Thousands visit Arab festival; some protest Islam

June 18, 2012 • Entertainment

Tim Berends, 66, of Las Vegas attempts to hand Nada Saghir 16, of Dearborn a Christian driven pamphlet speaking of Jesus during the Arab International Festival, Sunday, June 17, 2012 in Dearborn, Mich. Berends has been traveling to the festival for 5 years. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, [auth] Mandi Wright)

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The 2012 Arab International Festival has drawn thousands of visitors to the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, as well as attracting some anti-Muslim protesters.

The festival opened Friday and ends Sunday in Dearborn, a community with large Arab-American and Muslim populations. About 300,000 people in southeastern Michigan have roots in the Arab world.

The festival includes concerts by more than a dozen Arab musicians and a range of Middle Eastern foods and products.

A number of Christian missionaries have picketed the festival. One brought a pig’s head Friday.

One group called the Bible Believers held signs saying “Islam is a religion of blood and murder” and “Muhammad is a … liar.”

The Detroit Free Press ( ) says horse-mounted Wayne County sheriff’s deputies kept young Arab Americans away from the protesters.

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