For the first time in his several visits to Dearborn, Quran-burning Florida Pastor Terry Jones's demonstration Saturday in front of the city's was rather uneventful.
Jones and a handful of supporters gathered in front of Dearborn's largest mosque Saturday afternoon to speak out against what they say are signs of Sharia–or Islamic law–in Dearborn and other U.S. cities.
While several of Jones' supporters were heckled by counterprotesters on their way to the grassy area in front of the mosque, no arrests were made and things stayed relatively peaceful.
The majority of the anti-Jones crowd came as part of the southeast Michigan-based activist group By Any Means Necessary. Last June, when they mobbed Jones as he attempted to march from to the Arab International Festival.
This Saturday–almost one year to the day since Jones's first attempt to speak in front of the mosque –he and his supporters were nowhere near the counterprotesters.
Instead BAMN members and several local residents stood near Ford Road east of the mosque; some held signs and yelled chants against Jones, while others said they were just there to watch.
Last year, Jones and his associate Wayne Sapp were by a jury in Dearborn after their planned protest on Good Friday brought them to the . In that decision, Dearborn Chief Judge Mark Somers ordered Jones and Sapp to pay a $1 peace bond each, and to stay away from the Islamic Center and adjacent area for three years. They refused, and were briefly jailed.
Jones and Sapp appealed the ruling, and a Detroit judge .
On Monday, April 2, the Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jones and Sapp, alleging that the city of Dearborn violated the two men's free speech rights. The claim is based on the fact that the city has asked Jones to sign a "hold harmless" agreement releasing the city of any responsibility for damage to his property or personal injury during his protest.
A federal judge on Wednesday issued an order allowing Jones to proceed without the signed document, and asserting her belief that the city's hold harmless agreement is unconstitutional.
Jones's lawsuit will proceed to the courts, the Thomas More Law Center confirmed Thursday.
Jones spoke little about his pending lawsuit on Saturday. Instead, much of the demonstration was spent listing off what he said is evidence of Sharia Law at work in Dearborn and other U.S. cities.
Among his claims, Jones pointed at the installation of footbaths at the , the , and the late-night football practices of the football team held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Jones said they would welcome counterprotesters to come closer, but feared they would be unruly.
"They can stand right here, as long as they don't disturb anything," he said. "But they're not so peaceful."