Street preaching is so uncouth

I’ve been meaning to cover the story of the four Christian evangelists who were arrested at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in June. It is fascinating to me how much coverage the media devoted to the non-burn of the Koran in Florida compared to the actual “going ghost” of Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris or the actual arrest of four street evangelists in Dearborn. I would just love for someone who was involved in the coverage of the Koran burn threat to explain why they wrote eleventy billion stories on the Florida pastor and none on these other situations.

Anyway, the point I wanted to make when I started this post was that we haven’t seen enough coverage. But a reader sent in a story from the Detroit Free Press that is worthy of taking a look at. It’s about how the four were acquitted by a jury recently. But reporters Naomi R. Patton and Niraj Warikoo sound more like disappointed prosecuting attorneys than reporters:

A jury Friday acquitted four Christian missionaries who were accused of inciting a crowd while videotaping themselves proselytizing to Muslims at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in June.

Nabeel Qureshi of Virginia, Negeen Mayel of California, and Paul Rezkalla and David Wood, both of New York, were acquitted of breach of peace, 19th District Court officials in Dearborn said after the verdict. Mayel was found guilty of failure to obey a police officer’s order.

The article fails to explain why the missionaries were arrested. We’re told that they were charged, variously, with “inciting a crowd,” a “breach of peace,” and, later in the story, “disorderly conduct.” But we’re never told what specific actions led to the arrest.

In fact, I’m not even sure if these reporters were at the trial, which seems odd. But certainly they could get some specifics in there. You can watch the video above which clearly shows officers swarming the evangelists as they hand out copies of the Gospel of John on a sparsely-populated street near the Arab festival. You can watch a police officer tell the videographer — who is in the distance — that he has to hand over his video equipment and turn it off. They were detained at that point and told that they couldn’t distribute the Bible on public streets that were within five blocks of the festival. But that’s not when they were arrested. You can read their account here. (Now’s as good a time as any to mention one of my favorite GetReligion comments from before I even worked here. Will Linden said something like “I share, you evangelize, they proselytize.”)

Now, I don’t know anything about the trial, but I think it’s fair to say that they were acquitted because, well, there was no incitement. The group engages in street apologetics and evangelism. That certainly conflicts with the zeitgeist, but, last I heard, is still protected by the U.S. Constitution. Of course, there’s so little information about the trial, that for all I know, they were acquitted for some other major reason.

Instead of an explanation of the events that led to the arrest, or a description of the trial, or a discussion of First Amendment freedoms, we instead get many paragraphs describing the mayor’s position on things:

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. said Friday night that he respects the decision but that the missionaries were anti-Muslim bigots pulling a publicity stunt to gain attention on YouTube in order to raise money.

A video the group posted last year about their encounters at the festival has had almost 2 million views. The group solicits money on their website when they travel to Dearborn, claiming the city is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.

“It’s really about a hatred of Muslims,” O’Reilly said. “That is what the whole heart of this is … Their idea is that there is no place for Muslims in America. They fail to understand the Constitution.”

O’Reilly said people of diverse religious beliefs get along fine in Dearborn. He said several other Christian groups at the festival this year and in years past have never had problems. Other evangelical Christians have criticized the group for their tactics.

“They engaged in a misrepresentation of what Dearborn really is,” O’Reilly said of the four missionaries arrested.

OK, I get that Dearborn has a large Muslim population. So presumably the mayor is just being political — and not satirizing Dearborn police for arresting Christian evangelists — when he attacks the Christians for failing to “understand the Constitution.” That’s how most politicians view their job — to do whatever it takes to get re-elected.

But that’s not a reporter’s job. A reporter’s job is to be specific about facts, to provide context, to balance a piece so that it doesn’t just give the government’s position. So for facts, how about telling us which “other evangelical Christians” have criticized the group. And, for fairness, do “other evangelical Christians” defend the group? On what grounds do they criticize the group? On what grounds are they defended? And since we’re at the basic who, what, when, where, why and how level of reporting — what type of Christian group do the exonerated activists belong to?

One last thing. Up above we learned that Mayel was found guilty of failure to obey a police officer’s order. What was that order? Why was it given? When was it given? Who gave it? These arrests happened in June. Isn’t that enough time to get the facts nailed down? As the reader who submitted it said, “surely a single detail on the only conviction in the entire case isn’t too much to ask?”

