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Arizona Pastor Micheal Salman was jailed for holding bible study in his home. Authorities claim that  he was jailed for violating building, fire and zoning codes. The battle between Salman and his neighbors and the city of Phoenix has been years in the making, but his current jail term stems from how he used a 2,000 square-foot building on his property. According to the city, his church, the Harvest Christian Fellowship Community Church, received a permit to build a “game room” there in 2008. The permit prohibited using the building as a church, business or assembly. Nevertheless, the city cited Salman for holding worship services there in 2009 and 2010. He is currently serving his 60-day sentence  in a Tent City Jail, a prison compound in Maricopa County, Arizona, equated by Michael Salman’s attorney as similar to the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp. This is where you would put Osama bin Laden, not Michael Salman,” said Rutherford Institute founder and attorney John Whitehead, “The temperature there has been around 140 degrees, and there is no air conditioning. They’re [living] in tents. They have stun fences…barbed wire…large German shepherds walking the perimeter, armed guards and facial recognition software so that the prisoners are studied all the time.”  Mr. Whitehead also added that Pastor Salman has reported being imprisoned with “really hardened criminals” and that they were unsure why the pastor had been specifically sent to Tent City. In late June, the jail was the focus of thousands of protesters who gathered outside the Maricopa County Sherriff’s office to express their disapproval of the allegedly prison camp-like conditions. Mr. Whitehead went on to say that the same zoning laws used in Arizona to imprison Michael Salman for holding home Bible studies will probably be passed across the United States. He says that the laws, which were written by the International Code Council, are very specific about controlling religious groups.

 

 

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