f Humanisticus: Christians Protest Arab Festival

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Christians Protest Arab Festival

Every year in Dearborn, Michigan there is an Arab festival and as you can imagine it attracts a bit of controversy every year, but nothing substantial. This year, however, things were a bit heated. A group called the bible-believers protested the event and shockingly the Arab populace of Dearborn were not too pleased. This group claimed they were responding to an attack on free speech because people were arrested for distributing Christian literature the previous year. I could not obtain a video of this taking place from the 2011 event but here is a video from 2010’s festival which gives a good indication of what was taking place.

(I love the quote from Thomas Jefferson on his t-shirt, I don't think it means what he thinks it does)

Now I’m not well versed in US law so I don’t know why these men were not allowed to distribute the Gospel of John. I have in a previous post stated the bible should be treated just like any other piece of literature and this works both ways, if somebody is allowed to distribute any form of information then biblical literature should be allowed too. Personally I feel if you are promoting information of any kind in a non-intrusive manner then it should be allowed, the only sort of leafleting not permitted should be when the writings are inflammatory; and it was this sort of picketing which marred 2012’s festival.

Calling Islam a religion of blood and murder and referring to Mohammed as a pervert is clearly provocative, and I wonder how the bible-believers would feel if Muslims started handing out segments of the Qu’ran at a Christian festival and followed that up with placards insulting Christianity and Jesus. Somehow I don’t think they’d be such ardent advocates of free speech then. In each blog post so far I’ve generally had a strong opinion one way or the other but on this one I am not too sure. Should the Christians be allowed to distribute biblical literature? Is calling Mohammed a pervert and declaring Islam a religion of blood and murder an act of free speech or hate speech? (Hate speech is criminalised in most of Europe). And isn’t it interesting that the police arrested they guys handing out the Gospel of John yet allowed an inflammatory protest to take place which in my view is a worse offence. So if you have read this to the end I would love to know what people think.


  1. I think the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that this IS free speech. Think Westboro Baptist Church.

    Their "prophet" married and had sex with a very young girl, so I think most people in our society would agree that he's a pervert.

    While Christianity too has a very bloodstained history, any honest student of history would probably agree that it certainly has been spread by the sword.

    Is it incendiary and offensive to some? Almost certainly, but the people making these allegations about Islam are substantially correct.

    1. Agreed, not too sure why they weren't allowed to hand out the Gospel of John but are allowed protest, surely both should be acceptable.

  2. Every year the islamic countries introduce a UN resolution for “Combating defamation of religion,”, this time it passed.
    The piece was originally written to criminalize the criticism of religion. Advocates worried that the resolution would, at best, limit freedom of speech, and at worst, jeopardize religious minorities in countries carrying heavy punishments for blasphemy and apostasy.

    Criminalizing intolerance December 12, 2011|By Jonathan Turley
    At a United Nations conference this week, free speech is in the cross hairs.

    Criminalizing Religious Criticism: UN Resolution Threatens Freedom of Speech Kristin WrightSaturday, January 14, 2012

    U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution Curtails Free Speech, Critics Say Published October 06, 2008

    U.S. supports UN’s suppression of speech that criticizes religion

    U.N. Adopts ‘Religious Intolerance’ Resolution Championed by Obama Administration By Patrick Goodenough December 20, 2011

    1. Thanks for the resources, unfortunately in Europe free speech is being in impinged on in the guise of hate speech laws and even here in Ireland we have blasphemy laws which is ludicrous. The thing that confuses me is why aren't they allowed to distribute literature yet they can protest?

    2. I think that if this works it's way up the appeals courts, it will undoubtedly be ruled that distributing this literature IS protected under the 1st amendment and the arresting officers were overstepping their bounds.

  3. By the way author, in Indonesia a man is being charged with a crime for posting atheistic posts on his Facebook account and atheism is punishable by death in many Islamic countries. How is that NOT murderous and bloody?

    1. At no stage did I say what the Christians were doing was wrong or the comments untrue, I merely said it was provocative and inflammatory which it is, the truth can be provocative.

    2. Ah, I stand corrected. Thank you for clarifying that.

  4. Parading Atheists
    Pennsylvania Judge Dismisses Case Against Muslim Accused Of Attacking Atheist Dressed As 'Zombie Muhammad'