Let me make one thing clear at the start. I am not comparing Terry Jones to Martin Luther King, Jr. However, the rationale used by the city government of Dearborn, MI, to deny Jones a permit to protest at the Islamic Center of America makes it quite clear that the city would also condemn King’s 1963 protest in Birmingham, Alabama.
The city of Dearborn denied Jones a permit because it feared a violent reaction from the Muslim community. According to local news reports found at: http://www.wxyz.com:
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad denied the permit because of a concern over safety. A prosecutor for Wayne County supported the decision in court by arguing that “‘Just because we have the first amendment doesn’t mean you can say anything or do anything at any time.’ He then referenced the fact that you cannot yell “Fire” in a crowded theater because that poses a danger to the people inside.”
Based upon the aforementioned criteria, are we to assume that Dearborn would also have denied a permit for King’s march in Birmingham? After all, Police Chief Bull Connor would have had legitimate safety concerns about allowing King and other African Americans to march through the city in protest. Perhaps the county attorney would have argued that the march posed a danger to the people of the town and to the marchers themselves. Does Dearborn now stand in the proud tradition of Bull Connor and the Birmingham city government?
Whether intentional or not, Jones attempted protest adopted the same tactic that King used in Birmingham. Many considered Birmingham the most segregated city in the country and racial violence was a real possibility. King targeted the city because he wanted to demonstrate the ugly, loathsome side of racism. He hoped to provoke the kind of response he got from Bull Connor because it was the only way to wake America up to the evil in its midst. Until Americans saw Bull Connor unleash the dogs and turn the hoses on peaceful men, women, and children, racism did not hit home to most Americans. In one day, that all changed.
I say let Jones protest at the Islamic Center of America and let us see how the religion of peace responds. Let us see if Sharia Law or the U.S. Constitution rules here.
If the protests are peaceful, then so be it. If the protests however provoke a Islamic riot, then let the American people see the true nature of Islam and Sharia Law.