Month in Review – August 2019

Here are the highlights for August:

* In 2017, we filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and its Mayor, alleging violations of federal and state law.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven City residents who oppose the construction of a mosque in their largely Chaldean Christian neighborhood.

It was evident that the American Islamic Community Center (AICC) wanted to “plant the flag” in this Chaldean Christian community by building a huge mosque.

In February 2017, the City decided not to defend against the bogus claims of discrimination made by AICC and the Obama Department of Justice in their lawsuits filed against the City because the Planning Commission unanimously voted to deny the construction, but instead to capitulate and enter into a Consent Judgment that granted AICC permission to build the mosque even though doing so violated local and state zoning regulations.

The decision to enter into the Consent Judgment was made during a City Council meeting.  During this public meeting, the Mayor enforced a content- and viewpoint-based speech restriction that prohibited private citizens, including our clients, from making any comments that the Mayor deemed critical of Islam.

The district court ruled in favor of the City, and in an opinion fraught with errors, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed on August 14, 2019.

As a result, on August 23, 2019, we filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc, asking the entire Sixth Circuit to take up this case.

As we argue in our petition, “review by the entire Court is necessary because the panel committed precedent-setting errors of exceptional public importance and issued an opinion that directly conflicts with Supreme Court, Sixth Circuit, and well-established precedent of other federal courts.”

* On August 22, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise participated in two separate, publicly broadcasted conferences.

The first conference was hosted by the Center for Security Policy and the Family Research Council.  The purpose of the conference was to show why CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) have no credibility.

Muise participated in the conference with Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin (Family Research Council), Zuhdi Jasser (American Islamic Forum for Democracy), Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy), and others.

The second conference was hosted by the Federalist Society.  It too discussed SPLC.  During this teleforum, Muise participated as a panelist.  His presentation focused on AFLC’s lawsuit against the Michigan Attorney General for relying upon the false propaganda of SPLC to target conservative groups falsely identified by the leftist SPLC as “hate groups” operating in Michigan.  AFLC is one of the groups listed.

* On August 26, Muise represented four pro-lifers in their preliminary examination (probable cause hearing), which was held in the 67th District Court in Flint, Michigan on the felony charge of assaulting/restricting/obstructing an officer.  The hearing lasted over four hours.

The judge found probable cause to bind the rescuers over on the felony charge.  As a result, the entire case was moved to the 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Genesee County, which is also located in Flint.

Muise will be representing the pro-lifers throughout the trial and appeal process.

On June 7, 2019, the pro-lifers peacefully entered the Women’s Center abortion facility located in Flint, Michigan.  They sat down next to women seated in the waiting room and offered them material help and words of encouragement to leave the center and choose life for their babies.

Police arrived in force and ordered the four rescuers to leave.  The rescuers told the officers that in good conscience they could not leave while unborn children and their mothers were in grave danger and facing imminent harm from abortion.

The officers placed the rescuers under arrest.  Because of their deeply held religious convictions, the pro-lifers told the officers that they could not assist in their own arrests because doing so would make them morally complicit.  The pro-lifers told the officers that they had to remain in the center in solidarity with those who were facing imminent harm.

The rescuers engaged in a time-honored practice often described as “passive resistance.”  In reality, however, the rescuers offered no resistance.

The officers handcuffed the rescuers and carried them out of the center and into waiting police vehicles to be transported to the jail and booked.

The rescuers were charged with two misdemeanor counts (trespassing and disturbing the peace) and one felony count (assaulting/resisting/obstructing an officer) as a result of the “passive resistance.”  We will be challenging the lawfulness of this felony charge in the circuit court.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  We couldn’t do what we do without them!