Daisy Obi, a 73-year-old ordained minister at Adonai Bible Center, is accused of pushing a Muslim tenant down the stairs in a multi-family house she owns.
Judge Paul Yee Jr. called Obi "the landlord from hell".
Yee also sentenced the septuagenarian to serve six months of a two-year jail sentence.
Obi said she's innocent and that the tenant, Gihan Suliman, fabricated the accusations because the minister declined to allow her to let more people live in her apartment.
A constitutional law professor said the judgement was legal because Obi was not being forced to embrace the religion, merely to learn about it.
I wonder if the same would hold true of anti-white bigots who attack and insult Southerners. Would they be required to take introductory classes taught by Klansters or neo-nutzies?
Pamela Geller noted that falsely accusing Christians of crimes is a common practice in Islamic countries.
• Our opinion: Record your lives as a means to defend yourself against false accusations. I've installed dashcams, video cameras and my home, and turn on my smartphone video most times when I'm in public.
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After a landlord was convicted of pushing her Muslim tenant down a flight of stairs, a judge ordered her to respect the rights of all Muslims and to take an introductory course on Islam. Now the highest court in Massachusetts is being asked to decide whether the judge violated the landlord's constitutional rights.
The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments next month in a case that poses interesting legal questions at a time when the country is grappling with anti-Muslim backlash following deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, both allegedly carried out by radical Muslims.
The case centers on Daisy Obi, a 73-year-old ordained minister from Nigeria who is the pastor of the Adonai Bible Center in Somerville, just north of Boston. In April 2012, Obi rented an apartment in her multi-family home to Gihan Suliman, her husband and five young children.
Suliman complained about the heat and electricity not always working, while Obi complained Suliman appeared to have 12 to 15 people living in the apartment at one point.
Suliman testified that about a month after she moved in, Obi stood on the stairs outside Suliman's apartment screaming anti-Muslim insults.
The following month, while Suliman was taking her baby out of the car, she said Obi yelled anti-Muslim sentiments at her other children.
Then, about a month later, Suliman said Obi accused her of ringing her doorbell, shouted at her and pushed her. Suliman said she fell backward down 15 to 20 stairs, hitting her face on the banister, cutting her lip and tearing a ligament in her shoulder.
While sentencing Obi last year, Judge Paul Yee Jr. called Obi "the landlord from hell" after pointing out that she had harassment prevention orders issued against her by two other tenants.
He sentenced her to two years in jail on the assault and battery charge for pushing Suliman but required her to serve only six months, with the remaining 18 months suspended if she complied with certain probation conditions.
"I want you to learn about the Muslim faith," he said. "I want you to enroll and attend an introductory course on Islam.
"I do want you to understand people of the Muslim faith, and they need to be respected. They may worship Allah ... but they need to be respected."
Obi vehemently denied making any anti-Muslim statements to Suliman or pushing her. She testified she was inside her apartment praying when she heard a knock at the door from the police, who arrested her.
Obi said in a phone interview that she believes Suliman had a vendetta against her because she refused to allow her to let more people live in her apartment.
"I've never, ever made a rude remark against her," she said.
"Why would I do that? I have three Muslims living in the house now."
Obi also said she believes Suliman hates her because she is a Christian.
Suliman did not respond to messages left at her home and workplace.
Obi's lawyer argues the probation condition that she learn about the Muslim faith "burdens Dr. Obi's free exercise of religion."
"It is beyond dispute that the Constitution guarantees that the government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise," attorney Kimberly Peterson wrote in a legal brief.
Prosecutors argued in their brief that the order to take a course on Islam is not coercive because it does not require her to adopt a religious practice or to attend a Muslim religious service, but merely to educate herself.
More racist hate crime reports at AbateTheHate.com [click here]
Image credit: adonaibiblecntr.org ####
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