The Rev. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who has garnered worldwide attention for his plan earlier this week to burn Koran on September 11, arrived in New York late Friday night, according to CNN.
“I don’t have anything to say right now,” he told a group of reporters who followed him out of LaGuardia Airport and to a taxi cab.
K.A. Paul, an evangelist in contact with the Rev. Terry Jones, said Friday there will be no burning of the book Saturday evening, as had been originally planned.
The Florida pastor will be in New York City to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” Saturday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday, citing a network spokesman.
The pastor, whose plans to burn copies of the Koran appear to be on hold, has sought to meet with Imam Faisal Rauf, a partner in the project to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks north of Ground Zero. No meeting has so far been scheduled.
Rob Schenck, president of the Washington-based National Clergy Council, said the imam’s representatives have demurred on the possibility of a meeting this weekend.
Schenck had been trying to facilitate a meeting between Jones and the imam and was planning to fly to New York Friday evening to meet with the imam over the weekend.
But Jones’ decision to impose a deadline on the imam offended the imam’s representatives and dashed any hopes of a meeting, at least for now, Schenck said.
“The people involved in that process feel Pastor Jones and his people are unpredictable,” Schenck said. “They no longer feel safe or confident that such a meeting would be treated confidentially, so that has created a problem.”
Jones earlier offered to cancel the burning of the Muslim holy book if Rauf agreed to drop the mosque construction project.
Later Friday, Jones and his colleague Dr. K.A. Paul said the burning would not go ahead, even after their two-hour deadline passed without any word from Rauf.
“I want to be clear and confirm one hundred percent that there will not be Korans burning tomorrow,” Paul said at a Friday press conference.
A law enforcement source Friday told the WSJ that Jones was expected to arrive in New York after 10:00pm local time and will say at a Midtown hotel. The New York Police Department says it has planned no additional security measures for Jones’ visit.
“We’ll just be cognizant of the fact that he’s here and the fact that his presence may generate controversy,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.
Tensions have run high in recent weeks over the proposed Islamic center and mosque just north of Ground Zero. Jones’ pledge to burn the Koran — along with his potential visit to New York City — further inflamed the controversy.
Thousands are expected at Saturday’s 9/11 memorial service, with thousands more likely to attend various rallies, both pro- and anti-Islamic center. Browne said the NYPD has sufficient resources to police all Saturday’s events. [via Yahoo News and CNN]