Police in Dearborn, Mich., say they arrested four Christian evangelists at a large Arab cultural festival Friday for conduct they allege was disorderly.
Police Chief Ron Haddad said his department made the arrests on the opening day of the 15th Annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, which was expected to draw more than 300,000 people from across the country, Canada and the Middle East over the course of three days.
The four evangelists, however, say they only spoke with people who wanted to speak with them. They have since been released on bail.
One day earlier, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Christian pastor who founded the Arabic Christian Perspective (ACP) ministry to distribute religious literature and discuss his Christian faith to Muslims attending the Arab festival while his case is pending on appeal.
The evangelists arrested Friday, however, were reportedly associated with Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries – a ministry led by a former Muslim and a former atheist.
Dearborn, Mich., seven miles west of Detroit, is one of the most densely populated Arab Muslim communities in the United States with nearly 30,000 out of city’s 98,000 inhabitants believed to be Arab Muslims.
The Dearborn Arab International Festival, spearheaded by the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, concluded Sunday.