Is this America? Now Arab Christians don’t have the same rights that Arab Muslims do at an Arab festival in the United States of America? They don’t have the right to free exercise of their religion?
The judge says this is all about crowd control issues, but it is hard not to notice the fact that Islam frowns on proselytizing by other religious groups. Given the general accommodationist spirit sweeping across Obama’s America in these heady days, it’s highly coincidental that a group engaging in an activity that Islamic law forbids and that Muslims generally hate would be squelched, now, isn’t it? Isn’t it a marvelous coincidence that by this decision U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds managed to please a significant constituency in the Dearborn area?
And of course the mayor of Dearborn believes in free speech — he just doesn’t want this group to practice it.
A federal judge sided with the city of Dearborn today in a dispute with a Christian group over the distribution of religious literature during an upcoming Arab festival. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed this week by a Christian group who says the city of Dearborn is denying it the right to roam the Arab International Festival to hand out religious literature.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds denied a motion from the Christian group for a temporary restraining order that would have prohibited the city from restricting the group from handing out literature, according to a release from the group’s attorneys.
In previous years, the California-based ministry, Arabic Christian Perspective, and its pastor, George Saieg, attended the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn to hand out literature about Christianity on sidewalks, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
The group seeks to convert Muslims to Christianity, and the three-day festival, which will start Friday, attracts a significant number of Muslims.
This year, the Christian group says that the city has said that while it can hand out literature, it must stay in one area.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O”Reilly Jr. said the city strongly believes in free speech and has at least two other Christian groups who will be at the festival handing out information. O”Reilly said the California group, like other groups, is restricted to one place because of crowd control issues. The festival attracts about 250,000 people, according to organizers….
“We embrace free speech, but we have to manage the large crowds,” O”Reilly said. “We gave them reasonable accommodations.”
Here is a note on this case that I just received from my attorney, William Becker, who is also defending the Arab Christians:
Today, a federal judge denied our request for a TRO (temporary restraining order), which would have allowed Arabic Christian Perspective to continue to distribute their literature along the public sidewalks adjacent to a street occupied by the annual Arab International Festival.
The court reasoned that restrictions imposed by the City of Dearborn only on ACP were reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. We naturally disagree, inasmuch as no other citizen is ordered to restrict what he or she can say or hand to another person. This is content-based discrimination against a Christian group, whose mission is to peaceably bring the good news of salvation to people attending the Festival.
Why would the judge find this to be anything but unconstitutionally content-based discrimination? We don’t have a clue. ACP will now be treated as second-class citizens, forced to pass out their DVDs and booklets around the corner from the Festival, while other groups will be able to freely distribute their materials. Strangely, the Festival is allowing them to set up a booth and participate in the festival. It will be impracticable for ACP’s 90-some volunteers to man the booth, so they will have to find another place to go. They are free to mingle along the Festival just as long as they don’t pass out their free material.
Our lawsuit will proceed, and we will seek an order permanently enjoining the city from violating ACP’s First Amendment rights. To many people this controversy may seem minor, but as you observed in your book, “Stealth Jihad”, the OIC has made it clear that Muslims are to use the judicial process to eliminate criticism of Islam. In this case, we do not know whether the Festival had anything to do with the city’s decision. And ACP is not there to criticize Muslims. They are there to do the good work of evangelizing, which might be perceived as threatening activity in a city boasting the highest per capita population of Muslims in the nation.