A previous story indicates that this charge was related to videography. This is a huge issue in the libertarian community — citizens are wrongly being told they can’t video police activity. They’re charged with “failure to obey police” or “interfering with government administration” or “recording without permission.” These details are certainly needed for a basic story about a conviction. The story ends, somewhat comically, with a characterization from attorney Robert Muise:

During the trial, he contended his clients’ First Amendment right to free speech was violated and said they did not harass anyone.

So there. Great job, Detroit Free Press! I’m not saying a story on the exoneration of street preachers shouldn’t include opinions about whether it’s couth or not. But that certainly shouldn’t be the focus and it should include a discussion — not a one-sided attack.

The Dearborn Press & Guide did a much better job with the story — leading with the defendants’ attorney, discussing the free speech problems with arresting people for videotaping police, including the mayor’s views without taking direction from them, etc. This Associated Press story seemed to just attribute their story to the Detroit Free Press.

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  • Dave

    Twenty-odd years ago I was part of a public Samhain observance, a Pagan holy day, on Cleveland Public Square. There was an attempted interruption by a Christian telling us we were already worshipping Satan if we were venerating the Earth. (At least he was paying attention.) We drowned him out with a group “Om” and he got arrested for attempting to disrupt a religious ceremony. Ie, our First Amendment rights took precedence. This was primarily because we had a parade permit, and in part because our security liaison with the police was a Pagan ex-cop.

    The questions I’d like to see covered include whether the festival organizers had themselves covered like this. It would be nice to see a quote from a defendant, and from someone who felt incited by what they did or said.

  • Jerry

    This is a critical civil liberties story from multiple angles. When police start acting like they do in Communist China, Iran or other totalitarian states, it’s a direct attack on liberty. It brings back memories of police attacking demonstrators in the 60′s.

    I would just love for someone who was involved in the coverage of the Koran burn threat to explain why they wrote eleventy billion stories on the Florida pastor and none on these other situations.

    Bias happens not only obviously in what is written and published but in failure to report on important stories and this is a classic example. I’m open to learning what kind of bias is involved: following the crowd, publishing stories for economic reasons and/or anti-Christian bias all come to mind. Maybe more than one motive is involved.

    This is a huge issue in the libertarian community — citizens are wrongly being told they can’t video police activity. They’re charged with “failure to obey police” or “interfering with government administration” or “recording without permission.”

    It is or should be a huge issue to anyone who cares about liberty, for example in this case the ACLU:

    “I met with the ACLU here in Michigan recently to make sure we had good laws protecting citizens’ right to video police officers and their activity and they said we have the model for other states.

    http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2010/09/28/news/doc4ca214ab4b71a726291932.txt

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    As a big fan of Hyde Park, London Catholic evangelical “street” preaching–I find it repulsive that the City of Dearborn is enforcing sharia law in its community. I also found the tape here fascinating.
    8 cops close in on these dangerous pamphleteers. WOW! Wasn’t our Revolution virtually created by printed pamphlets and broadsides.
    And the slogan on the narrator’s jersey: “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”–Thomas Jefferson– should be Get Religion’s motto as we sink into one anti-religious freedom pit or another (secular or Islamic)
    Maybe soon anyone who promotes what he believes is the truth will be treated like Geert Wilders in Holland and find himself on trial for that all inclusive, all encompassing crime of “hate” that legally eviscerates one’s God-given right of freedom of speech and the press.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Another classic quote in this genre, from Bishop Desmond Tutu (at a World Council of Churches meeting in the early 1980s), who was speaking in favor of the rights of street preachers and public evangelists. Clearly he was thinking about South Africa at that time.

    This is how I remember the quote: “One person’s evangelist is another’s dangerous political activist.”

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Oh another comment, from me (thinking about the editorial decisions in this report): Where do these editors think they are, England?

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    We had a similar incident last, when a protester from the group Anonymous was arrested in Nashville, by police serving as security for the Church of Scientology. Turned out that the arrest happened on a public sidewalk, far from the Scientology center and that the center had pulled permits for the wrong day.

    The interesting part of the Dearborn story is that it happened during a major festival, where organizers had set aside an area for Christian groups to give out literature — Josh McDowell and several local churches were there and had no problems.

    The Acts 17 group were apparently not arresting during the segment shown on video but the next day.

