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Ex-Muslim Christian Refugee Weighs Lawsuit Against Mall of America Over Unlawful Imprisonment

On Thursday, Minnesota dropped trespassing charges against Ramin Parsa, a Christian pastor and refugee from Iran who was arrested in the Mall of America for sharing the gospel with Somali Muslim women. The Mall of America had held him in "mall jail" for hours before calling the police, so if Parsa was not trespassing, he may be able to sue for unlawful imprisonment. On Facebook, the pastor announced he was considering doing just that.

"Praise the Lord! The prosecution is suspended, no more criminal charges, pleaded not guilty! Thank you so much for your prayers," Parsa posted on Facebook. "We have resolved the criminal case and the city is not going to prosecute me further, so the city is out of it."

"The mall’s conduct still needs to be addressed," the pastor added. "There are many options available that we are considering. Stay tuned! And please continue praying for more victories ahead!"

In August 2018, Parsa was visiting the Mall of America when two Somali Muslim women came up to talk with him. They asked him if he was still a Muslim, and he said no, so they asked why. As he was speaking with them, a third Somali Muslim woman reported him to mall security. The other two women asked the third one not to interrupt.

Mall security told him to stop speaking with the women, and he did. Then, after he bought a coffee, security arrested him and held him in "mall jail" for hours, without giving him food or water or letting him use the restroom.

Mall security called the police, and the state charged Parsa with trespassing.

Now that the trespassing charges have been dropped, Parsa is considering action against the Mall of America.

Shortly after his arrest, the pastor told PJ Media about his past, facing persecution in Muslim countries and then finally coming to the United States, where he thought he would be free to practice his faith without fear.

"When I became a Christian, I was stabbed, I ran away from Iran. I went to Turkey for two years as a refugee. We had a church and we were passing out Bibles. I was arrested," Parsa told PJ Media last year. When at last he came to America, he was relieved. "With tears in my eyes, I was so thankful to be in America, where I can express myself, nobody can stop me or oppress me for my faith... and then this happened to me."

Parsa has called on Christians to share the gospel and warn against the dangers of Islam. "As Christians, we must lay aside lukewarmness, and foolish arguments and shake the dust of religion and legalism and get on fire for Jesus and share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with boldness," he wrote Wednesday night. "The apostles of Jesus said: 'Shall we obey man or God?' If we don’t wake up, our cities, states, country will be lost."

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.