Minnesota Is Still Prosecuting Ex-Muslim Christian Pastor for Sharing His Testimony in a Mall
Ramin Parsa, an ex-Muslim Christian pastor who was stabbed in Iran, imprisoned in Turkey, and then arrested in the Mall of America for sharing his testimony with interested Muslim women, faces a settlement conference in March and likely a trial in April. The state of Minnesota has continued to prosecute his case, even though the Mall of America was wrong to accuse him of trespassing in the first place.
In late August 2018, Parsa was visiting the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn. Two Somali-American women spoke with him and asked him if he was still a Muslim. When he said he was not, they asked him to explain. At this point, another lady complained to mall security. Security took Parsa into custody, holding him handcuffed to a metal chair for four hours without water, and then turning him over to the police.
While the Mall of America seems the main culprit in Parsa's story, the state of Minnesota has taken up the case. "Actually in my hearing documents, it says 'state of Minnesota vs. Ramin Parsa.' So the state is my oppressor," the pastor told PJ Media on Thursday. He also shared a report from his lawyer detailing the results of a pre-trial hearing that took place on December 11.
"Pastor Parsa’s pre-trial hearing was held on December 11, 2018 but the matter was not resolved," the lawyer wrote. "The city attorney’s office is continuing to prosecute Pastor Parsa for allegations of misdemeanor trespassing."
On the short end, Parsa's legal battle will last seven months. Yet it seems unlikely the state of Minnesota will drop the case that easily.
"A settlement conference is scheduled for March 7, 2019, where there will be further negotiations and legal proceedings regarding Pastor Parsa’s First Amendment rights and the charge," the lawyer added. "A jury trial has been set for April 29, 2019, in Minneapolis in case the matter is not resolved before that date."
While the Mall of America and the state are prosecuting Ramin Parsa for misdemeanor trespassing, the pastor recalled mall security telling him his real crime. After speaking with the women — and being interrupted by the third woman — the pastor went to grab some coffee with his friends.
"When we came out of the coffee shop, three guards were waiting for us, and they arrested me right there," Parsa told PJ Media back in September. "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."