Few show up to hear controversial pastor Terry Jones in Tampa

10:37 PM, Oct 10, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida-- Terry Jones brought his church band from Gainesville and sold t-shirts that read "Islam is the devil", but he may have booked the wrong sized ballroom at the Tampa Convention Center.

"We are in a pitiful condition in our country and this meeting proves that," Jones said as he took the stage Sunday night.

Only about 10 people showed up to the 500 seat ballroom.

In an interview with 10 News before speaking to the crowd, Jones expected much more.

"We are hoping, of course, to fill the room up," he said.

Jones is best known for threatening to hold "International Burn a Quran Day" last month, which drew heavy criticism from many, including President Obama.

Flora Reece from Tampa is one of the few who wanted to hear what Jones had to say. "I supported him in that, even though he did not follow through with it," Reece said of the Quran burning. "The reason I did is they've burned our Bibles for centuries."

There was extra security inside and outside the convention center on Sunday, but 10 News could not find a single protestor.

This was the start to what Jones calls "Stand up America" rallies.

He's taking his message of free speech across the country.

"To be honest, we really don't regret anything.  We felt we did what God told us to do," Jones said of the worldwide attention he drew to Gainesville.

He plans to move his church to Tampa, holding regular meetings by the end of the month.

He says he'll spend the next couple days looking for a new site, possibly near downtown or the Howard Frankland Bridge.

"We feel that our message would be received here.  That people would possibly take the time to really listen to what we have to say," Jones explained.

He says he's received more than 100 death threats, but has no plans to burn any Qurans in the future.

Adam Freeman, 10 News

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