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Mich. state rep. Agema not to appear at controversial Terry Jones rally as announced

State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) was announced as a speaker at a Lansing rally Wednesday organized by Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who made headlines when he threatened to burn a Koran on his church property earlier this year, but his office denies the accuracy of that announcement.

His spokesperson tells MLive.com that the controversial GOP lawmaker will not be speaking at or appearing at the event:

“He will not be at the event,” Chris Jones, an aide in Agema’s office, told MLive.com. The aide said he did not know whether Agema had been contacted about the event or whether he had, at some point, confirmed his attendance.

Jones’ website, StandUpForAmericaNow.com, identifies Agema as one of the rally speakers:

OPERATION FREEDOM’S TREE and STAND UP AMERICA NOW RALLY

Featuring Speakers Dr. Terry Jones, James Terpening and Representative Dave Agema, author and main sponsor of Michigan’s Anti-Sharia House Bill 4769

While the legislation is being touted in this announcement as an anti-Sharia law, in news reports over the weekend, Agema denied the goal was to address only Sharia law encroachment onto American laws. In an interview with the Grand Rapids Press, Agema had this to say in defense of the legislation:

Though he uses Sharia law as examples, Agema argues his bill is not anti-Muslim and does not target Sharia law specifically. “It will prevent any religious or foreign law from taking precedence,” he said. Twenty-five other states have introduced similar legislation.

Geralyn Lasher, communications director for Gov. Rick Snyder, issued the following statement on Jones’ Wednesday protest and Agema’s “foreign laws” bill:

We do not support the message of hate and intolerance that Mr. Jones has chosen to bring to Michigan. As the nation observes the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we will be encouraging people to commit to share our time and talents to build a stronger Michigan. Instead of the sinister attacks defeating our nation, America stood tall. Regardless of background, race or religion, Americans reached out to each other with compassion and courage.

Regarding Rep. Agema’s bill, we have yet to see any evidence that it is needed or that foreign laws are being practiced in our state.

A protest Jones spoke at in Dearborn earlier in the year resulted in officials there needing to send out riot police to control the situation, the Oakland Press reported.

In addition to the Wednesday rally, Jones announced his planned appearance in St. Johns had been canceled, but that he would hold a meeting at Lansing’s Hunter Park on Thursday afternoon. Hunter Park is located on the city’s Eastside, which is a diverse neighborhood.

Joan Nelson, executive director of the Allen Neighborhood Center which covers a large part of the Eastside including Hunter Park, had this to say about Jones announcement:

Pastor Jones’ choice of Hunter Park seems strange, indeed, given that it is home to the annual World Refugee Day festival and located in a neighborhood that celebrates its rich diversity. I think the Pastor will find that people in this area are not interested in his fringe politics and hate speech. It seems that this man has come an awfully long way to insult residents of our neighborhood and the people of Lansing. Nevertheless, he has the right to do so; let’s hope he makes it quick and goes home.

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