A group of Minnesotans gathered at the State Capitol Wednesday night to host a prayer rally for Pastor Ramin Parsa, who was arrested at the Mall of America in August on charges of misdemeanor trespassing.
As The Minnesota Sun reported in November, Parsa visited Minnesota in August and was invited by one of his hosts to see “the biggest mall in North America.” While there, Parsa said he “randomly ran into some Somalis, we had a random conversation.”
“They asked me where I’m from. I told them and the conversation led to whether I was Muslim or not. I replied, ‘I used to be but I’m a Christian now,’” he said. Parsa claims that “another woman who was not part of the conversation went and complained to the security,” and he was ultimately charged with trespassing.
Parsa, who runs Redemptive Love Ministries in Los Angeles, returned to Minnesota Wednesday evening ahead of his Thursday morning hearing. His supporters organized a prayer rally Wednesday night at the State Capitol where Parsa spoke about the religious persecution he’s experienced in other countries.
“I’ve been through this before in other countries,” he said during the rally. “The only thing that made me sad is that it happened in America, a nation I love with all my heart. This should not be happening in this country.”
Speaking at Capitol in St. Paul Minnesota
Posted by Ramin Parsa on Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Parsa has become an outspoken critic of his former faith, and called out Muslim leaders such as Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) during Wednesday night’s rally.
“If they really care about women’s rights, why don’t they talk about the oppression of women in Islamic countries?” he said, saying Islam has a “history filled with violence.”
“We love them [Muslims], but this ideology is dark,” Parsa continued, and related a story of when he was arrested and beaten in Iran for consuming alcohol.
“I was arrested in Turkey multiple times for giving Bibles away,” he later said. “I see it. To you, it’s something—you know, you have lived in a free country all your life. I come from oppression. I’ve seen that so much in my life. I’ve seen a woman get beaten on the streets for not having proper hijab. I’ve seen people being executed. I’ve seen people being beaten and tortured. And I see the signs and the symptoms happening in this country.”
Parsa told The Minnesota Sun that he plans to plead “not guilty” Thursday morning “on the charges a Muslim in Minnesota brought against me for sharing the Gospel in a private conversation.”
According to PJ Media, Parsa’s first pre-trial hearing was held on December 11, but the “matter was not resolved,” his lawyer said.
“The city attorney’s office is continuing to prosecute Pastor Parsa for allegations of misdemeanor trespassing,” his lawyer continued. “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. A jury trial has been set for April 29, 2019, in Minneapolis in case the matter is not resolved before that date.”
During Wednesday’s event, Parsa said he’s “not afraid of any of those things,” referring to the potential consequences he faces.
“I’m telling you, they picked the wrong person,” he added.
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