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Pennsylvania “Sharia Court”: Loons Jump the Gun AGAIN on Ginned up “Legal Jihad”

28 February 2012 Loonwatch.com 51 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Zombie Pope and Zombie Muhammad Marching in a Halloween Parade

Zombie Pope and Zombie Muhammad Marching in a Halloween Parade

Pennsylvania “Sharia Court”: Loons Jump the Gun AGAIN on Ginned up “Legal Jihad”

by Ilisha

(H/T: CriticalDragon1177)

All across the looniverse, there is an uproar over an alleged triumph of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court case presided over by a “Muslim” judge.  It’s not the first time anti-Muslim bigots pounced on a story of so-called “legal jihad” before they got their facts straight.

This time, Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Ernest Perce V, was parading down the street as “Zombie Muhammad,” when an outraged Muslim bystander allegedly grabbed him, choked him from behind, and attempted to remove a “Muhammad of Islam” sign from around his neck. Both men complained to  police, Perce for assault and Elbayomy because he apparently thought insulting Islam was a criminal offense.

Perce filed charges, but a judge dismissed the case after he allegedly said, “I’m a Muslim,” and chastised the atheist in question for his misinterpretation and lack of understanding concerning Islam. Judge Martin is not a Muslim, and later said himself he is Lutheran.

Parts of the court video are garbled, and it seems he either misspoke or part of his statement was inaudible.  In any case, his statements and decision to dismiss the case have sparked a fresh controversy over  the limits of free speech.

The judge said in part:

Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus…

Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, 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 cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt…

Then what you have done is you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. [Unintelligble] aside was very offensive.

But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights.

Pamela Geller’s hate site, Atlas Shrugsblared the headline: “AMERICAN MUSLIM JUDGE WHO IMPOSED SHARIA IN PENNSYLVANIA COURT THREATENS TO JAIL INFIDEL VICTIM FOR BLASPHEMY — RELEASING RECORDED AUDIO OF THE CASE

The inflammatory headline was followed by, “Infidel victim, Ernest Perce, has received 471 verifiable threats.” No source was cited to substantiate the claim.

Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch declared:

This is enforcement of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court. The attacker supposedly got off because he “is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.”

Though part of the statement on Jihad Watch is in quotes, it’s unclear who Spencer is quoting. A full transcript of the judges statement is here, and the defendant’s immigrant status and lack of legal knowledge are not cited as reasons for dismissing the case.

Spencer also doesn’t explain how this is an example of Sharia. What Islamic Law did the judge cite in this case? Spencer doesn’t say, and apparently that’s fine with his no-evidence-required audience.

Although Eugene Volokh of  The Volokh Conspiracy strongly disagreed with the judge’s decision, hesaid:

…This is not a situation where the judge “applied Sharia law” in any normal sense of the phrase. The judge claimed that he simply didn’t find enough evidence against the defendant. Perhaps the judge was biased against the victim because of the victim’s anti-Muslim speech, but an anti-Sharia law wouldn’t have helped avoid that. More broadly, a law banning judges from “consider[ing] … Sharia Law” (in the words of the Oklahoma anti-Sharia amendment) wouldn’t keep judges from concluding that someone who insults members of other religious groups should be admonished, punished, or even stripped of the right to legal protection — they would just conclude this based on their own notions of refraining from offending other groups….

The case has nothing do with Sharia, and everything to do with the interpretation and application of American Law.

In the US, free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and in most cases, speech that is distasteful, inflammatory, racist, sexist, or even outright hate speech, is usually permitted. However, there are exceptions, including ”fighting words” and “incitement to imminent lawless action.” Though the judge did tell the plaintiff it was his opinion he’d gone way outside the bounds of free speech, this was not the stated reason for dismissing the case.

In response to the controversy, Judge Martin gave a statement clarifying :  ((H/T: Just Stopping By)

This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

I also supposedly called him and threatened to throw him in jail if he released the tapes he had made in the courtroom without my knowledge/permission (Fact: HE called ME and told me that he was ready to “go public” with the tapes and was wondering what the consequences would be; I advised him again to not disseminate the recording, and that I would consider contempt charges; he then replied that he was “willing to go to jail for (his) 1st amendment rights”- I never even uttered the word “jail” in that conversation).

