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Judge Dismisses Muslim Who Attacked “Zombie Muhammad”

Judge Dismisses Muslim Who Attacked “Zombie Muhammad”

A judge in central Pennsylvania sparked a storm of controversy when he dismissed a harassment charge against a Muslim man who attacked Ernest Perce V, an atheist, at a Halloween parade last fall. Perce, a member of the “Parading Atheists of Central PA,” had decided to celebrate the holiday by dressing up as “Zombie Muhammad” accompanied by a “Zombie Pope.” At the parade, however, Perce alleged that he was attacked by a Muslim man named Talaag Elbayomy, who apparently tried to grab Perce’s sign and tugged at his fake beard. Perce also claims that Elbayomy tried to choke him.

In December, District Judge Mark Martin threw out the harassment charges. Though Perce has a grainy video of the encounter, it only features a lot of yelling with no footage of the encounter. Martin ruled that it was one man’s word against another’s, but then went on to lecture Perce, saying that Elbayomy had the right to stand up for his religion.

“I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures which is what you did,” Martin told Perce.

The issue resurfaced earlier this week, when Perce posted audio from the trial online. Since then, Martin’s office has been so inundated with threatening calls that he had to temporarily move his office up the road. Critics of his decision are alleging that he made his judgment based on a “Shari’a” defense, because some interpretations of Islamic law contend that respect for Islam trumps other free speech considerations. Part of the issue is the fact that many of the people threatening Martin believe that he is a convert to Islam (he’s a Christian), but others object to the substance of his judgment: that the First Amendment does not cover deliberately provocative speech.

Let’s be clear: Perce was not exercising common sense when he decided to dress up as “zombie Muhammad” and march through the streets of his town. That’s not nice. But neither is assault. The judge’s decision to throw out the harassment charge might have been more defensible if it had only been grounded in the lack of evidence. In expounding upon the relationship between cultural sensitivity and free speech, the judge opened himself to attack for muddling his decision.

Perce says that his status as an atheist played a part in the decision, and it’s true that Americans, overall, have less favorable views of atheists than they do of Muslims (although if you’re a Fox News viewer, you probably have pretty negative attitudes toward Muslims). But it’s unfortunate that this relatively minor incident is flaring up resentment against traditionally unpopular groups.

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Muslim Graduate Student Kicked Off Plane

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Photo from Vince Millett via flickr.

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180 comments

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9:07AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

All of his comments prior to "All that aside" are simply an explanation (albeit a very clumsy one) to Perce of how deeply offensive Perce's actions are to devout Muslims. The judge's actual legal analysis begins with "All that aside", at which point he restricts his comments to US law, and explains that there just isn't enough evidence to support the charge of harassment as defined by PA law. I hear no evidence that the judge is attempting to impose Sharia law. Soo – yet another article designed to provoke outrage in the gullible masses. I’ve said it before – Google is your friend people. Don’t believe everything you read. (Lol - Ijust realized how old this story is - ahh well, the FACTS are still the facts regardless of how long ago it happened :)

9:06AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

(Ernest Perce, the "victim" is/was The Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists) Let’s see.. For anybody who cares about facts as opposed to fiction,here’s a recording of the audio from the "trial" so you can use the evidence of your own ears. http://www.youtube.com/watchv=Sv9IyrpOnbs&feature=related. The Judge is a Lutheran NOT Muslim – does that change anything? The video purportedly showed legs and some shouting on the audio. The police officer was NOT at the scene ("both" Perce and the defendant "kept walking, and a few blocks later found Sgt. Curtis"). The only thing Curtis was able to put in his report, then, is what he was told by the plaintiff and the defendant after the fact. In any court of law, that would be dismissed as hearsay. So, we’ve got no video of the alleged attack, no police officer on the scene, no eye-witnesses were called to testify during the hearing, leaving the judge with the conflicting testimony of the two parties. The charge was harassment, not assault. The judge does not say he's a Muslim, he says: “I’m not Muslim, I find it offensive. “Second, the intent of his comments prior to "All that aside" also seems to be to point out just how seriously Muslims are about disrespect toward Mohammed; by way of example, he points out that in many Muslim societies disrespect for Mohammed is a capital offense. All of his comments prior to "All that aside" are simply an explanation (albeit a very clumsy one) to P

