This is absolutely outrageous.
How is this happening right here at home without more backlash? Every single American who values the First Amendment, whether they’re religious or not, should be horrified to hear that a man was arrested in a mall simply for privately sharing his faith with fellow shoppers.
What’s worse, of course, is that the man is himself a religious refugee who came to the US to seek refuge from persecution.
“I came to the U.S. as a political and religious — as a Christian — refugee. They oppressed me for my faith in Iran. I was stabbed in Iran,” Pastor Ramin Parsa told PJ Media in September.
“These things might happen in other countries, oppressive dictatorships, but not in America,” he explained.
Parsa is now a pastor in Los Angeles but had been visiting Minnesota for a few days in August.
During a visit to the Mall of America, he engaged in a private conversation with two Somali-American women.
“Our conversation was casual. At first, we were not talking about the gospel,” Parsa explained. “They asked me, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ I said, ‘No, I used to be a Muslim and I’m a Christian now.’ I was telling them the story of how I converted.”
When another shopper overheard the conversation, however, this is when the trouble began.
The rest is stunning:
A passerby could not stand the discussion, however. “Another lady told the guard, ‘This guy is harassing us!'” MOA security came and told Parsa to stop soliciting. “I said, ‘We’re not soliciting.’ But we just left,” the pastor explained.
The pastor and his friends went into a coffee shop, bought a latte, and came out. Parsa told PJ Media he thought that would be the end of it. He was sorely mistaken.
“When we came out of the coffee shop, three guards were waiting for us, and they arrested me right there,” the pastor recalled. “They came after me and arrested me, and said, ‘You cannot talk religion here.'”
Parsa told security he was a pastor. “They told me, ‘We arrested pastors before,'” he recalled, still shocked by the answer. “It was something normal for them, they were used to it.”
Meanwhile, the two Somali-American women who wanted to hear the pastor’s story argued with the woman who reported him to security. They defended Parsa. Onlookers asked why the man was being arrested. “They said, ‘Because he’s a Christian,'” Parsa told PJ Media.
Not only was a random woman able to convince mall guards to arrest Parsa, but it was apparently a common occurrence for them to do so.
Parsa wasn’t even preaching or approaching strangers however, he was just having a casual conversation with two women who explained to the guards he had not been harassing them!
Shockingly, the guards then abused them once he was in their custody, as they waited for police.
He waited four hours before police came, and when they arrived, he was arrested.
“After the police took the pastor’s mugshot and fingerprints, they charged him with criminal trespassing. He paid $78 to bail himself out, and his friends picked him up at 2 a.m. While that bail amount may seem low, the pastor insisted, ‘Every cent is too much for something I haven’t done,'” PJ Media explains.
“I’ve gone through this before — in Muslim countries I was arrested for passing out bibles,” Parsa said. “I didn’t expect that would happen in America. As a citizen in America, I have rights. They denied my basic rights.”