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Filed under: Latest News — admin     3:08 pm April 27, 2011

Dearborn officials and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office have managed the improbable feat of turning Pastor Terry Jones into something of a sympathetic figure.

Jones heads a well-outside-the mainstream church in a Florida backwater and has made a name for himself by spewing anti-Islamic hatred and staging burnings of the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

He brought his road show last week to Dearborn, home to the nation’s largest Arab-American population, with the intent of holding a demonstration outside of a mosque.

Instead of ignoring Jones and denying him the spotlight he craves, Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy went into full overreaction mode, hauling him into court and before a jury and using an ancient, obscure and likely unconstitutional state law to deny Jones his right to free speech. At one point, he was arrested and briefly jailed.

And now civil libertarians are rallying to Jones’ cause, and rightly so, turning the despicable preacher into a poster child for protecting the First Amendment.

Dearborn had no justification for denying Jones his right to speak whatever nonsense he chooses.

The mayor and prosecutor tried to make the case that Jones’ demonstration could trigger violence. But that’s an insult to the local Arab-American community, which has no history of violent reaction to the many insults it has endured. Jones’ stunts have indeed triggered violence, but only among like-minded lunatics halfway around the world who share his peculiar religious zealotry.

There’s no reason to believe Arab-Americans won’t recognize Jones’ rants as the absurd musings of a bumpkin and dismiss them as wholly untypical of mainstream attitudes.

In trying to protect local Arab-Americans from offense, officials inadvertently fed into one of Jones’ contentions — that authorities are so afraid of Muslim volatility that they will toss out American laws and values to avoid an eruption. That’s ridiculous.

Jones is appealing the denial of his petition to protest, and vows to be back in Dearborn on Friday to demonstrate outside City Hall.

Let him come. Let him speak. Then let him go back to the swamp. And let the good people of Metro Detroit laugh off his ramblings and return to working together on the real problems that afflict this region.

Source : The Detroit News

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