April 30, 2012
ANN ARBOR, MI – In the middle of an event to extol the virtues of the U.S. Constitution and “American Laws For American Courts,” the audience learned first-hand how easy it is to lose their freedom of Speech and Assembly.
Amid shouts of “What about free speech?” from the audience, the Allegan Police Department ordered the event shut-down. School officials notified police that they had received a letter complaining about the event from Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI). The letter asked the school to disallow the event despite an existing contract. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism funding trial in U. S. history, U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation.
As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced yesterday that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR- MI), its Executive Director, the City of Allegan, theAllegan Police Department and the School District were named as defendants in a thirty-four page civil rights lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court for the Western District of Michigan, this morning. The claims included constitutional and contract violations. [Click here for copy of federal complaint]
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center commented, “It’s amazing how much clout CAIR has with the political establishment of both parties in Lansing and throughout Michigan and the nation. This, despite the fact that CAIR has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, and the FBI’s former chief of counterterrorism, noted that CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”
Continued Thompson, “Press accounts make it clear that an indictment naming CAIR as a defendant in the Holy Land Foundation trial was squelched by Attorney General Holder’s office despite vehement objections by FBI agents and the federal prosecutors in Dallas.”
TMLC’s federal lawsuit was brought on behalf of State Representative David Agema; a chapter leader of ACT! for America, Elizabeth Griffin; Allegan County Commissioner, Willis Sage; and Mark Gurley, one of the event sponsors.
The event in question, entitled, “Constituting Michigan – Founding Principles Act” took place on January 26, 2012 at an Allegan High School auditorium which had been rented by Willis Sage.
The purpose of the event was to inform the public about the importance of honoring the United States Constitution, to recognize the internal threat to America posed by radical Muslims and the dangers to our free society caused by the imposition of Sharia law.
At first the Allegan police chief police indicated he shut down the event because of threats to one of the speakers, Kamal Saleem; however, shortly thereafter, the chief admitted to a reporter that there was no specific threat to the event and no real danger at all. In fact, no specific threats of violence relating to the event were received by the City of Allegan, its police department, the Allegan Public School District or Allegan Public High School.
Police gave as their reason, the appearance of one of the featured speakers, Kamal Saleem, a former Muslim terrorist who converted to Christianity. Saleem has spoken at numerous high schools and universities, Christian churches and Jewish temples across the nation. He has also spoken at the U. S. Air Force Academy, Michigan’s State Capital, and Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. At no time before the Allegan event or afterwards has an event where he has spoken been shut down by law enforcement.
Sage notified the Allegan police chief ten days before the event and invited him to check out the background of Saleem, which he never did.
Erin Mersino is the TMLC attorney handling the case.
More on Plaintiffs
State Representative David Agema is an elected State Representative for the 74th District serving in Michigan’s House of Representatives. He is a sponsor of HB 4769 entitled “Restriction of Application of Foreign Laws Act” (based on the American Laws for American Courts Model Act), which bans the use of foreign laws including Sharia law, by courts and administrative bodies of the State, when those laws conflict with fundamental rights protected by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan. Defendant Walid, is an outspoken opponent of HB 4769.
Elizabeth Griffin is a chapter leader for the organization, ACT! for America, a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice. Griffin promotes the “Constituting Michigan – Founding Principles Act”, which would require Michigan public schools to teach the history and Constitution of the United States. Griffin also guides and mentors chapter leaders for various chapters of the ACT! for America organization, as well as educates concerned Americans about the threat of Islamic Sharia law to our system of law in the United States.
Willis Sage is a County Commissioner for the County of Allegan, Michigan. Sage is the author of the “Constituting Michigan – Founding Principles Act,” which would require Michigan public schools to teach the history and constitution of the United States. He organized the event and rented the room at Allegan High School where the free speech event was held.
Plaintiff Mark Gurley was a sponsor of the event and paid for the airfare of Kamal Saleem. He is also an advocate of HB 4769, “Restriction of Application of Foreign Laws Act” (based on the American Laws for American Courts Model Act), sponsored by Plaintiff Agema.
Defendants’ pretextual claim that the free speech event needed to be shut-down for safety reasons subverts the true cause for halting the free speech event: complying with the demands of CAIR.