The controversial Florida preacher who sparked outraged in the Islamic world when he burned Qurans brought a gun to a high school in Michigan on Wednesday as a part of protest against so-called “Muslim gangs.”
When Pastor Terry Jones Edsel arrived Ford High School on Wednesday afternoon, he was met by “scores” of law enforcement officers, including Dearborn police, Wayne County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police Troopers.
“Jones brought a gun with him but took it back to his car before his protest, at the request of police,” the Detroit News reported.
“We cannot have a ban on free speech,” Jones said. “I believe in dialogue, but I also believe in my way, which is in your face.”
The Dearborn Police Department issued an alert Wednesday morning “asking residents to stay away from Edsel Ford High School from 11am-4pm due to a planned event.”
“In response to several inquiries from concerned parents, community leaders and the media, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad wants to reassure the community that his department is fully prepared to facilitate the peaceful and safe visit of Terry Jones to the Dearborn area while providing seamless public safety services to the 98,153 residents of Dearborn,” the department said in a statement. “Despite the challenges presented by Mr. Jones’ previous visits, the Dearborn Police Department’s primary mission is to ensure that the 22,300 children attending Dearborn schools experience an uneventful, safe, and productive school day.”
While visiting Dearborn to meet with a Muslim cleric in 2011, Jones accidentally discharged his firearm as he got in his car to leave.
Jones has more recently promoted the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims,” which is credited with igniting protests in Egypt and Libya.