Detroit, Michigan (May 14, 2013) — A Michigan federal judge today dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by several Christian evangelists who were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at an Arab festival last year in Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest Muslim population in the United States. Video of the Muslim assault went viral on YouTube.
The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, filed the lawsuit against Wayne County, the Wayne County Sheriff, and two Wayne County Deputy Chiefs for refusing to protect the Christians from the attack and threatening to arrest the Christians for disorderly conduct if they did not halt their speech activity and immediately leave the festival area.
Judge Patrick J. Duggan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the lawsuit. The judge also denied AFLC’s motion requesting that the court issue an order preventing the Wayne County Sheriff and his deputies from restricting the Christian evangelists from displaying their banners and signs on the public sidewalks outside of this year’s Arab Festival, which will be held in June. In the ruling, the judge stated the following: “The Court finds that the actual demonstration of violence here provided the requisite justification for [the Wayne County sheriffs’] intervention, even if the officials acted as they did because of the effect the speech had on the crowd.”
Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented: “The First Amendment was dealt a severe blow today as a result of this ruling. Indeed, this ruling effectively empowers Muslims to silence Christian speech that they deem offensive by engaging in violence. And pursuant to this ruling, the Christian speakers are now subject to arrest for engaging in disorderly conduct on account of the Muslim hecklers’ violent response to their speech. In short, this ruling turns the First Amendment on its head.”
David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, added: “This fight for our fundamental right to freedom of speech does not stop here. We have filed an immediate appeal of this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While Judge Duggan may have been the first judge to rule on this issue, he won’t be the last. Indeed, we are prepared to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary because it is imperative that our free speech rights not be subject to mob rule. This is the United States, not Benghazi.”