Christian group sues Allegan, Muslims over event

A Christian legal advocacy group has claimed in a federal lawsuit that officials in a West Michigan city violated the rights of a self-proclaimed former terrorist by interrupting him during an event on free speech at a local high school.
AP Wire
May 1, 2012

 

The civil suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids by the Thomas More Law Center. Besides Allegan officials, the defendants include leaders of a Muslim civil rights organization that asked the city to cancel the event.

According to the suit, a speech given Jan. 28 by Kamal Saleem at Allegan High School was stopped by police acting on a letter opposing Saleem's visit. The letter was sent several days earlier by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The suit also said that police were told of possible — and unconfirmed — threats against Saleem, said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More center. Thompson said shutting down the meeting violated Saleem's right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Part of the "Constituting Michigan -- Founding Principles Act" event's purpose was to show "the internal threat to America posed by radical Muslims" and Shariah, the Islamic religious law, according to the lawsuit.

House Bill 4769, which would conditionally ban the use of Shariah or non-U.S. laws in state courts, also was to be discussed.

A group that brought Saleem to Michigan for the speech had been given earlier approval to use a room in the high school after school hours.

"The irony is this event was held to extoll the virtues of the U.S. Constitution," Thompson said. "In the middle, you have the police coming in and shutting it down. The audience is shouting 'What about free speech?' "

Allegan City Manager Rob Hillard declined to comment on the lawsuit and referred calls to an attorney representing the city. The Associated Press left a message Monday afternoon seeking comment from the attorney.

Saleem describes himself as a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Muslim Brotherhood. He has spoken publicly against Shariah. He says he now is Christian and operates a ministry.

Walid said he sent the letter to the high school's principal because Saleem's message is divisive.

"We believe he is a bogus ex-terrorist. I'm saying he's a total fraud," Walid said. "If they want to sue me, then sue me for defamation of character.

"We view this lawsuit as a nuisance and form of trying to drain advocacy organizations of their resources. Advocacy organizations have freedom of speech to raise concerns about people who propagate divisive messages in the community."

Thompson said Allegan officials "caved in" to pressure from Walid's group.

"You are not controlled by what we call a 'heckler's veto,'" Thompson said. "It does not mean you shut down the people who are going to speak. You have to protect the people who are going to speak."

About 150 people were in attendance at the Jan. 28 event before it was stopped. Forty or so heard Saleem finish at a nearby bowling alley, Thompson said.

Comments

pike84

Former Terrorist? Is that like being a former murderer?

snlfan

So let me get this straight... a christrian group wants to have a former muslim whom claims to be a reformed terrorist, come in and spread fear about muslims being terrorists... So that's sorta like i liked my version of god, wanted to kill people for him, stopped that and excepted your version of dog, now I want to help create an element of fear and hate about all people who believe in my former version of dog... makes sence, more proof why belief is dangerous.

snlfan

BTW... he has every right to speak, even though it's obvious that he and the people listening to him are all nutjobs.

Zegota

I strongly support and encourage House Bill 4769 because if anyone today goes into court they will no longer hear what was once common just a few years ago and was acceptable by the majority of Americans. The swearing in "Under God" oath to tell the whole truth, so help me God. But because of the powers of certain groups and/or individuals it was removed, now just how fair do we go, do we replace the Bible with the Koran? Those who are uncertain or with level heads should check out the laws of Shariah or even investigate the Koran, talk about free rights or free speech.
Sorry just one more little serious concern, as for "our" National Day of Prayer I will personally support and invite our Muslim brothers and sisters to participate in Lansing or where ever and pray with us, when there birth country in the Middle East allows and permits those of other beliefs or faiths. Such as Christians and Jews to worship without the fear of being murdered or rated less then that of a third rate citizen because of there faith. That's it for now, go for it and oh ya,
God Bless our Constitution.

dyankee

A Former Terrorist is like a former alcholic, former drug addict, or former felon which means an individual has realized the wrong path or belief in their life they have chosen and are trying to make their wrongs...right. In addition, they offer a tremendous amount of insight and knowledge based on their experiences from the "inside" and can offer solutions and/or betterment to our society. Unlike, the chidish post found here, in making fun of a serious situation. If this individual(s) want to credit Christianity for their source of strength and reasons for turning their life around then, whats the problem? Americans are sick of hearing about Muslims and the sensitivity we need to give their religion & culture when they come to our country and walk all over ours. Now we have to introduce HB 4769 to ensure Shariah Law stays out of our Michigan courts. The same Shariah Law the allows for stoning of women to death if caught driving a car or walking the streets with a man that is not related to them....and lets not forget if your caught with a Bible in your hand how Shariah Law demands the immediate execution, typically by beheading, of the individual. The real "nutjobs" are the ignorant people that do not know the danger this country is in by letting Shariah Law or the Koran infect our culture and society.

