Man Who Rubbed Ham on Quran at Mosque Gets No Jail Time

On October 30, 2020, in Wichita, Kansas, a man entered the Masjid An Noor Islamic Mosque with copies of a satirical magazine’ cover that depicted a cartoon caricature of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. He also carried a copy of the Quran. 

Once inside, Dustin Arterburn yelled anti-Islamic sentiments at a Muslim man in a peculiar protest. He also hung the cartoon posters he made and rubbed ham on them and the Quran he had just purchased from a bookstore. 

Arterburn was alleged to have carried a gun with him inside the mosque, as reported by the Wichita Eagle. However, he told police that he leaves his gun in his vehicle and only takes it out when he feels threatened.

Initially charged with aggravated assault, Arterburn pleaded guilty on May 25 to two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct ahead of a bench trial that was scheduled for June 9. Sedgwick County District Court records reveal that he was given a plea deal and then immediately sentenced to 90 days probation with a presumptive probation offense carrying an underlying jail term of 90 days. He will only service the jail term if he violates the terms and conditions of his probation contract. 

Arterburn must comply with the terms of his probation which include staying out of legal trouble and holding a full-time job. The court documents note that Arterburn was required to write letters of apology to the Islamic Society of Wichita and the Muslim man for his aggressions and for “any fear he caused or disrespect shown” at the mosque and Islamic Society that day. 

A Wichita detective asked Arteburn to detail his activities on the day he committed these offenses. According to the affidavit, Arterburn advised the officer that he returned home about 3 pm after work that day. There he printed out 15 copies of a French satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine cover that depicted a caricature of Mohammed, the Islamic prophet. 

Then he stopped at a Barnes & Noble at about 3:30 pm where he purchased a copy of the Quran. From there, he continued to Wichita’s mosque and Islamic Society, where his actions caused an Islamic leader to ‘call for peace’ during the 2020 election, a time when religious and racial unrest was particularly threatening, according to the Wichita Eagle. 

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