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Trend: Christians Preach to Muslims, Get Arrested
by David J. Rusin • Sep 24, 2010 at 10:27 am
Does the First Amendment protect Christians who bring their message to Muslims at public events or in front of mosques? This is a good question, given the trend of missionaries being placed under arrest while proselytizing to followers of Islam — right here in the United States:
At the core of all three cases is the principle that government or entities acting on its behalf cannot muzzle unpopular speech. Newt Gingrich sounds a more specific alarm: freedom is being sacrificed to Shari'a law's "intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam."
No American city epitomizes this concern as much as heavily Muslim Dearborn. Members of the same Christian group, Acts 17 Apologetics, were tossed from last year's Arab fest by abusive security personnel. Dearborn authorities attempted to curb the rights of a separate Christian organization to disseminate material at the 2009 event, restrictions later overturned by a federal appeals court. To add insult to injury, Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr. recently declared that his city is "under attack" by Acts 17.
As the above cases move through the legal system, readers are welcome to educate Mayor O'Reilly (contact info here, area code is 313) about the one thing that truly is "under attack" in Dearborn and across America: the First Amendment.
September 24, 2010, Update: A Dearborn jury acquitted the four missionaries of breach of peace, while one of the four was found guilty of failure to obey a police officer. In response to the verdicts, Mayor O'Reilly smeared the Christians as haters and once against displayed abject ignorance of the U.S. Constitution.
May 1, 2011, Update: A new IW article describes the November 12, 2010, trial of the two preachers arrested in Philadelphia. They were acquitted on all counts.