Terry Jones to speak at Edsel Ford Wednesday

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Rev. Terry Jones, famous for his highly publicized speeches denouncing Islam, and Christian non-profit organization Stand Up America Now! will demonstrate at Edsel Ford High School, 20601 Rotunda Drive, Wednesday at the request of several Dearborn residents who are affected by Muslim aggression, Jones said.

The Gainesville, Fla., pastor said that in the last several years the city has had an increase in tension because of bullying by Muslim youths.

“At Edsel Ford High School there are a lot of problems with bullying,” Jones said. “There are still blindspots (school cameras don’t pick up) and it came to our attention.”

Jones said he hopes to have a meeting with EFHS Principal Scott Casebolt and find a way to mitigate the bullying situation.

“We started having parents involved but because of fear and intimidation we find it very difficult for people to stand up,” Jones said.

Jones came to Dearborn in April to speak in front of the Islamic Center of America — to a handful of residents and the media — and a few times in 2011 to discuss his beliefs of Islam being a threat to American values.

According to website www.standupamericanow.org Stand Up America Now! represents Christians and minorities in Islamic-dominated countries. The organization also protests abortion, same-sex marriage and other areas “the modern church of today shys away from,” the website description said.

Jones said the rise in bullying caused Dearborn Public School officials to place video cameras in the school hallways, but problems still occur.

“The victims of the bullying and aggression are accused of starting the trouble and are punished,” Jones said in an August press release. “But the Muslim youths are not punished.”

Dearborn Public Schools Communications Coordinator David Mustonen said in August that security cameras have been in the schools for years but the schools installed them for the general safety of students.

“They have nothing to do with bullying,” Mustonen said. “They have everything to do with maintaining a safe environment.”

Mustonen said recently that EFHS plans to have a regular school day when Jones visits.

“If Mr. Jones is going to be … in front of the school that is fine. That is his freedom to do that,” Mustonen said. “As far as we go it will be a normal day at school.”

Mustonen said the school district’s second year anti-bullying program “Anti-Bullying Extravaganza” is their response to bullying and Jones’ claims of Muslim youths who allegedly target non-Muslim students.

“We are taking a proactive approach when it comes to bullying in our schools and community, that is where we stand on that,” Mustonen said. “I have no idea about whatever allegations, rumors, innuendos, stories, or whatever Mr. Jones is claiming. I have no idea what his claims are and I wouldn’t even respond to those.”

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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