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Dearborn Arab festival being moved after attendees antagonized
by Niraj Warikoo
After four years of increasing tensions between some Christian missionaries and local Muslims, the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn is being moved from a street that has open access to a public park that could restrict admission to paid attendees.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly said Friday that the city plans to shift the festival — the biggest annual outdoor gathering of Arab Americans in the U.S. — from Warren Avenue to Ford Woods Park, near the corner of Ford and Greenfield roads. One of the reasons for the move is liability concerns; the city has been hit with lawsuits from some Christian missionaries alleging their free speech rights were curtailed at the festival.
"Considering everything we've been through and what happened in the past," said O'Reilly, the city wanted a place "where you can have a controlled site."
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