I haven’t really been following the comments, since I’m waiting for police to return our illegally seized video cameras, which will show that Nabeel was peacefully sharing his views with Muslims who were insulting and threatening him. It is obvious to everyone that Chief Haddad has not given us the footage because it is extremely embarrassing for his department, and because the footage proves that our rights were repeatedly violated.
However, my wife went through some of the comments and came up with a list of some of the most common objections to what happened. I typed in some brief responses. I’ll probably add to the list as more comments come in.
How can you say that you were harassed and persecuted when other Christian groups, such as Josh McDowell’s, were not harassed and persecuted?
There are three general reactions to the rights violations at the Arab Festival. First, some accept the oppression, praise the Muslims at the festival, praise the mayor, and praise the police department, regardless of how Christians are being harassed. The goal is to get into position to distribute something to the Muslims despite the obstacles. This was the approach of certain ministries. Second, some seek to expose the oppression, while still following the rules. The goal is to draw attention to injustice, so that Dearborn will eventually have to correct the injustice. This was the approach of Nabeel, Paul, Negeen, and me. Third, some disobey the festival rules. This was the approach of a few Christians who handed out materials despite the unconstitutional rule against it.
It shouldn’t be difficult to understand why police and security would harass people who follow the second approach, while ignoring people who follow the first approach. The goal of Chief Haddad and the Dearborn Police Department is to reduce Christians to dhimmitude. Christians who accept that they are second-class citizens are welcome. Christians who insist that they have Constitutional rights are harassed, and even arrested.
Why did you bring video cameras, knowing that this would upset people?
We learned last year that Muslims won’t hesitate to lie about us in an effort to get rid of us. Our cameras vindicated us last year and proved that security was persecuting Christians. Security had been harassing Christians all weekend. The only difference was that we got the abuse on tape. Hence, we were careful to record everything this year, because we knew that someone would probably pull the same dishonest stunt. And we were right. A volunteer lied about us and said that we surrounded him and harassed him. We can only prove that this is a lie because we have the supposed incident on tape. If we didn’t have cameras, the charges would stand.
I would just like to add that it’s a sad state of affairs when a Christian can’t walk among Muslims without a camera because so many Muslims are willing to lie about Christians. I would be horrified if Christians were so renowned for dishonesty that people were scared to walk among us without getting video footage. Can anyone seriously object to the cameras, given the fact that people have tried to get us into trouble through deception two years running?
Why did you go to the festival even after you had been threatened, knowing that there could be problems?
We don’t believe in backing down from Muslim threats and intimidation, as this only encourages Muslims to engage in further threats and intimidation. Hence, if we’re told, “Stay off of this public street or else,” we’re probably not going to stay away.
Why would you preach Christianity at an Islamic festival? Wouldn’t you get upset if Muslims stormed your church?
This wasn’t a Muslim festival, so the church comparison just doesn’t work. This was an Arab festival—i.e. a cultural event—and people of all faiths were invited. For a more accurate parallel, let’s suppose that New York City decides to host a German festival, and that everyone is welcome. Let’s say that two Muslims show up to the German festival, and are approached by a mob of Christians, who curse at the Muslims, harass them, insult them, and threaten them, while the Muslims respond peacefully. Would it be acceptable to arrest the Muslims? Of course not. So why do so many Muslims find it acceptable to treat two Christians this way? Perhaps it’s because the Qur’an describes us as the “worst of creatures” (Qur’an 98:6).
Why would you hand out materials, knowing that this was against the rules?
This is a Muslim misrepresentation. We weren’t handing out anything either in 2009 or when we were arrested in 2010. A group of us tried to distribute materials two days later (Sunday) outside the festival, and we were stopped. But at no point did we ever attempt to distribute anything inside the festival.
Why did you create a disruption at a private event?
This was a public event on a public street, and we didn’t create a disruption. Muslims created a disruption, and police arrested us for having a peaceful discussion.
What would Jesus do? Would he behave like paparazzi?
Jesus would preach to the crowds, just as Peter, Paul, and the rest of the Apostles would. And if they were to preach in Dearborn, they would be harassed and threatened, just before being arrested by police officers more concerned with pleasing Muslims than with protecting rights and defending the Constitution.
Isn’t your arrest proof that you were doing something wrong since other Christians were not arrested or harassed?
Our arrest, taken by itself without any examination of evidence, is neither proof of our innocence nor proof of our guilt. Our camera footage is what proves our innocence. It is therefore no surprise that police confiscated our cameras and that they refuse to return our footage. They know that the footage will be an embarrassment for the department and proof of Chief Haddad’s anti-Christian, pro-Sharia agenda.
Why are you destroying the ministries of other churches in Dearborn?
I’m not sure how getting arrested due to false accusations would destroy the ministries of other churches. Perhaps some Christians believe that we shouldn’t defend our rights as Christians, but I think their view is extremely shortsighted. If Chief Haddad’s campaign against Christians continues, there eventually won’t be any Christian ministries in Dearborn.
Why didn’t you press charges after the assault by security at the Dearborn Arabfest in 2009? Since you didn’t press charges, doesn’t this show that your video “Sharia in the US” misrepresented the situation?
We were told by a detective in the Dearborn Police Department that he could move forward with the assaults by three of the security guards. We chose not to press charges on the condition that the security guards would not be present at the following year’s festival, and the Dearborn Police Department agreed. Imagine our surprise when one of the guards returned to harass Christians again at this year’s festival.
Why should Christians be concerned about freedom of speech since it isn’t in the Bible and is more of a secular, Enlightenment virtue?
This is absolute nonsense. Jesus said that we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s (Matthew 22:21). Thus, we owe a debt to both human governments and to our divine Creator. We owe a debt to our governments because they provide protection, defend our rights, etc. Paul was only able to freely preach the Gospel for so many years because there was peace within the Roman Empire. This changed later, when persecution broke out against Christians. Am I to understand that certain Christians here do not care whether we’re free to preach the Gospel? People died so that we would be able to freely preach the Gospel. I would dishonor their sacrifice if I did not preserve their legacy.
How can you say that police are implementing Sharia law when most of them are not Muslims?
If they’re taking away the rights of Christians in order to satisfy Muslims, then they’re implementing Sharia law, according to which Christians are not free to preach to Muslims. True, many of the officers are simply following orders, but they’re following the orders of a chief who demands that Christians be harassed, persecuted, and bullied.
Weren’t you just there to create a show?
We were there for a number of reasons (sharing the Gospel, exposing injustice, defending freedom, etc.), but we weren’t there to create a show. Of course, we understood from the beginning that there was a good chance that Muslims would attack us (given the threats we received), but this has nothing to do with us putting on a show. This would be the fault of Muslims.
Since even some of your fellow Christians have publicly denounced your behavior as disruptive and troublesome, doesn’t that prove that you were?
I would love to have some of these Christians point to something specific. Did we insult anyone? No. Did we threaten anyone? No. Did we harass anyone? No. Nabeel peacefully shared his beliefs with Muslims who approached him. If this is too much for local Christians, it seems that Dearborn is in worse shape than we imagined. I suspect that if Jesus, or Paul, or Peter were to preach in Dearborn today, they would be utterly condemned by some of the churches in Dearborn.