A Florida pastor, best known for burning copies of the Quran, will speak at a rally outside of a Dearborn, Michigan, mosque on Flag Day.
Later this month, Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, will be the keynote speaker in an event where members of the American Patriotic Bikers intend to drive through Dearborn before protesting Sharia law outside the Islamic Center of America.
Out of the 96,000 residents in Dearborn, one third claim Arab heritage, among which one third are foreign born, reported Time magazine last year. The city is also home to the largest mosque in the country, which boasts 3,000 members.
Michigan is home to nearly 300,000 Muslims, with the vast majority living in Detroit and suburban Dearborn. The city is also the second-largest Arab community in the West outside of Paris.
Jones told The Detroit Free Press that his remarks would touch on "freedom of speech ... Sharia, the comparison between Islam and Western society."
"Sharia is not compatible with Western society and Western thinking," he said.
The paper added that Jones is not new to Dearborn and that this was his fifth rally there in the past three years. In 2011, Jones was briefly jailed by the city "after he was found guilty of attempting to disturb the peace by rallying outside the mosque."
On the Facebook page for the Dearborn Freedom Rally, organizers describe the event as a "rally is to show support to those people who resist the current push for Sharia law and the persecution of non Muslims. Dearborn is the largest settlement of Middle Eastern people outside of the Middle East. It is also the nerve center for the Islam movement in this country. The current administration in Washington has catered to this agenda and we will show a non-violent rejection to this direction for our country."
Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. described Jones' cause as "un-American" and told The Detroit Free Press that the pastor "only sees America [as being] for certain people, not for everyone."
Following Jones' announcement in August of 2013 that he intended to burn nearly 3,000 Qurans on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 (authorities arrested him before he carried through with his actions), the pastor claimed that he was not against Muslims, but is instead meant to draw attention to what he calls "that violent core message that Islam has."
Jones explained in a promotional video for his planned "worldwide burning of 2,998 Qurans," that the demonstration was organized "in order to stand up for the Constitution and honor the victims of 9/11."
In the same video, Jones stands with a Christian cross marked with a dove behind him and the American flag to his left as he holds a Quran off camera to be set on fire, before holding up the flaming book on screen.
Jones carried out his first Quran burning in 2011, after cancelling plans the year prior to carry out the act in protest of an Islamic center near the Ground Zero site in NYC. The 2011 demonstration, meant to "put the Quran on trial," was linked to subsequent mob violence across Afghanistan that left at least 16 people dead, including seven United Nations employees, and more than 90 others injured.
In 2012, Jones was involved with the promotion of the film "Innocence of Muslims," which the Obama administration claimed had incited deadly protests in several Middle Eastern and North African countries.