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Terry Jones Plans Armed Mosque Protest

Koran-burning preacher vows Dearborn rally even if banned
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Suggested by stephinrazin
Posted Apr 22, 2011 1:24 AM CDT
Updated Apr 22, 2011 4:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – Terry Jones plans to follow up the Koran-burning that sparked deadly protests with an armed Good Friday rally outside America's biggest mosque. Authorities are seeking to block the 5pm demonstration outside the Detroit-area mosque to avoid violence, but Jones, leader of a tiny fundamentalist church in Florida, has vowed to protest even if he is banned from doing so. "We have made it very clear that we are coming there with very, very peaceful intentions," he said. "We will be armed. We do have concealed weapons permits."

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Jones has refused to post a "peace bond" before the rally, and a judge has set a jury trial for this morning to determine whether the pastor and his followers must pay the bond. Religious and political leaders have rallied against the planned protest, but free speech advocates, including the ACLU, argue that it should be allowed to proceed, reports the Detroit Free Press. "Instead of him being the bad guy, now he’s the hero,” says Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni. “They’ve turned him into a hero of the First Amendment." Moughni is no fan of Jones: He burned both the pastor and Osama bin Laden in effigy during a protest last fall. (Read more Terry Jones stories.)

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