A video titled 'American Muslims Stone Christians in Dearborn Mi" has gone viral on Youtube within the last several days, gaining over one million views since it was uploaded on June 26. The 22-minute edited video clip partly depicts what had occurred at this years annual Arab International Festival, which was held over the Fathers Day weekend in Dearborn. The American Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC), the organization responsible for organizing the festival, have spoken out against the Christian group who uploaded the video, claiming the clip has been edited to make Dearborn locals seem uncivilized.
|A pig's head on a stick held by a member of the Bible Believers. This isn't depicted in their edited video on Youtube.|
What many don't know however is that there are two videos that were uploaded by the group that depict the incident: The 22-minute video that has gone viral, and a much longer raw footage video, which is almost 70 minutes in length. That video has only been viewed 14,000 times but captures the moments from when the group entered the festival up until when they were asked to leave. Fay Beydoun, the Director of the AACC argues that when you watch the video in it's entirety, viewers would see that the locals and children were provoked to retaliate. She says that the AACC is working on releasing a response video.
"There will be a response that we believe captures the entirety of the festival, opposed to a single isolated incident that has been completely taken out of context and twisted to align with the personal views and belief of a single group," Beydoun stated. "Although there were approximately 70,000 attendees that day, a handful of youths did allow their emotions to get the best of them. However, this was after they were sufficiently provoked, antagonized, verbally assaulted, and bullied for nearly two hours."
Ruben Israel, one of the founders of the Bible Believers has claimed that the video was not edited to make his group look like the victims, but rather to only highlight the 'important parts'. In an interview this week he stated that his group didn't do any sort of antagonizing to get the response that they did.
"We were going to do some preaching and the preaching would provoke some good conversation and conversation is what's good....and that's the purpose for the large signs because they display exactly who we are and what we believe. That’s all we were going to do. We wanted to hang around there for a few hours, pack up and leave. We weren't going to stay there until the end of the event," Israel told The Right Side News earlier this week .
However what the mainstream media does not know is that there were a few other Christian evangelist groups at the festival who did not engage in any sort of antagonizing behavior, but instead peacefully were able to have constructive dialogue with locals about religion and faith. Those groups were not 'stoned' by locals as Israel claims his group of bible believers were.
Israel is also claiming that his attorney sent a letter to both the Wayne County Sheriff’s office and the city of Dearborn, informing them that his group would be attending the Festival on the fist day, requesting security assistance because they feared for their safety. Israel stated that not only didn't the Sheriff’s office not respond back to his letter, but that they sat on the sidelines throughtout the ordeal and allowed the locals to attack his group.
|Also not fully depicted in the 22-minute youtube video is the extreme signs that the Bible Believers were carrying at the festival, which locals felt were antagonizing.|
Beydoun says that despite these drawbacks, the AACC wants to continue holding the festival on a yearly basis.
"I believe any group or organization that has strong beliefs is best served by seeking common ground with those they disagree with through constructive dialogue in a private setting. And while we 100 percent respect freedom of speech and the First Amendment, we do not agree with disruptive, mean-spirited or hateful engagement. We are proud to say that every year; more and more people of all races and cultures are joining us in celebrating our rich heritage. It also should be noted that the festival adds a significant economic boost to the local economy," Beydoun added.
Beydoun states that the AACC's response video which depicts what really happened at the festival is expected to be available to view on Friday at www.arabinternationalfestival.com.