So, as the story goes, Ernie Perce of PA participated in a zombie walk on Halloween with The Atheists of Central Pennsylvania dressed as Mohammad.
A Muslim man, Talaag Elbayomy did not appreciate this, and attacked him. Police charged Elbayomy with harassment, but the judge threw out the case, letting Elbayomy walk free.
Talaag Elbayomy said he was at the parade with his wife and two kids and felt he just had to do something. In fact, he too called police because he thought it was a crime for someone to depict Muhammed in such a way. He has since learned otherwise.
Here’s a video of a news story about it.
It doesn’t matter how antagonistic someone is to another person’s religion. It is wrong to assault them.
The representative for Elbayomy had this to say:
R. Mark Thomas represented Elbayomy and applauds the judge.
“I think this was a good dressing down by the judge,” he said. “The so-called victim was the antagonist and we introduced evidence that clearly showed his attitude toward Muslims. The judge didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done if I was in that position.”
Negative attitudes do not warrant harassment/assault.
Here is the full audio of the trial. I listened to part of it, and the judge actually said,
“Was the defendant’s intent to harass, annoy or alarm? Or was it his intent to try and have the offensive situation negated?” and, “I think our forefather intended that we use the First Amendment so that we could speak what’s on our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures… which is what [Perce] did.”
Note: the judge is a Muslim. In the audio, he talks about how he himself felt offense at Perce’s costume and actions, and that in his opinion, Perce went beyond the bounds of the First Amendment.