A Muslim judge, an atheist and another Muslim walk into a courtroom — and, nope, this isn’t the beginning of a bad joke.
A judge in Pennsylvania dismissed assault charges against a Muslim who allegedly choked an atheist during a Halloween parade because the man offended Islam. American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director Ernest Perce V was wearing a “zombie Muhammad” costume and claiming to be the Prophet Muhammad risen from the dead at a Halloween parade on Oct. 11 in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Also at the parade was a zombie version of the Catholic Pope.
As the atheists marched down the street, an enraged Muslim named Talaag Elbayomy stormed out of the crowd and latched on to a sign hanging from Perce’s neck that read “Only Muhammad can Rape America,” pulling until the strings choked the man.
Police officer Bryan Curtis, upon witnessing the assault, intervened and charged Elbayomy — who said he believed it was illegal to mock Muhammad — with harassment.
Curtis told Pennsylvania’s WHTM-TV, “Mr. Perce has the right to do what he did that evening, and the defendant in this case was wrong in what he did in confronting him.” Adding, “I believe that I brought a case that showed proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the case was dismissed, and I was disappointed.”
District Judge Mark Martin, however, didn’t agree and instead accused Perce of “using the First Amendment” to madden Muslims.
According to WND, while brandishing a Quran, Judge Martin delivered a scathing attack against Perce in support of Muslims. An excerpt follows:
Well, having had the benefit of having spent over two-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 Quran here, and I would challenge you, Sir, to show me where it says in the Quran that Muhammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted a couple of things. So before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus…
In many other Muslim-speaking countries, err, excuse me, many Arabic-speaking countries, predominantly Muslim, something like this is definitely against the law there, in their society. In fact, it could be punished by death, and frequently is, in their society.
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 intended. I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to p— off other people and cultures – which is what you did.
I don’t think you’re aware, Sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – I understand you’re an atheist – but see Islam is not just a religion. It’s their culture, their culture, their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day toward Mecca. To be a good Muslim before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, unless you’re otherwise told you cannot because you’re too ill, too elderly, whatever, but you must make the attempt. Their greeting is ‘Salam alaikum, wa-laikum as-Salam,’ uh, ‘May God be with you.’
Whenever it is very common, their language, when they’re speaking to each other, it’s very common for them to say, uh, Allah willing, this will happen. It’s, they’re so immersed in it. And what you’ve 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. I find what’s on the other side of this [sign] very offensive. But you have that right, but you are way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights. …
I’ve spent about seven 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 hear it referred to as ‘ugly Americans,’ because we’re 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.
After delivering his lesson in Sharia Law, Martin dismissed the charges against Elbayomy despite video evidence of the attack and Curtis’ testimony on Perce’s behalf.
Here is a video of the events that transpired during the parade.
Perce, angered by Martin’s dismissal of the charge and the lengths he went to belittle the plaintiff, released the following the following recording of the judge’s ruling. Perce claims he had permission to release the audio, but Martin is now threatening to hold him in contempt of court, according to the Scranton Atheism Examiner.