After a week of growing controversy and public pressure, authorities in South Dakota on Friday arrested a Muslim man who livestreamed a Facebook video in which he made threats against Christians while showing off an arsenal of weapons.
It was a complete turn-around from earlier statements by police and prosecutors, who maintained that the Muslim man was just exercising his First and Second Amendment rights and had “broken no laws.”
The original threats by Ehab Jaber were made April 9 during the Worldview Weekend Rally in Sioux Falls, and Jaber followed up with more threatening posts on his Facebook page, including one on April 19 where he challenged his fellow Americans who oppose him to a “shoot out.”
Leaders of the Christian Worldview Rally who felt directly targeted by the threatening video are now calling for the resignation of the Sioux Falls police chief and the local prosecutor who sat on the case for nearly two weeks before making an arrest.
Ehab Jaber, 45, a former resident of Saudi Arabia, entered the Worldview Weekend Rally conference, a private event attended by about 500 Christians at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux Falls, on Palm Sunday, April 9.
The event, reported ahead of time by the local newspaper as “controversial” and “anti-Islam,” drew several dozen protesters who stood out front of the hotel with signs condemning the speakers at the conference as “intolerant” and “Islamophobic.”
An imam wearing a long white robe came out to thank the protesters. “We are so happy and so grateful to see our community come together and stand up for one message – there is no fear among us, there are no haters among us,” he said in a speech captured on a local video.
The robed imam said he would be out protesting if hate was being expressed for “any faith” including Christians. Yet, he was nowhere to be found when, one week after the event, Jaber’s threatening, anti-Christian Facebook rants were exposed in the national media.
The goal of the Sioux Falls conference was to present historical and current facts, according to the speakers, who told WND their presentation was about Islamic subjugation and persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in countries where Muslims make up the majority.
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Featured speakers were former Muslim-turned-Christian pastor Shahram Hadian, a native of Iran, and talk-radio host Brannon Howse. They say their message has nothing to do with hatred for Muslims but is a warning about Islamic law, under which moderate Muslims are the first to suffer.
The more solidly Islamic a country is, the less tolerance can be found for dissident opinions or religious diversity, they said.
Take Jaber’s former home, Saudi Arabia, as an example. There is not a single church allowed in the country and the penalty for possessing a Bible is death. It is not much better in Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya or Afghanistan. Even in the historically more moderate Muslim countries of Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia, Christians are coming under increasing persecution as attacks on churches, pastors and others accused of “blasphemy” increase.
Howse told WND he found it ironic that the protesters outside the Christian Worldview conference in Sioux Falls were talking about “tolerance” while they were completely intolerant of the Christians inside. They were more tolerant of a man with five guns and 1,200 rounds of ammo threatening the Christians.
Jaber snuck into their private event and began livestreaming video of his Quran, then filmed shots of the audience, at which time he was asked by a security guard if he was armed. He had at least one handgun on his person while inside the event, and wore a t-shirt that said “I open carry. I conceal carry. I am an American. I am Muslim. I am only dangerous if you’re stupid.”
The security guard ushered him out of the hotel ballroom and Jaber made a second video from his car parked in the hotel parking lot, brandishing three handguns and two assault rifles along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He showed each gun and magazine while unleashing a profanity-laced diatribe that included the comments “be scared, be very scared, be terrified.”
Watch one of the four videos Jaber streamed live on Facebook [profanity has been edited out]: