Dearborn–June 20–The level of rhetorical violence against Muslims has been ratcheted up by entire orders of magnitude recently. An example of this rhetorical violence was the visit of troublemakers at this years Arab Festival in downtown Dearborn–the annual event at which Warren Avenue is closed off for several blocks, with bands performing, vendors purchasing space to sell everything, and Arabs and other local residents participating, celebrating Arab culture.
Fortunately people who went to the festival to cause problems obtained criminal records for their trouble, namely four Christian missionaries from a group called Acts 17 Apologetics, who with video cameras assaulted Muslims at the festival in order to make people react angrily and then post their videos on youtube.
Nabeel Qureshi, a convert to Christianity, and David Wood, members of the Acts 17 group, were arrested after assaulting several people. Their names and videos were listed on several anti-Muslim websites.
What was quite remarkable at the festival was the increased evangelical Christian presence–although the churches that maintained booths at the festival seemed respectful in comparison with the hoodlums who were arrested, it is quite an assault against Muslims when they cannot even walk at an Arab festival without people trying to drag them away from their religion.
But other than the evangelical churches there were several Islamic groups and mosques and Arab groups, for example ACCESS, not to mention people selling various Arab paraphernalia like clothing, food, and musical instruments.
There were rides, the same as at the last several yearsâ€™ carnivals.
The primary sponsor was the Arab American Chamber of Commerce. Other sponsors included Comcast, Dish Network, Ford, GM, Verizon, Marathon, and many other blue-ticket corporations too numerous to count.
Most of the vendors seemed satisfied that this year was as well-attended as previous years.
There was a Verizon booth at the festival sporting the most recent Verizon smart phones, and offering free calls to anywhere in the world using Verizonâ€™s network.
The festival aimed to draw over 300,000 people. Highlights of the festival included 30 international food booths, and a halal hot-dog eating contest.
The performers included the Orchestre Chabab al Andalous (a large Moroccan ensemble which has toured the world, performing Andalusian style music, which has been preserved in Morocco for over 500 years.
Another performer included Maher Halabi, a singer born and raised in Palestine, who has recorded seven albums and shot 6 music videos.
Doris Farhat, a Lebanese singer, also sang, and Nidal Ibourk, a talented Moroccan star who has appeared in many music TV shows including one apparently patterned after American Idol.
There were many other musicians and also dance groups.