A federal judge refused to let a Muslim file a third amended complaint that claims a Christian church in Florida violated the First Amendment with its ultimately successful, highly publicized attempts to burn the quran last year.
Courthouse News Though Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center did not burn the Muslim holy book on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as it planned , the church ultimately set fire to the book in April 2011 after finding it guilty of having caused “murder, rape and terrorism” in a mock trial.
Syed Mohammed Iqtidar Haider, a Muslim, filed for an injunction against the Rev. Terry D. Jones, who publicized a Quran book burning on Sept. 11, 2010, at his church, the Dove Church Outreach Center. The motion was denied the day it was filed because Haider neither served the motion on Jones nor filed an affidavit as required. After attracting international criticism for his demonstration, Jones ultimately canceled the event .
By March, however, Jones announced plans to judge the Quran in a mock March 2011 trial. Signs outside of the Dove Church read: “Burn it. Drown it. Shred it. Shoot it.”
Haider filed a second amended complaint, which was again dismissed because it not state a cause for relief. It also exceeded the maximum page limit and was not filed on the standard complaint form.
Jones announced that his church found the Quran guilty of murder, rape and terrorism, and that his church subsequently burned it.
In April 2011, Haider moved to file a third amended complaint, claiming Jones violated his First Amendment rights by all the aforementioned actions and others, including posting a sign at Dove Church in July 2009 that read “Islam is of the Devil.” Haider also challenged the church’s July 2010 protest at the Islamic Center of Gainesville in which Dove congregants wore shirts saying “Islam is of the Devil” and carried signs that related Islam to terrorism. Haider said Jones’ propaganda caused the deaths of two people and injured four others during Afghanistan protests.
Haider sought to have the city manager, sheriff, police chief and fire chief of Gainesville release any records they have on the Dove Church. He also sought a hearing at which he could “explain the First Amendment in the light of the verses of Qur’an”.
Haider went on to say that if the court accepted his explanation of the First Amendment, he wanted to submit additional claims for relief. U.S. District Judge Gary Jones in Gainesville rejected the motion on July 15.
“Plaintiff’s complaint falls squarely within the definition of frivolous,” Jones wrote. “Plaintiff appears to allege not that his own First Amendment rights were violated, but that Jones, in the course of exercising his First Amendment rights, expressed himself in ways that plaintiff contends are outside the scope of First Amendment protection. The First Amendment grants rights and cannot be invoked by a private citizen to curtail speech he finds disagreeable.”
“Because the flaws in plaintiff’s complaints are so numerous and so fundamental, the court concludes that granting plaintiff a further opportunity to amend would be futile and would simply be a further waste of scarce and valuable judicial resources,” Jones concluded.