Law enforcement officials in Dearborn, Mich. said they are investigating reports that dozens of Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar” threw rocks, eggs and chunks of concrete at Christians marching through the 2012 Arab International Festival.
Bible Believers, a Christian ministry known for its ‘confrontational evangelism,’ drew outrage from Muslims after they marched through the annual Arab International Festival with a pig’s head and signs denouncing Islam. According to local reports, some of the signs declared “Islam is a religion of blood and murder.” Another sign accused the Prophet Muhammad of being a “child molesting pervert.”
A member of the Bible Believers filmed video as they group was accosted and attacked by Muslim young people.
“Let’s beat the s*** out of them,” one of the Muslims scream. “If you don’t like Dearborn then go the f*** back home.”
As the protesters marched, they were pelted with rocks, pieces of concrete, eggs and even milk crates. The video shows law enforcement officers riding on horses – but they did not intervene.
“We left Dearborn bloodied,” said Ruben Israel, a co-founder of Bible Believers. “Anything that was loose in the streets of Dearborn was tossed at us.
Israel told Fox News Radio he was surprised at the violent reaction to their march and he placed the blame on the shoulders of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
“These officers, in my opinion, walked away from a crime scene,” he said. “They saw us time and time again, standing with egg and blood on our clothing and they said they couldn’t afford two guys to stand by us.”
Instead of arresting those hurling stones, the sheriff’s department pulled aside the Bible Believers and instructed them to leave the festival – even though it was being held in a public area.
“You’re a danger to the safety right now,” Deputy Chief Dennis Richardson told the group. “You’re disorderly.”
The conversation between Richardson and Israel was captured on video. Members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Dept. told the Christian group that their presence was jeopardizing public safety – and that officers would be escort them off the premises.
“We have a responsibility of policing the entire festival and obviously your conduct is such that it’s causing disturbance and is a direct threat to the safety of everyone here,” Richardson said. “Someone could get hurt. You, you already have blood on your face.”
“If you don’t leave, we’re going to cite you for disorderly,” he added said.
“I would assume 200 angry Muslim children throwing bottles would be more of a threat than a few guys with signs,” Israel replied.
A spokesperson for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Dept. told Fox News Radio there was a reason no one was arrested in connection with the stoning.
“While two individuals were going to be charged with assault and battery on Friday, we could not locate the potential complainants so those cases were then classified as disturbing the peace,” spokesperson Paula Bridges wrote in an email. “No injuries were reported nor where there requests for medical assistance during the incident in question.”
However, the video clearly shows a member of the sheriff’s department noting that one of the Bible Believers was in fact bleeding.
“Please note that with no complaints filed alleging illegal activities, the effort to prosecute alleged offenders on the YouTube video will be difficult,” she wrote. “Nonetheless, an investigation is underway to identify individuals seen on camera hurling items.”
Nabih Ayad, an attorney and spokesperson for the festival, told Fox News Radio that the Bible Believers are to blame for what happened.
“They came looking for trouble and unfortunately, the found it,” he said.
“They were trying to enrage the crowd, speaking about the Prophet, speaking about their religion and their culture and their faith,” Ayad said. “This is what we call fighting words – trying to incite a riot. That’s what they were trying to do.”
Ayad said the behavior of the Muslim young people was uncalled for.
“But again, what are they to expect when they are attacking these individuals coming to the neighborhood calling them names, calling the Prophet names? They were asking for trouble, in a nutshell.”
Ayad said the behavior of the Bible Believers marred a family-friendly event.
“Their only intention is to infuriate the crowd,” he said. “If someone comes up to my face and offends me, they’re going to expect a certain reaction and that’s exactly what they got.”
Ayad said protesters are welcome in Dearborn if they demonstrate in a peaceful and legal way and “leave their fighting ways back home.”
“But they are not welcome in Dearborn when they try to intimidate, harass, and enflame the community by talking about the Prophet, their religion, their people, their culture, and disrupting their very important and family events,” he said.
What happened in Dearborn, Israel said, should serve as a warning to the nation.
“If they stop our free speech, you’re next,” he said. “Even though you may not like what we preach, what our signs say, for crying out loud, it’s called free speech.”