8:14AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

Islam is NOT a CULTURE. Islam is NOT a RACE. It is a very dangerous religious cult & form of government. It is very much logical to assume that anybody attacking a person based on what they are wearing IS a fanatic. A rational person would not do this. The judge in this case was also not rational. It's truly frightening that the US - touted as the Land of the Free - is turning into a country being dictated to by Islamists. There is no freedom in Islam for anybody. I'll state I'm no fan of Christianity or Catholicism either, before any Islamists accuse me of being either. I'm an atheist, punishable by either imprisonment or death according to sharia law. The US is in big trouble if things keep going this way. The Constitution, which the judge ridiculously spoke of in relation to his 'ruling', will have absolutely no meaning if cases involving Islamists in the US are to continue in this manner. If I'm a woman walking down a US street without a burqa & an Islamist takes offense or becomes 'pissed off' & attacks me in the street, rulings like this judge made will become very dangerous for women across the country. I'm absolutely nauseated by this total & utter garbage being foisted on non-Islamists. I do think there would be a great deal more outrage & public outcry regarding this case if the person attacked by this fanatic was a 'Christian', rather than an atheist. Which proves that Americans themselves are a danger to the freedom of speech of all American c

1:05PM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Either accept the culture and constitution in your new homeland or get a one-way ticket back. You ca't have it both ways! And, it's a fact that people fleeing from perceived persecution in their homeland, get extremely religious in their new setting. Women that did not used to wear niqabs or burkhas, starts to use them as soon as they get settled in a Western country.

6:11AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

@ Sam Taxy: You wrote:

"Let’s be clear: Perce was not exercising common sense when he decided to dress up as “zombie Muhammad” and march through the streets of his town"

Why would you say that? If I were to carry a sign that says, "Your god didn't make the world in 6 days" or "Keep your jesus out of a woman's womb", are those "not exercising common sense" either?

Here are more people who "not exercising common sense" either I guess

NSFW:

http://arebelsdiary.blogspot.com/2011/10/nude-art.html?zx=3c37dcd1453c9057

But that freedom of expression would be under "consequences of free speech" too. Are they all

5:24AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

Oops, got side tracked:

Why doesn't anyone who thinks it's okay that the muslim guy attacked the person in the "Zombie Mohammad" because his "culture" or "beliefs" were insulted comment who else has the right to attack another if they see them "doing free speech the other person doesn't agree with"?

Well what about if my culture and beliefs (not religious but mine are important to me and while I'm all for free speech, if others feel it's okay to say if you insult a group you have to face the consequences, ie a veiled threat that you can and most likely will be subjected to violence, why should I have to take my feelings and beliefs being mocked?

So if I come across a person burning a US Flag/Constitution should I have them experience my consequences for them?

What about a Utah Polygamist who sees someone championing women's rights, or worse yet, getting Utah to increase the age of marriage from 13 (with parental consent - not a joke, look it up) to 16 or older as most states do? Of course raising the age of consent means not being able to rape 13 year old girls when you're a 40 or 50 something pervert but hey

5:22AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

Why doesn't anyone who thinks it's okay that the muslim guy attacked the person in the "Zombie Mohammad" because his "culture" or "beliefs" were insulted

Well what about if my culture and beliefs (not religious but mine are important to me and while I'm all for free speech, if others feel it's okay to say if you insult a group you have to face the consequences, ie a veiled threat that you can and most likely will be subjected to violence, why should I have to take my feelings and beliefs being mocked?

So if I come across a person burning a US Flag/Constitution should I have them experience my consequences for them?

What about a Utah Polygamist who sees someone championing women's rights, or worse yet, getting Utah to increase the age of marriage from 13 (with parental consent - not a joke, look it up) to 16 or older as most states do? Of course raising the age of consent means not being able to rape 13 year old girls when you're a 40 or 50 something pervert but hey

7:16AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

@ Samuel W: Are you saying then that the muslim leadership are still acting like Dark Age/Feudal lords and we should accept that and blow them kisses?

Sorry, if a Neo Nazi attacked me because I hurt his culture/religious beliefs/idiocy I'd fight back too.

Why don't those who excuse the muslim guy respond on my hypothetical response to someone who's burning a flag, which upsets my "culture" and "beliefs" and I attack him.

Is that okay?

11:15AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

For those of you who need a little history lesson. The Roman Catholic church about 500 years ago acted very similar to the way many Muslim leaders and people do today.

I believe most Muslim people are just like the rest of us trying to get along and make a life. I also believe that most of those in the United States came here to get away from the nuts in their home countries who are causing these problems.

We should react with love to all and not assume that just because someone is a member of a relgion that has crazies in it all the others are crazy too. I also hope that Christians will be viewed the same way since we have our own share of crazies.

Seventh day Adventist Love GOD love his planet and all people.

6:18AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Sorry for the double post

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