Archive for Muslim festival

Christian attorneys call decision in free speech case at Muslim festival case ‘Dangerously Wrong”

Posted in Islam, Sharia Law with tags , , , , on August 28, 2014 by saynsumthn

Muslims stone Christians DearbornToday, a divided, three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its ruling in Bible Believers v. Wayne County, affirming 2 to 1 a lower court decision dismissing a civil rights lawsuit brought by several Christian evangelists who were violently attacked by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest Muslim population in the United States. Video of the Muslim assault went viral on YouTube. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is representing the Christian evangelists pro bono.

AFLC filed the lawsuit in September 2012 on behalf of the Christians against Wayne County, the Wayne County Sheriff, and two Wayne County Deputy Chiefs for not only refusing to protect the Christians from the attack but also for threatening to arrest the Christians for disorderly conduct if they did not halt their speech activity and immediately leave the festival area.

In 2013, Federal Judge Patrick J. Duggan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Duggan stated that “the actual demonstration of violence here provided the requisite justification for [the Wayne County sheriffs’] intervention, even if the officials acted as they did because of the effect the speech had on the crowd.

This decision was affirmed today by the Sixth Circuit. Circuit Judge Eric L. Clay issued a scathing dissent.

In his dissent, Judge Clay states, “The majority’s first error is its conclusion that the First Amendment did not protect [the Christians’] speech. This is not only wrong, it is dangerously wrong.” Judge Clay, hinting at the fact that Islamic law—sharia—punishes speech critical of Islam as blasphemous, states, “Moreover, the First Amendment strongly counsels that we should not allow the state to criminalize speech on the grounds that it is blasphemous—even so blasphemous that the average adherent to the offended religion would react with violence.”

Judge Clay further states, “Regrettably, law enforcement officers have a track record of chilling the free speech rights of proselytizers at the Festival,” citing to the case of Saieg v. City of Dearborn, which AFLC’s Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise successfully argued before the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Clay continues, “The majority’s holding in this case effectively undermines this Circuit’s prior holdings which have sought to protect First Amendment interests in Dearborn under difficult circumstances.” He also notes that the majority’s ruling effectively “incentivize[s]” the “hecklers” to “get really rowdy, because at that point the target of their ire could be silenced.”

Judge Clay concludes his dissent as follows:

The majority misstates the law and misconstrues the facts to hand this case to Defendants. The First Amendment protects Plaintiffs’ speech . . . . As for the good faith defense, there are too many issues of fact to be resolved on summary judgment—especially on Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The majority retreats from our commitment in Saieg to the principle that the First Amendment cannot be shut out of the Festival, and by so doing provides a blueprint for the next police force that wants to silence speech without having to go through the burdensome process of law enforcement. I expect we will see this case again.

Muise commented:

“The Sixth Circuit’s ruling is an unprecedented blow to the First Amendment. As Judge Clay stated quite accurately in his dissent, this decision is ‘dangerously wrong.’ But this fight is far from over. We will be filing a petition for en banc (full court) review of this important First Amendment case within the next two weeks. And if that petition is not granted, we will seek review in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, added:

This decision is quite troubling and indeed dangerous, particularly in light of the fact that Muslim violence is escalating around the globe and here at home. The fact that the court’s decision rewards and thus encourages such violence as a legitimate means of suppressing speech that is critical of Islam jeopardizes the constitutional safeguards that our Founding Fathers fought so hard to establish. And more problematic is the fact that this decision, if allowed to stand, will do more to encourage Muslim violence than anything our Christian clients ever said.

Jury Acquits the Four Christian Evangelists Arrested For Proselytizing at the Dearborn Arab Festival

Posted in Church, Islam, Religion, Sharia Law with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by saynsumthn

In June 2010, four Christian evangelists were arrested at the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan, for proselytizing to a group of Muslim youth.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national Christian public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represented the evangelists, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla, Negeen Mayel and David Wood, at no charge.

On September 24, 2010, a jury found the Christians not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Monday, September 27, 2010 / Thomas More Law Center

ANN ARBOR, MI – Late Friday evening, a jury of six Dearborn, Michigan residents returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty of breach of the peace charges, which were brought by the Dearborn Police Department against four Christian evangelists as they were peacefully proselytizing to Muslim youths during the Arab International Festival on June 18, 2010.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national Christian public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represented the evangelists, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla, Negeen Mayel and David Wood, at no charge. The jury returned its verdict after an hour and half of deliberations. Nageen Mayel was found guilty of failing to obey a police officer—a charge unrelated to the actual incident, which will most likely be reversed on appeal.

