Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Dearborn, Michigan: Watch out for extremists!


Dearborn, Michigan is home to the largest mosque in the United States. 30% of its population is of Arab descent and many of those people have apparently been in the city for generations.

On June 18, 19 and 20, 2010, Dearborn played host to the 15th Annual Dearborn Arab International Festival. As per the web site of American Arab Chamber of Commerce, this event is described with the following: "Highlights of the festival include 30-international food booths, large carnival, interactive children's stage, Arab merchandise, calligraphy, and bread making." Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. and Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad call the festival a family event.

During the festival, 4 Christian missionaries who were demonstrating outside were arrested by police supposedly for disturbing the peace.

According to the Press & Guide: Negeen Mayel, 18, of California; Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, 29, of Virginia; Paul Rezkalla, 18 of New York, and David Wood, 34, also of New York, face fines of up to $500 each and up to 93 days in jail. Mayel was also charged with disobeying an officer.

This incident has sparked a national furor over the arrests of these missionaries and the possible violation of their constitutional rights. Even Newt Gingrich has weighed into this. According to the Detroit Free Press of August 4:

In a letter published last week on the Human Events Web site as well his own Web site, the former U.S. House speaker says that the jailing of the four Christian missionaries is an example of Islamic extremism coming to the U.S.

"This is a clear case of freedom of speech and the exercise of religious freedom being sacrificed in deference to shari'a's intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam," Gingrich wrote in a letter published last week.

Gingrich said the missionaries were handing out copies of Christian literature, which is "of course, forbidden by shari'a's rules on proselytizing."


Just what the heck is going on?

The Detroit Free Press of August 4:

The missionaries are with a Web site called Acts 17 Apologetics, which seeks to convert Muslims. They visited the Arab festival in 2009, producing a video that critics say was selectively edited to make the city and Muslims look bad.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. and others have said the missionaries were trying to provoke people when they came back to the festival this year in order to gain attention and raise money for their small group.

They note there were several other Christian groups at the Arab festival, as in previous years, who had no problems.


The Press & Guide of July 27, 2010:

At the heart of the case are the group’s alleged actions during the festival, which took place June 18-20.

City officials said in a written statement July 9, that at approximately 8:30 p.m. June 18, Dearborn police officers received a complaint, from a Christian volunteer working the festival, regarding members of Acts 17 Apologetics harassing and intimidating patrons of the festival and that a large crowd was gathering.

Officers responded to the area where “a large agitated crowd had gathered due to the actions of the individuals of Acts 17 Apologetics,” according to the city’s public information department.

“The four members of Acts 17 Apologetics chose to escalate their behavior, which appeared well-orchestrated and deliberate, and chose not to follow the directions being given to them by the responding officers,” city officials said in a press release. “The behavior of these individuals drew and incited a large crowd to a point where they were in violation of city of Dearborn misdemeanor ordinances of breach of peace and failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer.”


Hold on there a sec...

The missionaries are with a Web site called Acts 17 Apologetics, which seeks to convert Muslims.

Okay...

They visited the Arab festival in 2009, producing a video that critics say was selectively edited to make the city and Muslims look bad.

What? Selectively edited? That doesn't seem fair. In fact, it doesn't seem to be very Christian.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. and others have said the missionaries were trying to provoke people when they came back to the festival this year in order to gain attention and raise money for their small group.

Provoke people? You mean they weren't there to spread the gospel; they were there to cause a ruckus?

They note there were several other Christian groups at the Arab festival, as in previous years, who had no problems.

So, Christians at this festival are not the problem, it's this particular group, Acts 17 Apologetics.

Gingrich said: "This is a clear case of freedom of speech and the exercise of religious freedom being sacrificed in deference to shari'a's intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam"

What? How did he make that leap of logic? What's Sharia got to do with the Dearborn Police Force? Christian groups have been at the festival for years and there hasn't been a problem: this is the 15th annual festival. Acts 17 Apologetics have been on record in 2009 for causing problems; now they come back in 2010 and do it again.

From the Detroit Free Press, July 27, 2010:

Scott Cherry, 45, of Dearborn said the missionaries were misleading the public with edited videos posted on YouTube. The missionaries said on the videos that Christians are oppressed and persecuted in Dearborn.

The four missionaries "didn't tape all the other Christians" at the festival distributing literature, Cherry, a counter-demonstrator, said.



From the Press & Guide, July 27, 2010

In the letter dated July 9, Dearborn Mayor O’Reilly states, “the city of Dearborn has been under attack for several years by a group identifying themselves as Acts 17 Apologetics. They arrive in Dearborn with the intent to disrupt a local cultural festival and misrepresent facts in order to further their mission of raising funds through emotional response. The funds they raise are then used to finance travel and cameras to disrupt other events in other cities.”

