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Jury to decide if Florida pastor should be allowed to hold anti-Islam rally at Dearborn mosque

Pastor Terry Jones talks to the news media outside the 19th District Court in Dearborn, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Pastor Terry Jones talks to the news media outside the 19th District Court in Dearborn, Michigan

A trial opening Friday morning will decide if a controversial Florida pastor will be allowed to hold an anti-Islamic rally outside a Dearborn mosque later in the day.     The pastor complains the trial itself is an attempt to deny him his constitutional rights. 

Pastor Terry Jones insists he won’t burn a copy of the Qur’an as he has done in the past during his planned rally outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.  Still, Wayne County officials worry his protest may spark violence.   The city of Dearborn denied his permit request. 

The two sides met in a courtroom Thursday, where they agreed to let a jury decide if Jones can hold his rally.   But Jones was upset that the judge scheduled the trial to start Friday morning, leaving little time for the jury to hear the evidence and make a decision, in time for Jones to actually hold his rally. 

“That permit aspect is not going to stop us. So now we have a court appearing that runs until whatever tomorrow evening into the night. Thus accomplishing the same thing.”

Jones has been warned that he faces arrest if he defies the court’s final order. 

Jones says he will hold his rally, no matter the outcome of the trial.  Joneses’ rally is scheduled to start at 5pm Friday.  

An interfaith counter rally is scheduled to take place at the same time in a different part of Dearborn. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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