A federal judge has issued a startling ruling that suppressing Christian speech is allowed when Muslims threaten violence because they’re upset over the message.
The ruling from Judge Patrick J. Duggan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment of a lawsuit brought by a team of Christians who were badgered, bullied and targeted with garbage thrown by Muslims who disliked their message at last year’s Arab Fest in Dearborn, Mich.
Officials with American Freedom Law Center, who have been arguing the case on behalf of the Christians, also said the judge denied AFLC’s motion requesting that the court issue an order preventing the Wayne County Sheriff and his deputies from restricting the Christian evangelists from displaying their banners and signs on the public sidewalks outside of this year’s Arab Festival.
It is scheduled for June.
In his ruling, Duggan said, “The court finds that the actual demonstration of violence here provided the requisite justification for [the Wayne County sheriffs'] intervention, even if the officials acted as they did because of the effect the speech had on the crowd.”
The case had been filed by the AFLC after several Christian evangelists were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at the festival last year in Dearborn, which has the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States.
The lawsuit, which will be appealed to a higher court, alleged the county, sheriff and deputies refused to protect the Christians from the attack, and they threatened to arrest the Christians for disorderly conduct if they did not halt their speech activity and immediately leave the festival area.
Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, said, “The First Amendment was dealt a severe blow today as a result of this ruling. Indeed, this ruling effectively empowers Muslims to silence Christian speech that they deem offensive by engaging in violence. And pursuant to this ruling, the Christian speakers are now subject to arrest for engaging in disorderly conduct on account of the Muslim hecklers’ violent response to their speech. In short, this ruling turns the First Amendment on its head.”
David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added: “This fight for our fundamental right to freedom of speech does not stop here. We have filed an immediate appeal of this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While Judge Duggan may have been the first judge to rule on this issue, he won’t be the last. Indeed, we are prepared to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary because it is imperative that our free speech rights not be subject to mob rule. This is the United States, not Benghazi.”