    There’s an interesting letter from the city with the city’s side on the restrictions in place during the festival.

    A federal judge ruled that the city’s crowd control restrictions on public speech during the festival were legal.

    Too bad the reporters didn’t get input from other Christian groups in Dearborn for the story– to see if they supported or criticized the Acts 17 group.

  • http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com Caspar

    My dear tmatt! This isn’t England–this is America!

  • Jon in the Nati

    I find it repulsive that the City of Dearborn is enforcing sharia law in its community.

    What in the world are you talking about? Seems to me the city was trying enforce Michigan law (albeit clumsily and probably foolishly). I see no hint of the dreaded sharia law here.

  • Stephen

    Deacon John finds it “repulsive that the City of Dearborn is enforcing sharia law.” Sharia law? Is anyone being stoned for adultery? Or executed for homosexuality? That’s sharia law, not being arrested for failure to follow a police order. (It’s also Old Testament law.)

    Why do I suspect that when direct action gay rights groups, such as GetEqual, start picketing and perhaps disrupting churchgoers at Evangelical or Catholic or Mormon churches, we are going to hear much less respect for civil liberties and insist that such actions are an assault on religious rights? In fact, I think I have heard this before perhaps on this site itself in relation to coverage of pickets outside Rick Warren’s church or Mormon temples in California. I think when Christians infringe on Muslim rights, it means one thing, and when others infringe on Christian rights, it means something else.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Whether that was the intent on the part of the police and Dearborn it certainly became the effect — and–as the beginning of the video points out– this is apparently also the belief of those Christians who had their rights trampled on.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Stephen,

    This site exists for analyzing media coverage of religious news. We discuss ways the media could improve their coverage of religious news. So while it’s pretty safe to say that you won’t find anything on the site disparaging religious liberties (and I tend to be pretty hard core on that topic), you will find helpful discussions about the difference between vandalizing a private house of worship and attending a public religious festival and so on and so forth.

    Judging from the comments you’ve made over the last day or so, you seem to be really anxious to fight about doctrine or politics. That’s not what this site is for. We encourage you to join in on conversations about how the mainstream media can improve religious news coverage.

    Best,

    Mollie

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    I have a graduate degree in church-state studies and, to cut to the chase, I am a First Amendment literalist when it comes to free speech and freedom of association. I would defend Act Up’s right to public protest on a public sidewalk to the death. Invasions of private property is another matter. That gets you into civil disobedience and that’s a different issue and Christians on the left and right would argue quite a bit about when that’s justifiable and when it is not.

    The key here — and what I think the deacon meant with his sharia reference — is whether the crime here was a de facto blasphemy against Islam, yet on public property. Was this on public land? Does anyone know?

  • Bob Smietana

    Terry:

    Looks like Dearborn is relying on a Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to restrict what people could hand out at the festival which took place on public property.

    The Supreme court ruling from 1981, dealt with the Minnesota State fair barring members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness from handing out literature at the fair. Apparently the fair–like this festival–had a specific space for handing out literature. Which appears to be the issue in Dearborn–not that the Acts 17 folks didn’t didn’t have the right to preach or hand out material — but it had to be done in a specific area and they had to pay for a booth–which other Christians groups did, reportedly.

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    The video clip begins with this:

    FACT: Under Shari’ah law, non-Muslims are not allowed to proclaim their beliefs to Muslims, and Muslims are not allowed to leave Islam.

    This is absolutely and entirely false. First, the Qur’an instructs muslims who have a question about the Bible to ask those who read it. Second, some muslims are required to become fluent in other religions so that we can arbitrate disputes according to the laws and beliefs of those other religions when their people ask for our assistance in resolving conflicts, as has happened throughout our history. Third, there is no “penalty” for leaving the muslim community, and muslims are forbidden to pursue those who leave Islam peacefully (i.e., without shedding blood). Moreover, those who leave Islam and join a community of another faith are “protected people” the same as those they join.

    The “anti-proselytizing” and “death for apostasy” so-called “laws” violate the Shari’ah law provision forbidding all such laws. They were first enacted by the Abbasid Tyranny over a thousand years ago and are a corruption of Islam wherever they are enforced or ignored. Israel’s laws, however, prohibiting Christians from proselytizing, are consistent with the oral Torah set forth by the Sanhedrin, found in the Talmud.

