Four Christians who were arrested at a large Arab festival in Michigan will have their arraignment hearing on Monday.
Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, a medical doctor, and fellow street preachers Negeen Mayel, Paul Rezkalla, and David Wood were arrested on charges of breach of the peace. Mayel, an 18-year-old woman who emigrated from Afghanistan and who recently converted to Christianity, is also charged with failure to obey police orders. She was videotaping Qureshi’s discussion with Muslims when police seized her camera.
“It’s evident that the Dearborn Police department was more interested in placating Muslims than obeying our Constitution,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing the four street preachers. “These Christians were exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently in a city where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus, sharia law trumps our Constitution.”
Michigan has been described as the Islamic capital of the United States and has one of the largest Arab populations outside of the Middle East. Nearly 30,000 out of Dearborn, Michigan’s 98,000 inhabitants are estimated to be Arab.
The four Christians, three of them converts from Islam, were arrested and jailed on June 18 by the Dearborn, Mich., police when they attended the Annual Arab International Festival and shared the Gospel to those who expressed interest. Qureshi did most of the talking with Muslims at the festival while the other three were mostly involved with videotaping the conversations.
After their arrest, the street preachers requested the police to view their video at the scene of the arrest, which they say exonerates them from any charges.
“We made sure that the only people we talked to were people who first approached us. And this was to limit accusations of instigation and disruption,” Qureshi said after the incident. “We knew people have a tendency to accuse us of being disruptive, of inciting, and instigating. So we wanted to make sure we did absolutely nothing of the sort.”
The preachers are associated with Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries, a ministry led by a former Muslim and a former atheist – Qureshi and Wood, respectively.