UPDATE, DEC. 2, 3:06 P.M.: Rev. Terry Jones told us by phone that the arrest threat he received by UCI police on Thursday is "an absolute outrage and a violation of our First Amendment rights."
"We are definitely going to take legal action against the UC Irvine police department," he said.
"It is our understanding that on a regular basis, a radical imam comes onto the campus proclaiming, 'Death to America, death to Israel,'" Jones said. "We should let the Muslim community know that in one sense, they're very welcome in America. They are welcome to worship, to build mosques. What we are definitely against is Sharia (Islamic law). To be in this country, you must honor and obey and submit to the Constitution of the United States."
UC Irvine officials shut down parts of campus Thursday morning due to "credible information" about "suspicious activity" that raised safety concerns. According to Jones, some suspicious activity occurred at his hotel, Red Roof Inn in Santa Ana. On Wednesday, he said, hotel staff overheard two Muslims giving out his room number on the phone. Jones said he was moved to a different hotel, and the FBI is currently investigating the two individuals.
A representative from the Santa Ana Police Department could not immediately be reached.
Jones claims that he tried to obtain the proper permits to host a rally at UCI, but once campus officials discovered who he was, their response "turned from 'no problem' to 'no, you cannot be here.'" When he and Sapp arrived on campus on Thursday morning, they were each issued citations and warned that if they came on campus within the next seven days, they would be arrested.
"We definitely do have plans to come back and have our day," Jones said.
The Florida preacher regularly visits Orange County to appear on The Truth TV, an Arabic language Christian network based in Santa Ana.
UPDATE, DEC. 1, 1:35 P.M.: UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and UCIPD chief of police Paul Henisey sent this update to the university community on the "suspicious activity that raised safety concerns about the self-announced appearance of Terry Jones."
Earlier today, we received credible information about suspicious activity that raised safety concerns about the self-announced appearance of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who made news earlier this year by burning the Quran. Based on this information, we secured the area where he announced he would appear, and canceled surrounding events. This was a precautionary measure to protect the safety of our students and our community.
The suspicious activity involved outside individuals not associated with the university.
Our police have been working closely with campus administration and with local and federal law enforcement officials to monitor the situation. Updates will be provided when available.
Michael V. Drake, M.D.
Chief of Police
Tom Vasich, a university spokesman, said that Jones was in contact with UCI officials this morning, and was told he would be arrested if he returns in order to "protect the safety of UCI students and the campus community."
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 1 11:36 A.M. An email and text alert was sent out this morning to everyone on the UC Irvine campus:
"ZotAlert: Anteater Plaza, Ring Rd, flagpoles, and Pereira are closed immediately to pedestrian and vehicular traffic until further notice for security reasons."
We thought it had something to do with the crazy study party happening today
, but it turns out, Rev. Terry Jones
was set to host a rally near the flagpoles, the school's so-called "free speech zone," from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
NBC Los Angeles
reports that a protest was planned against the controversial Florida pastor and presidential candidate, who wrote the book, Islam is of the Devil
, and drew nationwide criticism in 2010 for
threatening to burn burning a copy of the Quran
"There are death threats that the campus has received," Jones told NBC LA.
According to the news outlet, Jones was told by university police that if he comes back to the campus today for the rally, he will be immediately arrested.