Dearborn “christians” censor critics and muslims

This evening I checked my mail and received a request from an individual who had an “encounter” with Acts17Apologetics on their YouTube page. Yes, you guessed it; it ended up with him being SILENCED.

What in the world is going on? You have David wood and Nabeel Qureshi presenting themselves as the paragons of free speech (insert related idiom here) whilst censoring their critics and any interlocutors who bring up potent points/issues

Before donating cash to these people ask yourselves whether these individuals are consistent.

A You Tube user named (twofolddeamer) sent me this:

I have had an interesting conversation (what can only be described as the free exchange of ideas in a peaceful manner) with the folks at acts17apologetics and (surprise surprise) have been blocked and my comments deleted (obscured would be a better description of what went on). I am writing an account of this encounter as we speak and would really like you to consider posting it on your blog.

Are you interested?
I would really appreciate a platform to describe my encounter with these hypocrites. I can send it within the hour.

Thankyou

Twofolddeamer then sent me the content of his encounter with this controversial Christian group:

I (twofolddeamer) began a conversation a few days ago on the acts17apologetics youtube channel. I have been following what has been described as the ‘Dearborn saga’ for a while now and I have found the whole issue to be of great interest and I decided to clarify some points that seemed a bit ambiguous with acts17apologetics themselves. After hearing numerous comments about the abuses of free speech that take place on the acts17 youtube channel – people being blocked and comments deleted for no more than challenging their positions etc – I began with this…

But why do you also block youtube users who have 1) engaged in peaceful conversation and who have not been offensive in the slightest and 2) who have just asked questions of a challenging nature? (kind of like the questions that you stress are so important for your ministry to be asking muslims)

i can understand the blocking of users who drop offensive comments, like the one below, but why people who only challenge and voice opposition, especially when done in a non offensive manner? i mean it does seem that this whole issue with the dearborn authorities revolves around this very issue, but yet you deny this right to people who are doing exactly the same thing that you claim you’re doing – asking tough questions in a staightforward yet civil manner. Why?

*I also added this question which was posted alongside it (so far so good)…

Acts17Apologetics responds to this YouTube user:

twofolddeamer said: “But why do you also block youtube users who have 1) engaged in peaceful conversation and who have not been offensive in the slightest and 2) who have just asked questions of a challenging nature?”

I don’t recall ever blocking people who ask respectful questions. If you go through the comments section here, you will see tons of people asking challenging questions. We block people for (1) foul language, and (2) deliberate deception.

Commentary from twofolddeamer: So there you have it. They block people for (1) foul language and (2) deliberate deception. This last part seemed a big vague to me at the time so I decided to ask for clarification on what was meant by ‘deliberate deception’…

Thankyou for getting back to me, I appreciate it 🙂 ‘deliberate deception’ sounds a bit vague though….could you explain what you mean by this please.
*Here is what I got back…

Also, when you get a chance, would you mind answering my second question about why you did not purchase a booth at the Arab festival for your evangelizing purposes, especially when this seemed like the most effective avenue for sharing the gospel with the muslims of dearborn. Thanks again.

Acts17Apologetics replies to this YouTube user:

When I say, “deliberate deception,” I don’t mean someone who says something I disagree with. I mean someone who says, “I saw you at the festival screaming at someone,” or something to that effect. If someone says something like this, they aren’t merely saying something that’s false; they’re lying.

We also usually delete racist comments (e.g. “camel jockey”).

As for the booth, what makes you think it’s the most effective way to reach Muslims? Most Muslims won’t even approach a Christian booth. To give you an idea of how the “booth” rule works, in 2008, when Ministry to Muslims was free to walk around the festival handing out materials, they distributed 37,000 packets of Christian materials. In 2009, when they were restricted to a booth, they distributed 500. Sitting in a booth is extremely restrictive. Most Muslims don’t want to be seen at such a booth. That’s the idea behind the booths. Why on earth would I sit at a booth when I can walk around talking to Muslims?