He said that I kept a copy of the Quran on the bench (fact: I keep a Bible on the bench, but out of respect to people with faiths other than Christianity, I DO have a Quran on the bookcase BESIDE my bench, and am trying to acquire a Torah, Book of Mormon, Book of Confucius and any other artifacts which those with a faith might respect).

He claims that I’m biased towards Islam, apparently because he thinks I’m Muslim. In fact, those of you who know me, know that I’m an Army reservist with 27 years of service towards our country (and still serving). I’ve done one tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to return to Afghanistan for a year this summer. During my first tour in Iraq, I was ambushed once, attacked by a mob once, sniped at once, and rocketed, bombed, and mortared so many times that I honestly don’t know how many time I’ve been attacked. Presumably by Muslim insurgents. My point: if anyone SHOULD be biased towards Muslims, one would think it would be me. I’m not, however, because I personally know or have met many good, decent people who follow Islam, and I shouldn’t characterize the actions of those who tried to kill me as characterizations of all Muslims.

When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven. That was one of the reasons I tried to spend 6 whole minutes trying to explain and de-mystify Islam through my own knowledge, and in an attempt to prevent an incident like this recurring in my community. Unfortunately, the message was obviously not received in the vein that I had intended. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did use the word “doofus,” but didn’t call him that directly; I said something akin to “ if you’re going to mock another religion or culture, you should check your facts, first- otherwise, you’ll look like a doofus.”;

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

A lesson learned here: there’s a very good reason for Rule 112 of Rules of Criminal Procedure- if someone makes an unauthorized recording in a Court not of Record, there’s no way to control how it might be manipulated later, and then passed off as the truth. We’ve received dozens upon dozens of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails.There are literally hundreds of not-so-nice posts all over the internet on at least 4 sites that have carried this story, mainly because I’ve been painted as a Muslim judge who didn’t recuse himself, and who’s trying to introduce Sharia law into Mechanicsburg.

Attempts to link the case to Islamic Law are illogical and absurd, but will no doubt provide convincing “evidence” for those already inclined to believe “creeping sharia” is a genuine threat to America.

However, the case may very well spark a wider debate. The idea that a judge may have sacrificed free speech on the alter of religious and cultural sensitivity is bound to attract attention, especially as Western democracies increasingly grapple with issues of multiculturalismprovocation, and the boundaries of free speech.

**********

The judge’s controversial statements begin in minute 29:

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51 Comments »

  1. In US you can say almost anything, but grabbing, hitting, handlng a person roughly crosses the line. The muslim involved should have received at least a lecture on that.

    No, you can’t physically assault someone even mildly just because you don’t like what they’re saying, how they are dressed, etc.

    Thanks for posting this statement by the judge, I was wondering if the principals involved had said anything further.

    Suer it looks like the judge dumped US law for PC.

  2. //Anon,

    I’m under the impression that the judge only dismissed the charges because he didn’t think there was sufficient evidence. I don’t think he did so out of political correctness.

  3. He made a PC speech, however. Weren’t there any witnesses to this? It was a parade. He was marching with someone done up as the Pope. Whole thing ill done.

  4. I understand freedom of expression, but this is just sick, making fun of people and there faith is sick and wrong.

  5. Will the stupidity never end?

  6. Well, the court system has already established that bullying isn’t bullying if it is done for religious reasons. What works for Christianity works for other religions as well.

  7. The stupidity is that someone thought that it was okay to use viomence indefense of their religion, and that a judge agreed!

  8. This is insane, being offended doesnt give you the right to assault someone. That judge is a nut and needs to retire. And the man who assaulted Perce for expressing HIS beliefs needs to be arrested.

  9. Additional stupidity in mistyping “violence”.

  10. lol… zombie pope… people need to just suck it up and take a halloween joke…

  11. People with strong beliefs are easier to pick on. Lighten up, enjoy life. Serious convictions about Country & Religion lead to war against others with strong beliefs and convictions. Great for arms sales and raising fuel prices.

