DETROIT (AP) — A Christian legal advocacy group has claimed in a federal lawsuit that officials in a western Michigan city violated the rights of a self-proclaimed former terrorist by interrupting him during an event on free speech at a local high school.
The civil suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids by the Thomas More Law Center. Besides Allegan officials, the defendants include leaders of a Muslim civil rights organization that asked the city to cancel the event.
According to the suit, a speech given Jan. 28 by Kamal Saleem at Allegan High School was stopped by police acting on a letter opposing Saleem’s visit. The letter was sent several days earlier by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The suit also said that police were told of possible — and unconfirmed — threats against Saleem, said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More center. Thompson said shutting down the meeting violated Saleem’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Part of the “Constituting Michigan — Founding Principles Act” event’s purpose was to show “the internal threat to America posed by radical Muslims” and Shariah, the Islamic religious law, according to the lawsuit.