He goes on to say that the group’s videos, which were posted on “YouTube” shortly after their arrests, are “a distortion of the group’s experience and a misrepresentation of the Dearborn Arab International Festival.”

“This video was filmed on June 19 and was edited by Acts 17 Apologetics to appear that the video is showing members of Acts 17 Apologetics being arrested for handing out Christian literature,” O’Reilly said.

City officials maintain that the four individuals representing Acts 17 Apologetics were not arrested for handing out literature, and in fact, were not handing out literature at the time of their arrest.

“This issue has nothing to do with First Amendment Rights; it has to do with public safety and the individual choices made by the arrested parties,” city officials said prior to the arraignment.


Hey, what a minute! These guys are falsifying the video evidence. They're trying to twist things around in their favor and hoodwink us all into believing something which isn't true. That's not fair; that's not very Christian.


Letter from the Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. - July 9, 2010
(full text below at end of this article)
http://www.cityofdearborn.org/images/stories/PDF/Government/Mayor/mayorletter07-09-2010.pdf



What the heck is this Acts 17 Apologetics?

From their web site, I find the Mission Statement of Acts 17 Apologetics:

The mission of Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries is to glorify God by defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

We also refute the arguments of those who oppose the True Gospel, most commonly the arguments of Muslims and atheists.

From their web site, Acts 17 Apologetics: About Us... Ah, I only see two names: Nabeel Qureshi and David Wood.

Who is Nabeel Qureshi? The About Us page states : Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of Christianity through apologetics and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion...

Who is David Wood? The About Us page states: David Wood is a Teaching Fellow in Philosophy. A former atheist, David converted...

Hold it! They're converts? Oh boy, how many converts have I known who don't just convert but go to the ultimate extreme in the far end of the spectrum of belief in anything? They're right; everybody else is wrong. see my blog Extremism: I'm right, you're wrong (September 13, 2010)

From Press & Guide, July 27, 2010:
Two of the missionaries who were arrested say that Islam is a violent religion and that Christianity is the only true faith.

Hmmm, now let me get a proper picture of this group:
  • refute the arguments of those who oppose
  • converts
  • Christianity is the only true faith
Oh boy, this is a recipe for tolerance and understanding. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have extremists in our midst and they ain't Muslim, they're Christian!!!

Good Christians, rise up against the ring-wing extremists in our midst. They seek to mislead us. They seek not peace, love and understanding; they seek war, hatred and ignorance.

"My" Christianity is tolerance.

"My" Christianity is acceptance.

"My" Christianity is peace.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
(Matthew 7:15 King James Version)


Let's get a grip, folks. The sky is not falling.

But this is what's happening:

Right-wing, extremist elements are at work in all camps everywhere. For them, the ends justify the means. This story isn't about a Christian group; it is about an extremist group. Act 17 Apologetics deliberately provoked a confrontation with the authorities in order to martyr themselves. They falsified video footage in order to seek out public sympathy to their cause. Their ultimate goal is to convert the world to their view. They are not interested in peaceful coexistence; they are only interested in domination.

The Ninth Commandment reads:

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (Exodus 20:16)

Stop. Think. Reflect. If you are about to rise up against your neighbor, something is very, very wrong.



References

15th Annual Dearborn Arab International Festival
June 18, 19 and 20, 2010
http://www.americanarab.com/component/content/article/42-rokstories/264-15th-annual-dearborn-arab-international-festival-june18-20-2010.html

Detroit Free Press - July 27, 2010
Rally in Dearborn backs arrested missionaries
Did Christians go too far? Or did city quash free speech?
http://www.freep.com/article/20100727/NEWS02/7270362/Rally-in-Dearborn-backs-arrested-missionaries

Press & Guide - July 27, 2010
ACLU joins those defending rights of Act 17 Apologetics at Arab Festival
http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2010/07/27/news/doc4c4f0ed1eba80981771841.txt

MLive.com - July 27, 2010
Muslim candidate leads rally in Dearborn for Christian evangelists arrested at Arab Fest
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2010/07/muslim_candidate_leads_rally_i.html

UPI (United Press International) - July 27, 2010
Muslim-led rally: Free arrested Christians
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/07/27/Muslim-led-rally-Free-arrested-Christians/UPI-90181280255960/

Detroit Free Press - August 4, 2010
Newt Gingrich calls Dearborn arrests of missionaries extremism
http://www.freep.com/article/20100804/NEWS05/8040356/1318/Gingrich-calls-arrests-of-missionaries-extremism

Exposing David Wood: Of Mosques and Men, Pt. 1
Posted on 24 June 2010 by Garibaldi
http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/06/exposing-david-wood-of-mosques-and-men-pt-1/

Acts 17 Apologetics
http://www.acts17.net/

Dearborn and Islam: an open letter to Newt Gingrich by Ali Elhajj
http://alielhajj.com/?p=699
I write to you today as an American, Evangelical Christian, former Muslim, and an Arab who lived in Dearborn, Michigan for over 10 years. I also write to you as someone who lived through a civil war in the Middle East and now dedicates his life, through his work in the name of Christ, to reconciliation and understanding between Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians.

