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Judge: City Can’t Force Signing Of Waiver, Quran Burning Reverend Heading Back To Michigan

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Florida pastor Terry Jones speaks to reporters. (WWJ File Photo Beth Fisher)

Florida pastor Terry Jones speaks to reporters. (WWJ File Photo Beth Fisher)

DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge says a Detroit suburb can’t require a Florida minister to clear the city of liability in exchange for a permit to protest outside a mosque.

The Rev. Terry Jones has sued Dearborn, saying the city is violating his free-speech rights. Jones says he plans to protest Friday outside the Islamic Center of America.

“I think we can not be judged by whether or not people like what we are doing or whether or not what we do causes a disturbance,” said Jones. “We must be judged by the fact of ‘is it allowed is it lawful, is it in line with our constitution’ and of course we believe that of course it is in alignment with the first amendment.”

Dearborn spokeswoman Mary Laundroche says the city wanted to be held harmless in case of trouble.

“We believe the things that Dearborn was requiring us to do; requiring us to have special insurance, requiring us to sign the ‘hold harmless’ agreement or they would not give us the permit – we believe that those things are in direct violation of the first amendment and freedom of speech,” said Jones.

Jones will arrive on Friday and plans to demonstrate in Dearborn on Saturday. Jones protested in Dearborn last year during Easter weekend, as well.

Dearborn is home of one of the nation’s largest Muslim communities.

The burning of a Quran at Jones’ Gainesville, Fla., church in 2011 led to violent protests in Afghanistan that killed more than a dozen people.

U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood said Thursday that Dearborn can’t require Jones to sign a waiver.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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