Dearborn, Michigan has the notoriety of having the largest density of Muslim residents of any city. For the past 15 years the city has hosted an annual Arab American Cultural Festival which draws literally hundreds of thousands of people from every part of the nation.

For the past five years I have been part of a team of Christians that has visited this festival with the intent of sharing the good news of Jesus with these Arab people. The great majority of Arab people in the world are Muslim. Islam was birthed in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I did not attend the festival this year.

Last night, a few of my fellow Christian Apologist to Islam friends were arrested in Dearborn at this year's festival. They spent the night in jail and were bailed out this morning (June 19). According to their blog, their crime was simply being present at the festival. Note: this festival is a public event, not a private affair. There is no charge to attend, it is hosted by the city, and public facilities (streets and sidewalks) serve as the festival venue.

 

Their crime: a group of Muslims did not want them at the festival this year, so drummed up charges against them to have them arrested for "breaching the peace." According to Nabeel:

Paul, David, Negeen, and I went to the festival to see and comment on the situation. Thankfully, we recorded every second of our activity at the festival. At one point, we came across a festival volunteer who seemed to take issue with us simply being at the festival. We could tell he had a problem with us, and so we asked "What are we doing wrong?" He said "Put the camera and microphone down, and I'll tell you." (By the way, there was more to this conversation, but when you see the footage, I think you'll see I'm being fair in my summary.) So I obliged, handing the microphone to David and asking him to not record the man. I then approached him and said "No camera, no mic, tell me what we're doing wrong", he said "Get away from me!" (or something to that effect). Again, I obliged, and walked away.
About 20 minutes later, to shouts and cheers of "Allahu Akbar!" we were all being led away from the festival in handcuffs. From the brief description we were given by the police of why we were being arrested, it sounds like the festival volunteer said we surrounded him and didn't give him an opportunity to leave, thereby "breaching the peace." This is as blatantly false as an accusation can get.

I know from my experience last year in Dearborn that hostility toward Christians is on the rise. My wife and I were with David and Nabeel when our group was roughed up by the festival security staff.

As these events show, a day is coming when it will no longer be legal to preach the gospel in public. That time apparently has already come to Dearborn. For the rest of us, let us be busy about our Father's work, boldly proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and ascended into heaven. It is not Muhammad that is seated in heaven with God, it is Jesus himself. Why would I want to follow Muhammad to the grave when I can follow Jesus to heaven and live there eternally?

Links:

www.answeringmuslims.com

Video of harassment by festival security in 2009

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Video posted of the arrest this year

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