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Mayor O'Reilly: An Open Letter to Pastor Jones

Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly sends a message to the Quran-burning Florida Pastor Terry Jones about Dearborn and the Constitution.

Dear Pastor Jones:

I watched you on television speaking about , and it appears you need more information about both before you come to our city.  I can provide insight on the Constitution, and expertise on Dearborn.

First of all, Dearborn supports the Constitution as well as any city in America. Our commitment to the Constitution is unwavering, not merely convenient, which makes your hyperbole about Sharia Law being practiced in the courts or civil law of Dearborn nonsensical. So, you are coming to protest against an imaginary threat that doesn’t exist in our community. Not in our courts, not at our , not on our streets and not in any of our places of worship.

Still, because we do understand the Constitution here, we are not preventing you from expressing your free speech. In fact, in Dearborn, we’ve even gone one step farther than most communities in support of free speech. We established, by ordinance, “Permit Free Zones” intended for demonstrations and free speech.  

One of those zones is at City Hall, where from my office I have heard many rallies being conducted in response to international, national or regional issues. This is a high-visibility spot, seen by thousands of motorists but safe from traffic, with plenty of public space for protestors, supporters and the media. It is where we are asking you to conduct your demonstration. The steps of City Hall can even make an impressive platform for speeches.

And, if you are unhappy with what you think is going on in Dearborn, then what better place to protest than with City Hall as the back drop?

Instead you insist on protesting in an area that has no public property to accommodate crowds, spectators, parking or the media. There is just a small public road with limited access which can’t be blocked and an adjacent grassy area for drainage. It is parallel to a major state road, but the small shoulder can accommodate people only when they have auto emergencies.

And, this property you are focusing on, in front of the , is also adjacent to four Christian churches, all of which will be hosting Good Friday services, adding to the traffic flow and congestion. It is ironic that the road that you want to protest near is called Altar Road, so named because it was first constructed to provide access to a row of churches constructed in the 1950s reflecting Dearborn’s diverse faith communities. 

But I can understand if you don’t know the details of the site, or the particulars about Dearborn. But you should know about the Constitution that you claim to be defending.

 The Constitution says that your rights must be balanced with the rights of others under the same document. Your free speech rights do not allow you to trespass on the private property of others or prevent them from the Constitutional right to freely practice their religion. I am not just talking about Muslims, but members of all faiths.

 The members of the Christian churches on Altar Road asked me last week if they should cancel their Good Friday services because of your planned visit. I assured them that they should not because the Constitution does not allow you to violate their rights. I don’t know why you selected Good Friday, but it wasn’t very considerate of the significant Christian services being held at that time. I assure you that you will not make them forfeit their services.

You claim that you are coming to protest the radicalism of Islam. Like all of America, we are concerned about the radicalization of any religion that would rationalize extreme actions. However we have not let this concern turn into a twisted paranoia that promotes fear-mongering and misleading generalizations.  You state that you are coming to the Islamic Center of America because it is the largest mosque in America. What does that have to do with the radicalism of Islam? While size may matter to you, we prefer to focus on actual behavior. And according to our Police Department and the anti-terrorism agencies they work with, there has never been evidence of any wrongdoing in any of Dearborn’s mosques. 

It appears your choice of the Islamic Center of America is not because it has any relationship to the stated object of your free speech, but because it symbolizes the Islamic faith in general. If so, that is not truly in line with the Constitution you say you are defending.

There is no Sharia Law in Dearborn, only Constitutional Law. Sharia Law is church- or faith-based law that is applicable only to the followers of that faith. For me it is Cannon Law of Catholicism, in Judaism it is Torah Law, and for Muslims it is Sharia Law. The actual originator of the event you plan to hold in Dearborn, Frank Fiorello of the Fraternal Order of the Dragon, accepted my invitation to learn more about Dearborn, and after seeing the truth, he canceled his protest.

But, if you don’t believe that Dearborn follows the Constitution, here are some realistic facts for you. Businesses in Dearborn lawfully meet the diverse needs of our Greater Detroit area, but if Dearborn practiced Sharia Law, would we have three adult entertainment bars and more alcohol licensed bars and restaurants per capita than most other cities? None of that should be allowed under Sharia Law.

