Last October there was a Halloween parade in central Pennsylvania where a guy named Ernie Perce dressed up as Zombie Mohammed, as one does. Talaag Elbayomy, an outraged local Muslim attacked him and Perce reported to incident to police in the area. They then arrested Elbayomy for harassment. This is pretty much what one would expect to happen. It’s sad that Elbayomy reacted in the way he did, but at least justice was served in the end. Right?
Well, no. Jonathan Turley is bringing this case up because Judge Mark Martin threw the case out on the grounds that Elbayomy was the true victim here, not Perce. And to be clear, this doesn’t appear to be a case where the defense lawyer is obscuring the basic facts of what happened. A video of the incident itself was even admitted into evidence. Everyone agrees about what actually happened. Martin sided with Elbayomy because he thinks he was right to attack Perce in defense of his boyfriend Prophet Mohammed.
Martin’s a convert to Islam himself [UPDATE: It turns out this is not exactly true, but it is what Martin told the defendant. There are audio recordings of Martin telling Perce he was a Muslim. As Ed Brayton points out, this doesn't really matter because Martin's still wrong regardless of the reasons for his terrible decision] and an Iraq war vet. The partial transcript from the hearing Turley posted leads me to believe he might have suffered some serious brain injury while fighting over there. Check out how he lectures Perce about Islam, because according to him “before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus.” Here’s Martin’s lesson on Islam:
“[Muslims] pray five times a day toward Mecca. To be a good Muslim before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, unless you’re otherwise told you cannot because you’re too ill, too elderly, whatever, but you must make the attempt. Their greeting is ‘Salam alaikum, wa-laikum as-Salam,’ uh, ‘May God be with you.’”
Gosh, Judge Martin! I’d have never known that if you didn’t explain it! Or, you know, if I’d gone to sixth grade social studies class.
It gets worse:
“I’ve spent about seven years living in other countries. When we go to other countries, it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as ‘ugly Americans.’ This is why we hear it referred to as ‘ugly Americans,’ because we’re so concerned about our own rights, we don’t care about other people’s rights.”
What Martin doesn’t seem to realize here is that it’s Elbayomy being the ugly American. Elbayomy is the one who doesn’t care about Perce’s rights. That’s why he assaulted him. But he’s here addressing Perce as if it’s his fault for being attacked. The lack of self-awareness on Martin’s part here is just staggering.
If all this wasn’t bad enough, Turley points out some of the “evidence” Martin considered which led to him making this terrible decision for which he should immediately be fired and banished into legal obscurity:
“Reports indicate that Elbayomy called police because he thought it was a crime to be disrespectful to Muhammed. The judge appears to reference this by noting that in some countries you can be put to death for such an offense. Those countries are called oppressive countries. This is a free country where it is not a crime to insult someone’s religion…”
Maybe before making a mockery of American justice, Judge Mark Martin should find out a little more about it. Otherwise he might look like a doofus or something.