The Arab American News: Dearborn rejects extremism

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The Arab American News

Jury finds Jones a threat to peace
Interfaith community stands in solidarity with Muslims
Jones released on $1 bond, barred from mosque for 3 years

DEARBORN — Highly controversial Gainesville, Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ announcement last month of plans to visit the city to protest in front of the Islamic Center of America against what he termed to be the threat of “shari’a law” and “radical Islam” set in motion a long series of meetings between community and interfaith leaders regarding how best to respond to the complex situation.

After early sentiment that it would be best to ignore the extremist pastor’s message of hate and divisiveness against a community that has been seen as a model of religious diversity, other factors entered the discussion, including the concern that Jones’ protest could be highly disruptive to Good Friday services at the four churches that line Altar Road near the ICA, where Jones planned to protest on a grassy area across from the center.

Eventually, the leaders agreed that interfaith solidarity vigils should be held at the ICA on Thursday, April 21 along with a press conference on Friday,  April 22,  the day of the protest, along with another unity rally from the interfaith community at the Henry Ford Centennial Library on Michigan Avenue in order to keep the area near Jones’ protest as free of interference as possible for those engaged in religious services.

But on Thursday, April 21, the story took a surprise twist as Jones was ordered to stand trial at the 19th District Courthouse in Dearborn by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who wanted Jones to post a “peace bond” because she feared the protest would be a violation of Constitutional statute 752.542 termed “Inciting to riot,” a threat to public safety. Jones was not given a permit to demonstrate.

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