By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — Terry Jones, the controversial pastor for the group Stand Up America Now! is planning his first trip back to Dearborn since 2012.
A press release issued by the Gainesville, Fla., group states that Jones has been invited to be the featured guest speaker at the Dearborn Freedom Rally, an event hosted by the American Patriotic Bikers, June 14.
According to a Facebook page for the event, it is designed to “rally against Islamic Sharia Law which threatens freedom of speech in the United States.”
The location of the gathering has been announced as the Islamic Center of America, 19500 Ford Road, but Public Information Director Mary Laundroche said that a permit application has not been submitted for the rally, which would be necessary unless it is held at a “free speech zone” in the city, such as City Hall Park.
Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Dawud Walid said Jones was coming to Dearborn to stir controversy and that residents and constituents of the Islamic Center shouldn’t pay any attention to his visit.
“Terry Jones should be ignored,” Walid said. “He is just coming back here to recapture his 15 minutes of fame and any engagement that our community would do with him would simply be giving him what he desires.”
Jones has been a vocal opponent of Islam and has posted numerous messages on the Stand Up website calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants into the United States and an ending of Sharia, the moral code and religious law of Islam.
He last visited Dearborn in October 2012 with fellow Stand Up pastor Wayne Sapp and they held a protest in front of Edsel Ford High School.
The protest was titled “Stand Up, Walk Out” and called for students at the school to walk out of the building in response to what Jones called “aggressive bullying by gangs of Muslim youths.”
Jones announced in May 2013 that he would be returning to Dearborn to attend the Arab International Festival but did not make the trip after the event was cancelled by organizers.
He also announced last year that he was planning on marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by burning 2,998 Korans in Tampa, one book for each person who died because of the terrorist attacks.
Jones packed a large grill with the books after dousing them in kerosene and began traveling to an off-site location to burn them but was pulled over and arrested by Florida police for unlawful conveyance of fuel, a felony charge.
That case is still ongoing but Jones is free on bond.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)