    I would ask readers to notice that muslims coming out of the festival accepted copies of the Gospel of John in English and Arabic and did not hand them back. This is because Arabic editions of the Bible are not easy to find, and we muslims read the Bible, we testify that the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the testimonies of the Prophets are from God, and we know Jesus, God’s Word that He cast into Mary, the Messiah of Israel, and the only man ever to walk the earth without sin or error.

    It is certainly a waste of time to tell us the Good News of the Kingdom of God, we already know the Good News and the Kingdom. But it is absolutely not “forbidden.”

    Just who were the Dearborn Gestapo working for? It most certainly was not the muslims. I know Dearborn, and what the police were doing that day was not what the muslims of Dearborn would have wanted to be done.

    Shaykh al-Hajj Dawud Ahmad al-Amriki
    hajj@muslimamerica.net

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Terry, Tmatt . ..

    The actual incident for which the people were arrested (as opposed to their previous detention in the video above) seems to have been not much of an incident at all. It didn’t involve distributing literature.

    I think the police were acting “with an abundance of caution” you might say (or “acting stupidly” to quote someone else!), which is why the arrests didn’t hold up.

    Anyway, as for the interference with the permitted Samhain festival, I think it would be different in some sense because it was a religious service. The Arab festival isn’t sectarian, to my knowledge, but a public street fair of some kind. Obviously there are religious issues in play even before the Acts 17-types get involved, but it’s not an overtly Muslim event, I don’t think.

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    Stephen wrote Is anyone being stoned for adultery? Or executed for homosexuality? That’s sharia law, not being arrested for failure to follow a police order. (It’s also Old Testament law.)

    Neither stoning for adultery nor execution for homosexuality is shari’ah law. It is Old Testament law. The Abbasid Dynasty, over a thousand years ago, resurrected Old Testament law after the Universal Covenant (the Qur’an) had tied the hands of tyrannical rulers.

    tmatt wrote The key here — and what I think the deacon meant with his sharia reference — is whether the crime here was a de facto blasphemy against Islam, yet on public property. Was this on public land? Does anyone know?

    It was not public property for First Amendment purposes, it had been “designated” for public safety reasons for the duration of the festival ~ which, by the way, was not a “muslim” event.

    But the Deacon was mistaken. There is no such “shar’iah law” as any that have been alleged in the video or in this comment thread, and the police were enforcing Dearborn municipal ordinances. See the Mayor’s letter linked by Bob Smietana above to acquire a few more facts about this nonsense.

    I also am a First Amendment literalist, more often in the courts than on the campus, for almost fifty years. Justice Douglas’ “No law means No Law” opinion launched me into law when I was in the Army in 1962. See my The New First Amendment from around 1992.

    Mollie wrote We encourage you to join in on conversations about how the mainstream media can improve religious news coverage.

    Having the facts straight before publishing partisan falsehoods would be helpful. See Guide To Events: Processing the Information Overload for some of the problems that need to be overcome to yield decent journalism.

    Bob wrote The Supreme court ruling from 1981 dealt with the Minnesota State fair barring members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness from handing out literature at the fair. Apparently the fair — like this festival — had a specific space for handing out literature. Which appears to be the issue in Dearborn — not that the Acts 17 folks didn’t didn’t have the right to preach or hand out material — but it had to be done in a specific area and they had to pay for a booth — which other Christians groups did, reportedly.

    Read it again ~ there were rented spaces for tables and booths, and there was a free space.

    And the Acts 17 folks were cited for Friday’s obstruction of a passageway, not for handing out two pamphlets on Saturday.

    Quite a few facts were “missed” in the reports of this “religious” news which wasn’t religious news at all, when the facts are examined. It was a bit of self-promotion that went just as the Acts 17 folks had planned ~ they got themselves cited, then produced a video of what they did the next day, for which they were not cited, and put together the video above that falsified the entire event, even to the extent of calling a Chamber of Commerce festival a “muslim festival.”

    An interesting bit of “journalism.”

  • Julia

    It’s my understanding that many Arabs in attendance are Christians. Lots of Christian Arabs in Detroit.

  • Julia

    It’s my understanding that many Arabs in attendance are Christians. Lots of Christian Arabs in Detroit.

    A federal judge ruled that the city’s crowd control restrictions on public speech during the festival were legal.

    Perhaps the Supreme Court decision on the Fred Phelps case will affect how events like this are handled by police in the future.

