The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Muslim Basher Terry Jones Stirs Angry Demonstration in Dearborn

By Robert Steinback on May 2, 2011 - 4:19 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Despite what appeared to be his best efforts, anti-Muslim Koran-burning publicity hound Terry Jones failed to ignite a full-blown civil disturbance during a rally Friday on the steps of City Hall in Dearborn, Mich., a city whose population is one-third Muslim. But there was anger aplenty among Jones’ detractors, who turned out in large numbers to heckle him despite the pleas of local Muslim leaders to just ignore the obnoxious pastor.

Jones, head of the tiny Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., delivered a speech before several dozen supporters and an estimated 600 counter-protesters whose shouts, noisemakers and chants of “Go home, Terry Jones,” and, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” often drowned out the preacher’s amplified voice.

Jones appeared to savor taunting his detractors, according to media reports and an amateur video posted online. He began his talk by claiming that Dearborn and other parts of the United States are under Shariah law — the Islamic code of religious and moral behavior. “We will not allow Shariah to be instituted” in the United States, he said. Jones told the crowd that Islam promotes lying.

At one point, Jones ignored police and walked right up to the barricades behind which the counter-protesters stood, infuriating them to the point that some threw bottles, shoes (a symbol of disrespect in Arab culture) and even spit in the direction of Jones’ supporters. Arab-American leaders and police succeeded in restraining demonstrators who breached the police barricades.

Press reports did not indicate whether Jones uttered his signature phrase — “Islam is of the devil” — which also happens to be the title of his book and the slogan adorning the baseball caps, mugs and T-shirts being hawked at the website.

Jones became internationally infamous after threatening to burn a Koran on Sept. 11, 2010, and then actually doing so in March in a video posted to the church’s Stand Up America Now website. The March event sparked riots in Afghanistan that killed more than 20 people, including at least seven United Nations workers. Rather than express remorse at the deaths of innocent people, Jones opted to enhance his new notoriety by staging a Good Friday protest at the Islamic Center of America, one of the nation’s largest mosques. It’s located in the heart of Dearborn, the nation’s most visible concentration of Muslims.

That protest never happened. A local prosecutor took him to court, where a jury decided that he would be required to post a “peace bond,” which the judge set at $1. He and his colleague Wayne Sapp were jailed briefly after refusing to pay the $1 bond. They missed their planned protest, but got something even better in return —  status as First Amendment crusaders. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said the peace bond statute represented prior restraint of legal speech. The conservative Thomas More Law Center has taken on Jones as a client in what it promises will be a lawsuit against city and county officials.

  • dfab

    I’m not a Terry Jones fan and burning the Koran was way out of line, but anger should be more directed at the killers in Afghanistan. Our rights and ability to speak openly should not be based upon what we believe the retaliation is of Islamic radicals. The question I always ask is why isn’t the Muslic community outraged when a Muslic extremist kills someone or blows something up. Jerry Jones is not responsible for the killing in Afghanistan. The killers in Afghanistan are responsible for the deaths. We can’t be held hostage because radicals could kill someone. Someone is obviously supporting these extremists. The Muslim community needs to work together and shut these people down and show the world that they are a peaceful religion that wants to co-exist with people of other beliefs, even people that have believe like Terry Jones.

  • nazi hater

    all paths lead to god. what ever god god is, god is certainly not human. the religious right needs people like terry jones to maintain its status as the only ones who can save souls and keep us out of an imaginary hell. all they want is control of peoples minds and they are doing a decent job of it. all religion is harmful unless it tolerant of other peoples beliefs.

  • Peter Hockley

    Check out what we have managed to do here, in, the UK. To disarm another bunch of Knuckle Draggers called the “English Defence League”. Every time I visit this site it proves to me the power of true humanity over sectarian and cultural differences.