Newt Gingrich Plays Loose With The Facts To Bash Muslims by Matt Buss - July 28, 2010
http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/07/28/newt-gingrich-plays-loose-with-the-facts-to-bash-muslims/



References: Dearborn, Michigan

Wikipedia: Dearborn, Michigan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dearborn,_Michigan

In the 2000 census, Arab Americans comprised 30% of Dearborn's population; many have been in the city for generations. More Iraqi immigrants have been arriving as refugees from the continued war in their country since 2003. The majority of recent Arab immigrants are Muslims. In the first half of the twentieth century, it was predominately Christian Arabs who immigrated to Metro Detroit. Lebanese descendants comprise the largest proportion of Arab Americans in Dearborn.




U.S. Census Bureau: The Arab Population 2000
http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-23.pdf
Ten Places With Largest Arab Population
Dearborn: 29.85% of the total population is Arab

NPR (National Public Broadcasting) - May 12, 2005
Largest Mosque in USA opens in Dearborn
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4650047


From the Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. - July 9, 2010
http://www.cityofdearborn.org/images/stories/PDF/Government/Mayor/mayorletter07-09-2010.pdf

Please consider the following before condemning us

The City of Dearborn has been under attack for several years by a group identifying themselves as Acts 17 Apologetics. They arrive in Dearborn with the intent to disrupt a local cultural festival and misrepresent facts in order to further their mission of raising funds through emotional response. The funds they raise are then used to finance travel and cameras to disrupt other events in other cities.

In our case, the targeted event is not about the Muslim faith or its believers. It is a Middle Eastern cultural festival sponsored by a Chamber of Commerce and a local charitable service organization. Neither of these two entities have a religious alignment. Like events in cities all over our nation, this festival has a variety of entertainment and interests, including rides, games, performances, foods, souvenirs, and community information. Also like other events, it relies on sponsorships and fees to cover its costs. Large tents are set up to house organizations and businesses that want to have access to the thousands of people attending this event. These groups pay a modest fee for the privilege and are allowed to carry out their activity in an assigned space within the tents. There is no restriction placed on any lawful activity carried out in this manner, including preaching the word of God.

This past year, five Christian organizations and two Muslim organizations chose this lawful method of reaching the attendees. This is similar to past years and there has never been a problem or controversy about this type of preaching or religious engagement. The total number of table vendors at the festival exceeds eighty, so these seven faith-based groups represent a relatively small aspect of the festival. In all the materials released by Acts 17 Apologetics they have failed to mention this manner of preaching and evidencing the teaching of Jesus Christ, even though they have been offered the same opportunity each year.

In addition to the booths, we have a free speech zone at the festival for those that want free access to the festival to promote their message. This space was utilized this past year by two different Christian groups who were allowed to preach and proselytize the entire weekend without any interference. Acts 17 Apologetics did not mention this either, even though they were within 30 feet of this space when they pretended to be arrested.

Yes, I said pretended to be arrested. In a video they have posted on their website, they are standing near the Ferris wheel when some police officers approached them on Saturday, June 19. They lead you to believe that they were arrested shortly thereafter for passing out Christian flyers. Although they were temporarily detained for violating the festival rules regarding the location of the distribution of literature, they were not arrested on that day. And they were never arrested for passing out flyers.

On Friday, June 18, they behaved very differently than what you saw on film from Saturday, June 19. They were not handing out flyers but were aggressively engaging passers-by in confrontational debate when they were arrested and cited for Breach of the Peace and Failure to Obey the Lawful Order of a Police Officer. See www.cityofdearborn.org for more details.

Acts 17 always retained the right to carry out their activities in a lawful manner at the festival. The video taken on Saturday illustrates that the group returned to the festival after the four arrests on Friday.

Acts 17 Apologetics has been at the Arab Festival in past years and is well aware of the written policy with regard to crowd control. They are also aware of a federal court decision in favor of the Dearborn policy of controlled access to the festival site. This is standard practice at events all over the country. A site is identified and authorized by the government entity as a special event site. In the case of the Arab Festival, it is a number of commercial blocks between the rear alley accesses behind the businesses on either side of the commercial road.

