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."
Parsa said his confinement in "mall jail" reminded him of the KGB. Yet the Mall of America's hostility to a Christian pastor sharing his testimony seemed even more familiar to the Iranian refugee.
"I've gone through this before — in Muslim countries I was arrested for passing out bibles," Parsa said. "I didn't expect that would happen in America. As a citizen in America, I have rights. They denied my basic rights."
The pastor compared his mistreatment in Minnesota to the persecution he faced in Iran and Turkey.
"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 recounted. He mentioned Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey and charged with terrorism. "They thought the American government was paying us to pass out bibles. I said I wish they would," he remarked, wryly.
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 said.
Ramin Parsa became famous after capturing video of a plane crash in Mexico on July 31, 2018. As the plane crashed, Parsa's video recorded him saying, "In Jesus' name! In nomine de Jesus!" Miraculously, all 103 people on the AeroMexico flight survived.
The pastor also made waves by predicting the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, he shared that after he "was taken to the basement at the mall of America," he felt "a bubble of protection" around him. "And I heard these striking Words inside of my heart: 'I AM coming back soon.'"
Ramin Parsa insisted that these words were a prophecy from Jesus predicting the end of the world in a matter of hours, not days.
In September, the pastor insisted that persecution against Christians is real in America, and not just because of his story.
"We have a football coach who was fired because he prayed before the game," he said, mentioning former Bremberton High School coach Joseph Kennedy, who just lost his appeal to the Supreme Court (though the Court urged lower courts to reconsider the case). "We have a baker in Colorado who was upholding his faith and he was sued and fought for nearly six years," the pastor added, referencing Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding and was vindicated by the Supreme Court but then attacked once again recently.
"It seems like the only people who can be bullied are the Christians," Parsa said, noting that if the constant mockery aimed at Christians were to be redirected toward Muslims, "it would be an outrage." He wondered why the LGBT activists do not request same-sex wedding cakes from Muslim bakeries. "In Muslim countries, they kill the gays. They throw them off the building. I saw with my own eyes, people being executed."
"Christians are being persecuted and bullied, and nobody says anything to defend them," the pastor said.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.