There are very alarming things going on in Dearborn, MI, right now, and if you don't read Jihad Watch as religiously as I do, you should know about them.
First of all, for some background, see this year-old post of mine concerning Christian missionaries being assaulted and driven off of the public streets of an "Arab festival" sharia zone by Muslim "security" personnel at last year's Arab festival.
Second, the other piece of background I have is something I've hesitated as to whether to post, so I'm going to try to split the difference and say just this much: I have fairly strong reason to believe that there was a window of opportunity last year during which it was up to the Christians (or at least this was what they believed) whether to press charges on the assaults you see in that video from last year. They apparently chose not to do so. That's all I'll say, though in giving no further details I realize I'm asking you to take my word for it. I'm saying this because things have now gotten so much worse, and it might appear that it was entirely a matter of police choice last year to do nothing about the Muslims' behavior. This year, the police appear to be solidly on the Muslims' side and to be enforcing sharia in a blatantly unconstitutional manner. But it's only fair to say that the Muslim impunity last year may have been partly a result of a decision made on the Christian side. And this is relevant to the point of this post, which is just this, to these incredibly courageous Christian people, including former Muslims, for whom I have such great admiration: Don't only make videos about how bad sharia is in the U.S. Do something concrete about it in law. Use the rule of law to the max. Don't just illustrate the spread of sharia and get yourselves nearly beaten up and then arrested in the process. Fight it by every possible legal means at every step of the way. The Muslims will rejoice if you merely show their power and say, "Something is terribly wrong in America."
Now, on to the recent events: Last week, David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi, whom you also see in last year's video, went to the Arab festival again with two people videotaping. Within the festival area (which takes place on public streets), they voluntarily followed self-imposed guidelines that should not even be necessary: They did not approach anyone but waited for others to approach them. They did not pass out literature, despite the First Amendment. (By the way, this ruling should mean that Christian literature passing is permitted at the festival, but they didn't do it.)
Moreover, according to eyewitness testimony found here, they were observed by police, who also saw that they were surrounded by Muslims and did nothing wrong. The police then (according to the same eyewitness) went away for a few minutes, after which they returned and arrested all the Christians, including those who were merely taking video. They were led away in handcuffs to joyous shouts from the crowd of "Allahu akbar!"
As of the last post I saw that addressed the issue, they still seemed unsure of exactly what had even been alleged against them, and the police refused to look at the video on the spot to confirm their innocence (of whatever it was) during those few minutes the police were away. They appear to have some reason to believe that (this is a joke, right?) one of the Muslims alleged that they "surrounded" him and "wouldn't let him go," completely contrary to what the police themselves had witnessed.
Most disturbing of all, their cameras were confiscated and were not given back to them when they were released on bail. As far as I can tell, they still do not have their footage, which would of course be relevant in proving their innocence of whatever allegation has been made. Robert Spencer states that there was a hearing today, but I haven't been able to hear what happened, despite repeated inquiries in the comboxes at Answering Muslims.
A detailed account (video discussion) from the arrested missionaries after they were released on bail can be found here.
But it doesn't stop there.
They went back the next day and stood outside of the festival area. There, they distributed the Gospel of John to passersby. Now, again, a court has affirmed the right to distribute Christian literature on the public streets at the festival, but this wasn't even there. (Note, again: They were not distributing literature when they were arrested the previous day.)
As you can see here, a whole gaggle of hefty police officers approached this terrible menace to public safety--three people passing out the Gospel of John to passersby within sight of a sharia no-go zone--made them turn off their cameras, and took them away to a "security booth." There, they recount, they were told the rule: No passing out Christian literature within a five-block radius of the Arab Festival. So the radius of the hole in the First Amendment in Dearborn is now 1/2A + 5 blocks, where "A" stands for the diameter of the Arab festival, which is itself on public streets.
This obviously cannot be allowed to stand. Now, the message of the video about the huge "no Christian activities" zone is that something is terribly wrong in Dearborn. Well and good. This is obviously true. But it cannot stop there. This must be challenged and stopped by a First Amendment lawsuit against the town of Dearborn for enforcing such a rule. Moreover, any suit that can be filed for false arrest or for libel (by false witnesses) in connection with the arrest must also be filed. There must surely be legal recourse if, God forbid, the exculpatory video should be erased or the cameras never returned. This recourse should be planned right now and followed out to the full extent of the law should it become necessary.
It is worse than useless merely to go about provoking and then documenting Muslim outrages against American freedoms. If the message sent is merely, "Look, look, Muslims are in charge in this part of the United States, isn't this awful?!" then this will simply be popcorn-popping material for the guys who were yelling "Allahu Akbar." (They can wind up with a nice beheading video to round out the evening.) As long as there is a rule of law in the United States, these things must be challenged in as concrete a way as possible. Last year, charges should have been pressed to the full extent of the law, and if the police then refused to cooperate, that itself should have been publicized. This year the tables have been turned, and now the Muslims are charging the Christians. This is bad enough, but it will be even worse if all that comes of all of this is a couple of "isn't that outrageous" Youtube clips.
Get some good legal representation, fellas, and, this time, make these people pay as far as in you lies.
Update 1: Correction--The court ruling I mentioned gave the other Christian missionary, Mr. Saieg, permission to distribute literature within the insanely large five-block-radius "bubble zone" the police are attempting to impose on literature passing, not within the streets used for the festival itself. Thanks to reader Al for clearing this up from the court ruling.
Update 2: Thomas More is now representing the missionaries and has written to Police Chief Haddad (ahem) demanding the return of the confiscated cameras and footage. The four appear to have been charged with "breach of the peace," and Nageen has also been charged with "failure to obey a police officer's orders." (So I wonder: What was the "breach of the peace" originally in addition to the refusal to give up her camera promptly enough? Standing there videotaping?) Comments from the President of Thomas More seem to imply that Police Chief Haddad is now arguing that people can be arrested for "breach of the peace" if other people are threatening them on the street. That's a nice trick. Don't arrest the people doing the threatening; arrest the victims. Never mind that issuing threats is itself illegal but standing around talking to Muslims on the street isn't. Scary times we live in.