Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eyewitness Testimony

Several people have written eyewitness accounts of our arrests on Friday. I've asked them to type them up. As they do, I'll post them here.

This a firsthand account by a Coptic woman named Maria:

I was walking along the sidewalk when I saw Paul, David, and Nabeel walking together towards the area where they were later arrested. Paul and David each had a video camera in hand, when a few young Arabic men approached them. The men were talking to Nabeel, as more people came and surrounded him. Paul and David were both behind Nabeel: Paul to the left, and David to the right. From then on, there were always at least ten people directly surrounding Nabeel. There was one male security guard watching the crowd about 15-20ft behind David. Nabeel was the only one conversing with individuals in the crowd that surrounded him. The crowd, consisting mostly of Arabic males, was expanding. A few women would come and look upon them as well as young boys. A young man came up behind David, said something to him and they conversed for a short time, while David continued taping Nabeel. I walked away to continue on in the festival. Seeing a group of police officers heading toward the group, I returned. A police officer had removed the camera from David and proceeded to handcuff him. I heard David calmly assure, "It's okay. No big deal," while being handcuffed. All three men were escorted out of the group with their hands behind their backs. The police were carrying the cameras that Paul and David had been using. Neither of the arrested men resisted, and were very compliant as they were heading out of the crowd, to where the police had been stationed. People within the crowd were cheering, shouting "Allah hu akbar!" while clapping and shouting. The police continued walking out of the group. When a single man shouted "Jesus is Lord!", one officer who had already passed him, came back and told him to "be quiet". Neither of the officers said anything to the crowd of Muslims that were cheering, while shouting "Allah hu akbar!" After taking Paul, David, and Nabeel to the parking lot where the police were stationed, many security guards had followed and formed two groups. A smaller group of around three security guards were standing closer to the police. A larger group of around five security guards were farther away. Paul, David, and Nabeel were put into a van and taken away.

And here was Richard's account:

I saw Nabeel Qureshi in the midst of a crowd of about twenty teenagers and young adult Muslims. David Wood and Paul were video taping Nabeel and the young Muslims dialog. Police officers, about four, were present acting as a shield protecting Nabeel from a crowd closing in tighter. The entire dialog seemed very peaceful and productive. i did not hear the police officers tell Nabeel or David to stop. The conversation with Nabeel began to wind down. I was able to speak with Nabeel a little to encourage him. At this point the crowd began to break up and the police also walked away. Another young adult Muslim began conversing with Nabeel and the crowd began to come back together. Finally, the police officers returned, about five or six of them, and surrounded David, Nabeel, and Paul. I thought they were going to protect Nabeel and the other brothers, but without warning, the police, rather gently but still forcibly, began taking hold of the camcorders. They arrested all three of the men and escorted them away at the sound of applause by some of the surrounding Muslims.


Coptic Christian said...

Copts support you brother David, we grew up under sharia and we can identify it when we see it.

Let's use what is left from the freedom we have in North America to defend the faith.

I honestly think it is way worse up here in Canada.

Lydia McGrew said...

Richard's should be especially valuable, since he was there during the crucial time about which false witness is evidently being made against you. Is there any sort of hearing or trial scheduled? What is the present situation? What about the cameras? Have the police assured you that you will get them back with footage or returned them? There are obvious due process violations if footage that could exonerate you of whatever the charge is should be withheld or destroyed.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Can these two people make a statement to the police or make sworn affidavits to this effect?

Lydia McGrew said...

If there should be a trial, they should certainly be brought as witnesses for the defense. But hopefully all charges will be dropped.

Brian Greig said...

talk about violating your first amendment rights! Good work, keep it up!

Traeh said...

On the several comments threads Answering Muslims now has going on this story, two distinct things are getting confused together by a number of commenters:

1. Rights under the law.

2. Styles of communicating the gospel, and why other Christian preaching groups there were not arrested. (Is it true there were other Christian preaching groups there? How many other Christian preaching groups were there? Can anyone document the answer? David, could you tell us the answer if you know?)

As to #1, it looks like Acts17 was acting within its rights under the First Amendment, and Dearborn and its police had no right to arrest Acts17 or to confiscate Acts17's cameras. I hope one of the pro bono law firms that works on this kind of case will help Acts17 go to court and win.