  • Jerry

    I really appreciate the update from Hajj Dawud Ahmad and the other information which casts an entirely different light on the incident. I had not considered that this was agitprop on the part of the protesters.

    The comment about the early days of the Abbasid dynasty illustrates importance of history. We do need to know how Islam is being practiced today but we also need to know how it deviates from the pattern that Muhammad practiced during his life. A well-rounded perspective is vital to understand our Muslim-American brothers and sisters and deal with the terrorists who threaten us.

    The key here — and what I think the deacon meant with his sharia reference — is whether the crime here was a de facto blasphemy against Islam, yet on public property. Was this on public land? Does anyone know?

    So while I am also a Free Speech literalist, I really disagree with the preceeding. It’s not relevant whatsoever to the story from any perspective that makes sense to me. I could care less what some radical Islamist fatwa issued in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan says about blasphemy. Hajj Dawud Ahmad’s statement about Islam and Christianity is entirely the same as everything I’ve read about Muslims who know what the Quran and Hadith say and who understand the history of Islam.

    The only thing that matters here are four things. First: whether or not the group’s action was within the bounds of free speech or whether the group went out of their way to get arrested to make a political point. Second: to what extent did the media report distort or not fully report what had gone on. And third, was the media reporting appropriate to the nature of the issue.

    Finally, the fourth is to understand and combat the role of ignorance, lies, distortions and propaganda on the part of those Christians and Muslim who are fomenting a war between the two religions.

  • R.S.Newark

    When will the day arrive that Police will be charged with False Arrest and brought to court on obvious summary charges.

  • Jon in the Nati

    I’d love to see the legal grounds on which that could happen (hint: there are none).

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    If this was a publicity stunt, the mayor fell for it wholeheartedly by accusing his targets of contempt for “the Constitution”. My copy of the First Amendment does NOT say “No one whatsoever under any circumstances shall criticize a minority religion.” What part of “Congress” and “law” does he not understand?

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    Looks like there will be a civil suit

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Folks,

    What in the world do these comments have to do with media coverage of religious or First Amendment news?

    I think I’m going to delete some stuff but at the very least, KEEP FOCUSED.

    UPDATE: Friends — if you want to discuss some of these off-topic issues, please take it over to the cafe!

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    Mollie wrote, Folks,

    What in the world do these comments have to do with media coverage of religious or First Amendment news?

    I think I’m going to delete some stuff but at the very least, KEEP FOCUSED.

    I’ve been bringing to light some things the media are not likely even to know, let alone ever publish, but I’ll stop if you like. I think the Dearborn agitprop has been fairly well exhausted, and I would really like to answer Will’s comment #25, but it’s your call, I’m just a guest having a good time doing what I do best.

    Your wish is my desire ~ what is your wish?

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    Bob Smietana wrote: Looks like there will be a civil suit.

    Oh, my goodness ~ more Live Social Drama.

    We just today received what we needed for a trip to the Washington Supreme Court ~ pro se without an attorney, of course. The Town is trying to stop us from providing housing for an indigent school teacher on our mosque property, a right protected by federal law. Any ideas about getting media coverage of illegal discrimination under color of law against muslims?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Hajj Dawud Ahmad,

    Yes, we try to limit conversation on our threads to media coverage of religious news. Many, many of our readers would love nothing more than to discuss doctrine or religious history or any number of other topics — but to keep these threads cordial and focused and on topic, we limit them to discussion of media coverage.

    And we really want to keep with the discussion of particular stories or particular trends rather than getting too far afield.

    We REALLY value your contribution here and we cover Muslim stories time to time so I encourage you to stick around and be part of the discussion — but this isn’t a traditional “religious” site — and we tend to discourage religious discussions except insofar as they are strictly tied to a news issue.

    Having said that, some of our readers really enjoy taking things offline. You can exchange emails with one another or announce that you’re “going to the cafe” to hash something out. And we encourage that. The cafe is an offsite location where you can talk about whatever you want.

    It’s my experience, however, that people tend to prefer to just email back and forth or hold off until the next related discussion.

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    Will: my reply to your comment #25 is here.

    Mollie: UPDATE: Friends — if you want to discuss some of these off-topic issues, please take it over to the cafe!

    Thanks, done.

