Last year, I wrote a post about Gerald Marszalek, a high school wrestling coach in Dearborn, Michigan who was let go due to concerns that he had been allowing an assistant coach, a local clergyman, to try to convert Muslim students to Christianity. In that post I excerpted an article from the Detroit Free Press which is no longer available on-line:
According to Marszalek, parents and community leaders, [Principal Imad] Fadlallah and other parents have long been concerned about contacts between the wrestling team and a local clergyman, the Rev. Trey Hancock of the Dearborn Assembly of God.
Hancock, who helped Marszalek with the team for 10 years, and whose son, Paul, is now a member, confirmed that he attempts to convert Muslim youths to Christianity and that he baptized a 15-year-old Muslim student in Port Huron a few years ago.
Hancock insisted that he never attempted a conversion as part of his work with the wrestling team, or on school grounds. But when asked if he understood the concerns of Muslim parents, he said, “I consider it my work to pastor to anyone who is within my reach. So I can imagine they would be concerned. But is the Dearborn Public Schools going to be dictating what every pastor can or cannot do within his congregation?”
As I said at the time, the problem was not what Hancock was doing “within his congregation” but rather what he was doing in his capacity as a coach. If the roles here had been reversed and a Muslim coach had been trying to convert Christian students, you can rest assured that the Right would have gone absolutely ballistic.
That was the last we had heard of it, until today when we learned that Marszalek is now suing to get his job back:
Marszalek’s attorney, Brandon Bolling, said his client coached at the school for 35 years and wants his job back.
“He was going to complete one last season to try to get to 500 wins,” Bolling said.
For the record, Bolling just so happens to be an attorney for the Thomas Moore Law Center, which is a right-wing legal organization “dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians … [by] providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square.”
In the organization’s press release announcing the suit, they say that the case is not about a coach using his position to proselytize and convert Muslim students but rather about what happens when Muslims get all uppity:
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “We are getting a glimpse of what happens when Muslims who refuse to accept American values and principles gain political power in an American community. Failure to renew coach Marszalek’s contract had nothing to do with wrestling and everything to do with religion.”
The release also claims that “Principal Fadlallah was so upset by the conversion that he punched the student and informed him he had disgraced his family.” I have been unable to find any articles that independently verify this allegation and frankly find it a little hard to believe that Fadlallah would still be Principal if he had punched a student.