Judge Mark Martin is an Iraq war veteran and a convert to Islam, according to George Washington University law professor Jonathon Turley. The incident, recorded on video, occurred on October 11, 2011 at the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Halloween parade. Ernie Perce, an atheist, was attacked by Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim, because of the former's costume.
Judge Martin threw out video evidence of the assault, dismissed the testimony of an eyewitness officer, and then lectured the atheist victim about the sensitivities of the Muslim culture. He stated in court that Elbayomy was obligated to attack the victim because of his culture and religion.
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Your reaction to this ruling?
Gordon Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who was forced out of the service for publicly praying in Jesus' name while in uniform. He now runs "The Pray In Jesus Name Project" and says the judge is basically conveying the message that if you mock Muhammad, you deserve to get beaten.
"He freed the Muslim attacker and said basically it's okay to choke atheists if they insult Islam," he comments.
Klingenschmitt also finds it outrageous that Judge Martin told Perce that mocking Muhammad in Muslim countries is punishable by death.
"This is a different country. We live in America where we have a free society," the former Navy chaplain points out. "And Christians have historically protected the rights of minorities to express their religious or anti-religious views."
So he believes Martin should be removed from the bench, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel agrees. The latter tells OneNewsNow Judge Martin's decision an indication of what may be coming if sharia is used in the U.S. court systems. (Listen to audio report)
"This particular judge actually had the audacity to rule in favor of the attacker, saying that the attacker was compelled to attack this individual because it was an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad," Staver reports.
And Diane Gramley, head of the American Family Association (AFA) of Pennsylvania, suggests that the judge's religion "tainted" how he looks at the law.
"That definitely changes everything, because if he's a Muslim convert, then that definitely has tainted his view of the law, and he is looking at sharia law and making his decision," she offers. "You cannot look at a situation where a Muslim has physically harassed, physically attacked an atheist -- granted the guy's an atheist who's in a parade; he's dressed as a Muslim -- but that's not against the law."
Staver finds the ruling to be almost unbelievable.
"This situation is one involving a judge that needs to be removed from the bench," the attorney suggests. "He is clearly instituting sharia from the bench, using sharia law as a basis to ultimately acquit a person who actually committed an assault and a battery against an individual."
Professor Turley also notes that another atheist, dressed as a zombie Pope, was marching beside the zombie Muhammad, but no outraged Catholics attacked him.
"If a Christian had been doing the harassing, I don't believe the judge would have dismissed those charges," Gramley contends. "I think in this case, Judge Martin is showing preference to the Muslim."
Staver concludes that this is the type of case that has prompted several states, including Oklahoma, to work on legislation to prohibit courts from using sharia or foreign laws and court rulings as a basis for decisions in American courts. In Oklahoma's case, however, the measure was overturned in federal court.