Remember Terry Jones? No, not the “Monty Python” cast member, the other Terry Jones — the one who made headlines a few years ago because of his plan to burn copies of the Koran. Well, he’s back in the news again, because of a recent change in profession.
Jones made the al-Qaida “most wanted” list for his 2010 plan to burn the Koran on September 11, 2010. While those plans didn’t come to fruition, Jones and members of his church did burn a Koran in 2011. He also promoted an anti-Muslim film in 2012. According to the Florida Times-Union, each of those things caused violence in the Middle East.
Now, Terry Jones is selling french fries.
The Bradenton Herald says that Jones has opened a business called “Fry Guys Gourmet Fries” in the DeSoto Square Mall, in Bradenton, Florida. Behind the counter, customers are greeted with what the Herald calls a “police sketch” type photo of Jones, along with those of his two co-owners. “We take fries seriously,” says the caption.
Al-Qaida lists Jones as their number two most wanted person, according to one of the group’s propaganda posters. Also on that list was Stephane Charbonnier, editor of Charlie Hebdo, who was killed in the Paris attack on that magazine’s offices. A large “X” was placed over the picture of Charbonnier from the poster, in a tweet that was sent out after the January 7 attack in Paris.
Answering concerns about security from mall management, Jones has agreed to take his picture off the wall, although he says it will remain on the corporate logo. Jones told the Herald that he didn’t think his picture would be that recognizable.
Mall management was “shocked” to learn of Jones’ background.
The DeSoto Square Mall is owned by Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty. Mall manager, Robert Tackett, says that he was “shocked” when he learned of Jones’ background, but that neither he, nor the mall’s owners, have a problem with Jones operating a business on the property. Tackett tells the Herald:
People have an opportunity to do business in America because we are a free country. He [Jones] has not caused any problems or concerns. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard any of this.
Tackett says that the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office contacted him to tell him that there were no security threats to the mall due to Jones’ business. He does say that if he had known who Jones was at the time the lease was signed, he would have asked how Fry Guys was going to be marketed. It is assumed that his concern is over the likenesses of Jones at the business and on the logo. But, Tackett says, Fry Guys has been paying their rent, and now the food court at the mall is 100 percent leased.
Jones says that the Paris terrorist attacks just reinforce his opinions about Islam.
I will continue to speak out against Islam or even if you want to define it as radical Islam. I’m not putting everyone in the same box, but Islam itself is a very oppressive religion.
Spokesman for the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton, Samir Khatib, said that he doesn’t have a problem with Jones running a french fry stand, as long as he doesn’t cause trouble. Khatib tells the Herald that he wishes Jones would stop burning Korans, because the holy book of Islam mentions Jesus far more often than it mentions Mohammed. Khatib says the Koran also mentions Moses and Abraham even more than it mentions Jesus.
The long-term business plan for Fry Guys is to turn it into a franchise operation, says Jones. Whether his notoriety will add to, or detract from, the appeal of the business remains to be seen. For his part, Jones says he isn’t afraid of being attacked by terrorists.
We’re not fearful, and we’re not going to run and hide. If they come, we’re going to try to get them before they get us.
Here’s your jihad. Would you like fries with that?
Image via Charles Schelle/Bradenton Herald