GUN-WAVING 'ANGRY MUSLIM' ARRESTED FOR TERRORISTIC THREATS, South Dakota files charges 12 days after livestreamed Facebook video at Christian conference, by Leo Hohmann, 4/22/17, WND
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.
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.”
Yet, no arrests were made and police Lt. Mike Colwill with Sioux Falls Police Department told WND on Monday, April 17, that police had investigated and found no reason to make an arrest, that Jaber had not uttered any specific threats against any individual or group.
The local prosecutor for Lincoln County, Tom Wollman, told WND on April 17 that Jaber had First Amendment rights and Second Amendment rights that had to be considered, and that police on the scene would have made an arrest if they’d thought Jaber had stepped outside the boundaries of those rights.
But that all changed on Friday evening, four days after an article by WND, and two days after more articles appeared in the U.K.’s Daily Mail and the New York Post, which labled Jaber an “Angry Muslim.”
Police raided Jaber’s house Friday and arrested him on one count of making terroristic threats. While the SWAT team was inside Jaber’s home they also found an undisclosed amount of alleged methamphetamine and Jaber will face separate drug charges related to that discovery.
Howse told WND he contacted local law enforcement two days after the April 9 event to file a criminal complaint but he was told not to bother, that the local prosecutor had viewed the videos and determined Jaber had broken no laws.
Howse on Saturday posted on his website a full response to the charges that ultimately were filed 12 days after the event. “I was shocked this Muslim man was not arrested the very night he made, what we believe, fit the legal definition of a terroristic threat. After no arrest came on the third day, I told Shahram that I was convinced the authorities simply wanted this to go away. I told Shahram I believed the authorities were waiting to see if I was going to bring national attention to the story through my broadcast and that if I did not, it would all just be forgotten.”
Despite the news reports on the incident, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley denied to the local newspaper that public pressure had anything to do with the sudden change of heart on the part of law enforcement community, which had been defending Jaber’s “rights” earlier in the week.
“If anything, the public pressure can create more challenges for an investigation,” Jackley told the Argus Leader. “It doesn’t play any role in our investigation or our decisions.” Howse is not buying that argument, which he dismissed as political posturing by the attorney general, who is running for governor of South Dakota.
“What if we had not turned this into a national story? Do you think we would have seen this outcome? What if we did not have an attorney and State Representative like Steve Haugaard helping us? “What if this had happened to a small conservative or Christian group that did not have a national radio program and lots of friends in conservative media?”
If convicted on the felony charge, Jaber could face up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of $10,000. The possession of methamphetamine case is being prosecuted by the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney.