Mulberry, Florida -- A Mulberry resident has invited a known, anti-Islamic radical to his town and it has his neighbors worried.
Bill McKinney has been supporting Dr. Terry Jones for a few years and knew he would need a location on Sept. 11 to burn 2,998 Koran books as part of his annual demonstration that Dr. Jones says he does.
Dr. Jones recently sold his Gainesville property where he says he has burned the Korans before.
"I called him to ask if he had found a place, and then it popped out of mouth to invite him to have it right here," said McKinney.
10 News asked Dr. Jones why he chose Mulberry.
"We did not choose Mulberry, Mulberry chose us," he said.
The announcement was made in a Press Release from Dr. Jones that Mulberry would be the location.
Read the press release in its entirety here
"When I heard that, I thought, 'not in Mulberry!'" said Suzanne Carter-Moore.
Carter-Moore quickly organized a group and created a Facebook page called, "Not in Mulberry", which has generated nearly 180 likes as of Monday afternoon.
"Why would you come to little Mulberry that is peaceful and diverse?" Carter-Moore said she wonders. "We like it that way. Why come to our town and stir up the pot of hate and division?"
Dr. Jones said not everyone in Mulberry is with Carter-Moore's group.
"We wish people would be more informed and understand what Islam actually stands for at its core," he said. "I think people get confused."
The public gets confused, he said, about the purpose of his demonstration.
"We by no means, and never in any of the protests we have ever done, demonstrated any type of hate. And we definitely do not hate Muslims," explained Jones. "We respect their right here in America to be here, to practice their religion under the first amendment. It's not about Muslims; it is about that violent core message that Islam has."
Dr. Jones and McKinney are not concerned over the small group of people in Mulberry that do not want them there. They have a right to their cause, they said.
"The fact they don't want us there, that of course doesn't bother us because we feel there is a higher calling in our message and a higher purpose," said Jones. "And there are probably people who do want us there and who do believe in the message."
"No I don't have any concerns," he said. "This is America. I don't care what anybody says, this is still America."
10 News talked with the Mayor of Mulberry. He said he does not support Dr. Jones, but also said McKinney's home is on the outskirts of town in Willow Oak, even though every map and address brings up McKinney's home in Mulberry. He said it is just outside, in the rural area that does not give him jurisdiction.
The "Not in Mulberry" group realized this and said on it's Facebook page, "We are representing our city and our township and we are proud to be that voice."
The "Not in Mulberry" Facebook page group meets weekly at Toppers Pizza.