Sharia in Dearborn?

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Apparently the police acting to unconstitutionally arrest individuals attempting to hand out proselytizing literature to Muslims in Dearborn is not unusual according to this release from the Thomas More Law Center:

In what some have described as police enforcement of Sharia law at the annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, last Friday night 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.

This case cries out for a huge section 1983 federal civil rights violation civil lawsuit against the city of Dearborn and its police force.  Will we see more of this type of official misbehavior wherever Muslim immigrants become a majority in this country?

28 Responses to Sharia in Dearborn?

  • “Will we see more of this type of official misbehavior wherever Muslim immigrants become the majority…”

    Yes.

  • I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.

  • “I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.”

    Such an action is unconstitutional. You can’t arrest people constitutionally for fear of violence from the targeted audience. That is called a “heckler’s veto” and has been condemned by the Supreme Court many times.

    http://www.rbs2.com/heckler.htm

    This is not a murky area of the law. The Dearborn police knew that legally they could not arrest the missionaries but they did it anyway.

  • Such an action is unconstitutional.

    To be more clear, police in the case I described above did not make any arrests until the pro-abortion people had been warned several times to move across the street.

  • JohnH; I don’t think that affects the question of the constitutionality of the request. Why have the police the right to issue such directives if no laws are being broken? If they do so in order to “keep the peace,” and in doing that they attempt a “heckler’s veto,” then they are acting unconstitutionally.

    Not that our country is very big on members of the state or federal executive branches adhering to the constitution…

    My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?

  • WJ

    I know examples of evangelicals doing this at Catholic events, being thrown out (and if they won’t go), being arrested. So you are correct — this kind of thing happens all the time, and yes, the evangelicals are looking for conflict.

  • An example where this happened, and where Protestants have played the martyr card for similar activities against Catholics, look no further than here:

    http://formercatholicsforchrist.com/mrssexton/index.html

    On Monday, Sept.2, a woman walked up to the booth and took some of our tracts. She proceeded to walk into out booth, throw the tracts on the ground and stood on them, blocking the posters. We asked her to stand outside the booth, as we had spent $250 for the booth. I even advised her to purchase a booth next year and call it “Former Catholics For Christ is a hate group” and to use all the information she had gathered in our booth. She refused to leave, stating that she had permission from the Stark County Fair Board to picket us. My sister went to the fair board office to find out if this was true. She had lied. They called security, but to our surprise, the security refused to ask her to leave the booth. They said she was exercising her free speech. Diane explained that the booth was not “free” and that we had purchased the space. We again asked that she be removed to the outside of our booth. The security guards refused. My husband asked, “Is it okay if I take our Jesus is the Only Way poster and stand in the Catholic booth down the isle.” The security guard threatened my husband with jail if he spoke again. Finally an officer in full uniform showed up. He argued with the lady for about 10 minutes until the Stark County board showed up and made her leave. She returned to the sheriff’s booth where she worked (“volunteered”). Many of the booths that witnessed the events came up and offered their support.

  • “My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?”

    Considering the fact that three of the four missionaries are converts to Christianity from Islam, I rather suspect an opportunity for true evanagelization. In any case, the important point for me is that cops have no right to arrest individuals who are simply exercising their right of freedom of speech peacefully on public property.

  • By asking the Christian evangelists to move across the street, the intent of the police may not have been so much to deprive them of their right to distribute literature as to exercise a reasonable time, place and manner restriction on their right to assemble. Not sure if this is kosher though if the distribution violated no ordinances, etc. But probably very understandable. I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.

  • I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.

    Ditto.

  • Henry K.,

    Remember this is an Arab International Festival, not a Muslim International Festival.

    Your straw man holds no water.

  • Tito:

    And the festival in Ohio was a public one… not a Catholic one…

  • Tito,

    if it is an Arab festival than perhaps the title of the post, which refernces sharia, should be edited

  • Nope. One of the key elements of Sharia is that proselytizing Muslims is not to be tolerated. The Dearborn police department seem to agree with that.

  • The Dearborn Chief of Police is a Muslim.

  • It is funny how my comment was deleted. But I will try one more time:

    the situation with the booth and the anti-catholic was at a city festival, not a Catholic one…

    [found the comment and restored it]

  • I don’t know what happened to your previous comment Karlson. This is my thread and I’ve approved each comment you’ve made.

  • Well, someone deleted it, perhaps before you saw it, Donald.

  • “Not sure if this is kosher”

    Actually, if we’re talking about Muslims the proper term would be “halal” — the dietary rules of Islam, which actually are similar to those of the Jewish faith in some respects (e.g. banning pork, requiring specific methods of slaughter).

    The event in question bills itself as an Arab International Festival. Now, haven’t some of us been making the point, in posts regarding Israel and the Palestinians, that NOT all Arabs are Muslims? Surely there are Christian Arabs (most likely Maronites or members of other Eastern Rite Churches) in Dearborn as well as Muslims. Do they participate in this festival? It would be nice to get their take on the situation.

    I

  • Yes Elaine, Dearborn has very large Arab population and they are Muslim, Christian, and some rather secular. I’m not familiar with this festival but I’m quite sure it’s open to the general public and people of all faiths and ancestry attend. Dearborn has a very large and popular festival in the summer that many people from all over the region attend. I wouldn’t be surprised if these folks intend on distributing their literature then too. My guess is that if they do they will be sent away or locked up again.

  • It really doesn’t matter if the missionaries are ineffective or a little obnoxious, that’s not the point. The point is that this is America and people are allowed to hand pamphlets to you and say things to you about their beliefs. I’m always polite to the Baptists, Mormons, JWs and anti-corporate union petitioners when they come to my door. I don’t always take their stuff, but I don’t summon the police either. The union people usually need a shower unlike the Mormons, but hey, it takes all kinds.

    When I lived in Pittsburgh there were street preachers downtown and in Oakland. They were totally obnoxious, IMHO, but they were allowed to do their thing due to freedom of speech–they weren’t arrested. We have the freedom to make asses of ourselves. One guy was an ex-Catholic and he tried to engage me in conversation. He was itching for an argument, and I didn’t give him the satisfaction. But I didn’t get offended by him either. I’m just thankful that I don’t need the require the kind of meds that he should have been on. Even so, these people weren’t hurting anybody and more than the pigeons.

    These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents. Obviously it would be nice if they converted to Christianity, but most are too stubborn and brainwashed, not to mention scared, to even think about it.

  • These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents.

    The chief of police in Dearborn is behaving in a manner congruent with the default settings of the educational apparat in this country, which in turn is simpatico with the political class in Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands, among other loci.

  • JohnH says:
    Thursday, June 24, 2010 A.D. at 1:26 pm
    I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.
    =====
    Um, there’s a freedom of religion, but NO freedoms for abortion within ANY aspects of the Constitution, the Declaration, nor the Bill of Rights. So, for police to arrest someone for passing out PRO-abortion literature is perfectly within the province of law enforcement. Whereas, police have NO rights with respect to what someone does regarding religion and the free exercise thereof. PLEASE READ YOUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS: Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence before commenting on what you “think” is okay or not. Opinions are NOT valid in a court of popular opinion nor courts of law!

  • It appears to me that the police were very patient, my father raised me to obey the law and if the police asked me to leave the area then i better leave the area. If you hang around and argue you should expect to be arrested. Also the they stated they were across the street, apears to me they were right next to a ride at the event. Bottom line is they went their to get a rise out of the event and they got what they deserved.

  • The missionaries were aqcuitted back in September of the bogus breach of the peace charges:

    http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-detroit/four-christian-missionaries-acquited-of-inciting-dearborn-michigan-muslims

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