Koran-burning minister in court in Michigan

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Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran said the case was not simply about free speech rights but rather safety.

“We’re not here to suppress open speech or prevent someone for saying what they want to say, nor are we here because we don’t like the message that this defendant brings,” he told the jury. “We are here because the conduct of the respondents will likely respond in a breach of the peace. It will be a fracas, a riot. “

While one traffic officer noted the heightened traffic and safety concern of such a demonstration, Rev. Sapp questioned whether such inconvenience was enough to squelch his group’s rights.

Prosecutors showed videotape of Rev. Jones condemning the Koran for crimes against humanity and Rev. Sapp lighting the Muslim holy text on fire at their church in Gainesville in a March ceremony called “International Judge the Koran Day.”

“I was the one with the lighter,” Rev. Sapp testified matter-of-factly as the female court reporter, wearing a Muslim headscarf, typed away.

A protest against that burning, which was broadcast over the Internet, turned violent in Afghanistan, with both Western UN employees and local Afghans among those targeted and killed in the protests.

Rev. Jones told the jury that that radical Islam promoted terrorist activities around the world, including “death, rape, and torture of people whose only crime is not being Islamic.”

Of his Koran burning: “What we did would indeed be insulting to some people, but only some people. To the hundreds of peoples around the world who have been burned, buried alive and stoned, they would consider that the burning of Koran would not be offensive.”

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