The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Armed with Pig’s Head, Christians Confront Michigan Muslims

By Leah Nelson on June 18, 2012 - 1:58 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Muslims in Dearborn, Mich., were once again targeted for their beliefs on Friday when a group of protesters calling themselves the “Bible Believers” confronted celebrants at the city’s annual Arab International Festival with a pig’s head on a spike and signs decrying Islam as a false religion, the Detroit Free Press reports.

In addition to the pig’s head – presumably intended to offend observant Muslims, who do not eat pork – Bible Believers reportedly carried signs calling Islam “a religion of blood and murder” and describing the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a “liar,” “false prophet,” “murderer” and “child molesting pervert.”

Dearborn, which has the nation’s highest concentration of Arab-Americans and whose population is one-third Muslim, has in recent years become a favorite destination for anti-Muslim activists seeking the spotlight. Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of American (SIOA) staged an ersatz “human rights conference” there in April, and Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones, who runs the anti-gay, anti-Muslim Dove World Outreach Center, visited last April to tell a few dozen supporters – and an estimated 600 counter-protestors – that Islam is “of the devil.”

This year marked the Bible Believers’ second appearance at Dearborn’s Arab International Festival. In 2011, several counter-protesters were arrested for throwing water bottles, trash and shoes at the group while its members – bearing signs calling Islam a “religion of murder” and calling on Muslims to “repent” – stood in the festival’s free speech zone. No arrests were made this year, the Dearborn Patch reports, though two festival attendees were detained and cited for disorderly contact.

Bible Believers is headed by Ruben Israel Chavez, a self-described “street preacher” from Los Angeles who runs the website Official Street Preachers, on which he rails against “homo sex,” Mormons, “drunkards,” Mardi Gras, “Pot Smoking Devils,” Billy Graham, and Oprah Winfrey, among others.

On the site, Chavez describes himself and like-minded preachers as God’s mouthpieces and “vessels to the public.” He writes, “When I preach it will offend people and that does not concern me in the lest [sic], for my goal in life, my core reason of why I do what I do, is not to offend a holy God.”

According to his biography, Chavez founded Bible Believers in the 1980s to focus on “confrontational evangelism and home Bible studies.” Today, he says, the group has over 40 chapters nationwide.

  • Reynardine

    He’s going to cry, Aron, because, as we are not toilets, we won’t swallow his offerings.

  • http://Twitter.com/AronL Aron

    What’s the matter, Daniel? You gonna cry about it?

    Get a life.

  • Daniel

    Even a hammer could not penetrate the thick skulls in this thread. I had no hopes of doing so. Just wanted to inject a few seemingly unknown facts, especially about the so called “Prophet”.

  • Reynardine

    He won’t get it, Ruslan. Hammerheads don’t.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Daniel, you failed. I figured you’d be used to it by now.

  • Joseph

    Daniel: In my opinion, this is about religious discrimination, and fanatics acting like they don’t have any home training or manners. Why would you put a pig’s head on a pike? Salmonella poisoning and the common sense theory would dictate that method of communication is not going to be received very well.

    This is also an example of how a post can cause many different threads, conversations, disagreements and discussions. But I think most of us agree that the true root cause of this particular group’s behavior deals with either a lot of LSD, or misguided hate, hence the name “Hatewatch.”

    And FYI – most of the Muslims that I have known, worked with, or even lined up against, probably do not marry children. I was speaking against the history of such an act, not the people themselves.

  • Reynardine

    Well, just in time: looks like we got us a Hammerhead.

  • Daniel

    i thought that this was about a group claiming that Islam was not a religion. Not because of who they worshiped but the tenets of their beliefs. This is not necessarily about “God”, its about a huge number of people subscribing to a whole bunch of ungodly acts. Sex with babies; sex with animals: slavery. etc.

  • Joseph

    FYI – I didn’t meant to misspell Buddha, didn’t mean to offend anyone.

  • Joseph

    Again Rey…I am humbled by your presence of mind. I retreat, which is not an act of cowardice, but an act of a sane man who takes his medication.

  • Reynardine

    Joseph, this is not about the presence of a universal mind, which does or does not exist, regardless of the wishes of some bickering germs on a damp grain of sand circling a spark. It’s about the merits of the arguments of the bickering germs.

