Christian missionaries attract mixed reactions on Warren Avenue; say they’re not against Muslims
DEARBORN — A group of five men demonstrated peacefully along Warren Avenue here Thursday drawing mixed reactions from drivers and others who found it hard to avoid them, considering one man held up a large wooden cross featuring Christian teachings written in Arabic.
|Domenic Danesi says he's not against Muslims or any faith, and is simply trying to spread the teachings of the Christian prophet Jesus Christ. He says the men have gone to other communities in the country and spoke with Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. PHOTOS: Natasha Dado/TAAN|
The men were here from Rochester, New York and expected to leave metro-Detroit on Thursday. They planned on demonstrating in the city of Detroit Wednesday, and say this is their second year visiting Dearborn.
Domenic Danesi, the man holding the wooden cross told The Arab American News he’s not against Muslims or any faith, and is simply trying to spread the teachings of the Jesus Christ from the Christian perspective.
“We’ll go where ever we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to go, and today it’s Warren Avenue,” Danesi said.
He says the men have gone to other communities in the country with large concentrations of people who aren’t Christian, trying to convey the same messages. Danesi recalled once disputing with a Mormon, and Jehovah Witnesses.
He actually condemned the misconceptions surrounding Muslim Americans in Dearborn. “I know there’s been a lot of misrepresentation here. Often what I’ve said is if you go to a hornets nest and shake it up you’re going to get stung, and we are not coming as provokers, we’re coming as proclaimers not protestors. There’s a big difference,” he said. “We don’t need to preach against Allah,” he said. Danesi was wearing a shirt that read: JESUS IS THE TRUTH.
It appeared the men believe the only truthful religious teachings are those of Jesus Christ.
When asked what group the men belonged to, Danesi claimed they’re not affiliated with any group and just “ambassadors of Christ.”
“We’re ambassadors because we come from different churches, but we all believe in one church and in Jesus Christ,” he said. While some people stopped to praise the group, and show support by signing the wooden cross, others reacted negatively.
One Arab American male riding his bike said the men are probably being paid. “Where do you work? I find it hard to believe that there’s grown men standing outside here with nothing better to do,” Dearborn resident Hicham Bazzi shouted at Danesi. Responding Danesi said, he was “working for God.”
|Arab American approaches missionaries, questions whether they're being paid to demonstrate. |
Bazzi says when he went to talk to the other men, who offered him Christian literature they told him they couldn’t address his questions and he would have to speak with Danesi.
Bazzi urged other Arab Americans to not provoke the men, and ignore them.
Some of the other men appeared to be in their forties and fifties. Danesi says a few people shouted obscenities at him. Some drivers approached him praising his message, and the cross received several signatures.