As to #2, I don't know how Acts17's way of communicating the gospel differed from the communication methods of other Christian groups who were at the festival and were not arrested. Does anyone know? David, could you tell us, if you know? I would guess that Acts17, in tune with its focus on debate, was intellectually and spiritually confrontational and provocative, while staying within the boundaries David has mentioned, such as not approaching anyone, and talking only to those who approached Acts17. Also, ceasing to talk to anyone who says something like "don't talk to me." Also, I gather Acts17 barely mentioned Islam, and spoke only about Jesus?

As to the arrests, here's part of what I think was behind them: The police observed that Acts17 was saying provocative (and no doubt true) things to which some Muslims were reacting threateningly or menacingly. Or the police thought Muslims might become threatening. The police then considered the situation. Did they want to stand there on high alert for hours to guard Acts17 from the potential for physical attacks from Muslims? No. The police do not have the manpower to withdraw from the rest of the festival and spend hours managing a potentially chaotic crowd around Acts17. So the police decided to solve the problem of potential chaos and Muslim violence by arresting Acts17. That was perhaps not legal, or right, but it was practical from the point of view of the police: after all, the police were not about to assign a dozen officers or more officers to guard Acts17 all day.

Van Grungy said...


What does that say about the attendees of the festival that a dozen cops are needed to deter righteous islamic violence?

If David had not put his existence on the line to expose the sharia, we would also not know that the Police are seemingly controlled by the islamic community.

Like I said on an earlier thread. This is high value investigative journalism. Without the dedicated work of Acts17, we would all have to just continue in ignorance of the actual situation on the ground in Dearborn.

Linking this story here.

Bravo Acts17.

Theodoris said...

There has been a lot of questions regarding the motives of the Acts17crew during this entire ordeal.

Some people believe that they have been persecuted just like the early followers of the church and other Christians all over the world. Others however believe that they entered this festival with the intention of getting arrested so they can raise their own profile and be glorified.

So where do I sit? Well, if the only thing I knew about these people was based on videos from this festival and last years festival, i MAY be inclined to believe that they were doing this for their own glory. In other words, their motives based on these events alone can not be determined because they are ambiguous.

However, just as David had mentioned in one of his debates, if you ever come across something that can be interpreted in a number of ways, be sure to interpret it in light of other more consistent and clear signals.

So what do I mean by that? Well as David mentioned in a debate, the bible mentions over and over how Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. There may be a couple of verses in the bible that can be interpreted to mean otherwise. Intepret these verses in light of the dozens and dozens of verses that are clear.

So where am I going with this? Well David, Nabeel and the others have devoted their lives to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through research, debate, online articles, etc. So when they do something like this that can be interpreted either as ego or submission to Christ, I will always interpret it as the latter based on what they have shown me.

May God continue to bless all of you, and I hope you continue to serve him with the right intentions.

Rafik Responde ao Isla said...

HELP ... HELP ...


Traeh said...

Van Grungy,
What does it say, you ask? To me it seems to confirm that there is a belligerent totalitarianism at the core of Islamic doctrine and Islamic culture. That said, I'm no expert, I'm still reading the core Islamic texts, and learning many other relevant facts, so I make judgments about Islam somewhat tentatively, till I know it inside out.

minoria said...

I have just read Paul Williams blog.He calls David and Nabeel "extremists".Sadly Williams has gone down the path of Muslim fanaticism,it is obvious.The Muslim Debate Iniciative is secretely anti-human rights(like the French blog oumma.com).It's so obvious.REAL extremists blow up innocent people.David and Nabeel have a right to free speech.The real extremist is Paul WIllliams and his people who are for anti-human rights laws.Their views are anti-human rights and extreme.Very sad.Will they ever change?Never.So be it.

There is a priest there,assuming it is a real person,called FATHER FRANK,who even condemns the World Cup,in a recent article.He is not a sane person.The worst part is there are NO moderate Muslim groups in the UK,at least that I know.Why FARHAN QURESHI,who seems to be person with integrity,would be a memeber of MDI is beyond my understanding.

Haecceitas said...


On the other hand, if Williams really believes that an extremist Christian would look something like David or Nabeel whereas one would think of an extremist Muslim as someone would hijack an airplane or be a suicide bomber, then he has just unwittingly conceded that Christianity is significantly more peaceful than Islam. :-)