    Meanwhile:

    The Universe lies,
    Its head on its paws,
    With starry ticks in its titanic ear…

    – Vladimir Mayakovski, “The Cloud in Trousers”

  • Joseph

    FUNNY! Fantasy world. I’m laughing all over my chair, I hope I don’t lose my job. No, but seriously….I’m laughing.

    You can say my name when you talk about my fantasy world.

    There is a reason I put a question mark in my post. I don’t hold “quotes” as fact, however, a grown man, marrying a child, or bethrothed to one for that matter, is DISGUSTING in any language, religion, age, year, date, fact, opinion, God, Allah, prophet, budda, don’t care it’s sick.

    You mean to tell me that the Prophet couldn’t find a woman big enough for his ego? How many wives did he have? He needed a girl? Bethrothed at 6? What a man he was – historically or otherwise. Ok – whatever.

    I actually did some research when I was on the couch this weekend, and it’s condoned in the Old Book of the Bible. Except they referred to the children as Women Children, i.e. Numbers 31:17 – once again for conquered peoples only.

    I like the reference in the New Testament where Jesus says that hurting children, (or causing them to sin) is like tying a noose around your neck and drowning yourself, Matthew 18; 2-6.

    But so what, some of you don’t believe in my imaginary friend anyway and I’m just blowing smoke. 9 in 10 Americans believe in a higher power, albiet God, Nature, or other. But you know better right?

  • Gregory

    And I think I should have said fighting over who has the biggest imaginary friend, rather than invisible.

  • Gregory

    Erika,
    Try telling that to a fundy christian and a militant shia. I think you missed my point, however. When religious zealots fight one another, everybody in the vicinity is impacted. Even those of us who do not believe in invisible supernatural beings, like God or Allah.

  • Erika

    and its pretty safe to say that the “Bible Believers” do not really care about child rape and children being married since i’m pretty sure that there are recorded instances in the Old Testament of children being married.

    there definitely were such instances recorded in Christian lands – is the minimum legal age for a girl to be married in Louisiana (or was it Mississippi) still 12 or did they finally change it?

  • Erika

    um, Gregory, Allah and God are one and the same.

  • Gregory

    If these guys are so worried about child molesters, shouldn’t they be demonstrating outside Sandusky’s prison cell? But, I snarkily digress.

    A quick search on Daniel’s reference yields little but the same cut and paste that he deposited here. No source documents. However, using Khomeini to categorize all Islam is a bit like using Fred Phelps to define all Christendom.

    I’ve stated my opinion that I think Christianity is a steaming pile of nonsense. I think that Islam belongs on the same heap. When these two groups get into a playground brawl over who has the bigger invisible friend, it can endanger us all.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Married her at 4 and consummated at 9. And they call him a prophet? This is a fact isn’t it?”

    Actually it’s not, as I pointed out several times. But by all means, don’t let historical facts or reality ruin your fantasy world.

  • Reynardine

    Daniel, if you don’t stop it, you’ll go blind.

  • Joseph Lafreniere

    Married her at 4 and consummated at 9. And they call him a prophet? This is a fact isn’t it? That is sick, vile and inhumane and is no less deserving of the same punishment. No wonder you guys don’t believe in God.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Actually Daniel, Mohammed was betrothed to Aisha(funny how you couldn’t even spell her name) when she was about 6(normal in those times), and married when she was no younger than 15(also married). All the historical evidence points to this.

    As for your other nonsense, I don’t expect much from the Iranians, but I’m also skeptical as to your ability to speak and/or read Farsi.

  • Daniel

    Iran Politics Club

    Website For Thinking Iranians

    Imam Khomeini’s Teachings
    On Sex with Infants & Animals, Ablution, & Women on Period!

    Imam Khomeini’s Teachings
    On Sex with Infants and Animals, Ablution, and Women during Period!
    Compiled by Parvin Darabi and HDF
    ?Imam Khomeini, The Legacy!
    ?Islamic Teachings on sex with infants
    “A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. If he penetrates and the child is harmed then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however would not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister.”
    The complete Persian text of this saying can be found in “Ayatollah Khomeini in Tahrir-ol-Masael, Fourth Edition, Darol Elm, Qom”

    The “Prophet” Muhammad married Iysha when she was four (4) years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine (9) years old.

  • Mark

    Can these people be arrested for a hate crime?

  • CoralSea

    Gee — I’m so glad that nobody mis-read the article as saying “Bible Breeders.” This thread would have completely gone all “Gordian knot” over that.

    Have good weekends, folks!

