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First Amendment Trumps Sharia in Dearborn

May 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Essays

Robert Muise, Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center: Teaching us how to solve the problem of Sharia

A seminal, if ominous report released May 17, 2011 by the Center for Security Policy described fifty appellate court cases from 23 states which involve conflicts between Islamic law—Sharia—and American state law.  Nothwithstanding the delusive mindslaughter on display across America’s political spectrum which denies Sharia encroachment in the US, the CSP analysis revealed that,

Sharia has been applied or formally recognized in state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy.

But the grim, seemingly inexorable, progressive acceptance of Sharia-based mores in the US—despite this totalitarian religio-political “law” being antithetical to American law—was at least temporarily reversed late last week, in of all places, Dearborn, Michigan. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  ruled 2:1 on Thursday May 26, 2011 (in GEORGE SAIEG, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF DEARBORN; RONALD HADDAD, Dearborn Chief of Police ) that Dearborn, and its police department, violated the free-speech rights of a Christian evangelist by barring him from handing out leaflets at an Arab-American street festival last year. The court’s two judge majority opinion concluded,

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.1 The restriction on the sidewalks that are directly adjacent to the Festival attractions does not serve a substantial government interest. The City keeps those same sidewalks open for public traffic and permits sidewalk vendors, whose activity is more obstructive to sidewalk traffic flow than pedestrian leafleting is. Moreover, the prohibition of pedestrian leafleting in the outer perimeter is not narrowly tailored to the goal of isolating inner areas from vehicular traffic. The City can be held liable because the Chief of Police, who instituted the leafleting restriction, created official municipal policy.

Elaborating on the issue of Dearborn’s liability for depriving George Saieg, an American Christian pastor of Sudanese descent, of his first amendment rights, the judges opined,

The City may be held liable for the restriction of Saieg’s free speech rights that the leafleting restriction caused. A municipality is liable if a constitutional injury results from a policy or custom “made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy.” Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694–95 (1978). In this case, the City approved the Festival “subject to . . . the rules and regulations of the Police Department.” R. 47-13 (Ex. M: Council Resolution)…Chief Haddad described the leafleting policy as his department’s policy, subject only to the approval of the city council and the mayor. R. 47-11 (Ex. K: Haddad Dep. at 95–96) (stating that “the police department will supply the standards that must be met,” such as the “prohibition of individuals handing out . . . materials on the public sidewalk”). The police department’s leafleting policy, made with the authority that the City Council delegated to it, fairly represents official City policy. Therefore, Saieg may hold the City liable for violating his First Amendment right to free speech.

Most remarkably, the majority opinion of Justices Moore and Clay included a salient observation revealing how these judges understood the Sharia-based objections to non-Muslim proselytization which motivated Dearborn’s attempt to abrogate Pastor Saeig’s freedom of speech—mainstream Islam’s continued rejection of freedom of conscience:

Saieg also faces a more basic problem with booth-based evangelism: “[t]he penalty of leaving Islam according to Islamic books is death,” which makes Muslims reluctant to approach a booth that is publicly “labeled as . . . Christian.” R. 48 (Ex. A: Saieg Dep. at 75). Saieg believes that evangelism is more effective when he can roam the Festival and speak to Muslims more discreetly.

Roberta Aluffi Beck-Peccoz, Associate Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Turin, made this rather understated assessment of contemporary Islamdom’s strict opposition to the proselytization of Muslims by non-Muslims—rooted in the Sharia, and ultimately, the grave offense of “ridda,” or apostasy from Islam, deemed “treasonous” against the Muslim community, and punishable by death under Islamic Law—published in 2010:

Islamic States have always strongly opposed this specific freedom [i.e., freedom of conscience as per the first amendment of the US Bill of Rights, or more specifically article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights], claiming that it contravenes Islamic Law. [Note: It does, and that is why the 57 Muslim nation Organization of the Islamic Conference drafted and ratified the antithetical Cairo Declaration which insists upon having Sharia exert supremacy over all “manmade” law!]…Moreover they express fear that proselytism represents a kind of foreign interference in their internal affairs. Consistently, Islamic States do not favor proselytism; they sometimes tend to restrict it even in its lightest forms, such as the simple expression of one’s intimate beliefs…Proselytism is perceived as a major threat to the coherence and cohesion of the umma [i.e., the global Muslim community]: it can lead to ridda [apostasy from Islam] the paradigm of political treason, or fitna, the temptation, the civil war involving doctyrinal dissensions…

Even in moderate, pseudo-secular Arab Tunisia—prior to the “Jasmine revolution” which may have already empowered the formerly banned Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood under Rachid Ghannouchi—according to a 2010 US State Department report,

It was illegal to proselytize to Muslims as the government viewed such efforts as disturbing the public order.

Neighboring Morocco, also deemed “moderate,” aggressively deports Christians who dare proselytize to Muslims. The globally representative Sharia-based penal law (circa1982) of Comoros (the Muslim archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique), for example, defines the “criminal” proselytizer as one who, “…indulges, promotes, or teaches Muslims a religion other than Islam.”

The attempt by Dearborn’s large Muslim population to enforce Sharia-based injunctions against non-Muslim proselytism  confirms local attitudes documented via polling data collected in 2003, and reported during 2004. “The Detroit Mosque Study: Muslim Views on Policy and Religion,” was conducted by Ihsan Bagby an Associate Professor  of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky and a fellow at  the Institute for Social Policy Understanding—a Muslim organization. Data were gathered during the summer of 2003 and published online in 2004.

These alarming results were described on page 37 of the report:

Mosque participants were asked, whether they agree or disagree with the statement, “Shari’ah should be the law of the land in Muslim countries?”

Apply Islamic Law in Muslim Lands
Strongly Agree — 59%
Somewhat Agree — 22%(i.e., collectively = 81%)

Somewhat Disagree — 8%
Strongly Disagree — 3%
Don’t Know — 8%

Such data supposedly reflected the Detroit area (read Dearborn) Muslims views of “Islamic countries,” only. But given the intrinsic, universally supremacist nature of Islam and the  global umma (i.e., as stated in Koran 3:110, and the Orwellian-named Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, “Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah”), once an area  has a Muslim majority it is assumed by Muslims that Islamic Law should prevail—hence the “enclave” phenomenon, now evident in the United States.

Following the issuance of the verdict, Pastor Saeig’s intrepid attorney, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, made these apposite remarks, which all who cherish our unique Western freedoms must heed, and support:

Everybody should be pleased. Dearborn is getting a pretty strong reputation as being the enemy of the First Amendment. As long as they keep passing these draconian restrictions that violate the rights of everyone, we’re going to challenge them.


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