Muslim principal persecutes Christians in Dearborn, Mich.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Syndicated Columnists

When Minister Trey Hancock baptized a teenage friend of his son, he had little reason to believe he was unleashing a jihad of bigotry. The teenager had attended his church for over two years, but when the teenager entered high school the baptism would set into motion the persecution of a string of Christians. Did these Christians live in Indonesia, Iran or Saudi Arabia? No, they live in Dearborn, Mich.

The most prominent victim is Gerald Marszalek, one of America’s most successful wrestling coaches; he was fired during the ugly chain of events by Fordson High School principal Imad Fadlallah. Marszalek’s “crimes” — allowing this Christian convert on the wrestling team, and allowing Trey Hancock to volunteer as assistant coach. Marszalek has filed a wrongful termination suit against Fadlallah and the public school district.

“We are getting a glimpse of what happens when Muslims who refuse to accept American values and principles gain political power in an American community,” said Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm. “Failure to renew coach Marszalek’s contract had nothing to do with wrestling and everything to do with religion,” surmises Thompson.

During the summer of 2005, the young man decided he wanted to be baptized to publicly acknowledge his conversion to Christianity. These events all occurred before his freshman year at Fordson High School.

Principal Fadlallah became violent after hearing of the student’s conversion. The lawsuit reads, “Subsequently, in full view of students and faculty” the suit reads , “Defendant Fadlallah approached the young Fordson student who had chosen to be baptized a Christian… punched the student, and advised the student that he had ‘disgraced his family’ by converting to Christianity from Islam.”

Next, Fadlallah fired Hancock as a volunteer coach, and ordered him to have no contact with any of the wrestling team and even banned him from setting foot upon the school.

Fadlallah informed Marszalek that he was not to mention Hancock, his independent wrestling team and that “despite Hancock’s son currently being an All State wrestler on Fordson’s team, Hancock’s existence was not to be acknowledged at wrestling meets.” On top of all that, Fadlallah banned the entire Hancock family from helping at school concession stands.

Although having coached in Dearborn for 35 years, an outstanding reputation with 450 wins and being a national hall of fame inductee in the sport, Marszalek was fired at the end of the 2008 school year. Fadlallah told the school’s athletic director regarding Marszalek’s renewal application, “Gone. I want him gone. No appeal.” An assistant coach who had not applied for the position was given Marszalek’s job.

Dearborn is one of the most densely populated Muslim communities in the United States. Roughly 30,000 of the city’s 98,000 residents are Muslim. The student population of Fordson High School is approximately 80 percent Arabic with many of them Muslims.

Fordson had — and continues to have — a very public policy of allowing student athletes to recite Muslim prayers before, during, and after school-sanctioned athletic events. Despite his objections, sanctioning, and banning what he believes to be Christian religious activity, expression, and practice at non-school sponsored summer activities, Defendant Fadlallah promotes, sponsors, facilitates, and fosters Muslim religious activity, expression, and participation, including and prayer at school sanctioned events.

Marszalek is not the first victim of Fadlallah, who has a history of working to eradicate Christianity from the school. The lawsuit concludes, “Fadlallah, since assuming duties as Fordson’s principal in 2005, has systematically weeded out Christian teachers, coaches and employees and has terminated, demoted or reassigned them because of their Christian beliefs,” according to the suit. “Fadlallah has publicly stated ‘he sees Dearborn Fordson High School as a Muslim school, both in students and faculty’, and is working to that end.”

One can only wonder what would happen if the circumstances had been reversed from Muslim to Christian.

©2009 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and together they write a national weekly column. To comment on this column, e-mail