Pastor Terry Jones outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan.
Dearborn, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- Speaking in front of the biggest mosque in Michigan on the day before Easter, the Florida pastor known for burning the Quran blasted Islam and called upon Americans to take back their country.
"Islam has one goal -- that is world domination," said Terry Jones, wearing sunglasses, jeans and a faded black-leather jacket. "It's time to stand up."
Holding signs in English and Arabic that read "I Will Not Submit," about 20 supporters cheered as Jones and his assistant spoke outside the Islamic Center of America, a Dearborn mosque that sits off Ford Road. Framed by the mosque's minarets, Jones said he's concerned that the growth of the Muslim population in metro Detroit and the U.S. will lead to the oppression of non-Muslims.
"Muslims, no matter where they go around the world ... they push their agenda on the society," said Jones. "We must take back America."
The mosque was placed on lockdown Saturday afternoon, with about 30 police cars from Detroit, Dearborn, Wayne County and Michigan surrounding the complex, which also includes several churches. Traffic in and out was prevented, disappointing some worshippers who were not aware of Jones' rally and couldn't access the mosque. During the anti-Muslim rally, an electronic billboard with the Islamic Center read: "Happy Easter."
About 500 feet from Jones was a group of counter-protesters, some of whom were with an activist organization, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). Police prevented them from approaching the grassy area in front of the mosque where Jones spoke. Muslim leaders had urged people not to attend the counter-protest. Unlike Jones' last two visits to Dearborn, this one was uneventful with no arrests and no street clashes.
Jones said during his talk that he's also concerned about the free speech rights of Americans. Over the past year, Jones has battled the City of Dearborn for the right to speak in front of the mosque. Last year, a Dearborn judge threw him briefly in jail and ordered him to stay away from the mosque for three years. That decision was later overturned by a Detroit judge.
Last month, the city asked Jones to sign a legal agreement before protesting. Jones then filed a lawsuit, prompting a Detroit federal judge to rule Thursday in his favor. Jones was represented for free in his battles with the city by the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian group established by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.
During the talk, some supporters of Jones made derogatory remarks and jokes about Muslims. When Jones criticized Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson during his speech, one supporter blurted out: "Throw 'em in the pit with the Muslims."
After the rally, supporters of Jones posed for photos in front of the mosque.
A crew from Real Catholic TV, a media outlet based in Ferndale that's owned by a member of Opus Dei, was at the rally. Its host, Michael Voris, said he supports Jones' right to free speech and some of his views. Jones, who was a pastor in Germany, said Europe is increasingly under the sway of Islamic law.
"There are whole sections of London ruled by sharia law," Voris said. "I think there's the potential to happen in the U.S. what has happened -- and is happening -- in Europe."
Tim Voss, 64, of Wayne, said he came Saturday to support Jones because "sharia law is the most dangerous thing. We can't have it in this country."
Down the road, counter-protester Laura Dennis, 38, of Detroit, held up a sign that read: "God Loves Us All."
Speaking about Jones, Dennis said: "This guy's just a hate monger, no different from the Klan or a Nazi."
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press