A Pennsylvania judge is drawing flak from the right and the left after throwing out a case last week against a Muslim man accused of harassing an atheist who dressed as a "zombie Muhammed" in a Halloween parade.
In addition, Judge Mark Martin lectured the alleged victim, Ernie Perce, for his insensitivity toward Muslims. Initial reports had Martin identifying himself as a Muslim during his remarks from the bench, but in a subsequent statement, he said he is a Lutheran.
Perce, a member of a group called Atheists of Central Pennsylvania, dressed as "Zombie Muhammed" in the Mechanicsburg parade. He was accompanied by someone dressed as the "Zombie Pope," but his friend was not accosted. The defendant, Talaag Elbayomy, argued that Perce crossed a line in offending his prophet, and as a Muslim, he was obligated to respond. If anyone committed a crime, Elbayomy said, it was Perce.