  • MrsCaptJack

    I have to agree with you, Sam. Education is key. The hardest thing to do, it seems, is to get people to agree to disagree. For example, when people come to my neighbourhood and try to “save” me, they can be very forceful about trying to get me to talk with them ~ all without even having a clue what faith I am. They are either Morman, Jehovah Witness, or in a very small percentage of cases, Baptist. Every one of those faiths is deemed to be “Christian” yet they all claim to have the one pipeline to God. When I go and ask my Muslim friends about their religion and their ways, they my questions and acknowledge Christianity and the existence of Christ. Many of them have told me that they believe that God is God, no matter how you address Him (or Her). I find that very interesting.

  • KJ Kernen

    Just like Donald Trump, this guy is relying upon free publicity. If we don’t give him any attention & don’t allow him to “grand stand”, he will never be allowed to think he speaks for anyone but himself.

  • Sam Molloy

    Osama Bin Ladin and Charles Manson never personally killed anybody, that we know of anyway. They were guilty of coercing others to do it for them. So there is a legal precedent for prosecuting hate speech, if it’s proven to have resulted in death or violence. I say try harder to educate fanaticism out of all societies and then lock up the stragglers.

  • michael carmichael

    There is no doubt that Terry Jones is a wingnut, but so, too, was Hitler in the early 1920s. Islamophobia is far greater than Terry Jones and his tiny flock. Thanks to Jones, Franklin Graham and many others, hatred of Muslims is mushrooming in America and around the world. Please, continue to inform us about Islamophobia in the USA – as well as attempts by American fanatics to foster its growth on a global basis.

  • RockyMissouri

    This creep has taunted people, hoping to incite some kind of chaos.. He only succeeded in looking like a fool. It’s unfortunate that he uses our free speech law AGAINST us and that the ACLU will have to represent him…! What a screwed-up world..! I do not fault the good citizens of Dearborn for losing their head for a moment: we are only human, after all.. You have to give them credit….how would WE compare…?? Something is very, very wrong with this man….he needs to be sedated….as the song goes.

  • Ishamel Royer

    I am not a fan of Terry Jones but he is not responsible for the actions of others. The Muslim majority of Dearborn is responsible for their actions and only them must take full responsibility. Christians did not riot when David Wood and Nabil Quresshi were arrested for exercising their 1st Amendment rights to free speech in Dearborn – who later won the spurious case filed against them.

    I was dismayed at the hate speech coming from the crowd of my fellow Muslims. For example, “F*** You Terry Jones” “Die Terry Jones”, “We will kill you Terry Jones”.

    Why is their no mention from the SPLC of the 300-400 hate speech Death Threats police Chief Haddad confirmed on the stand against Jones? Why does the SPLC cast a blind eye to the hate coming from the Muslim community and three arrests for assault and mayhem in Dearborn.

    It is against the law to throw objects at another person – that includes shoes, water bottles, and glass bottles. That is an illegal violent action centered in a blind hatred.

    There is still time for the SPLC to stand up against hate and violence even when the Islamists are responsible. I call on the SPLC to condemn the Dearborn Muslim community for their recorded hate speech and violent actions. Justice is blind – or so I thought

  • Tom kissner

    I have commented on these pages before about this guy and his inflammatory antics. I’ll say it again: 1.) The lives of Americans travelling or working abroad could be placed in danger from radicals infuriated by needless insults to their faith. And 2.) The law-abiding loyal American Moslem community here at home, subjected without any cause to constant suspicion and hateful acts, could be pushed closer to the orbit of these radical fanatics.
    We need to somehow find a legal way to stop the book burning by this character and anyone who may try to imitate him.

  • Terry Washington

    Surely the wisest thing to do is to ignore this loon???


  • skinnyminny

    Well! I wonder what type of lawsuits the cities and others will be hit with when someone gets hurt or killed behind his tactics – remember Virginia Tech? It’s not like people are saying they don’t know him, or of him due to being a loner – he’s out in public and known around the world.

    I think now is the time more than ever to do something with this guy – especially with the news of OBL, this just may be a tipping point.

  • Matthew Bright

    This guy is in business with the news media. The news media is responsible for this idiot’s antics being disseminated all over the planet, and has now resulted in the murder of a score of UN workers.

    The money the media is making off this creep is blood money. They should be ashamed.