Christian group sues over festival access

DEARBORN , Mich., June 18 (UPI) -- A Christian group that wants to convert Muslims has filed a federal lawsuit claiming Dearborn has violated its rights by restricting access to an Arab festival.

Arabic Christian Perspective filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court over plans to confine group members to one area during this weekend's 14th annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, The Detroit News reported.


The California group wants to pass out literature promoting Christianity over Islam throughout the festival area, comprising about four blocks. It claims restricting members to just one area violates religious and free speech rights, the newspaper said.

Richard Thompson, an attorney for the group, said its members have passed out literature at the festival the past five years.

"It's clear that there has never been any disruptive behavior," Thompson told the News. "These are people who are peaceful evangelists."

Fay Beydoun, executive director for the American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Dearborn, one of the groups organizing the event, said Christian and Muslim groups have booths at the festival. Arabic Christian Perspective had not contacted her, she said.

City spokeswoman Mary Laundroche said Tuesday the city had not received the lawsuit and had no comment.


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