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Terry Jones, Quran-Burning Pastor, Sues Dearborn, Mich. For Violating His Right To Free Speech

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TERRY JONES
Pastor Terry Jones will hold a protest in front of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Mich. at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 7, 2012. Jones filed a suit against Dearborn on Monday, claiming the city was violating his right to free speech. | Facebook

Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who has publicly condemned Islam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Dearborn, Mich., claiming the city is violating his constitutional right to free speech.

Jones gained notoriety for his anti-Islam platform when he burned a Quran last year at his church in Gainesville, Fla., inciting protests and deadly riots in Afghanistan.

Dearborn has a large Arab-American and Muslim population, and Jones is planning a protest for Saturday at Dearborn's Islamic Center of America, the country's largest mosque.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor and Jones sued Dearborn in advance of the event. The suit alleges Dearborn is asking Jones to sign a legal document that would require him to "forfeit all legal rights from anything that might happen at the rally."

City officials did not immediately return request for comment Tuesday. Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly told Patch last year that Jones is an antagonist. "His goal is to start trouble," O'Reilly said.

Jones previously came to in Dearborn in April 2011, and planned to protest at the Islamic Center of America. But he was thwarted when the city denied his request for safety and space reasons, so he spoke against Sharia Law in front of City Hall instead. Jones drew hundreds of counter-protesters.

A Dearborn jury then found Jones and his partner, Wayne Sapp, "likely to breach the peace," and Dearborn Chief Judge Mark Somers ordered the two men to pay a $1 peace bond and stay away from the Islamic Center of America for three years. When they refused to pay the bond, they were briefly jailed.

In November, however, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge overturned the case on a technicality, according to Michigan Radio, allowing Jones to go forward with his protest this week.

According to Jones's website, Saturday's protest will attack what he calls Muslims' "special privileges," citing allowances made in school cafeterias for halal dietary restrictions.

The pastor also launched a presidential campaign in late 2011.

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