Twofolddeamer’s commentary: Okay so by ‘deliberate deception’ you do not mean that you block people for saying something that you disagree with. I now go on to address the other issues that I feel are raised by Nabeel or David’s reply and begin to state my position on the Arab festival issue. It was a long post that was separated into 8 segments. I shall post it here as it was posted there…

Twofolddeamer then posts a number of comments explaining his thoughts in a reasonable manner:

I see. Thankyou once again for clarifying.
Commentary from twofolddeamer: So there it is (again so far so good) I believe that it is clear that I had stated my position in a polite and civil manner and the free exchange of ideas and opinion was in full flow. Before there was any reply from acts17apologetics I had one from this user (glentubin)…

So if you were not keen on the booth concept why did you not utilize the free speech zone at the festival which had been allocated for people to proselytize as they wanted? At least in this way the people you would be speaking to would be there out of genuine curiosity – sounds reminiscent of speakers square in Hyde park corner. I am just surprised that you did not use that avenue after deciding not to purchase a booth.

Alot of what I am about to say you may disagree with (almost certainly will) but I would like to put forward my take on this issue if you would not mind? I feel personally that by you going to the festival to ‘see how things are this year’ implies that in some sense you were ‘looking for trouble’. Many people saw the videos which you posted from last year and no doubt felt quite incensed by what happened and by the conclusions that you drew – on both sides and for different reasons. Having looked at the videos I must say that I thought initially Nabeel was quite aggressive in his approach to the muslim men at their booth. You had clearly not asked permission to film the guys there at first and when you were politely asked to refrain from filming you walked away briskly voicing accusations of “deception”. I feel that this was very disengenuous on your part.

Surely the civil thing would have been to ask the members of that booth beforehand if they minded being filmed answering your questions. Most people do not like being filmed by strangers in this manner and perhaps in future you will recognize this fact. Do not forget that this episode was the genesis of this saga.

It is true that afterwards they did call you back which at that point the security got involved. Don’t get me wrong I do not agree with the way in which you have been treated at certain points during this episode. However, I do think that you should take time for some self reflection and not always presume that you are in the right or that God is automatically with you and on your side – He is not. It seems obvious to myself and many others that all you have acheived with this dearborn saga is controversy and discord – which could have easily been avoided with a bit of foresight and wisdom.

I am sorry if I am wrong about this but I get the impression that ‘trouble’ is what you were after. You would probably counter this by saying that I should examine the videos for evidence of you being aggressive to passers by etc. However, I’m sure you realise that a person or group can behave quite aggressively whilst remaining passive on the surface and this is the impression that I get about you as a group. Ultimately God will judge you and only He truely knows your real intentions.

You also you credit yourself with journalistic integrity but the conclusions and headlines you post on your blog seem overly sensationalist and seem to have more in common with the type of yellow journalsim that masquerades biased opinion for objective facts. Sadly what you, almost certainly, have achieved with your approach is further alienation and polarization between the muslim and christian community, which really is a shame.

Though the irony in all this is that your ministry seems to have quite the opposite effect to what it is supposed to (I am assuming that as christians you want to spread the gospel) – you actually galvanise muslims and make their faith stronger by the approach that you take and in doing so only attract the most vociferous and anti muslim elements within the christian community for support, people who probably would never challenge you simply because of the negative views they already have about islam and muslims.

Finally, you mentioned that the christian booth in 2009 only managed to distribute, and therefore reach a mere 500 people. To this I cannot help but wonder…….during this entire affair – how many people do you think you have reached with the gospel message in Dearborn, Michigan?

p.s sorry that there were so many posts, I didn’t realise I had typed so much 🙂

NOTE: glentubin’s comments have been omitted as they are irrelevant to the discussion related to acts17’s censorship of twofolddeamer; this is done in a part for the sake of brevity.

Twofoldeamer gives more commentary: I decided to address a couple of points this user brought up and then proceeded to politely press
acts17 for a response to the ‘free speech zone’ issue…

Twofolddeamer’s reply to glentubin:

@glentubin

“One should not have to rent a booth in a public place to promote their religion”

1) The Arab festival, as far as I know, was not actually on public property. The area ceases to be public property during the event and becomes private property. From what I can tell this is pretty much standard practice for festivals of this nature throughout the US.

“Dearborn should have their festival at an Islamic Center and then there will be no Christians”

2) The Arab festival was a cultural festival – not a religious one.

Perhaps acts17apologetics will confirm whether the points are correct or not. I would also really appreciate an answer from my earlier post regarding the option of the free speech zone that was available and why you did not utilize it? Thanks again 🙂

*This was the reply that I got…

Acts17Apologetics reply:

twofolddeamer, As for the public land suddenly becoming un-public, the mayor is the only one I’ve ever heard this from. Not even the police or the prosecuting attorney have said this to us. It’s public land, and a public event, being patrolled by public servants (the police).

