Fresh on the heels of the landmark ruling of our first amendment lawsuit agains the city of New York, I find myself trekking halfway across the country to argue yet another free speech lawsuit against the city of Dearborn. This is a years-long battle (Geller vs. Detroit, June 2010) to get our pro-freedom bus campaign up and running in Dearborn for Muslims in dire need of help to escape the deadly imposition of sharia in their devout homes.
Two years and counting.
Back in April of 2011, I happily announced that we had won in our year-long struggle against the violation of our first amendment rights in Detroit, Michigan. On April 2, 2011, the Detroit court ruled that we had won, after they had initially refused AFDI/SIOA's bus ads offering assistance to apostates under death fatwas. Thousands of Muslims who have left Islam have been murdered under the sharia (Islamic law). We have seen an increase in honor killings in the United States, and resources for Muslims are limited, as the threat comes not just from the family, but many times from the mosque and the community.
I was unaware of it when I arranged our conference in Manhattan Beach last month, "A Summer Night for Human Rights," but one of the Muslims who spoke that evening had come to freedom and narrowly escaped death when he saw our ads on buses in Florida. He went to our website and connected with former Muslims who helped him with the potentially fatal issues that arise when a Muslim leaves Islam. When he went back to visit his country of origin, "moderate" Morocco, "friends" of his stabbed him multiple times when they learned he had left Islam.
Despite the fact that we won and free speech prevailed, Detroit Transit appealed the ruling, and we have waited a year to be heard. The week our ad was scheduled to run, SMART Transit still refused to post it, and another young Muslim girl was honor killed in the very town our ads were scheduled to run. We could have helped her. We could have gotten her to a safehouse. But our political and media elites are more concerned with offending Muslims than with equal protection under the law. They are more concerned with offending Muslims than protecting freedom of speech. They are more concerned with adhering to sharia law than upholding American law.
Our "Leaving Islam?" bus campaign was designed for girls like Rifqa Bary and Jessica Mokdad and Noor Almaleki and Amina and Sarah Said and any one of these individuals… Perhaps if our bus campaign ran, maybe Jessica Mokdad would be alive today. Shame on the city of Detroit, shame on you.
Tomorrow we are back in court — this time State Supreme Court — to fight for Muslims who want to be free.
Yesterday Robert Muise added this.
CASE UPDATE: (July 23, 2012): AFLC filed a “supplemental authority” letter with the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, informing the court of the recent favorable decision by the NY federal court in the case of AFDI v MTA. On July 26, 2012, AFLC attorneys will be arguing before the Sixth Circuit in the case of AFDI v SMART, which raises similar First Amendment issues.
Washington Times 2010: A public educator in Dearborn, speaking on the condition of anonymity owing to fear of retribution, said there is a climate of fear in the Detroit area's Muslim community.
"The fear is palpable. I know there are things I am 'not allowed' to say. A discussion of religion with a Muslim person is often prefaced by the statement, 'Dont say anything about the Prophet [Muhammad].' In free society, open and honest conversation is not usually begun by a prohibition. Threats and intimidation are just part of life here."
The Dearborn educator, however, said the ads serve a positive purpose.
"This kind of campaign and Americans support of it could assure these frightened Muslims that they have the rights that every other American has, that they will be protected, not abandoned or exposed to their leaders should they act upon their desire to be free," the teacher said.
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