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Saudi Arabia: Terry Jones coming to Arab International Festival

4/5/13  www.pressandguide.com

Terry Jones, a vocal opponent of Islam, held a rally in front of Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn on Oct. 10, 2012. It was met with a strong police presence, and there were no problems. File photo by Dave Chapman

DEARBORN — When city officials convinced the American Arab Chamber of Commerce to move its Arab International Festival this year, the goal was to have a more secure area and try to avoid problems caused by anti-Muslim demonstrators.The latter issue looks like it could be a concern again.

Terry Jones — a pro-Christian, anti-Muslim pastor from Gainesville, Fla. — announced Friday morning that he and his group Stand Up America! will be at what he calls the “Arab Fest” on June 14.

The event is scheduled for June 14 to 17 at the city-owned Ford Woods Park, Ford at Greenfield roads. For many years, it had been along Warren Avenue between Schaefer and Wyoming.

Jones announced that he and Pastor Wayne Sapp will be joined by Ruben Israel of the Bible Believers, whose appearance at last year’s festival led to items being thrown at them and the video being posted on YouTube; Pastor David Grisham of Repent Amarillo; and Rabbi Nachum Shifren of the California Security Council.

Jones has been to Dearborn several times to denounce Islam.

Mayor Jack O’Reilly said if Jones wants to come to the festival, he will.

“He’s not getting any special protection,” O’Reilly said. “Either way, he’s on his own.

“If he wants to come, he’ll be like anyone else. He’s just another guest in town.”

O’Reilly said children attending the festival must be accompanied by an adult, which is a change from past years. In the YouTube video, children were throwing objects at the Bible Believers.

O’Reilly said the city will support the festival committee whether it plans to hold the event or not.

Telephone messages were left Friday afternoon for Fay Beydoun, American Arab Chamber of Commerce executive director; and Police Chief Ronald Haddad.

Jones bragged in March about being No. 2 on al-Qaida’s 11-member “Wanted: Dead or Alive” hit list “for crimes against Islam.” He also wrote that the FBI told him it is taking the threat “very seriously.” Jones is the only American on the list, which was published in Inspire Magazine in Yemen.

“Stand Up America! Now with Dr. Terry Jones will not be intimidated or go into hiding,” he wrote. “We will continue with our upcoming events.”

A “wanted list” posted not only has a headshot of Jones, but it also has another picture of him with a handgun pointed at the right side of his head and “brains” coming out of his left ear.

“Yes we can,” the poster says. “A bullet a day keeps the infidel away. Defend Prophet Muhammad. Peace be upon him.”

Jones’ last appearance in Dearborn, which Sapp also attended, was Oct. 10, 2012, in front of Edsel Ford High School to protest what he called “aggressive bullying by gangs of Muslim youths” in public places, including schools. He labeled it a “Stand Up, Walk Out” protest, but no students did.

The visit was without incident, though he was told by police to return his handgun to his rented car parked on Woodside Street, across Pelham Road from the school, which he did.

The city, the Police Department and Dearborn Public Schools coordinated a plan for Jones and Sapp’s visit. Students were not allowed to exit from the front of the school, where the demonstration was; Jones and Sapp were not allowed onto school property, including the rear parking lot, where students boarded buses; and there was a strong police presence led by the Dearborn department, but joined by others, as well. There was police presence on and off school grounds, including the Ford Motor Co. engineering campus across Rotunda Drive from the school.

Anti-Jones demonstrators were contained by barriers to an area about 25 yards away. A few people hurled insults from passing cars.

All of the action was on the sidewalk in front of the school, which isn’t school property.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Jones called for an immediate stop for all Muslim immigration to the United States, and a ban on Shariah law in this country.

“We have proof from its 1,400-year history that Islam is not a religion which integrates into society,” he wrote. “It does not adhere to the values and principles that we in Western society hold dear. We deem these necessary to maintain a civilized society: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to criticize the government or a particular religion.”

Jones also plans to burn 2,998 Qurans on Sept. 11, 2013, to match the number of people killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Further details of Jones’ visit to the festival were not announced.

The city and chamber are working out details of the festival’s move to Ford Woods Park, which the chamber will rent. There will be a to-be-determined admission fee to the grounds. There wasn’t an admission fee when it was on Warren Avenue.

Dearborn police had patrolled the festival before the chamber hired the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for 2011 and ’12. Dearborn police will be back in charge this year.

The YouTube video from last year went viral. It showed the Bible Believers, a group of Christian evangelists, being pelted with items like bottles, rocks and other debris. The Bible Believers filed a lawsuit against Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and two of his deputy chiefs, Mike Jaafar and Dennis Richardson, for allegedly not protecting them when they were being pelted. The evangelists said in the suit their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion were violated, and they were not granted equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The suit said the evangelists were permitted to “freely roam the perimeter of the Arab Festival” before 2009, giving out literature and discussing their faith. After that, Dearborn police and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce decided to not allow any groups to distribute literature, including businesses giving out coupons, on Warren Avenue sidewalks.

Four Christian missionaries were arrested during the 2010 festival and several Bible Believers initially were directed to a “free speech zone” in 2011, but the zone was taken away, the suit said.

O’Reilly said the festival wasn’t controversial before 2009.

Last year, the Bible Believers carried signs calling the Prophet Mohammed a “pedophile” and saying they were “proud to be an infidel.” A pig’s head mounted on a pike also was displayed.

Muslims do not eat pork.

Jones also was critical of the recent settlement of a $700,000 class action lawsuit alleging that an east Dearborn McDonald’s served non-halal chicken advertised as halal. “Halal” refers to meeting Islamic requirements for preparing food. God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.

He wrote that “the only goal Islam has is to be a bully.”

“How ridiculous has the world become?” he wrote. “How ridiculous has our court system become? Why are we, as Americans, so eager to compromise, so willing to give in to the ridiculous threats and intimidating demands of Islam? …

“I would suggest to all Muslims if you do not like America, if you do not like the way that we do things, you should pack your bags and go back to Iran, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or some other God-forsaken Middle Eastern desert.”

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