Friday, June 11, 2010

Court Upholds Limit On Leafleting By Christian Group At Arab Festival

In Saieg v. Haddad, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56331 (ED MI, June 7, 2010), a Michigan federal district court upheld as a valid "time, place and manner regulation" a requirement that any literature distribution at the annual Dearborn, Michigan Arab International Festival must take place from a booth in the vendor area. Dearborn has one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States. Plaintiff, founder of a ministry whose purpose is to proclaim the Christian Gospel to Muslims, sought to continue Arab Christian Perspective's pre-2009 practice of handing out literature while roaming the public sidewalks at the Festival. Festival organizers furnished plaintiff a booth, free of charge. Also, plaintiff and his associates can "mingle throughout the Festival and talk to people. Additionally, while circulating freely, they will be able to wear pins containing a message. The sole issue of contention is leafleting." The court concluded that the restriction is content-neutral, is narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest and leaves open ample alternative channels for communication. The court also rejected a selective enforcement claim against the city.