But this has nothing to do with our case. Granting that the land suddenly becomes private, festival rules allow us to record all we want and to have all the discussions we want.

As for the “free speech zone,” we didn’t hear about this until three weeks after our arrests. But it’s a ridiculous concept. What are the other zones? Sharia zones? No free speech zones?

I don’t know how I can make this any clearer. THERE WAS NO RULE SAYING WE CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION. So why should we go to a booth or a free speech zone? Just to make Muslims happy?

Twofolddeamer gives more commentary: Now this is where the issue gets interesting because to this reply I posted another in return which all in all consisted of about 6-7 segments (much like the earlier one) explaining my disagreement with some of the things said and I further explained my position regarding how I feel acts17apologetics are being less than objective in the matter being discussed.
I say that this gets interesting because once I had finished posting the 6-7 segment rebuttal, I left the computer and waited for my comments to pass through the approval process (they have comments pending lock on). When I returned a bit later I was shocked to see that only the last segment to my post was visible with a reply from Nabeel/David accusing me of deception. I also realised by now that the rest of my post (the majority) had been deleted. To my surprise I had also been blocked!!!! Now first things first I am going to post the last segment that Nabeel or David allowed through followed by the reply they gave…

Twofoldeamer’s final segment before being censored by Acts17Apologetics:

You ended your last post to me by asking: “So why should we go to a booth or a free speech zone? Just to make Muslims happy?”
Acts17Apologetics block the user and say:

To this I would reply – No, not because it “makes Muslims happy” but for the purpose of social harmony and the safety of fellow festival goers. Like I mentioned, you must have been aware of how unpopular you are, and due to the perception that many have of you there was a significant chance of an escalation. I think that it is a shame that you were arrested as I think that a better option would have been just to eject you from the event and ban you outright for attempting to sow discord there. Anyway I appreciate you letting me share my views again. Take care 🙂

twofolddeamer said: ” think that it is a shame that you were arrested as I think that a better option would have been just to eject you from the event and ban you outright for attempting to sow discord there.”
Commentary from twofolddeamer:

You’re deliberately misrepresenting what happened. (And feel free to do it somewhere else from now on.) The videos show Nabeel walking out of the festival to eat his falafel, and Muslim youths asking him questions about Christianity. Conversations start off with angry Muslims accusing us, and end peacefully after Nabeel diffuses the anger and directs the conversation towards better issues. But somehow, in the minds of hate-filled critics, this becomes an attempt on our part to sow discord. It’s sad that people would be so irrational, and so utterly devoid of concern for freedom of speech.

What acts17apologetics have perpetrated in this instance is what I can only describe as deliberate deception. The preceding paragraphs that I posted were deleted and that is where I thoroughly explained my position. These deleted posts gave context to the conclusion I gave (the part they let through) and without the other segments my position is misrepresented and the conclusion I gave without elucidation. By deleting, and therefore deliberately obscuring, all the previous comments and then blocking me they have well and truly stifled my freedom of speech and misrepresented my position — exactly the same thing that they accuse everyone else of doing to them.

This pair wax lyrical about the virtues of freedom of speech and how important it is to be able to allow the free exchange of ideas.
David Wood in one of his recent videos – Acts 17 Enters the Dearborn Arab Festival (PART ONE) – mentioned how important it is for people to be able to voice concern and present opposition and that this is what essentially makes America great. I do not expect everyone to agree with my conclusions or be happy with them but I do expect the members of acts17apologetics to practice what they preach. By blocking me they have shown conclusively that they do block people who challenge them – even when it is done in a civil and peaceful manner. There can be no other conclusion to be made from this except that they are hypocrites of the highest order. Here is my last post on that channel before I was blocked in its entirety, with all the parts that they deliberately obscured (lucky I saved it before huh). I will include the last segment that they allowed through as well. Here goes…

Interjection by myself (Yahya Snow)it is interesting to note Sam Shamoun was mentioned here (in the final segment) and to me Acts17Apologetics seem to be embarrassed with their association with such a hate-filled individual. God willing more on this relationship will be disclosed in future posts

Twofolddeamer’s final segment (which was saved by twofolddeamer):

