Last October, Ernie Perce was attacked during a Halloween parade by Talaag Elbayomy. Elbayomy's motive: Perce was wearing a "zombie Mohammed" costume, which offended Elbayomy as a Muslim. He believed that he needed to defend his Prophet and show his young son that those who insult Islam must b silenced.
There was video evidence (Elbayomy cannot be seen on the video, but he can be heard yelling at Perce and the sounds of a struggle can also be heard) of the attack and testimony from a police officer to whom Elbayomy ADMITTED attacking Perce. Judge Mark Martin excluded this evidence and dismissed the charge of harassment against Elbayomy, then lectured Perce, the victim, on Islam and scolded him for his behavior (which is protected under the First Amendment).
There are many countries where assaults on those who speak against Islam are permitted or even encouraged by the government. America should not be one of those countries. Judge Martin's actions show that he believes that if an atheist expresses his beliefs and offends a religious person, then the religious person has a right to batter the person who offends him. No judge should be allowed to use his position to condone violence against atheists or any other religious group. No judge should be allowed to essentially confer immunity from the law on a person based on his religion. This is America, and we are not barbarians. This is a country of laws. Our right to free speech is enshrined in our Constitution, and that right is meaningless if the justice system allows people to be assaulted for exercising it. The Bill of Rights does not include right not to be offended, for Muslims or anyone else.
We must demand that this situation be taken seriously by the state of Pennsylvania and that Judge Mark Martin be investigated for judicial misconduct. No judge should be above the law he is sworn to uphold.
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