Friday, July 23, 2010

Dearborn Arab Festival Video Timeline

We're going to be posting several more videos in the weeks to come, but I thought it would be helpful to give everyone a timeline, since there's been confusion about the order of events.


At the 2009 Dearborn Arab Festival, Nabeel tried to ask a question at a booth that invited us to ask questions. The Muslims gave us permission to record the conversation (a fact which has been almost completely ignored by our critics). Ironically, Nabeel was asking a question about Surah 9:29 of the Qur'an, which calls for the subjugation of non-Muslims. Muslim security guards gave us their answer, by conspiring against us and physically assaulting us. Notice that they also assaulted Mary Jo Sharp, who was simply holding a camera.


We returned to the Arab Festival this year. Since (a) security attacked us last year, (b) they tried to set us up, and (c) Muslims threatened to harm/kill us if we returned, we knew that we had better keep cameras rolling the entire time. Negeen's job was to film us from a distance, in case something went wrong. Once police had decided to arrest us, they realized that they had better get Negeen out of the picture, so that the arrests wouldn't be recorded. Police approached Negeen, ordered her to turn off her camera (illegal), put their hands on her (illegal), and arrested her when she hadn't broken any laws (illegal). In case anyone is wondering, no, United States citizens do not have to obey the orders of a police officer if the officer has no right to issue the order. (For those who asked, Negeen's testimony can be seen here.)


Since we didn't know Negeen had been arrested, we kept walking through the tent we were in. A young Muslim approached us with our cameras rolling, and then said he was going to sue us for recording him. (Strange, since he walked in front of our cameras.) Nabeel engaged him in dialogue, and everything was going smoothly within a few minutes. Police can even be seen actually doing their job (I'm surprised they were able to take time away from harassing Christians), when they told Muslims to take a step back from Nabeel. As we now know, however, they were already plotting to arrest us, and were looking for an excuse.


According to Dearborn Mayor John C. O'Reilly, police ordered us to break up our conversation, and we refused. We also deliberately blocked a tent exit in order to cause a scene. These were supposedly the reasons for our arrest. Apparently, Mayor O'Reilly didn't think our cameras picked up what police actually said. I asked police if we should move, and they said, "No, you're fine." I don't speak Dearbornese, so I didn't realize that "You're fine" means "Leave now or we'll arrest you."


It seems that holding a camera in Dearborn is unofficially illegal. That's the only possible justification for having me arrested, since I was simply holding a camera. Later, of course, the Mayor realized that there are no laws on the books against filming a dialogue, so he had to invent a story about me blocking a tent entrance in order to justify my arrest. But those pesky video cameras of ours just don't lie.


After police arrested me, they went for Paul and Nabeel. Notice how peacefully Nabeel was responding to the questions of Muslims, and how peacefully he reacted when police put him in handcuffs. This is quite different from the Nabeel we read about in the police report and Mayor's letter (i.e. the Nabeel who was screaming at a crowd and grew louder when police took him into custody).


Shortly after we were released from jail, we recorded a video explaining what had happened. Many Muslims were rejoicing at our arrests and spreading all kinds of false accusations (more on this later). Nabeel made an important claim in this video, namely, that our stories would not change, while the stories of our critics would have to change in light of video footage. Apart from some minor details (e.g. Negeen seems to me to be less than 100 feet away, and we seem to have blurred the last two dialogues together in our minds--simple memory problems due to our cameras being taken way), our story is exactly the same. We were engaging in peaceful dialogue with Muslims when police arrested us. But what about the stories of our critics? What of all the claims that we were screaming at the crowd, that we were harassing Muslims, that we were inciting a riot, etc.? These stories are changing day by day, just as we said they would.


Two days after our arrest, Paul, Negeen, and I returned to the Arab Festival, along with our friend Antonio. Paul and Antonio were distributing copies of the Gospel of John for less than three minutes when eight police officers surrounded them. Police also seized my camera (illegally) and took all of us into custody. When Antonio tried to call his pastor, police took his phone. They took us to their portable police station, photographed us, and wrote down all of our information. They told us that we would have to walk five blocks away from the festival if we wanted to distribute copies of the Gospel. If we dared hand anything out again within five blocks of the festival, we would be taken to jail.

