A federal judge has ruled that Christian evangelists who were arrested at a Dearborn, Mich., festival sponsored by the Arab Chamber of Commerce can sue the business organization.
“The court finds that plaintiffs do properly allege a civil conspiracy among defendants, including the AACC, to deprive plaintiffs of their constitutional rights sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss,” the court’s ruling said.
The decision came in a case brought by the American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the Christians. David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, said: “The detailed allegations of our 100-page civil rights complaint sets out a pattern of misconduct that had the purpose and effect of depriving our clients of their fundamental constitutional rights.”
The judge, Stephen J. Murphy III, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted the AFLC’s request to amend its complaint on behalf of the missionaries “unlawfully arrested for preaching the Gospel to Muslims at the 2010 Arab International Festival.”
Added to list of defendants was the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, the organization responsible for the Dearborn Arab Festival.
It was on June 18, 2010, when four Christian missionaries, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood, Paul Rezkalla and Negeen Mayel, were thrown in jail by Dearborn police officers for peacefully preaching to Muslims at that year’s annual event.
The four were accused of “breach of the peace.” They were ordered to trial, but, represented by Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, they were acquitted.
Then Yerushalmi and Muise brought the civil rights action against the city, mayor John B. O’Reilly, police chief Ronald Haddad, 17 police officers and others.
The lawsuit accuses sheriff’s officers of siding “with the Muslim mob intent on suppressing the Christians’ speech.”
The situation since then only has deteriorated, the evidence suggests. A video was made during the 2012 event indicating hundreds of angry Muslims threw chunks of concrete and eggs at a team of Christians, spraying them with urine and cursing at them – all while police stood by and then threatened the victims with “disorderly conduct.”
The video says authorities not only failed to protect the Christians, they ordered them to leave the Arab Festival under threat of arrest for “disorderly conduct.”
However, not one Muslim was arrested for the attack that left several members of the Christian group bloodied, the video says.
The video, and a related complaint, revealed the crowd – reminiscent of a rock-throwing “intifada” scene from the Middle East – hurling a dizzying barrage of objects at the Christians standing passively with their signs, causing some injuries.
WND later learned that the Christian crowd had been carrying a pole with a pig’s head attached to the top, further angering the Muslim crowd. At the beginning of the video, Christian street preachers shout, “God is good, and God is not Allah!”
First, police approached Ruben Israel of OfficialStreetPreachers.com, warning him: “The city of Dearborn has an ordinance, OK, that you guys can’t use the megaphone. So, if you guys continue to use that, you will get a citation.”
Israel noted that the group was allowed to use the megaphone in 2011. Then he asked the officer, “So, if we don’t use a megaphone, can we throw water bottles at the crowd?”
The officer shook his head.
“So what are you going to do if they throw water bottles at us?” Israel asked.
“If that happens, we will take care of that and address it,” the officer promised.
When Israel said he had captured the mob’s assault on the Christians on video, the officer suggested he “take it through the proper channels, and we’ll try to find them.”
However, at the 2:17 mark of the video, the mob can be heard screaming: “You want to jump ’em? C’mon, let’s go!”
One boy yells, “Let’s beat the sh-t out of them!”
A girl shouts, “Go home! Do you understand English?!”
The Christians are no longer using megaphones, as the mob advances on them from all angles – hurling bottles, cans, eggs, chunks of concrete and even milk crates toward their heads.
Even young children shout obscenities such as, “F—k you, b-tch!”
Meanwhile, police are nowhere to be seen in the video.
One of the Christians asks another, “Is this worse than last year?”
He replies, “Oh my goodness, yeah!! This is insanity.”
An irate 18-year-old man from Iraq gets into the Christians’ faces, screaming: “If you don’t like Dearborn, then go the f—k back home! … I am an American citizen, and I have my rights. There’s freedom of religion, isn’t there?”
He screams, “So why do you guys pray like this on the bank? Oh Lord. Why don’t you get on the ground, like the prophets, huh? You’re Christian. That’s what it says in the Bible, you stupid sh-t!”
Many minutes into the video and after much of the shouting takes place, Dearborn mounted police ride through the crowd. The video states that no arrests were made.
According to the video, the mob began chucking more stones, bottles and debris as the Christians were injured and property damaged.
“Dearborn Police finally arrive after 30 mins of assault,” a caption states.
Despite the attacks the Christians had endured, a man identified in the video as Deputy Chief Dennis Richardson of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office tells them, “You’re a danger to the safety right now.”
Officers claim they don’t have the manpower to protect the Christians at the festival.
“Your safety is in harm’s way. You need to protect everybody,” said Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “You do have the option to leave. I just want to make that clear.”
Israel replied, “You have the option to stand with us” as Jaafar walked away, leaving the Christians to the mob.
When police leave, the crowd continues harassing the Christians and screaming profanities.
Then police begin escorting the Christians away from the crowd.
Deputy Chief Richardson tells Israel: “We have the responsibility of policing the entire festival, and obviously your conduct is such that it’s causing a disturbance and is a direct threat to the safety of everyone here. Someone could get hurt. You already have blood on your face. One of the festival people, one of my officers, anybody can get hurt. Now we’re going to escort you out.”
Israel explains that the mob throws things and becomes more aggressive when police leave the scene.
“Part of the reason that they throw things on someone is because you tell them stuff that enrages them,” Richardson argues.
The AFLC said the Christians were wearing shirts with Scripture quotes and Christian messages.
AFLC attorneys already successfully have litigated several challenges on behalf of Christians whose rights were violated in Dearborn – which is described as “a city with one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States.”
The team said, for example, a Christian pastor was banned from handing out Christian literature in 2009, and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided the pastor’s First Amendment rights were trampled.
(Editor’s note: The following 22-minute video contains profane statements shouted by an angry mob and may be offensive to viewers.)