A panel of federal judges in Denver, in an opinion written by Judge Harris Hartz, found that it is perfectly appropriate for a police chief to order subordinates to attend an Islamic mosque where Muslims “discussed Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and why and how Muslims pray” in addition to encouraging officers “to buy” Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale.
The ruling came on Thursday from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by Capt. Paul Fields, who had been ordered by Tulsa police officials to either go to a special event at the local mosque himself, or order others to do that.
Fields refused based on religious freedom objections and was punished for that.
The judges on the 10th Circuit panel said that was perfectly appropriate.
“This ruling is troubling on so many levels,” said Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center, which has pursued the case since it developed several years ago.
“We have argued throughout this case that Capt. Fields was summarily punished for simply raising and asserting a religious objection to the order mandating attendance at the Islamic event, and that such discriminatory treatment violates the First and 14th Amendments,” he said. “Yet, inexplicably, the 10th Circuit refused to address this main issue on appeal, claiming that it was not raised below.
“The court is wrong, and we intend to seek full court review of this patently erroneous decision,” he said.
The case was brought by the AFLC on behalf of Fields against Tulsa, Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Deputy Chief Daryl Webster.
Read more: WND