The largest single Arab population in the USA lives in Dearborn, Michigan. Over 40,000 recent Arab immigrants live there. The city is also the location of the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America. Every year they have an "Arab festival." At this festival they have booths set up for Muslims to "answer questions" about their religion. That is fine, in my opinion, as I support the first amendment rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. What concerns me, though, is that a group of Christians, at this year's festival, were not allowed to hand out their pamphlets within 5 blocks of the festival. In 2009 when they tried to engage Muslims at the booth with regard to their religion, they were arrested and spent the night in jail. I find this appalling. Although I am not a Christian, I am an American and I am outraged that the first amendment rights of these Christians were restricted. Muslims apparently prefer a suppression of religious rights and freedom of speech but this is America. If they want to live here, they need to realize that they have to compete in the marketplace of ideas.
If groups as outrageous as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are allowed, because of the right to free speech, to spout their hate at the funerals of veterans, why aren't these Christians allowed to engage Muslims in a discussion of religion?
The mayor and police chief of Dearborn, apparently are afraid of the large Arab population and they have kowtowed to their demands. Please watch the videos below and join me in writing emails to the mayor and police chief of Dearborn, as well as a letter to the editor of the newspaper. The email links follow the video.
Here is what happened at this years festival:
Here is what happened at the same festival in 2009:
Email Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly
Email Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad
Email a Letter to the Editor of Detroit Free Press