Four Christian missionaries who were arrested at Dearborn’s Arab American Festival were arraigned Monday on misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace.
Charged were Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla and David Wood Mayel, all members of a group called “Acts 17 Apologetics.”
Negeen Mayel faces an additional charge of disobeying an officer.
They all pleaded not guilty.
The four were arrested on June 18 while handing out Christian literature and videotaping themselves.
The group said they were arrested over religion, but police insist that it’s not true, and continue to stand behind their arrest. Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly defends his police department’s arrest, saying he saw the video police confiscated from them and he believes the missionaries came into town to cause trouble.
Reilly said the video shows the group’s ulterior motive, which was to seek out Arabs in the crowd and try to rile them up by preaching to them.
“They look for a mark. They look for someone they know is going to be agitated with, for someone who is going to be engaged in a very heated way, and use that to draw a crowd,” said Reilly.
Reilly said they use the videotape of the angry Arabs to solicit donations from other Christians to fund their missionary operation around the country. . .
Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the four were not arrested for religious reasons, but because they did not follow the festival’s rules, which were that religious groups could only hand out material in designated areas after paying for booth space. (More)