UPDATE: A report on the April 22 protest has been included at the end of this post.
Fresh on the heels of burning the Koran after staging a “trial” of Islam, an act that led to deadly protests in Afghanistan, Florida pastor Terry Jones is planning a rally outside a mosque in Dearborn, Mich., this week, despite pleas from city officials to abandon his efforts.
Jones told the Detroit Free Press that he plans to visit the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America, to protest Shariah law and widespread jihad. Dearborn police and Wayne County prosecutors have filed a complaint that asks a judge to stop the event.
“The greatest danger is the likelihood of a riot ensuing complete with the discharge of firearms,” prosecutors say in the court filing. Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. also has urged Jones to move his protest to one of the city’s “free speech” zones, including outside City Hall.
Their fears of a violent protest are warranted, given recent events in Afghanistan. Late last month, Jones and his tiny congregation at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., held a little-noticed mock trial and “execution” of the Koran. After word spread that Jones had burned a Koran, an enraged mob stormed a United Nations building, killing men and women inside. Jones called the attack “very tragic” and said “the time has come to hold Islam accountable,” The New York Times reported.
Religious leaders are planning a counter-protest to the latest stunt of this mustachioed pastor, who other religious leaders in Michigan have called an “imposter of the Christian religion.”
Update: Terry Jones’ planned April 22 protest at the Dearborn mosque never took place, due to a last-minute legal contest between Jones and county officials. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office filed a court petition arguing that Jones’ planned protest could incite violence, and asked that Jones be required to post a “peace bond.” That led to a jury trial on Friday, after which the jury ruled against Jones. The judge then ordered that the bond be posted — but set the amount at just $1. Jones and his co-defendant, Wayne Sapp, refused to post the bond, and were briefly jailed. The bond was eventually posted on their behalf and they were quickly released — but by the conclusion of these proceedings, the scheduled time of the protest had passed. Jones has vowed to return to Dearborn for a new protest Friday — not at the mosque, but at Dearborn’s City Hall.