Missionaries charged with disorderly conduct at Dearborn Arab festival
On Monday, four Christian missionaries were arraigned in Dearborn's 19th District Court for disturbing the peace while handing out Christian literature at the city's Arab International Festival last month, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The missionaries, who are members of a group called Acts 17 Apologetics, said the charges violate their First Amendment right to free speech. Dearborn police said the situation was a public safety issue because the group caused a large number of people to gather in a small space, and members of the group were arrested for failing to obey commands of the police.
Ann Arbor attorney Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, entered a not guilty plea on the missionaries' behalf. The article quotes Nabeel Qureshi, one of the missionaries from Virginia, saying, "We are praying the criminal charges will be dropped because we didn't do anything wrong. ... We allowed people to approach us and we weren't looking for a confrontation."
According to the Detroit Free Press, the group caused a similar stir at the festival last year.
Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly Jr. issued a statement on the city's website.