For the first time in his several visits to Dearborn, Quran-burning Florida Pastor Terry Jones’s demonstration Saturday in front of the city Islamic Center of America was rather uneventful. Jones and supporters gathered in front of Dearborn’s largest mosque Saturday afternoon to speak out against what they say are signs of Sharia–or Islamic law–in Dearborn and other U.S. cities.
DetroitNews Jones also called for a worldwide burning of the Koran on April 28 if an imprisoned pastor in Iran isn’t freed from a death sentence after converting from Islam to Christianity. “I’m asking the imam of the Islamic Center here in Dearborn to work with me to free Minister Youcef,” said Jones, of Youcef Nadarkhani, currently facing death for preaching Christianity in Iran.
Dearborn Patch While several of Jones’ supporters were heckled by counterprotesters on their way to the grassy area in front of the mosque, no arrests were made and things stayed relatively peaceful.
The majority of the anti-Jones crowd came as part of the southeast Michigan-based activist group By Any Means Necessary. Last June,several members of BAMN were arrested when they mobbed Jones as he attempted to march from Dearborn City Hall to the Arab International Festival.
This Saturday–almost one year to the day since Jones’s first attempt to speak in front of the mosque was thwarted by local officials–he and his supporters were nowhere near the counterprotesters. Instead BAMN members and several local residents stood near Ford Road east of the mosque; some held signs and yelled chants against Jones, while others said they were just there to watch.
Last year, Jones and his associate Wayne Sapp were found “likely to breach the peace” by a jury in Dearborn after their planned protest on Good Friday brought them to the 19th District Court. In that decision, Dearborn Chief Judge Mark Somers ordered Jones and Sapp to pay a $1 peace bond each, and to stay away from the Islamic Center and adjacent area for three years. They refused, and were briefly jailed. Jones and Sapp appealed the ruling, and a Detroit judge overturned the ban on Nov. 11.
Jones, today, spent much of the demonstration listing off what he said is evidence of Sharia Law at work in Dearborn and other U.S. cities. Among his claims, Jones pointed at the installation of footbaths at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the serving of Halal meals at Dearborn Public Schools, and the late-night football practices of the Fordson High School football team held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Arab American News“We think that people like Terry Jones should be stopped from building a movement,” said Donna Stern, a Detroit resident and BAMN member. “This is a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic movement. This man is the perfect example of someone who would incite the type of violence that we saw occur in California when a woman was murdered for wearing a headscarf.” (Except for the fact that she wasn’t murdered for wearing a headscarf and was probably murdered by a family member or friend of a family member)
Tristan Taylor, another BAMN member echoed in on some statements of his own. “We need to make it clear that we won’t tolerate racist thugs and hate speech in our communities. We need to treat this threat seriously and making sure that we are not silent,” Taylor stated. “Hitler started off small and the approach people took was to ignore him. That gave him even more opportunities to build a stronger base. That’s why it’s important that we stop his message now before it grows,” he added. (It’s always amusing when people compare sharia opponents to Hitler, apparently ignorant of the fact that Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem worked together to destroy the Jews)