Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sharia Rears Its Head In Pennsylvania
This one caught my eye (h/t, This Ain't Hell).
In Mechanicsburg, PA, there was a Halloween parade. And a group calling themselves 'The Parading Atheists of Central Pennsylvania' decided it would be a hoot to dress up as the Pope, Jesus, Mohammed, and other religious figures and portray them as zombies.
A Muslim watching the parade with his family became livid over what he saw as blasphemy and there was a confrontation. What it consisted of depends on whom you believe. The plaintiff/victim Ernest Perce V,
whom just happens to be the Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Inc.,claims he was physically assaulted, choked from behind by the defendant, Taaliq Elbayomy, that the defendant attempted to smash the sign over his head and pull his costume beard off. In addition, the atheists caught the entire episode on video.
The police were summoned, and in their interview with Taaliq Elbayomy, he admitted there had been physical contact.There's a Pennsylvania law against this sort of thing, so the police and the DA took it to court, which is when things got strange.
The trial was presided over by Judge Mark W. Martin. The first thing he did was to refuse to allow the video of the altercation taken by the plaintiff to be used as evidence. And he allowed Elbayomy to testify without challenge, saying that there was no physical contact, thus changing the story he told the police. That in itself is a crime since its illegal to lie to an officer of the law. Elbayomy also told the court that he was under the impression that to parade around dressed as Mohammed was against the law here in America (which it isn't) and that he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.
In delivering his verdict, Judge Martin then proceeded to give Ernest Perce V a tongue lashing, lecturing him on the Qu'ran, sharia law and Muslim culture. The judge's rant starts at about 27:00:
“Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else's religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. It makes you look like a doofus and Mr.Elbayomy is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.”
“Islam is not just a religion, it's their culture, their culture. It's their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca to be a good Muslim, before you die you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you can not because you are too ill too elderly, whatever but you must make the attempt. Their greetings wa-laikum as-salaam (is answered by voice) may god be with you. Whenever, it's very common when speaking to each other it”s very common for them to say uh, this will happen if it's Allah's will, they are so immersed in it.”
“Then what you have done is you have completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very very very offensive. I'm a Muslim, I find it offensive *. But you have that right, but you're way outside your boundaries or first amendment rights. This is what, and I said I spent about 7 and a half years living in other countries. when we go to other countries it's not uncommon for people to refer to us as ugly Americans..this is why we are referred to as ugly Americans, because we are so concerned about our own rights we don't care about other people”s rights as long as we get our say but we don't care about the other people's say.”
The judge than said that what he basically had here was a he said, she said situation, that the burden of proof was on the defendant and that it was not "proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of harassment, therefore I am going to dismiss the charge”
(* First, before we go further, let's discuss at that asterisk. In the video linked above,which is a recording of the trial Judge Martin appears to clearly say "I'm a Muslim, I find it offensive." However, the judge claims what he actually said is 'I'm not a Muslim, I find it offensive.' You can take your pick, although I will say for a non-Muslim, it's interesting that he had a Qu'ran so handy, claimed such authoritative knowledge of it, seemed so enamored of sharia, seems to not understand the First Amendment and seems to somewhat regret that our atheist friend isn't being beheaded for blasphemy.)
I actually understand Judge Martin's verdict. The selfie video doesn't show things all that clearly,mainly a lot of shouting. Not allowing it as evidence in a non-jury trial is not how I would have proceeded,but Judge Martin was within his rights to do so.
It's also true that when the atheists chose to dress up as religious figures, they were obviously looking to provoke a confrontation. To do something like that and then claim 'oh, I'm such a victim' is pretty typical in Obama's America, but that doesn't make it right. Personally, whenever I hear a militant atheist like Mikey Weinstein pule on about those 'evil Christianists' and how we have to get G-d out of our military, I admit to experiencing a pretty disgusted reaction myself. But I also recognize that he's entitled.
Since there wasn't any clear evidence of an actual physical assault, I think Judge Martin was entitled to dismiss the case.
But that's where it stops.
There's absolutely no excuse whatsoever for Judge Martin to use the bully pulpit of the bench to deliver a one sided rebuke to an American clearly exercising his First Amendment rights. If someone wants to burn a Qu'ran or a Bible or an American flag, that is both stupid, disrespectful and unkind, but it is not illegal.At least not in America, not yet.
Here Judge Martin had a defendant who is an immigrant and plainly admitted in court he wasn't aware of how the First Amendment works. Did Judge Martin engage in what was obviously called for, a rebuke that explained Mr.Elbayomy's mistake to him and included some basic information on how our Bill of Rights works? Nope. In fact, the way he ruled and his subsequent remarks obviously left Mr.Elbayomy feeling like what he did was entirely correct behavior, as well as providing an interesting model of conduct to his children.
You see, that's where sharia kicks in.In his off the wall rant, Judge Martin essentially honored the Muslim blasphemy laws, implying that anyone could understand what Mr.Elbayomy did. Why, his essence was being attacked!
This is unfortunately symptomatic of a trend in some American legal circles that seek to legitimize a legal code totally incompatible with America's Constitution and our freedoms. No less than Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has weighed in about how foreign law and sharia needs to be considered in U.S. jurisprudence, and how respect for a Qu'ran should trump the First Amendment. And President Obama's new Justice Elena Kagan who lied openly during her confirmation hearings is also very sharia friendly as evidenced by her conduct while on the Harvard faculty.
Here's a list and evaluation of about fifty cases where sharia law has figured in American judicial proceedings, and it's by no means all inclusive.While many of these cases were overturned at the appellate level, the fact that sharia was considered at all even as a legal argument is cause for concern. Britain, where sharia is now mandatory for Muslims in family matters has proved a disaster for women's rights and is a clear warning to other countries about what a slippery slope this can be.
It's quite obvious that for whatever reason, whether he is a Muslim or not, Judge Martin holds certain very positive views on Islam and sharia and accords sharia an equal status with U.S. law, and he went out of his way to express them. It's also obvious that it affected how he treated the case and the plaintiff and that his bias would affect how he would treat future cases, future lawyers and plaintiffs whose fate he might be deciding.
This is clear judicial misconduct, and Judge Martin should be removed for it.