As much as the attention-whoring Jones rubs me the wrong way, why should he have to pay to exercise his First Amendment rights because Muslims often react with violence?
Dearborn — A jury on Friday will weigh whether a Quran-burning pastor can legally carry out plans that day to protest at the Islamic Center of America mosque.
Florida Pastor Terry Jones expressed frustration over the prospect this afternoon, telling 19th District Judge Mark Somers that “it will be a problem” if the trial stretches on so long that he can’t carry out the 5 p.m. demonstration against radical Islam. The trial before Somers is to begin about 8 a.m.
He impaneled the jury of four woman and three men from a pool of 30 this afternoon after ruling that Jones’ protest could endanger the public and would have to pay an unspecified peace bond to demonstrate on a small median outside the Ford Road mosque. The jury includes six members and one alternate.
Jones refused to pay the bond and opted for the trial, which initially was believed to occur this afternoon.
The ruling puts into question Jones’ demonstration, which has sparked arguments about the line between free speech and public safety. Prosecutors have sought the unspecified bond — Jones said it was up to $100,000 — for extra police in fear of a riot.
The hearing comes a day after Dearborn city officials denied Jones a permit to protest on public land near the mosque citing public safety concerns. They say he could face arrest if he carries through the protest. Before the hearing, Jones — who wore a leather jacket and jeans — said he planned to proceed with the demonstration despite the permitting issues or peace bond.
“This will not stop us,” Jones said before the hearing that began at 3 p.m.
The courtroom was packed mostly with journalists and a few spectators including Richard Fournier. The Redford Township resident said he supports the minister’s right to free speech but thinks he is misguided.
“He’s just grandstanding to get attention,” said Fournier. [Hard to disagree with that — ed.]