Despite knowing this, Acts 17 Apologetics lead the viewers of the distorted video to believe that they are on public sidewalks. For the duration of the three-day event, the public sidewalks in front of the stores and businesses in the event district are no longer “public” in terms of the application of the First Amendment. They are in an area controlled to protect public safety during the event because of the extreme number of people occupying a space that was never intended to support that much activity. This practice has been upheld by the Supreme Court in “Hefron vs. International Society for Krishna Consciousness”

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0452_0640_ZS.html

And that is what the Federal Court upheld in June.

http://www.cityofdearborn.org/images/stories/PDF/fedcourtopinion.pdf

The court decisions protect every community that must balance personal freedom
with the need to provide public safety during an unusual situation.

At the time he was arrested on Friday, June 18, Mr. Wood had gathered a large crowd around him, blocking a key access point between the tents. The crowd was forced to grow bigger solely because people could not pass. Those who created this public danger did so with the knowledge that they were violating the laws because they wanted to be arrested while their cohorts were actively recording the event for posting on the web. They knew that they could inflame the passions of viewers who would be taken in by their misrepresentation of what was really going on. They have even found media that would put them on air to repeat these inaccurate representations without seeking information or the truth from others.

It makes a good news story to say that a community is infringing on peoples’ rights especially when it is couched in the true bias of generating negative feelings about another religion. The real violation of First Amendment rights occurs with Acts 17 Apologetics trying to imply they were the victim when the real violation is their attack on the City of Dearborn for having tolerance for all religions including believers in the Koran.

Dearborn is a true American City that welcomes everyone in the full spirit of our great constitution. We are a community of faith that is dedicated to the welfare of everyone whether resident or guest. These gross misrepresentations have caused us to come together in a stronger way.

Almost a year ago, after earlier attacks by Acts 17 Apologetics on Dearborn, I hosted a meeting with the Dearborn Area Ministerial Association (DAMA), a group of mostly Christian religious leaders, but inclusive of all faiths in Dearborn. I asked them to review the video from the 2009 festival, examine the facts and measure the impact on our community. The discussion was frank and sincere.

After that meeting with DAMA, a separate group of Dearborn Christian evangelical ministers released a written criticism of the actions and misrepresentations of Acts 17 Apologetics.

http://www.fairlanealliance.org/downloads/letter_concerning_acts_17.pdf

They released their statement only after trying to contact Acts 17 Apologetics to engage them in a discussion of how to achieve the goal of converting others to Christ. They were unsuccessful in getting a response from Acts 17.

The truth is Christian evangelists are active at the Arab Festival. They participate in lawful ways. While many are local, some, like world renowned minister and author Josh McDowell, come to the festival because it offers a large number of people who can be engaged in the message of the New Testament. He and the other evangelists followed the rules and have been successful in achieving their goals. Mr. McDowell posted positive recordings of his experience at the festival in 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIH1F7KGWnY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzh3MYv1L4A

These videos provide a sharp contrast to the recordings of Acts 17 Apologetics and, better yet, they have only truth as their motive.

Dearborn is not your enemy nor are the people who live here. People who would promote hatred and lies to get others to act in ways that are contrary to what America stands for are the real enemy for all lovers of our country. History is full of horrific events that were manufactured by lies to get good people to act purely emotionally to achieve the deceiver’s ends. We hope that you will choose to become informed and avoid being taken in by people that have yet to share true faith with anyone in Dearborn.

Sincerely,
Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr.
City of Dearborn


2010-08-18

1 comment:

sfcmac said...

The radical muslim environment in Dearborn needs to be closely monitored by the FBI.
Michigan has become quite a muslim terrorist enclave.
Dearborn, in particular, is ground zero for muslim fanaticism in this country.

The counter-terrorist branch of the FBI has raided the houses of muslim terroists in the Dearborn area, and on at least one occasion, killed one of them (Luqman Ameen Abdullah)in a gunfight.

The town has become a safehaven for Islamic terrorists and their facilitators. The so-called "Arab Festival" is a gathering place for extremists to celebrate their occupation of an American city.

Islam is a brutal, extremist ideology maqueading as a "religion". http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

Most of the WORLD-WIDE terrorism is committed by MUSLIM terrorists; not Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Jews, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, Wiccans, Methodists, Mormons, or any other devout practicioners of the other religions, including the members of Acts17 Apologetics.

I'm agnostic, by the way.

In truth, the city of Dearborn has been under attack for several years by muslim extremists who take advantage of a PC environment.
The court was correct to uphold the free speech rights of opponents, and let Sharia-dominated Dearborn know that the Constitution applies to other religions.

Muslim extremists set up booths at this festival to preach Islam. They don't like having their talking points questioned.
If you don't think that "festival" isn't used as a jihadist recruiting site, I've got a big bridge in Brooklyn for sale...cheap.