“I never thought I would see this in America,” says Steven Atkins, a resident of Toronto, Canada, who was visiting the festival and observed the incident.
The three arrested include Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, David Woods, and Paul Rezkalla. Dr. Quereshi is co-director of Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School and an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University.
“When Dr. Quereshi was arrested I heard people clapping and applauding, and some said ‘Allahu Akbar,’” Atkins said. There was a crowd of 15-20 people watching the exchange and subsequent arrest.
The festival attracts several hundred thousand Arab Americans each year, and some Christian groups find it an ideal venue for Christian outreach.
This year, the city of Dearborn banned the distribution of Christian literature near the festival. Some accused the city of catering to its large Muslim population when the law was passed. On June 17, a three-judge panel from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion on behalf of Pastor George Saieg, allowing him to distribute literature and talk about his faith to Muslims at the festival.
“It was an intense discussion, but it was not unruly,” Atkins noted. “There was no threat of violence,” he said. “It’s becoming more restrictive here than in Canada.”
Mark Ellis, Assist News Service