Robert Muise, the Law Center’s Senior Trial Counsel, handled the five-day trial. The prosecutor placed seven witnesses on the stand including Chief of Police, Ron Haddad.

Even after the acquittals, Dearborn’s mayor, Jack O’Reilly, continued his ongoing and unprecedented personal attacks on the Christian evangelists, accusing them of being anti–Muslim bigots. O’Reilly’s continuous anti-Christian rhetoric was clearly an attempt to curry favor with Dearborn’s large Muslim population, which also explains the Police Department’s alarming mobilization to arrest the four Christians.

Wood and Dr. Qureshi are co-founders of “Act 17 Apologetics, ” a ministry group that defends the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On June 18, Mayel and Rezkalla joined them in their missionary work. Dr. Qureshi and Mayel are converts from Islam to Christianity. After the verdict, the group praised the Thomas More Law Center and particularly Robert Muise, whom they described as sharing their emotional burdens and investing more time on the issue than even they did. The group claimed that without the Thomas More Law Center, they would not have been able to defend themselves from persecution by the City of Dearborn.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented, “Rob Muise did an outstanding job advocating on behalf of Free Speech rights protected by our Constitution, despite unsubstantiated police claims that peaceful conversations with Muslims were going to incite a disturbance. The bottom line in the jury’s not guilty verdict: the Constitution, not Shariah law, still prevails in Dearborn, Michigan.”

Muslims get access to fair for education, but when Christians attended Muslim fair they were arrested

Posted in Christian, Civil Rights, free speech, Islam with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2010 by saynsumthn

August 2010
A Minnesota group will try to educate fair-goers about the Muslim religion.

Volunteers with the Islamic Circle of North America say they will hand out cards titled “Islam Explained” because they want people to know what it means to be Muslim. While the group doesn’t have a licensed booth space to operate on the fairgrounds, it can still take advantage of the crowds. The group will be stationed outside gates 10 and 20.

The group says the outreach effort in Minnesota has nothing to do with the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero in Manhattan, which has caused national controversy.

St. Paul police tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the volunteers can hand out literature on the sidewalks as long as they don’t block the sidewalks.

The group also has radio ads that will start airing Monday. Those ads will include a number people can call to ask questions about Islam.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Muslims get access to fair for education, but w…, posted with vodpod

However, a recent Press Release from: The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced it is representing all four of the Christian missionaries. Police told Christians they’d have to go 5 BLOCKS away from an Muslim festival to distribute Gospel tracks.

ANN ARBOR, MI – Must see videos. Two videos dramatically describe how Sharia law is being enforced in Dearborn, Michigan where Dearborn Police Officers arrested four Christian missionaries. The missionaries explain in their own words what happened.

The first video documents the actual arrest of some of the missionaries. Later in the video the missionaries give an account of the events leading up to their arrest and overnight detention.

On Saturday, the missionaries attempted to peacefully distribute copies of the Gospel of John outside the entrance to the Arab festival. Within three minutes, the Christians were surrounded by eight Dearborn police officers and ordered to cease and desist. These events were also captured on video Below:

In what some have described as police enforcement of Sharia law at the annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, last Friday night (6/18/2010) Dearborn Police Officers arrested four Christian missionaries and illegally confiscated their video cameras which were recording the events surrounding their arrests. The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it is representing all of the Christian missionaries.

Arrested on charges of Breach of the Peace are: Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla, and David Wood. Mayel, an eighteen year old female, whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan and a recent convert from Islam to Christianity, was also charged with failure to obey a police officer’s orders. She was approximately 100 feet away and videotaping a discussion with some Muslims when her camera was seized.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “These Christian missionaries were exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently the Constitution carries little weight in Dearborn, where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus. It’s apparent that these arrests were a retaliatory action over the embarrassing video of the strong arm tactics used last year by Festival Security Guards. This time, the first thing police officers did before making the arrests was to confiscate the video cameras in order to prevent a recording of what was actually happening.”

Thompson continued, “Contrary to the comments made by Police Chief Ron Haddad, our Constitution does not allow police to ban the right of free speech just because there are some hecklers. Not all police officers approve of the way their department treated these Christians.”

Robert Muise, Senior Trial Counsel with the Law Center in charge of the case, yesterday faxed a letter to Chief Haddad demanding that the three video cameras and tapes illegally seized from the missionaries be immediately returned.

The Law Center is also representing Pastor George Saeig who was prohibited by the Festival and Police authorities from distributing religious material at last year’s festival. That case is ongoing.

Here is the 2009 incident:


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