Yes, yes, I know, even a broken clock is right twice a day. A group of Christians who brought a pig’s head on a stick to the Arab Muslim festival in Dearborn, Michigan in 2012 were harassed by police, threatened with arrest, and attacked with stones, bottles, and concrete by Muslims in the street outside the festival.
Detroit Free Press In what can be considered a shocking move, the far left ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is sticking up for an anti-Islam group who were exercising their first amendment rights in a public arena in Dearborn, Michigan. A civil rights organization is defending the free-speech rights of a Christian group that hates Islam, saying its members were unfairly removed from the Arab International Festival in Dearborn in 2012.
At the annual festival in June 2012, the Bible Believers brought a pig’s head mounted on a pole and signs with anti-Islam messages that denigrated Islam’s prophet. Muslims consider pigs to be unclean. In response, members of the crowd hurled water bottles and rocks at the Christian group, who walked away to avoid being hit. As they walked away, some in the crowd followed and continued to pelt them.
In a legal brief filed this month, attorneys with the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that Wayne County sheriff’s deputies violated the First Amendment by ordering a group of Christian evangelists from California called the Bible Believers to leave or face citations for disorderly conduct.
It was a rare move, one that was praised by attorneys with the American Freedom Law Center, a conservative group co-led by Ann Arbor attorney Robert Muise that is representing the Bible Believers. The center, which often fights what it sees as Islamic extremism in the U.S., says the violent reaction of Muslims at the festival is an attempt to stifle criticism of Islam.
“By ordering the Bible Believers to leave the Festival or else be cited for disorderly conduct, (Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies) violated the Bible Believers’ free speech rights under the First Amendment,” the ACLU said in their friend-of-the court brief. When “even offensive speech takes place in a public forum, police must take reasonable steps to protect speakers faced with a violent audience.”
The ACLU said the festival attendees are to blame for the violence, not the Bible Believers, who were peaceful and did not incite violence.
Attorneys for the Christians had their lawsuit against the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office dismissed last year by U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan in Detroit. In August, a three-judge panel with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Duggan’s decision, the Freep reports. But in October, the full court vacated that decision and said the 15 judges will reconsider the matter in March.
The annual Arab Festival ended in 2013 because of higher insurance rates stemming from religious tensions at the festival, including the 2012 incident with the Bible Believers.