  12. Stupidity from the silly person !! Sickness person !

  13. I was interviewed about this last week in the local paper where this case was decided. It’s hard to be professional when all you want to say to the interviewer is, “This just made my brain explode. I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?” And then try to explain in monosyllables why this is offensive.

  14. As a zombie, I am offended by this :c Also, brraaaaiiiinnnssss…

  15. Amazing how the religious nuts in this thread are pouncing on the picture instead of the article’s contents. Shaking my head!

  16. And what they are failing to realize is that their Islamaphobia is also having an adverse effect on Jews in this country. I have experienced it myself. I was at a vendor event with my home-based business and got quite a few comments directed my way about going back where I came from. And I was born here in the US.

  17. This is and always will be a problem in a free society just as the kkk can have marches and rally’s and the nazi or aryan nation can have if you have freedoms you will always have someone willing to spill their venomous hate I believe that the acts of these atheists are wrongheaded and offensive as I would tend to believe that most people would whether believers or not .As for the Judge the claims are just silly and wrong and show the ignorance and fear people have when will we stop judging by religion or color ? More yet when will look across that tiny little gulf of our beliefs and see we all pretty much have the same ones .when will we stop fearing ourselves and learn to love our many paths to God

  18. I’ve lived in Central PA, I’m pretty sure the two in the picture are the only atheists there, and I suspect they’ll be moving now.

  19. William, Atheists are not comparable to Nazis or KKK members by any stretch of the imagination. That is ridiculous.

  20. I have to question if some people skimmed the article. It seems to me he did not punish him, not because of freedom of speech, but of lack of evidence or something to that affect. (Effect?)
    but still, harming people for religion is wrong.

  21. Did you read his quote? CLEARLY biased

  22. Mona, freedom of expression doesn’t mean you have a right to not be offended.

  23. Isa, the judge was Muslim and ignored the evidence AND a confession of the Muslim who attacked other man.

  24. Chris, I agree 100% with you, now will you please practice what you preech? and the judge was not a muslim, at lesat take the time to read the judges comments, sometimes you sound so smart, and then you end up sayimg something hateful, I think its great you have such a love and passion for your faith, dont you think the rst of us feel the same way about ours???

  25. -_-

  26. Captain there is an effort to have this judge removed, as he should be.

  27. The judge clearly said that he dismissed the case, not because he feels it violated the first amendment (though he believed it did, and I don’t disagree or agree personally), but due to the inconsistencies. Which, is that not the correct thing to due, given insufficient evidence?

  28. Isa, his statements were clearly biased. And he.ignored a CONFESSION of the person who choked the atheist, as well as videotaped evidence.

  29. Isa, the judge clearly stated he thought the depiction of Muhammad to be offensive and lectured the man! This man was physically assaulted and the judge is making him into the criminal. Why wouldn’t people be outraged?

  30. while i do not agree with the acts of the Muslim involved, what the “victim” was doing was also inexcusable. He was obviously trying to make people mad. I’ve seen people dress up as people to make fun of them before, and while still distasteful, its fine as long as they don’t flaunt it. This man was parading. He obviously wanted people to get pissed off, to be insulted, to feel ridiculed, and he knew that it was illegal for anyone to do anything about it. It’s like throwing rocks at someone from behind an iron cage: cowardly and disgusting. seeing as he didn’t die or get seriously injured, it seems he got exactly what he deserved.

    And to those who say he is just “practicing free speech”, there are a thousand ways you can criticize Islam, or any ideology, without making some middle-school level provocation that isn’t even based on fact. Try citing Koranic verses you disagree with, or statistics about the negative aspects of Muslim practices. If people can’t use “freedom of religion” to justify the defendant’s attack, then you can’t use “freedom of speech” to justify such a gross and obviously provocative action. It would obviously be preferable that the defendant had used his words instead of his hands, but at least he stood up to abuse. Last I checked, that’s what you’re supposed to do with bullies.

  31. Aussies, every report I seen said the judge was Muslim. It really doesn’t matter, the ruling was biased horsechit.

  32. it doesn’t matter if chris read the link or not. the islamophobes minds r closed. no new info or evidence can enter their brain, but they go on and on with their same old absurd rants they have memorized.

