The Atheists of Central Pennsylvania decided to walk in the Mechanicsburg Halloween parade. There was a zombie Pope and a zombie Muhammed.
A Muslim man comes off the curb extremely offended at Muhammed being depicted in this way.
"He grabbed me, choked me from the back, and spun me around to try to get my sign off that was wrapped around my neck," said Ernie Perce, who donned the costume.
The Muslim man and Perce both called police to report a crime. Both kept walking, and a few blocks down found Sgt. Brian Curtis. He talked to both and came to this conclusion.
"Mr. Perce has the right to do what he did that evening, and the defendant in this case was wrong in confronting him," he said.
Talaag Elbayomy was charged with harassment, but District Judge Mark Martin threw it out after criticizing Perce, the victim, and even calling him a "doofus."
Martin, who has done several tours of duty in the Middle East, said Perce would be put to death in those societies for his crime, but Perce wonders why that's relevant in this country.
"He let a man who is Muslim, because of his preference of his culture and his way of life, walk free from an attack," Perce said.
R. Mark Thomas represented Elbayomy and applauds the judge.
"I think this was a good dressing down by the judge," he said. "The so-called victim was the antagonist and we introduced evidence that clearly showed his attitude toward Muslims. The judge didn't do anything I wouldn't have done if I was in that position."
Although Elbayomy denied touching Perce at trial, Curtis said he admitted grabbing Perce's sign and beard the night of the incident.
Talaag Elbayomy said he was at the parade with his wife and two kids and felt he just had to do something. In fact, he too called police because he thought it was a crime for someone to depict Muhammed in such a way. He has since learned otherwise.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has granted the Justice Department's request to dismiss charges against nearly all two dozen defense contractor employees charged with bribery, who had been caught in an undercover sting operation.
The defendants were military contractors arrested at a 2010 trade show in Las Vegas where they anticipated picking up checks for sales to outfit Gabon's presidential guard. It was the first time a sting operation had been used since the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was created in 1977.
Ten defendants had gone through two lengthy and expensive trials but none were convicted by juries, and 16 more were awaiting trial.
Two of seven defendants trials ended with a hung jury and were facing a second trial. Three others were acquitted, with nine additional defendants awaiting an initial trial. Three other defendants had plead guilty in the case, and are awaiting sentencing. Ironically, though these last three plead guilty to avoid the threat of harsh sentences, they have almost no chance of prevailing if they appeal those sentences, though the case has collapsed.
This was the case where the FBI agents and the chief undercover informant were sending ribald and unprofessional text messages to each other, not realizing that the discovery process would uncover them. The juries were impressed enough by them that they acquitted the defendants.
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
Imams in Germany have long tended to be older men who preach primarily in Turkish or Arabic. Now, though, officials are worried about a new breed of cleric: young, dynamic and followers of a radical brand of Islam. Their adherents are growing in number.
None of his words are arbitrary. It is a show he has performed many times before. Sheikh Abdul Adhim knows which verses of the Koran appeal to his listeners, and which subjects they want to hear about. "Satan will tempt you with money and drugs" he tells the faithful at Berlin's Al-Nur Mosque. "Only faith in Allah can protect you." The members of the congregation nod. "No one preaches as beautifully as Abdul Adhim," they say.
The 34-year-old Berliner is the most prominent figure in a community of young, radical imams who are gaining importance among German Muslims. They appear in mosques and civic centers, they live in cities like Frankfurt, Bonn and Mönchengladbach, and the Internet is their most important platform. Web-based videos have meant a rapid increase in both popularity and influence in the community. Hundreds of followers regularly make the pilgrimage to Adhim's live rallies, or to those held by 33-year-old Pierre Vogel, from the town of Frechen near Cologne.
Supporters of these young imams say that they are reaching youth who would otherwise be lost to the streets. Critics, however, see men like Adhim and Vogel as foes of democracy, because of the strictly conservative form of Islam they preach. Many are Salafists, adherents of a fundamentalist movement that strictly follows the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Salafists reject innovation, frown on interactions with infidels and believe that the only legitimate laws come from God.