June 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Controversial pastor says he'll return to Dearborn for June 'Freedom Rally'

Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones plans to return to Metro Detroit this month for a demonstration denouncing Islamic practices.

Jones is expected to be the featured speaker at a “Dearborn Freedom Rally” on June 14, according to a statement from Stand Up America Now, the political group he founded.

The aim of the event, hosted by the American Patriotic Bikers, “is to rally against Islamic Sharia Law which threatens freedom of speech in the United States,” read a message posted on the group’s website last week.

“American Patriotic Bikers invites bikers and non-motorcycle riders to participate. Their goal is to give a voice to those who feel our country has lost the values that once made it great. Join us in Dearborn, Michigan on June 14 as we stand united, and speak out against radical Islam.”

The posting said details were to follow. Media reports suggested the rally would take place at the Islamic Center of America, considered among the nation’s largest mosques.

Representatives for Jones and his group did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly said the group has not yet sought a permit as required for such an event.

The city has two areas designated as “free speech zones” that do not require prior authorization, he said. Neither includes the mosque.

The biker rally is scheduled for the same day as Dearborn’s annual Flag Day commemoration at Ford Field Park. However, city officials did not plan to boost security or alter activities in light of the planned protest or Jones’ presence, O’Reilly said.

“It grows tiresome that he continues to come here to promote the notion that something goes on here that is un-American when he hasn’t proven that,” he said.

Jones has frequently visited Dearborn in recent years — home to North America’s highest concentration of Arab-Americans — demonstrating against what he called “radical elements of Islam.” He also has garnered national media attention for burning copies of the Quran, Muslims’ holy book, as well as promoting an inflammatory anti-Islam film.

In October 2012, Jones and supporters protested outside Dearborn’s Edsel Ford High School, alleging “Muslim gangs” bullied other students there.

Earlier that year, he sought to speak in a public area in front of a mosque in the city. Jones and his group challenged a requirement to sign an agreement; a federal judge in 2013 issued a judgment in their favor.

As during other Jones visits, Muslims are encouraged to “simply ignore him” and his message, which is considered hate-filled, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter.

“To give him any attention in person is exactly what he’s looking for,” Walid said.