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    You can exchange emails with one another or announce that you’re “going to the cafe” to hash something out. And we encourage that. The cafe is an offsite location where you can talk about whatever you want.

    The Google groups site doesn’t allow html, but I can live with that. You might consider bringing the coffeehouse “in house,” your pages are html-friendly.

    I’ve been writing about religious history and Scripture non-stop at blog.sojo.net since early August and now I have to take a break to keep the legal pressure on Town Hall for a while. Oh, well.

    I like your site here, I’ll keep the window open for ya.

  • John Pack Lambert

    Tmatt,
    Since there was no attempt to charge tresspass, this was clearly public land. Basically the city of Dearborn tried to restrict certain forms of religious speech in a long established public forum.

    Anyway, the whole incitement doctrine is making it so because people hate what you say enough you get punished for saying it.

    What is even scarier is that Breyer recently tried to compare this to yelling fire in a theatre. Yelling fire is only a crime when it is a lie, and is not protected for the same reason that liabel and slander are not protected.

    Saying that Islam is caused by the devil is not something that can be disproved, so one can not be lieing by saying such.

    The fact that the Free Press hardly cares to delve into this matter does not surprise me.

  • Carl Vehse

    Street preaching is so uncouth”

    Where does this title come from? It’s not part of the subject matter of the article, nor is it a point of discussion in other linked articles.

    More importantly, the title’s claim appears to be in conflict with our Lord’s views expressed in His parable of the wedding banquet (esp. Mt. 22:9; Lk 14:21) and the parable of the narrow door (Luke 13:26), or Christ’s instructions to His disciples in Luke 10:10-12.

  • sui sen

    How would u feel when these people are shouting at you and your children that you are worshipping the devil, that your religion is evil and that you will burn in hell forever?…

    I guess if those missionaries were Muslims interrupting a Christian gathering, they would be charged of terrorism and put behind bars without even the due process of law…

    Sad but it’s true…

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Carl,

    The headline comes from me. I was making a point about the tone of the article written by the Detroit newspaper reporters. It was as if their personal views that street preaching is uncouth negatively affected how they wrote the article.

  • http://www.muslimamerica.net/mp/stranger.htm Hajj Dawud Ahmad

    Sui Sen wrote: “I guess if those missionaries were Muslims interrupting a Christian gathering …”

    That was not a “muslim gathering” in Dearborn, and the Acts 17 people did not interrupt anything.

    Knowing that passing out literature in the area around the festival grounds would be a violation of a city ordinance, the Acts 17 group went there to get arrested on video tape for their website. The police acted according to the city ordinance, which had been upheld by the courts as a due safety measure for a festival expected to draw large crowds and demonstrators. The Acts 17 people were there as demonstrators, knowingly violating the ordinance.

    You can see some muslims coming out of the festival grounds and accepting copies of the English/Arabic Gospel of John, and not returning them or otherwise acting as if they were “intruded upon.” There is no indication in the reports that anyone at the festival ~ Christian, muslim, or neither ~ had raised any complaint.

    Muslims do not attend Christian gatherings unless formally invited, or knock on doors, or pass out literature except at a table or booth set up for that explicit purpose at some fairgrounds or a college campus or the like. There may have been muslim tables set up inside the festival grounds at either a “fee” space or in the “free” space set aside for that purpose.

    The Acts 17 people were there to see the police, the police acted as they were required to do, and the Acts 17 video falsifies the events, as anticipated.

    The media stories reflect the public attitude about such “baiting” of the police for promotional purposes that serve no religious purpose whatever ~ we (American muslims) actually read the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, an Arabic/English copy of the Gospel of John is quite welcome.

    In fact an Arabic/English copy of the entire Bible would be even more welcome. So far, all we’ve seen is Arabic Bibles made to look like Qur’ans, snuck into our mosques when no one is around, and pamphlets. Christians are quite willing to give us Bibles, often thinking that we don’t know about it, but are not so ready to sit down and discuss it with us, as if they know what it says and we don’t.

    So they were acquitted of something they did Friday, and were not charged with passing out literature on Saturday as their video makes it appear.

    Ho-hum. It’s not news. It’s like that bunch of nut-case muslims Down Under who want “the masses” to wipe out Jews. And reported in Dearborn to match the attitudes of the people of Dearborn regarding such exercises. Garbled beyond recognition, of course. That’s what sells newspapers.


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