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Like a true religious zealot, however, Jones just upped the ante for this year's anniversary. Not to be dissuaded by either common sense or the teachings of Jesus Christ, the handlebar-mustached hate-monger doused nearly 3,000 Korans in kerosene. He was about to set them ablaze when cops intervened.

See also: Florida Pastor Terry Jones' Latest Stunt Tied To Attacks In Egypt and Libya, Where U.S. Ambassador Killed

According to Reuters, Jones and six supporters had driven to the town of Mulberry near Tampa to torch the holy books.

The über-Christian convoy stopped at a fast-food restaurant with 2,998 of the fuel-soaked Korans -- one for each person killed September 11, 2001 -- already loaded onto a giant barbecue in the back of a truck.

But when the pastor pulled back onto the street, cops in unmarked squad cars swooped in.

Jones and fellow Stand Up America Now supporter Marvin Wayne Sapp Jr. were arrested, according to Sapp's wife, Stephanie. The two men were charged with unlawful conveyance of fuel, a felony. The Polk County Sheriff's Office also charged Jones with a misdemeanor of openly carrying a firearm.

Police "informed them that it is illegal to have a grill with kerosene in it in any way behind a vehicle traveling down the highway,'' Sapp said. She added that the event was intended to raise awareness about "the dangers of Islam."

"We had the Korans inside the grill, and we had prepared them by soaking with kerosene, just like you would if you had charcoal on a grill and poured lighter fluid on it," Sapp said.

Jones first gained international notoriety in 2010, when he threatened to burn a Koran. He was talked out of it, only to later ratchet up his bizarre provocations.

In 2011, his "Burn a Koran Day" sparked bloody protests in Afghanistan. And then there was last year's miniature holy war.

It's not surprising, therefore, that Jones' very un-Christianlike antics have earned him a death sentence in Egypt.

Follow Michael E. Miller on Twitter

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.