How about this? A business we boast about, the nationally known , opened more than 60 years ago across the street from the first mosque in Dearborn and is famous for its sausages and spiral-sliced hams. It is one of many meatpacking operations in our City and no one has ever objected. 

Dearborn is also famous for , where more than 1.5 million visitors come each year from across the country and the world to learn about the foundations of our American way of life.

 Dearborn is a diverse, safe and unified city that is addressing its future in a proactive manner. We cherish the American Dream that brought so many people here during the last century to earn a decent wage and enjoy a high quality of life thanks to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. And for Dearborn, our success and our identity is tied to welcoming people of all backgrounds who have chosen to make America, and our community, their home. We are proud to have welcomed them.

As we work hard to balance your rights with the rights of others in Dearborn, you will be extended every courtesy during your visit–as long as you follow the law based on the Constitution’s protection of everyone’s rights. That should be a familiar statement to you.

You have said over and over that “Muslims are welcome as long as they follow the Constitution.” Surely, then, you wouldn’t ask less of yourself.

Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:18 AM
Rolls Royce? And just because an auto is badged GM, Chrysler or Ford does NOT make them an American vehicle. Any of these a truck? It isn't American. The only pick up trucks made in America are Toyota (in Texas). My ONE vehicle is the most American made in its class and it was made in the state of Georgia, but doesn't say GM, Chrysler or Ford. I do not receive a single dime in taxpayer money. Where you get that complete nonsense is beyond understanding. My business started from scratch without any assistance from anyone, from any government agency, or even a loan from a bank. I developed it the old fashioned way- HARD WORK, LONG HOURS, and GREAT SERVICE. And the non-profits (charities) I've worked with also did not receive any taxpayer money. Again, you have failed at your attempts to deflect from the subject with non-relevent and untrue statements. BTW, ALL ethics, values come from the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ, even if anyone denies this truth. Please try again to malign, defame, slander, libel, vilify me. (CORE MEANING: to say or write something damaging about somebody malign to criticize somebody in a spiteful and false or misleading way.) You failed again.
Ismail Bachir April 23, 2011 at 02:20 AM
My dear friend Paul, Let me thank you for all the knowledge that you have instilled into me. It truly was a pleasure having to met your acquaintance "informally". I'm muslim and I'm proud to be one forever more. I do not judge what other people do; however, I believe that everyone is entitled to my opinion and you my friend happened to be one of everyone. God bless you and your family as well as your followers and may he bless all the people of the world because we all can use a blessing regardless of your faith. I will include you in my prayers tonight. Be bless always and hopefully together we can make this world and this constitution a better place to represent man.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Wrong, some boards actually get down and do work, in this case building houses for the poor. I have a nicely worn hammer from putting in nails if you'd like to inspect it for quality control purposes and I made sure when I bought it at a local hardware store (not a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot) that is was American made. And I paid for it with my money, not the charity's.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:27 AM
I'm no fan of Ayn Rand and you are correct. Islam and Christianity are at odds and shall always be because of the core values of each. Obviously, both can not be correct so one must be false. Until the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Son of God, this conflict will continue. Then the truth will rein over the whole world or in the popular words of a Christian song: "Every knee will bow".
Ismail Bachir April 23, 2011 at 02:27 AM
non profit means that you don't pay taxes... which means that you are not contributing to the american way of paying your taxes like everyone else. I'm sure you worked hard as I have and my dear friend as a tool and die maker for many years I can tell you that i personally made the tooling and the dies that make the parts for these vehicles with my bare hands. Please speak your nonsense to someone else. I trained the chinese and the mexicans on my machine for years before they were taken to their country for assembly. Don't talk to me about made in the USA. The law states that you can build anything from outside this country and finish the remainder 10% here and have the right to stamp made in the USA on it. So there really isn't any vehicle that is made here in the USA
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Now that stunt was for publicity. Jones really is a wingnut, but he still has full Constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. I truly wish there was someone else to defend the Constitution for than him, but every wingnut gets these rights or no one does.
Ismail Bachir April 23, 2011 at 02:30 AM
a hammer... you paid for a hammer and put nails in a wall. That must have been a long time ago because nowadays we use screws and a drill but i like your style as I also remember using a hammer bought in a local hardware (which doesn't mean made in the USA). That must have been really hard work...lol
