Monday, May 30, 2011

US Court of Appeals forces Dearborn, MI to follow constitutional law

That this could even happen in the first place is disturbing, but the fact that it happened in the Muslim heartland of America is all that more dire a precedent. 

Arabs in Dearborn, Michigan every year put on a street fair.  Certain streets are blocked off to allow for the fair-goers and attendees to mingle.  The area around the pedestrian only area is open to everyone at no charge, including vendors and street-corner preachers, among others.  A few Christians used the public areas to hand out Bibles and talk about Christ.  The Chrisatians were arrested and charged with bogus crimes, including civil unrest.  After much pressure, the Police Chief of Dearborn, Ronald Haddad who is a Muslim set free the Christians and did not press any further charges.

Haddad passed a resolution prohibiting anyone from passing out flyers or books in the public areas, a move which has resulted in this lawsuit and verdict.  Haddad attempted to stifle free speech by arresting Christians for ministering to non-Christians.  First off, Haddad's actions are a blatant abuse of the constitution and civil law, and second...

This is Islam.

From Answering Islam May 26

Free Speech Victory in Dearborn, Michigan!

Maybe I shouldn't say "in" Dearborn, since the city only sought to suppress free speech in this case. An outside court (the United States Court of Appeals) had to impose Constitutional law on the city.

Dearborn hosts an annual Arab Festival on Warren Avenue. During the festival, the street is reserved, but the adjacent sidewalks are not reserved and therefore remain public property. Hence, prior to 2009, many people would distribute pamphlets, DVDs, CDs, etc., on the public sidewalks. However, when Ronald Haddad took over as Chief of Police, he announced that no one would be allowed to distribute materials on the public sidewalks. Indeed, he insisted that no one would be allowed to distribute materials within five blocks of the festival. (He justified his decision by claiming that he needed to keep the area clear for pedestrian traffic.)

From a Constitutional perspective, this was quite disturbing, as the government was officially limiting free speech on public sidewalks. Moreover, those of us who attended the festival noticed that security only enforced the policy on Christians. Muslims remained free to distribute their materials.Pastor George Saieg, an Arab Christian from the Sudan (who has observed the effects of Islamic law in his home country and therefore understands the importance of free speech better than many of us) decided to take the case to court. The freedom fighters at the
Thomas More Law Center (praise God for them) took the case free of charge, and they won.

Lower courts had ruled in favor of Dearborn (i.e. that Dearborn police could stop people from exercising their freedom of speech on the public sidewalks adjacent to the festival). The appeals court reversed the decision on Constitutional grounds. Here are two excerpts:

On the free speech claim, we REVERSE the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants and its denial of summary judgment to the plaintiffs. We thereby invalidate the leafleting restriction within both the inner and outer perimeters of the Festival....

Read it all

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The same thing would happen around any mass transit in Eugene, Oregon.