The Pennsylvania judge who dismissed charges against a Muslim man for physically attacking another man who was wearing a “Zombie Muhammad” Halloween costume has temporarily been relocated due to threats and criticism of his ruling.
Mechanicsburg District Judge Mark Martin and his staff moved to the more secure Cumberland County Courthouse in Carlisle, Pa. Tuesday. Martin will not elaborate on how long he and his staff will remain there for security reasons, according to The Patriot-News.
Cumberland County Court Administrator Melissa Calvanelli told abc27 News that the relocation was “an exercise of caution.”
“We felt it was prudent to move the judge and his staff to the county courthouse,” Calvanelli said in a prepared statement. “For obvious reasons, we are not discussing any threats or any security measures we’re taking.”
The case in question involved a Muslim against an atheist. (RELATED: Judge dismisses charges against Muslim man who attacked atheist dressed as ‘Zombie Muhammad’)
Talaag Elbayomy, a 46-year-old Muslim man, allegedly physically attacked Ernest Perce V, who was dressed as “Zombie Muhammad” during a Mechanicsburg Halloween parade.
The attending police officer, Sgt. Bryan Curtis testified that Elbayomy had attempted to choke Perce shortly following the incident.
Martin ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict Elbayomy of the harassment charge and chastised Perce for wearing the offensive attire, explaining that in Muslim countries Perce could be put to death for such an offense.
“Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it,” said Martin, as he dressed Perce down from the bench. “It makes you look like a doofus… In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.”
According to The Patriot-News, Martin and his office have received over 200 negative phone calls and emails.
In a recent interview with The Daily Caller, Perce said he had received over 470 threats since Elbayomy’s acquittal.
“People have said that they would kill me, rip my eyes out, run me over, shoot me and then laugh at me, since I have blasphemed Muhammad,” he said. “They say I will be found out and hung in front of my family.”