We have several more videos of the festival that we will be posting, but this is a fair summary for now. I invite all of our readers to link to this summary to help us refute the lies that are being spread.


Lydia McGrew said...

Thanks, very useful. Wd. love to hear your take on the officer's claim to Negeen that there "is a criminal complaint" the moment he walks up to her. That could be anything, of course, but if you guys know what he thought he was talking about, it would be fascinating to hear.

Representative Tom McMillin said...

Tells the story - the truth - very well. Can't wait until the city either drops the charges or you all are found non-guilty...THEN - they'll be on defense. These assaults on free speech cannot be tolerated. There needs to be serious legal consequences against the city of Dearborn and their Police Dept.
(I know, I sound pretty confident...but i don't think its unfounded)
Thanks for the courage of all four of you - to be willing to be a vessel for God's use. God bless you.

JesusTheOnlyWay said...

Thanks David this is very helpful with so many video's now posted. I think what also would be really helpful if possible (probably can't be done now though) would be if all the video's displayed the real time on them so people could see the times each one were taking place on each one. Perhaps if you all later do post all of the video, which I know will have to be in parts due to posting limitations), you could have the time displayed at that point maybe? Just a thought. It's amazing how critics say you are editing footage to your benefit when everyone knows the police have the original unedited footage anyway so doing that now would be ridiculous even though I know you guys and know you wouldn't do that. Also people need to stop calling this a "muslim" festival, it was an Arab/American festival so it wasn't a religious festival.

Rafik Responde ao Isla said...

These are CRUCIAL information to silence the whole Dearborn Police Dept and the Mayor's office. I guess LOTS of people will LOOSE their jobs in Dearborn.

We have to find those guys who touched our sister in Christ and made comments about her. They need to experience some time in JAIL for humiliating our sister in Christ. They must be hold accountable for their behavior. Is she able to identify them?

We are praying for you. You will be representing ALL of us during your TRIAL.

Nick S said...

Could you post a few links to those who are criticizing you? I would be more interested in knowing which Christian groups are doing so (if any), but Muslim sources would be fine too.

Anthony Rogers said...


Some of the Christians who claim to have been there and who have been attacking the D4 used to comment on this blog. Unfortunately, since David and Nabeel started posting the videos, they haven't been around or else you could have asked them directly.

Christie said...

As it is said..."Truth will out" and it does so even more quickly when there is video evidence. We are eagerly awaiting the victory that our Heavenly Father is bringing over the dark deception of tyranny. Praying for yall!

GreekAsianPanda said...

I've linked to the timeline on my blog =)

Glenn Hendrickson said...

I look forward to seeing more videos from the Festival. I'll link to this page on my blog right away!

~Glenn Hendrickson

Teri said...

David, your readers here might also want to hear about Josh and his encounter with the police and what they had him do with video footage and Ken's with the security guard.

Thank you for posting the timeline. I still have friends asking questions and this is a great way to give them the entire story at once.

Anonymous said...

Free Speech is one thing that was violated but I think what bothers me even more was the sexual harassment of Negeen. The police here would be fired for acting like that so not only does Dearborn Police not allow freedom of speech but they break a law by committing sexual harassment. If I was an attractive woman in Dearborn I would be scared of the police especially if your a Christian Woman. I hope Negeen sues the police for sexual harassment.

BangersandMash said...

Truly shocking footage, I wasn't aware that it was so bad there in the U.S. I'm sure the mayor and police department will find some other way to falsify your story and footage, you cannot trust the government...just ask the Indians!!
We as Christians must acknowledge this kind of thing but must treat it as water off a ducks back as we know this sort of thing must happen, and we, as Christians, must be persecuted for our Lord Jesus's names sake, and it will only get worse but I encourage you brothers and sisters to continue spreading the Word as you will truly be rewarded by the Father, as will they get their judgement! I have continued to repost this blog and have received many enquiries into what actually happened, so hopefully you can be encouraged to know that you have brothers and sisters outside your community that are spreading the truth about what happened and spreading the truth about our beliefs and our Lord! May the Lord continue to bless you guys and protect you from the ways of the world and man!