“Zombie Muhammad” and U.S. Sharia Law

In October 2011, atheist Ernest Perce dressed in a Zombie Muhammad costume for a Halloween parade. Perce was attacked by Muslim Talaag Elbayomy for wearing the Muhammad costume. Perce and Elbayomy went to court in Pennsylvania over the situation and a Judge Mark Martin ruled in favor of the Muslim, Elbayomy.

What did the judge say during his ruling?

And Mr. Thomas [Elbayomi’s defense lawyer] is correct. In many other Muslim speaking countries – excuse me, in many Arabic speaking countries – call it “Muslim” – something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it could be punishable by death, and it frequently is, in their society. 1

It is not clear what the penalties in other countries for dressing up in a Zombie Muhammad costume have to do with anything, but among the judge’s comments is one in particular that stands out.

But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights.2

Outside of First Amendment rights? Really? How? Thankfully, the judge still recognizes he is in the United States given his reference to the First Amendment.

There is more to the case though. The judge had a copy of the Qur’an with him and would not let video evidence of  Elbayomy attacking Perce be shown. Nor was the police officer who was at the scene allowed to testify that Elbayomy admitted attacking Perce. The case was dismissed since all the judge allowed as evidence was the testimonies of Elbayomy and Perce.

The American Thinker site has an interview with Perce posted about the case.3 While Perce is taking a stand for freedom of speech, he believes Islam is a hateful religion and making fun of Muhammad seems to be a regular activity of his. I’m sure he did have all of the death threats he has reported.

While I have no desire to make fun of Muhammad, I do agree that atheist, Perce, has the freedom do so. For all I know, Perce may make fun of Christianity too which he also has freedom to do.

Once again, it seems as though Islam is offered some sort of special protection in the U.S. legal system. There seems to be an unwritten rule that every religion must get special attention to make sure their followers are not offended, Christianity being the acception.

As a Christian, I know that it is the gospel that changes hearts and not U.S. law. Though I’d prefer proper application of the law which seems to be missing from the above case. Yet, I expect to be insulted, offended and rejected by the world for the sake of the gospel. Jesus said as much.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21 ESV)


  1. Andrew C. McCarthy. The Sharia Court of Pennsylvania — the Transcript. nationalreview.com
  2. Ibid.
  3. Pamela Geller. Exclusive Interview: Infidel Victim of Pennsylvania Sharia Judge Reveals Inside Details of Case. americanthinker.com
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tagged as , , , in Culture,morality,politics,relativism

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy M. March 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

What a shocking misapplication of law! What ever happened to assimilation? Are we now expected to accomodate every cultural distinctive or just those of Islam? This reminds me of when I taught Social Studies in a TN public school. The state adopted new standards (fleshed out into student performance indicators.) These are a few in the current form:
• 7.1.spi.3. compare and contrast the tenets of the five major world religions (i.e.,
Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism).
and this one:
• 7.1.tpi.7. use a chart, Venn diagram, graphic organizer to compare/contrast tenets
of the five major world religions.
We were told by a “curriculum coach” to give them all EQUAL weight and validity in our instruction. I remember deciding that my poor students would just have to “charlie out” on that particular question of the TCAP.

This is an infuriating trend. Thanks for the blood pressure spike. 🙂

2 Mark March 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Cathy, you’re welcome! lol

Interesting assignment and I’m not sure what happened to assimilation, but it’s certainly becoming more scarce.

Some folks put up a link with contact info for the judge: District Justice Mark W Martin. I wonder if he has gotten any calls.

3 GP March 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm

For what it’s worth, there is more to the story than reported here. The Volokh Conspiracy has a series of posts that includes context from the judge.


The judge’s own comments are worth considering:

This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

I also supposedly called him and threatened to throw him in jail if he released the tapes he had made in the courtroom without my knowledge/permission (Fact: HE called ME and told me that he was ready to “go public” with the tapes and was wondering what the consequences would be; I advised him again to not disseminate the recording, and that I would consider contempt charges; he then replied that he was “willing to go to jail for (his) 1st amendment rights”- I never even uttered the word “jail” in that conversation).

He said that I kept a copy of the Quran on the bench (fact: I keep a Bible on the bench, but out of respect to people with faiths other than Christianity, I DO have a Quran on the bookcase BESIDE my bench, and am trying to acquire a Torah, Book of Mormon, Book of Confucius and any other artifacts which those with a faith might respect).

He claims that I’m biased towards Islam, apparently because he thinks I’m Muslim. In fact, those of you who know me, know that I’m an Army reservist with 27 years of service towards our country (and still serving). I’ve done one tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to return to Afghanistan for a year this summer. During my first tour in Iraq, I was ambushed once, attacked by a mob once, sniped at once, and rocketed, bombed, and mortared so many times that I honestly don’t know how many time I’ve been attacked. Presumably by Muslim insurgents. My point: if anyone SHOULD be biased towards Muslims, one would think it would be me. I’m not, however, because I personally know or have met many good, decent people who follow Islam, and I shouldn’t characterize the actions of those who tried to kill me as characterizations of all Muslims.

When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven. That was one of the reasons I tried to spend 6 whole minutes trying to explain and de-mystify Islam through my own knowledge, and in an attempt to prevent an incident like this recurring in my community. Unfortunately, the message was obviously not received in the vein that I had intended. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did use the word “doofus,” but didn’t call him that directly; I said something akin to “ if you’re going to mock another religion or culture, you should check your facts, first- otherwise, you’ll look like a doofus.”;

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

A lesson learned here: there’s a very good reason for Rule 112 of Rules of Criminal Procedure- if someone makes an unauthorized recording in a Court not of Record, there’s no way to control how it might be manipulated later, and then passed off as the truth. We’ve received dozens upon dozens of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. There are literally hundreds of not-so-nice posts all over the internet on at least 4 sites that have carried this story, mainly because I’ve been painted as a Muslim judge who didn’t recuse himself, and who’s trying to introduce Sharia law into Mechanicsburg.

4 Peter L March 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

“In many … Arabic speaking countries … something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it could be punishable by death, and it frequently is, in their society.”

Sad that so many US judges look to international laws when they are sworn to uphold the US Constitution and the laws of the political subdivision where they practice. We do have a right to free speech, which is all this atheist did. Foolish speech is also protected by the 1st Amendment, but that is something for which the speaker should take responsibility.

And this quote has a confusing end: “There seems to be an unwritten rule that every religion must get special attention to make sure their followers are not offended, Christianity being the acception.”

If only Christianity were still the “acception” (i.e. the accepted religion) instead of the “exception”, which is the word I believe you mean. Funny thing, English, what with all those sound-alike words that have totally opposite meanings. And my Spanish students think it is the harder language!


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