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Not 100% made here, you are correct. And that we can agree with. To be an American made vehicle, the standard is at least 50% American. I correct myself that no Ford, GM, or Chrysler trucks meet this standard. (My dad retired from GM and I worked there in their parts warehouse for a brief period of time.)
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:36 AM
No, I had to actively seek an American hammer. Took me a week to find an American made rake and the funny part was it is made here in my own state and no one had one. I had to order my weed wacker on the net to get American made. Not a single place, not Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, or a local hardware store had American made. They only had Mexican or Chinese made.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Yes, it was 10 years ago I worked for free building houses. But the nails went into the roof and building the stairs. I'm too clumsy to be near dry wall.
Ismail Bachir April 23, 2011 at 02:40 AM
then I applaud you for making an effort to buy american made. I too will also apply this effort as well. You are free to promote your faith and I truly respect your opinion Paul. We can agree to disagree when it comes to religion. I don't see you as a bad person at all. I see that we disagree that's all. I hope you forgive me for all the intimidating statements I may have made; however, I truly feel that I'm doing my part the best I can and it is my constitutional right to express them as you have. my 100% is not necessarily equal to your 100%; however it is the best we can do.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:43 AM
We agree that we should always have the right to express our opinion. If anyone tries to take yours, I'd be the first to run to your defense regardless if I agreed with you. I have to also give the wingnut Jones this same right and I most certainly do not agree with him.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:46 AM
PS, I am just the average middle class American and as close as all to being a few "pay checks" away from financial troubles if my income stopped. I'd rather have a a big king cab long bed truck than a Rolls ;-)
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Side note, the only American sneakers (athetic shoes) are some styles of New Balance and they are usually available at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Ismail Bachir April 23, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Thank you Paul for willing to defend my rights and I too agree that Pastor Jones has the right to express his opinion just as the KKK had their right to express their and i too will stand up for this right. Good night my friend!
Paul Marcel-Rene April 23, 2011 at 02:50 AM
Sleep well my friend.
yolla April 23, 2011 at 08:39 PM
well, let me just start by saying {"WE all love mayor O"reilly"} your a reall man for stepping up to a coward who came to are city to plan a "FITNA".. we all appreciate your kind words "MAYOR" and love you <3 xoxoxoxoxoxo
Melissa White April 24, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Really, Paul, we are not that ignorant. Where the heck are you getting your Arabic translated? From "Pastor" Jones? I've read lots of the Koran, albeit translated, which loses much, and none of it sounds like it's from the same book you are reading. By the way, two things: 1) You will NEVER influence us in Dearborn to hate or mistrust each other. You think that there is some ugly undercurrent of tension that you are going to stir up- NOT going to happen. We are all Americans, and we are a very diverse group, but we understand each other as well. That's what makes us a great community, and why we support each other. 2) I think you missed your last dose of Thorazine. Run go get it, and maybe you could speak without sounding like Charles Manson. Run along now...
Melissa White April 24, 2011 at 04:26 AM
I agree with you, Mr. Islander.
Melissa White April 24, 2011 at 04:33 AM
Ismail, you really are wasting your time. The guy (Paul) is seriously psychologically impaired. However, I think that what is great about this forum for me is that I see us all coming together to support one another and our community. To reject hate and prejudice, to spread acceptance and tolerance. From one American to another (you), I stand shoulder to shoulder with my neighbors of many diverse cultures and faiths. I accept all, and am curious to see our similarities more than our differences. We really have a great place to work and live and to raise our kids. I was also pleasantly surprised at the eloquence, evenness and fairness exhibited by our Mayor.
Melissa White April 24, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Again, well said Ismail.
Melissa White April 24, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Geez, see? Only in America can a good Muslim and a Christian wingnut get along and set their differences aside.
Ismail Bachir April 24, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Melissa, Paul was only trying to protect his constitutional rights and I agree with him. They should have let him portest and get it over with. Now we have to hear him again next week. Paul was stating what he believed and we can't judge him for his beliefs; however, as a neighbor, I realized that he also struggled to live the american dream and he seems to have a lot of pride and dignity and I refuse to take that away as it seems that's what he lives for. Who are we to judge. You must agree in the end he came to realize that I was also a good human being with the same experiences that he had the only difference was religion. I respect his belief and may god guide him in the direction of his true faith.
