Arrested for something he had not done — not a crime he didn’t commit, mind you, but a crime that no one committed, and something that, if it had been done, isn’t even a crime at all. Except under Islamic law, that is. An update on this story. “Terry Jones says he’ll sue over his arrest,” by Oralandar Brand-Williams and Mark Hicks for The Detroit News, April 25:
The controversy over Florida pastor Terry Jones is unlikely to end anytime soon.
He said he plans to file a lawsuit against the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and other government offices in connection with his arrest Friday following a jury trial that found he was likely to create a “breach of the peace” for plans to protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
And he still vows to conduct his protest, but it will be Friday outside Dearborn City Hall.
“We invite every American who still believes in the freedom and rights that our Constitution guarantees to come and stand with us,” Jones said Sunday.
The controversial Quran-burning pastor said he is working with the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center because “we were arrested for something we had not done.”
Jones’ case is unique, said Richard Thompson, the center’s president and chief counsel. “There are legal experts and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum who agree that what happened to Pastor Jones was a violation of the First Amendment.”
Constitutional law expert Robert Sedler said he is glad Jones is challenging the “bizarre” ruling by 19th District Judge Mark Somers requiring Jones to post a “peace bond,” jailing him for refusing and ordering him to stay away from the mosque for three years “” all before Jones held the demonstration.
“The Supreme Court says you cannot deny a permit because of the message,” said Sedler, a Wayne State University Law School professor. “The U.S. Constitution supersedes everything, which is why this is so bizarre.”
At the trial, prosecutors cited an imam’s remark that some see burning a Quran as worth 1,000 lives to explain why violence might erupt.
Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, whom prosecutors were quoting about the Quran burning, said while safety concerns were legitimate, he was referring to reaction abroad. “I had no concerns at all that our community would react violently,” he said….
Even if that is true, the responsibility for what people do abroad lies with them, not with Terry Jones.