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Joseph, I’ve gotta second your closing line:

    ‘BRING ON THE PORK, BABY!’

  • Joseph

    Leviticus is the Old Testament, although Jesus did refer to the Law of Moses, I like Pork. I’ll eat a pig’s buttocks if you can cook it right. Oh, I have (chiterlings & menudo) nevermind.

    I have completely turned OFF the old testament as far as living my life. I LIKE PSALMS, I have a verse tattooed on my body. But, according to the Book of Old you can’t get tattoos.

    You can’t get tattoos (I’m covered), you can’t eat cereal with mixed grains (love my Cap’n Crunch – Crunch Berries), you can’t eat meat while drinking milk (there goes my cold pepperoni pizza and milk breakfast).

    Women can’t wear pants (and I love my wife in jeans), men can’t save their faces (I shave my whole head and face), you can’t wear clothes of mixed fibers (how about those polyester blends huh?)

    We could go on, and if we did I would have to:

    1) Stone my son for not cleaning his room (UGG);
    2) Make my wife quite her job (and who would pay her student loans, huh, huh?);
    3) And I would eventually have to sacrifice my dog at some point in my worship (I love my dog – and he loves my kids).

    Yeah, I’ll pass.

    If you really read the New Book, it says that we, who are not the chosen children of Isreal, are GENTILES, and we don’t have to do all of that.

    So I will let the religions who have to listen to that book, do what they gotta do, and I will eat my pork, let my wife work, let my dog live, let my son have his dam dirty room, and let my daughter go to school, and be the first black female president of these United States.

    SO BRING ON THE PORK BABY!!!

  • Peter Hockley

    “What about the beef Stroganoff?”

    Me, me please!

  • Krissy

    Observant Christians aren’t supposed to eat pork or play football with pig skin- see Leviticus 11:7.

  • BobGlover

    Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire…

  • Mattj70

    Maybe it was a Beefeaters Boar’s Head celebration and your mis-understanding the message.

  • SAS

    Disgusting. Not only do these people harass others because of their religion but also kill innocent pigs to make their point.

  • http://www.splcenter.org/blog Leah Nelson

    Pete,

    I think you misunderstood this article. No one at the SPLC believes that all Christians interpret the bible as this group does. “Bible Believers” is not a nickname I came up with to be funny; it’s actually what the group calls itself.

    To offer a parallel example, we also refer to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) by its official name — but that does not imply that the SPLC thinks most Americans who call themselves “conservative” share the CCC’s racist, hateful views.

    I hope this clears things up.

    Leah

  • Linnea

    So many whacked-out fringe so-called “Christians,” so little time…

  • Gregory

    Pete,
    Cry me a river. Reading comprehension is not just for breakfast anymore. Show me one sentence where the author of this article said that every Christian in this nation were responsible for these self proclaimed Bible Believers?

    So what if you consider the article sarcastic? You may consider the Bible to be a sacred text, as many millions do, while I, and many millions more, consider it to be a collection of Bronze and Iron Age fairy tales. You say tomato and I say tomatoe.

  • CoralSea

    Pete –

    I agree with you that it is very important not to make snide remarks about “Bible Readers” any more than about “Koran Readers.” It is all too easy when one is dealing with fringe elements, to use language that could appear to be tarring a very large group–including many that in no way agree with the fringe folks (e.g., thinking that all Christians believe Pat Robertson’s insane utterance about how God sent Hurricane Katrina to “punish” New Orleans for the “wickedness” of some of it’s occupants — or maybe for loud music).

    However, I find it unfortunate and baffling why devote Christians who don’t hold these beliefs don’t speak out more against those who seek to mis-use the Bible and set themselves up as examples of your religion. Or — I guess I do understand somewhat. Your beliefs have so little to do with what these folks, or the people from the Westboro Baptist Church, or other groups who are just crazy and for whom neither you nor your beliefs are responsible, it’s difficult to even square yourself and your life with the antics of these groups.

    Having said this — and this is not aimed at you, specifically — I do find it annoying when ordinary Muslims are criticised and villified for “NOT CONDEMNING TERRORISTS OF THEIR OWN RELIGION WHO DO THINGS IN THE NAME OF THAT RELIGION.” The Muslims I know DO condemn terrorism, but like “normal” Christians, they don’t feel that it is up to them to “lead the charge.” So why should other Americans be angry with them for not mounting huge demonstrations against radical Islam when Christians don’t exactly speak out publicly against radical elements in their own religion?