Paul Marcel-Rene April 25, 2011 at 06:11 AM
I agree whole heartenly Ismail. You have as much right as I or Melissa or Jones to practice the religion that you choose. Only when those rights, as well as the rights of free speech and free assemble are taken away, are there real issues. And I do feel bad that all these errors were made with Jones. He should have his assembly and then moved on to different ground that would be fertile for his purposes. By strampling his Constitutional rights, Dearborn has focused the spotlight on itself and to most Americans and others in the free world, it comes off in a poor light. I was unable to respond to Melissa's various entries on here due to my religion's belief that there is a day of rest of the Sabbath in which one does no work (with some exceptions of course) and then Sunday is the traditional celebration of Easter in which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead and it would have been in appropriate to respond then either. May the blessing of God be upon you Ismail and also with you Melissa for this is a day the Lord has made and I simply will not engage with you until He has softened your heart.
Ismail Bachir April 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Paul, May God forgive as all for our sins as we thrive the only way we know how and we are limited to the capacity of our intellectual properties that he created and we choose to maintain. I truly hope that your Easter Sunday was a memorible one with many more to come. It has been a pleasure and an honor to debate and stand next to you in our right to express our constitutional rights. The best part of this debate is that I once again I gained a neigbor and a friend and for that we have Mr. Jones to thank! Something good always comes out of the worst events. Remember without pain there is no healing! Take care my friend and to all that has commented on this board to the best of their abilities to express their constitutional rights!
juanita April 25, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Pastor Terry Jones, is looking for attention and popularity .
terry Hoffner April 26, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Ive drove past the houses of superstition bigotry and ignorance on many occassions, and there is more than enough space for an american to protest with several reporters to record the event.City hall can be used for a counter protest. If islam is a religion of peace,why the concern over violence, and why should we let religious fanatics in other parts of t world hold civilization hostage, with threats of violence over percieved slights. It offends me when the religious suggest children born outside of a religious ceremoney are illegitimate (the only bastards are the prophets of religion) but I dont go off the deep ....if the religious are going to claim a connection to a god, they should be thick skinned and level headed enough to withstand mockery and criticism.
lalo May 03, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Please google mayor of dearborn and act 17 apologetics. The mayor tries to keeps his office
Frank Lee May 04, 2011 at 03:57 AM
This mayor created the perfect media/lawsuit machine created in the last ten years. He violates the constitutional rights of attention starved Christian bigots and then get sued. Whatever the views of acts 17 apologetics or Terry Jones they have a right to access public land to freely speak. The Mayor has no right to constrain their speech because it offends special interests. The mayor is a grandiloquent windbag who is as much starved for the cameras as Terry Jones. The sad part is Terry Jones cannot bankrupt Dearborn but Mayor Mc Blowhard can and will. $180,000 and counting in judgements against City of Dearborn for violating the constitutional rights of radical fundamentalist Christians. Thanks a lot for making Dearborn stop one on the crazy train.
Vivi May 26, 2011 at 05:39 PM
reading thru these comments I see only one element of deception, those of you who put the God of our forefathers, the one and only 'True Living I am' of the Holy Bible, in the same sentence with allah? are truly deceived, I will be praying for you, remember God is a jealous God, there is NO OTHER BUT HIM! that you will be seeing, as far as what Jone's did?..first of all, for an entire, 'peaceful' religion to slaughter innocent people in another nation and blame Jones" come on, thats there true tactic, to kill in the name of? allah? or blame one man for, a book? I agree that Jones was very wrong in his behavior and definitely went about his point all wrong here in Dearborn, but to burn a book?..he made a point, he proved that this culture is truly deadly, in the name of allah, not God, we are civilized, and there are laws governing our behaviors, if there reason for slaughtering innocent people in another country, was this man's burning of a book? and this is why people 'fear' standing against it, not just Jone's so called irrational behaviors, and if it was the burning of the book, why didn't they try that here? think about it! allah is evil, don't go putting his name in the same bracketed sentence as my Heavenly Father, God, allah is lie, deception, and reason for so much spiritual unrest, God Bless you,

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