And the hits just keep on coming
Again the value of video footage simply cannot be understated. On Sunday evening the weekend of their arrest, after being released on bail, David Wood and Paul Rezkalla returned to the Arab Festival in Dearborn, MI, to conduct something of an experiment (along with a friend, Antonio Santana). Instead of going inside the festival, they stood outside of it and distributed pamphlets of the Gospel of John in Arabic and English. The video of the experience is incredible.
For three individuals standing on a public street handing out religious pamphlets in an American city, the Dearborn Police Department responded in under five minutes with a total of eight uniformed officers and arrested them. This is the assault on the rights and freedoms of Americans that is taking place in Dearborn, Michigan. Every year for three days in June, pursuant to a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman, the protections of the First Amendment are suspended within the Arab International Festival and its “outer perimeter” which, as we can tell from David’s experience here, apparently constitutes a five-block “buffer zone.” So anywhere within that five-block perimeter and the festival itself, the rights and freedoms of Americans is curtailed.
According to the Thomas More Law Center, who announced today that they are going to represent the four members of the Acts 17 Apologetics team (Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood, Paul Rezkallah, and Negeen Mayel), these videos depict what looks like Sharia law being enforced in Dearborn; as David noted in the above video, under Sharia law non-Muslims are prohibited from proselytizing under pain of death, which includes the distribution of non-Muslim religious literature. Although neither the city of Dearborn nor the state of Michigan is under Muslim rule, the remarkable miscarriage of justice carried out by the city in enacting the ban, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in upholding it, certainly caters to the spirit of Sharia law. But far more importantly, it simply defies the Constitution of the United States.
Be careful of the dragon you’re awakening.
And to all those who are attacking the characters of Nabeel and David, suggesting that they must have been doing something to deserve being arrested since other Christian ministries were at the festival sharing their faith without getting into trouble, please be responsible and inform yourself of all the relevant facts first. The other Christians were not assaulted by security or taken into police custody because they remained at their designated booths and tables, enjoying their freedom of speech where the city and federal court limited it to. That is the very nature of the fight that pastor George Saieg and the Acts 17 Apologetics team are engaged in, with the help of legal representation from the Thomas More Law Center; they are refusing to sit quietly while their rights and freedoms are stripped away by city and state officials, even if their fellow brothers are content to do so. The other Christians at the festival did not get into trouble because they were willing to play by the rules. But then some Christians, such as George Saieg, Nabeel Qureshi, and David Wood, refuse to abide by rules that violate the fundamental rights and freedoms that millions of Americans have shed blood to secure over the last two centuries. Those who played possum will in the end thank those who didn’t.
On a very loosely related note, did you know that Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad was recently appointed to serve on the Homeland Security Advisory Council? Yeah, me neither. I just discovered that interesting bit of news this afternoon, thanks to the staff writer Sean Delaney of the Press & Guide newspaper in Dearborn (“Chief Haddad on national security board,” 3 May 2010). According to statements from Haddad, the city and its police department have established “several similar advisory committees to facilitate communication between different cultural and religious groups, as well as various groups and organizations throughout the city.” And he goes on to say, “We are engaging the community in a way that’s never been done before.” He’s got that right.
What I found deeply troubling, in light of the recent events in Dearborn, was Haddad’s closing comment. After describing it as an honor and privilege to serve on such a board in Washington, he described the task as “extremely important and a high degree of responsibility because we have to come up with a program that serves the country as well as the City of Dearborn” (emphasis mine). Right, and Americans want what Dearborn and its police are doing with facilitating “communication between different cultural and religious groups” to have an influence on how Homeland Security is advised.
That dragon better wake up soon.