  33. maybe not an assult, but a lecture about respect!

  34. the judge was not MUSLIM read the article!!!!

  35. Aussies, the judge lectured the man over his depiction of Muhammad. That alone makes his ruling questionable.

  36. opps my bad Aussie I thought your post said “however i believe that is an excuse for an assult, I was trying to read two things as much..sorry:)

  37. Innara, the man who assaulted the other admitted to doing it. And there was videotaped evidence and witnesses. In what world except Islamic looney land, make anyone closed minded? The facts are the facts!

  38. Wait the dumb ass atheist guy says he believed the prophet rose from the dead is an Islamic belief, regardless of the ruling this goes to show critics of Islam themselves are quite ignorant of the religion

  39. Ben Franklin once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Obviously, these devotees of the Founding Fathers don’t think of old Ben as one of them.

  40. Christopher, it was a Muhammad zombie. There was a zombie Pope also. Nobody was comparing Mohammed to Jesus if that’s what you are getting at. That’s not really the point anyway.

  41. since chris u won’t bother to read the article. here is a qoute from judge martin on why he dismissed the case.
    ” In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.”

  42. What the guy did was wrong, dressing up in that insulting fashion. In my opinion, no matter how insulting that may be, just ignore him. Fighting him or causing a ruckus will only show that he won the real fight. Just ignore people like that, and go do something good instead.
    (why was the muslim who got mad at the hallaween parade anyways?)

  43. The judges diatribe was uncalled for. The offense occurred in a parade so there should have been witnesses. I have no idea what religion the Judge is though his comment is clear on the tape. If he is Lutheran why did he say he was Muslim? Regardless of how this plays out there is a problem with that judge and there is a fair chance he is not fit for his position.

  44. How is this forum able to show a picture of a zombie Mohammad? Seems like people have been killed for less.

  45. I read the article! And I love how you gloss over the judge’s totally inappropriate and biased lecturing! The fact he even makes mention to the laws of other.countries

  46. Makes his ruling questionable. The man admitted to attacking another man to a police officer! The judge castigated the victim! He dismissed it to play political correctness above doing his job. I hope he loses his job.

  47. the man did not admit to attacking anyone. he said he went to the guy to take the sign from around his neck. (which i think he shouldn’t have done). but the judge knows what he’s talking about after all he did go to law school.

  48. the judge isnt muslim he said if he was muslim….and he ruled rather off in this instance and no where in our faith are we allowed to attack someone physically for a little sign. so long as its not harming us physically we just have to respect their right to say such and be judged by god in the end for thei ractions.

  49. many muslims clearly do not believe in freedom of speech. you have no right to go through life demanding that others hold their speech for fear of you being offended. yet another example of islam’s incompatability with modern western (especially american, the europeans have some strange laws limiting freedom of speech) culture.

    “In the case of an insult to Muhammad, the Muslim community is considered to be under an obligation to avenge the insult because the possibility of forgiveness expired upon the death of Muhammad.[2]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_blasphemy

  50. So now we allow muslims to attack Americans for free speech, then let them off the hook? I don’t care if the musim thought it was against the law or not to offend the pedophile prophet. He’s in the U.S. and is subject to our laws. Ignorance to the law is no defense.

    The judge made a ruling that let the hurt feelings of a Muslim trump an actual assault committed by the Muslim.

    A total and complete travesty. The judge should be disbarred and never allowed in a courtroom again, unless it’s him as a defendent.

  51. Danny baby how are you?

    You know, that Pedophile you’re talking about did not have a wife under the age of 18, in fact Aisha was 21. Early in the marriage she was accused by neighbors of adultery. How on Earth can you accuse a child of adultery. Go research some more on that, and, the Quran says specifically you cannot marry someone who hasnt hit puberty.

    And, I don’t have a view as to whether he should be disbarred or not. I agree, both the guys making fun of the Pope and Muhammad should seriously go kill themselves (waste of time, much?) but they shouldnt have done it in the first place

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