Published: Monday, September 20, 2010, 10:13 AM Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010, 10:13 AM
Jonathan Oosting | MLive.com Jonathan Oosting | MLive.com
Four Christian missionaries arrested in June at the Dearborn Arab International Festival are heading to trial today after a judge denied a motion to dismiss the case.
Attorneys for the evangelists, who are part of a group known as “Act 17 Apologetics,” say their clients were attempting to engage Muslims in a dialogue about their faith.
But critics argue the suspects hoped to cause a scene at the festival, and Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad explained they were arrested for disorderly conduct to ensure they did not provoke violence from other attendees.
Defense attorney Robert Muise of the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center sought to dismiss the case on the grounds the arrests were unconstitutional — an argument law professors say has merit — but the Detroit Free Press reports 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers on Friday denied the request.
“I think the evidence will show they did absolutely nothing wrong,” Muise told the newspaper, explaining he’s confident his clients will prevail at trial.
The case is being watched closely by First Amendment scholars and political pundits