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Florida Muslim Finally Cleared of Charges That Included Life Imprisonment for a Handshake

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(Miami, FL, 10/27/2016) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations - Florida (CAIR-Florida), the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today announced that on October 26, 2016, the State Attorney at Palm Beach County dismissed Mr. Muslet's charges of resisting arrest without violence. These charges were dismissed by the state attorney's office prior to the trial scheduled on that same date.
 
This is the second setback suffered by the State Attorney's office in relation with the accused  Yousef Mohammad Muslet. Last month, a Palm Beach County Back Court found this Belle Glades Muslim resident not guilty of burglary and battery on a person over 65 years of age. Unbelievably, Muslet, a South Florida Muslim, was facing up to life in prison for talking about Allah and shaking a man's hand. 
 
The man who filed charges against Muslet waited nine days to call the police and only then because he was afraid that Muslet was a radical Muslim merely because he was talking about Allah. Representing Muslet was Boca Raton criminal defense attorney, Flynn Bertisch, CAIR-Florida Civil Rights Director, Thania Clevenger, and CAIR-Florida Civil Rights attorney, Omar Saleh.
 
On September 7th at around 3:30 p.m. and after five hours of hearing witnesses' testimonies and recorded evidence, the Palm Beach County judge confirmed that a conversation about God and a handshake should not be considered a crime and acquitted Muslet. 
 
The incident leading up to the trial started last December when Muslet was outside of his home with his children. Two men who were leaving a neighbor's party stopped their truck to honk at children in the street. Muslet approached the truck, introduced himself, shook the driver's hand, and briefly spoke with the driver about Islam and his desire to visit the local Baptist church. Nine days later, Muslet was arrested at his home after being identified by Hal Howard, the truck's driver. 
 
At trial, the judge found the testimony and recorded evidence to be inconsistent, along with a lack of any adequate investigation leading up to Muslet's arrest. Howard, the driver, alleged that Muslet, dressed in traditional Islamic garb, shook him violently through his truck window as he tried to leave the party. Howard mentioned repeatedly that his reasons for reporting had everything to do with Muslet being a Muslim. Muslet maintained that he only shook the driver's hand as a good-will gesture and the testimony from Howard and the witness corroborated his account.  
 
Mr. Saleh, CAIR-Florida's Civil Rights counsel representing Mr. Muslet, stated, "While we are pleased that the criminal justice system ultimately produced a just result, we still firmly hold that these charges should have never been filed in the first place nor should have judicial resources been wasted on clearly Islamophobic allegations that did not have any merit".
Handshakes are meant to bring us together, not tear us apart," said Lead Defense Counsel Flynn Bertisch.
 
 CAIR-Florida is the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
 "La misión de CAIR-Florida es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.