Qur’an-burning pastor denied right to protest in Michigan, faces trial to decide if protest can be held
Whatever you may think of Terry Jones and Qur’an-burning, this is a freedom of speech issue. If Terry Jones can be denied his right to protest peacefully because of the fear of violence from Muslims, the Islamic supremacists are already in charge and controlling the agenda. And that is, of course, their goal. There has already been a great deal of silliness about this case — the mayor of Dearborn issued an open letter to Jones invoking the existence of a pork products factory and strip joints within city limits to prove that Dearborn was not implementing Islamic law. But no one is saying that Dearborn is a Sharia-ruled entity on par with Saudi Arabia and Iran. The issue is whether or not Terry Jones’s freedom of expression is being infringed in order to placate Muslims in accord with Islamic law. And obviously it is.
He should not, meanwhile, pay the bond for the extra police. The Mayor of Dearborn should be affirming and defending the freedom of expression and not making him shoulder the expense himself.
“Terry Jones won’t pay bond; jury to weigh protest,” by Oralandar Brand-Williams for The Detroit News, April 21:
Dearborn “” A Quran-burning pastor will face a trial this afternoon, after refusing to pay a bond ordered by a judge for his planned Good Friday protest of the Islamic Center of North America.
Terry Jones’ decision came after Judge Mark Somers of 19th District Court in Dearborn ruled that prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jones’ planned demonstration on a small median outside the Ford Road mosque could breach the peace.
“I’m not surprised,” by the ruling, Jones said.
He opted for the trial after Somers said he could either pay the unspecified bond or face trial.
Somers began impaneling a jury this afternoon.
The ruling puts into question Jones’ demonstration, which has sparked arguments about the line between free speech and public safety. Prosecutors have sought the unspecified bond “” Jones said it was up to $100,000 “” for extra police in fear of a riot.
The hearing comes a day after Dearborn city officials denied Jones a permit to protest on public land near the mosque citing public safety concerns. They say he could face arrest if he carries through the protest. Before the hearing, Jones “” who wore a leather jacket and jeans “” said he planned to proceed with the demonstration despite the permitting issues or peace bond.
“This will not stop us,” Jones said before the hearing that began at 3 p.m.
The courtroom was packed mostly with journalists and a few spectators including Richard Fournier. The Redford Township resident said he supports the minister’s right to free speech but thinks he is misguided.
“He’s just grandstanding to get attention,” said Fournier.
Outside the court, a handful of protestors gathered against Jones. One held a sign reading, “Racist Terry Jones Get out of Town.”
The issue is also being watched very closely by the ACLU of Michigan, which planned to have a representative in the courtroom today. The organization wants to make sure Jones’ First Amendment rights are not being violated, said ACLU of Michigan spokeswoman Rana Elmir….
Well, that’s a welcome turnabout for the ACLU.