US pastor who vowed to burn Quran billed $180,000

Monday, September 20, 2010

NEW YORK - The pastor of a Florida church who threatened to burn the Quran on the 9/11 anniversary to protest the 2001 terror attacks in the US, has been hit with a whopping $180,000 bill as cost of security cover for his stunt.

The city of Gainesville, Florida, plans to send a bill estimated at more than $180,000 to pastor Terry Jones for security costs, CNN has reported.

According to Gainesville police spokeswoman Cpl. Tscharna Senn, police agencies spent more than a month working on plans to provide security to the community surrounding Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center — the planned site of the Quran burning.

Jones later called off his plan amid pressure from world leaders.

But, the Gainesville police department said it spent more than $100,000 while the Alachua county sheriff’s Office spent an estimated $80,000.

“We have 286 sworn officers and almost everyone was working either at the Dove Center or at other soft targets,” Senn said. “Unless you were sick or injured, you were working” the day the burning was to take place, the spokesman added.

Officers secured malls in the region, the University of Florida’s football stadium and areas around the church in the days leading up to the planned event.

Jones, however, said the church was “not aware that we would be billed for security”.

“If we had known this in advance, then we would have refused to have security,” he said.

Jones had told authorities he received numerous death threats after the announcement that he will throw 200 copies of the Quran on a bonfire on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

According to British newspaper Daily Mail, the security bill could bankrupt Jones and his church which has less than 40 members. The 20-acre site that houses the church is up for sale and Jones has said he wants to move to Tampa to a smaller site.

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