Daily Dispatches
Pastor Terry Jones arrested.
Associated Press/Photo by Michael Wilson/Lakeland Ledger
Pastor Terry Jones arrested.

Midday Roundup: Florida pastor's pyrotechnics preemptively doused


Flame retardant. Florida officials arrested a pastor on his way to burn 2,998 Qurans yesterday to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Polk County Sheriff's deputies arrested Terry Jones and his associate pastor, Marvin Wayne Sapp Jr., as they drove to a park in Mulberry, Fla., pulling a trailer loaded with the kerosene-soaked books. Investigators charged Jones with unlawfully carting fuel and openly carrying a firearm. Polk County officials knew about his plans ahead of time and said he was welcome to exercise his First Amendment right to free speech, as long as he didn't break the law. But U.S. military officials have repeatedly asked Jones not to stage similar protests, saying his highly publicized events put American and Western troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in danger. After Jones and his small congregation burned a Quran in 2011, hundreds of protestors stormed a United Nations compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards.

Jihadi justice. Islamic militants in Somalia claim they have killed American jihadi Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, months after the Alabama native had a falling out with al-Shabab's top leader. Hammami and a British native of Pakistani origin, left al-Shabab last year over a disagreement between foreign and Somali fighters in the group. The 29-year-old was one of the best-known American-born jihadis, making a name for himself rapping in militant YouTube videos and posting updates on Twitter. The FBI put him on its Most Wanted terrorist list in March and offered a $5 million reward for any information leading to his capture. Al-Shabab militants have made attempts on Hammami's life before, and this is not the first report of his death. But analysts say this time the claims likely are true.

Free to pray. A New Hampshire mom banned earlier this year from praying outside her children's public high school is back on campus. Lizarda Urena now prays silently in front of Concord High School. School officials have not attempted to make her stop, but the district's superintendent says he hasn't decided whether she can continue indefinitely. The school's principal initially gave Urena permission to pray out loud for about 15 minutes before school started each day. But when the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter of protest, district officials told Urena she was no longer welcome. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom contested the decision, telling the district Urena had a constitutional right to pray on the public campus if she wanted to.

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Potter gold returns? British author J.K. Rowling inked a deal this week with Warner Bros. to write a new series of movies based on her smash hit Harry Potter brand. The movies will not be a prequel or sequel to the Potter stories but will continue telling stories set in the magical world Rowling invented. The plots will be based on characters from a textbook Potter and his classmates used at Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and its supposed author, Newt Scamander. In addition to the movies, Warner Bros. plans to launch a video game and other consumer products based on the stories.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the managing editor of WORLD's website.


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