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Local News / Religion

Sunday, 1 May, 2011 1:42 AM

Rev. Terry Jones finally delivers speech at Dearborn City Hall; protestors attempt to riot


Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones addresses a group of 50 supporters on the steps of the Dearborn City Hall.

by Jason Rzucidlo



DEARBORN, Mich. -- It took an hour in jail, a $1 peace bond payment and a week. However, Controversial Pastor Terry Jones eventually delivered his rally on the steps of the Dearborn City Hall on Friday afternoon. Jones is the reverend of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. He originally planned to hold his protest on Good Friday in front of the Islamic Center of America, which is also in Dearborn, Mich. That didn't work out. There were close to 500 counter protestors and about 50 supporters who joined him on both sides of Michigan Avenue.

"I believe our experience last Thursday or Friday in the court, it was something that was very disgraceful," the Florida pastor said to the crowd. "We have a very serious issue in America. We are headed in a very dangerous direction. The Constitution says we are allowed to have peaceful assembly. We are not governed by the Quran. We are not governed by Sharia. The First Amendment was broken on Friday of last week. Nowhere in the Constitution will you find free speech zones. The United States of America is a free speech zone.

Jones spoke about various topics including radical Islam, Sharia Law, free speech zones, the news media, President Obama's re-election and much more. He finally emerged from the building at around 5:15 p.m. The speech was scheduled to last about three hours, however it all was all wrapped up in about an hour and half. Other speakers included Jones' assistant, Pastor Wayne Sapp, and one other supporter.

"It is not your job to tell us what we should believe," the reverend told the news media. "It is your job to give us information. Anybody here from CNN? They broke the First Amendment. I did an interview. They later came out and said the interview was bad and hateful. They decided not to air. We must obey the Constitution of the United States of America."

Supporters of the pastor were located on the grassy area in front of city hall on the southern side of Michigan Avenue. Counter protestors were located on the northern side of Michigan Avenue. Both sides of the road had barricades to keep them separate. It was very hard to hear what the reverend was saying because counter protestors were screaming and cars were honking their horns as they passed by.

"We will not allow Sharia Law to be instituted in any form," Jones added. "We will soon be instituting a stop Obama campaign. He is the worst president in the history of the United States of America. Islam has never been a part of the American story. Thomas Jefferson said there are two enemies of the people: criminals and government. He is one of the smartest people in our American story. Islam will go on. We demand they confront these nations. Force these nations to adapt human rights, civil rights, freedom of speech. I will be back so please don't go away."

At one point, Pastor Jones walked toward the barricades as he was delivering the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, counter protestors threw items such as shoes and water bottles at his supporters. They also held up copies of the Quran as Jones as speaking. The Dearborn Police SWAT team was called in. They were wearing riot gear with shields. A few arrests were made, however it is unclear if they will face any charges.

"I didn't listen to the content, content wasn't an issue," said Dearborn Mayor John B. O'Reilly, Jr. "I can imagine what he said because I've heard him say before. He's an uninformed person who doesn't understand. I don't respect that. We've had people protest in front of the mosque. It's the terms, conditions, timing, everything else. He was hoping that something would go wrong. Because that would give him better news, a better platform for his message, which is a message of hate. Anybody who hates Islams and Muslims, they're going to come here. It's sad. They act out."

Some people are comparing Pastor Jones to Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. All of whom stood up for what they believed in, even though they were all sent to jail. In the case of Jones, he is standing up for his right to free speech.

"How is it not a violation of his rights, and blatant at that?," said Ralph Vaughan of Chula Vista, Calif. on our message boards. "The motivation was to protect the sensibilities of a specific group. The decision stemmed from fear. A pathetic and gutless display all around. Popular speech does not need the government's protection."

The reverend was originally going to speak in front of the Islamic Center of America on Good Friday. However, a judge ruled last week that Jones must stay away from the mosque for a period of three years. The Florida pastor has committed to return to speak in front of the mosque at some point in the future.

"We came to stand on public property," said Jones assistant, Rev. Wayne Sapp. "We were put in jail with no charge. Sharia was implemented here in Dearborn. What is Dearborn's identity. Is it Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A. or has it been transformed under Islamic law? Something to think about. My Jesus died on a cross. He gave me hope, conviction and he will continue to do that. I thank everyone for coming out today for standing up for freedom."

The Controversial Florida pastor arrived at Detroit Metro Airport on Thursday at about 1:15 p.m. It was his second trip to the Motor City in two weeks. The news media was already there waiting to speak with him. Jones was not granted a permit to hold a formal news conference at the airport either.

"Near the end, he gets into his KKK hate rant about Obama and his birth certificate," said YouTube user CanadianBeaverBand, who commented on our video of Terry Jones' speech. "These nuts seem to be crawling out of the wood work lately. Terry Jones should be Donald Trump's running mate. Two ignorant racists running the country. How proud America would be out there on the world stage! And of course, VP Pastor Terry Jones would be there to say a prayer and pass the plate."

On March 20, Terry Jones burnt a Quran during a live webcast from his church, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. It led to a series of violent protests in Afghanistan in which more than a dozen people were killed.

One-on-One with Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones

Do you feel that your First Amendment rights were violated?

"Yes, of course, of course, very definitely."

Have you read the Quran from front cover to back cover?

"No, I have not, I have not. The burning of the Quran took place because of the judgment. We had a court where we had experts there on both sides of the Quran. The Quran was put on trial. It was found guilty and out that particular action, the Quran was burned. I've never said that I'm an expert on the Quran. In fact, I've been a pastor for 30 years, I would not even consider myself an expert on the Bible. That is not the point. We live in America. If you want to worship Allah, Muhammad is your prophet, that is fine. But don't mess with our Constitution. Don't try to institute Sharia. Don't try to tell us one thing, but secretly want to do something different."

Do you have any plans to burn another Quran?

"No, no, I don't expect so."

Why did you decide to move your rally from the Islamic Center of America to the Dearborn City Hall?

"Basically because of two reasons. I guess, number one, they didn't give us a lot of choice. Number two, it's not just strictly an Islam question. Now it is a question of our First Amendment rights. I'm honestly very disturbed by these free speech zones. I think those things are only a further attempt to cut away our freedom. Because now in Dearborn, we have four of them. Maybe someday we will decide we don't need four. How about three, how about two, how about one. How about just none at all? Save us all a bunch of headaches. We're very concerned about that."

How soon do you plan on returning to the mosque?

"As soon as we win the case, of which we will."

SOUND OFF: Should Pastor Terry Jones Be Allowed To Rally in Front of a Mosque in Dearborn?

Related Story: Pastor Terry Jones returns to metro Detroit for a second time; speech planned for tomorrow



A close-up of Rev. Terry Jones as he speaks.



Counter protestors on the opposite side of Michigan Avenue with Dearborn Police on the ground and on the roof of the Comerica Bank.



Jones and his assistant, Rev. Wayne Sapp.



Members of the news media from just about every news outlet in town.


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