noncuratlex

I call BS. Please point out exactly where Sharia law demands immediate execution of one caught with a bible. I'm guessing from the tenor of your post your knowledge of Sharia is limited to what is broadcast on am radio. Christianity and Islam are both fantastic, in the literal sense, and the world is full of crazies of all stripes, but these types of statements are nothing but hatemongering and do little to make our world more habitable.

moose

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

dyankee, you say "Americans are sick of hearing about Muslims and the sensitivity we need to give their religion & culture when they come to our country and walk all over ours."
Well, I, for one, take exception to the presumption in our country that most people follow a Christian faith, or that they assume our government and courts should, too. I also think you're mistaken when you say "they come to our country". Many Muslims are citizens who were born here, and are just as Anerican as I presume you are.

Our constitution specifically DOESN'T establish a religion, because the people who came here knew what it was to be persecuted. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion.

Do these people have the right to here this man speak? Absolutely, no matter what he says, or who objects. Protecting free speech means that I will defend, at the top of my lungs, your right to say things that I disagree with.

Do we need a law that disallows Shariah law in our courts? No. The only laws that should be applied are those passed by our elected officials and citizen referendums. This bill is simply a "not welcome" sign, and is one more example of why we do not need a full-time legislature that clearly has nothing better to do.

dyankee

Islam/Shariah Law demands its followers to convert the infedels to Islam or kill them. If caught with a Bible or other religious material, especially used to covert Mulslims to Christianity, you will be arrested, jailed, stoned, whipped, cainned, or executed. Under Sharia Law, it us unlawful to preach Christianity, and the penalty for Muslims leaving Isalm for any other religion is death. Other brilliant highlights of Shariah Law demanded by the Koran / Quran/ or Omit, that some on this post ignorantly called "fantastic", commands that persons consuming alcholic beverages or gambling should be whipped. Shariah Law allows husbands to hit their wives, commands that theifs must have their hand cut off, robbers should be crucified or mutilated, homosexuals must be executed, and adulterers to be stoned to death. Women are not allowed to work unless in the medical sector, if not going to work women must stay inside their residence. Women cannot wear jewelry or make up and cannot make noise with their shoes when they walk, and they are fobidden to sit beside the driver when traveling to and from work. Islam/Sharia Law orders death for Muslims and non-Muslim critics(apostates) of Muhammad, the Quran, and Shariah itself. Shariah Law is nothing more than a instrument to "wage war" on anyone or country that does not bow down to Islam, Allah, or Muhammad and is commonly referred to as a jihad. So, whom is the real hatemonger here? Michiganders better pay attention and demand your congressman or women support the passing of HB 4769 immediately and throw Shariah Law in the trash where it belongs.

noncuratlex

My reference to both Christianity and Islam as being equally "fantastic" was the not endorsement for which you give me credit, but rather a comment on both being rooted in fantasy.

Given your understanding of Sharia law, how exactly would this law be applied by the courts of Michigan? Are its proponents demanding that I be whipped for consuming alcohol? Have you been threatened with crucifixion, mutilation or stoning by the courts? Do you enter into many contracts which specify Sharia as the choice of law? Wouldn't such agreements be easy to avoid? I'm curious.

HB 4769 seems like a law designed to make a point- go home infidel!- rather than to resolve an actual problem.

dyankee

Allowing Sharia Law in Michigan courts or in our country is like doing nothing to a cancerous tumor....it's small and I feel good right now so, it must be harmless...people that want me to remove this tumor are "too aggressive" and are "unfair" and are "mean spirited" and should show more "compassion" towards "understanding" cancer and try to get a long with it. To any rational human being, this would be an absurd, ignorant, and deadly mentallity. But, not to a few on this post. Like any disease, it starts out slow and the ramifications are not felt for some time, but the mechanism will now be in place to accellerate it's infection to our society and destroy it from within. Death by a thousand slashes.(this is the only way foreign evaders can destroy America) This is not about religion or the Bible vs the Koran....its about your freedoms and liberties that are being taken away from you and me by one issue at a time. Its about the American culture being under attack and our Constitutional values attempting be replaced or intergrated with Sharia Law. The U.S. constitution has created the best country or society God has ever given man. In less than 240 years America is a country the world wants to travel to or strives to be like. Show me any place on this planet where Sharia Law is dominant, that men, women, and their families are struggeling to get into? Neville Chamberlain, British PM in the late 1930's thought Adolf Hilter was a reasonable and trustworthy man. Look what happended to his country and the world after using the same reasoning and stupidity that are very similar by those whom are willing to allow Sharia Law in our courts....what could possibly go wrong?

 

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