What happened at last year’s Arab Festival
I received this note from David Wood of Answering Muslims:
Muslims threatened to kill Nabeel and me if we showed up again at Arab Fest in Dearborn, so we went there yesterday. They didn’t kill us. Instead, police arrested us and we got to spend a night in jail (along with two others who were video recording us). Interesting city. I feel a documentary coming on. Title: “Welcome to Dearborn.”
Is it now illegal to preach Christianity in Dearborn, Michigan? Have Sharia rules been imposed there?
David added in a later note:
Yes, we’re banned from handing out literature, but we didn’t do that. We followed the rules, and still got thrown in jail. They flat out lied about us. We can prove they lied with the video footage (just like last year), but the police took our cameras and won’t let us have the footage. There’s major oppression of anyone who criticizes Islam.
I will provide more details as I get them.
UPDATE: Here is the account of Nabeel Qureshi:
Yes, you heard it here first, folks. David and I, along with Negeen and Paul Rezkalla, were arrested and spent last night in jail. It is a long story which we will elaborate in full detail when we can, and we will post footage when the police give us back our cameras.
But to take the edge off your curiosity, here are some basics: Paul, David, Negeen, and I went to the festival to see and comment on the situation. Thankfully, we recorded every second of our activity at the festival. At one point, we came across a festival volunteer who seemed to take issue with us simply being at the festival. We could tell he had a problem with us, and so we asked “What are we doing wrong?” He said “Put the camera and microphone down, and I’ll tell you.” (By the way, there was more to this conversation, but when you see the footage, I think you’ll see I’m being fair in my summary.) So I obliged, handing the microphone to David and asking him to not record the man. I then approached him and said “No camera, no mic, tell me what we’re doing wrong”, he said “Get away from me!” (or something to that effect). Again, I obliged, and walked away.
About 20 minutes later, to shouts and cheers of “Allahu Akbar!” we were all being led away from the festival in handcuffs. From the brief description we were given by the police of why we were being arrested, it sounds like the festival volunteer said we surrounded him and didn’t give him an opportunity to leave, thereby “breaching the peace.” This is as blatantly false as an accusation can get.
Last year, security lied about us and we got kicked out of the festival. We had it all on tape, so we were able to vindicate ourselves. This year, a volunteer lied about us, and we got thrown into jail. But when we get our footage back, we’ll be able to vindicate ourselves again.
Here’s what gets me though: people are getting very offended by the simple fact that we’re taking cameras with us wherever we go. But if it weren’t for the cameras, no one would know the truth of what is happening in Dearborn!
And what is happening in Dearborn? Don’t get me wrong, I met a ton of awesome people at the festival today. But it seems like every time we come to this city, we encounter people who would lie at the drop of a hat to advance their own agendas, regardless of whether they will be proven false! I have been many places throughout this country, but never have I seen such a predilection for deception. What is it about this specific city that makes people act this way?
I am worried about Dearborn, my friends, and I’m worried about our nation. Let us be in prayer. More details to come as our journey unfolds.
Bail has been posted for all four that were arrested. A hearing is set for Monday morning. At this point, it is still unconfirmed as to exactly why the four were arrested.
UPDATE from Answering Muslims — David Wood being handcuffed:
And a statement from an eyewitness:
I, Richard Valencia from Dallas, TX, was a witness to the events that took place at about 9:15pm-9:25pm on June 18, 2010 in Dearborn, MI at the Arab Festival. Here it is as i saw it:
I saw Nabeel Qureshi in the midst of a crowd of about twenty teenagers and young adult Muslims. David Wood and Paul were video taping Nabeel and the young Muslims dialog. Police officers, about four, were present acting as a shield protecting Nabeel from a crowd closing in tighter. The entire dialog seemed very peaceful and productive. i did not hear the police officers tell Nabeel or David to stop. The conversation with Nabeel began to wind down. I was able to speak with Nabeel a little to encourage him. At this point the crowd began to break up and the police also walked away. Another young adult Muslim began conversing with Nabeel and the crowd began to come back together. Finally, the police officers returned, about five or six of them, and surrounded David, Nabeel, and Paul. I thought they were going to protect Nabeel and the other brothers, but without warning, the police, rather gently but still forcibly, began taking hold of the camcorders. They arrested all three of the men and escorted them away at the sound of applause by some of the surrounding Muslims.