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Anti-Islam Protest at Arab International Festival Results in Disorderly Conduct Charges

Despite a littering of thrown debris and profanity, the majority of the festival remained undisturbed as a radical Christian group made its way through the fair Friday.

For a brief moment Friday, the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" blared over the speakers of a ride at the in Dearborn; but nearby, an anti-Islamic protest made its way down Warren Avenue, drowning out the lyrics' message of friendship with the angry shouts of attendees.

The incident led to two charges of disorderly conduct, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.

While the majority of the festival remained unscathed, the Bible Believers–a small contigent with an anti-Islam message–protested at the fair on Warren Avenue.

Near them, separated by Wayne County police, a crowd of 50-100 counter-protesters contested the group's presence with words and actions. Most were teenagers, while several adult festival-goers urged the youth to break up their groups and ignore the protest.

The group, armed with signs preaching messages against Islam, stayed for about an hour and a half. Bottles were thrown, swear words were shouted and obscene gestures were made while the police routinely stopped in to separate the groups.

Midway through the affair, four mounted police officers were brought in to quell the crowd.

In total, the festival stretched several blocks and the protestors affected only a small area of the event.

Nonetheless, two festival attendees were detained and issued citations for disorderly conduct, according to Wayne County Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar.

No official arrests were made, and Jaafar said his team was please overall with the outcome.

"[It's a] great family-oriented festival," Jaafar said. "The atmosphere right now is phenomenal–all the kids are having a good time, and we're doing our best to keep everyone safe and I think our guys are doing a great job at it."

Shortly after the protestors arrived at 6 p.m., they were asked by police to refrain from using their megaphone. They began at the east end of the festival, progressing west and making a handful of stops before exiting the festival at about 7:30 p.m.

City of Dearborn June 29, 2012 at 02:37 AM
While we welcome all opinions on these issues, I would like to reiterate to everyone that ALL security at the festival was provided by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. The Dearborn Police Department was NOT working at the festival site at all. Here's more information on how and why that happened: http://patch.com/A-sGW4 I mention this only because I am seeing a lot of negative comments directed toward the actions of the Dearborn Police Department, and perhaps those reactions are misguided.
City of Dearborn June 29, 2012 at 02:07 PM
For those who are interested, a response to the video that is circulating on YouTube from the Wayne County Sheriff's Department can be found here: http://patch.com/A-v86G
Chris Tian July 01, 2012 at 05:50 PM
So much hate here from supposed Christians! Can we all just imagine for a moment, it's lovely weekend afternoon and you and your family are at a Christian rally/family event/specially catered event for Christians/festival and all of a sudden, in come a troll pack of Muslims carrying signs that proclaim that Mohammed is the one and only true God, a megaphone to talk mess about Christ and an inverted cross. Who is out of place here? It is obvious this group entered the grounds looking to provoke a response. They walked in there with a pig head on a stick after all! I'm sure Jesus would NOT approve of their antagonistic ways.
Plain As Day July 01, 2012 at 06:40 PM
It's not a religious issue. It's a First Amendment issue disguised as a religious issue. One group is trying to provoke a government response in violation of their first amendment rights. They're relying Dearborn residents to pressure the police into a response so that they can claim a constitutional violation and maybe win some money like the Act 17 people did. Add the political part of the dynamic and you get an interesting recipe. Dearborn finally said "enough is enough" and handed off policing duty to the county. County leaders were only too willing to oblige since the Dearborn Arab community can very well be a swing vote in Wayne County. You can see this when you consider how fast then county executive Ficano recruited Arab-Americans into the Sheriff's Department while he was Sheriff. Not only did he recruit deputies, but he sent several on a rocketship to the top command ranks of the organization. All this to obtain (buy?) that elusive block of votes for his run for county exec. Now that he has that swing vote, and now that that block of voters is so well-represented in the Sheriff's department, he, and his likely future political opponent, current Wayne County Sheriff, Benny Napoleon, must retain that all-important potential swing vote. So....They had no choice but to establish an obvious presence at the festival. The opportunists from Kalifornia took full advantage. This situation has absolutely nothing to do with religion or race or ethnicity.
Plain As Day July 01, 2012 at 06:47 PM
As far as the first amendment issue, the first amendment doesn't mean anything if we only allow people to say politically or religiously or ethnically-correct things. The opportunists with the pigs head had a right to be there with their signs. I think the county will pay for kicking them out. Question is, will the price be justified to keep that block of voters happy? Time will tell. I do know that Brooks Patterson wouldn't have gotten himself into the crap that our Wayne County politicians get into on a regular basis in their battle to court voters to sent them back to the public trough again and again. And Oakland County is better off for it too. Brooks just likes to drink a little. I wonder how many votes Elder and Mullins delivered, and at what cost to Wayne County taxpayers (for example)?

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