I understand in some respects how the concept of a free speech zone sounds – many will instantly jump to the conclusion that all the other areas are non free speech zones (or in your case Sharia zones…..really??!!! c’mon) rather than consider that there might be a more nuanced explanation. From what I can tell the area in which the festival is held each year is on public space in an area made up of sidewalks and shops. When the area is transformed into a festival certain considerations arise due to the huge amount of visitors attending and the health and safety of those patrons. Although in the West people enjoy a certain amount of freedom of speech it is not an absolute right, especially if that speech infringes upon the rights of someone else. I think that it makes perfect sense in this situation to allocate an area (like a speakers corner) where patrons and organizations like yourself can go and proselytyze or have their say about whatever they want whilst drawing a crowd which will not endanger or disrupt the traffic of other festival goers. I think that this is a reasonable idea in light of the context and is hardly ridiculous as you have stated.

You probably knew that your ministry would draw a lot of attention at the Arab festival this year due to the videos you posted last year and the high number of views those videos got.

You were walking around the festival filming like a news crew searching for controversy and your videos do show this. You are known purely for your negative focus upon the muslim faith and although you stress how much you love muslims, I personally think you have a funny way of showing it. You associate with people like Robert Spencer and Sam Shamoun, who in particular is known for his unpleasent vitriol directed at muslims, and so in many ways your association there seems like an endorsment to many.

That aside I think that most people would be able to understand the point I am making. You really cannot paint this issue in such broad strokes of black and white. You were always going to draw crowds of people who had seen your previous videos and some, like Hakeem, were bound to feel incensed by the way you portray muslims and the muslims of dearborn. I do not agree with the way Hakeem behaved, not at all, however if you wade through all the expletives you can see that he hit the nail on the head when he asked ‘why are you coming here to make us look bad’.

Again whether right or wrong that is how people saw you that day – that was their perception – just as it is your perception that Sharia law and the folk devil boogey man muslim is eroding the American constitution.

You said: “THERE WAS NO RULE SAYING WE CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION”

To that I would have to agree. But let’s try and be objective here. This was not just a couple, or a few, regular guys striking up a conversation and debating the finer points of christian and muslim theology during a cultural festival – was it? You are part of an organization who, whether rightfully or wrongfully, are seen by many as being islamophopic and deeply antagonistic to the muslim community in America and therefore court a significant amount of controversy.

You ended your last post to me by asking: “So why should we go to a booth or a free speech zone? Just to make Muslims happy?”

To this I would reply – No, not because it “makes Muslims happy” but for the purpose of social harmony and the safety of fellow festival goers. Like I mentioned, you must have been aware of how unpopular you are, and due to the perception that many have of you there was a significant chance of an escalation. I think that it is a shame that you were arrested as I think that a better option would have been just to eject you from the event and ban you outright for attempting to sow discord there. Anyway I appreciate you letting me share my views again. Take care 🙂

Commentary by twofolddeamer: As can be seen, the only deliberate deception taking place comes from the group known as acts17apologetics, aka Nabeel Qureshi and David Wood. I am afraid to say that everything I have heard about you is true, you are nothing but a pair of hypocrites.

My Thoughts

The Acts17 (answeringmuslims) team had an opportunity to show class and preach to twofolddeamer during this interaction. They had an opportunity to impress and bring this YouTube user closer to their Trinitarian theology. Instead they have repulsed such an individual. Way to preach guys!

Twofolddreamer has gone away with a poor impression of this controversial group, moreover ths impression could impact on his view of other missionary groups thus the practice of David Wood and co will further damage the Church. For quite a while, I have been forming the opinion this group operates (falsely) under the guise of the church with the attention of grabbing attention and cash donations

You can make of this encounter what you will. I simply put it forward for people to form their own opinions. I have conveyed the twofolddeamer’s side of the story here…there are always two sides to every coin.

PS, this user, twofolddeamer ,seems like a smart and articulate chap…surely the smart and articulte ones would be the prime candidates to reach out to. If you get the more resourceful on board you can really go places. Why did David Wood/Nabeel Qureshi miss the boat (quite spectatcularly) on this one?

I have noticed a common trait shared by extreme groups; they avoid the smart people like the plague and opt for the less cereberal as they are deemed to be more pliable and thus easier to manipulate

NOTE: Any highlighting via bold text was done by myself for personal emphasis

MORE censorship by Acts17Apologetics:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/07/censorship-what-are-acts17apologetics.html

Any information concerning malpractice by ministries: yahyasnow@hotmail.com

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