District of Columbia Court of Appeals
623 A.2d 127 (1993)
In July 1983, the Islamic Center (Center) in Washington, D.C., was hosting a worship service to mark the end of Ramadan. The Center was also reopening after a period of renovations and was therefore expecting an unusually large number of attendees. Dr. Samuel Hamoud, who was responsible for security at the Center, hired private security officers to facilitate the event. The service was to be led by the newly appointed imam, Dr. Adil Al-Aseer. Shortly after the service began, the Center’s prior imam, Mohammed Asi, and his followers (defendants) initiated a violent confrontation in the Center and physically attacked Al-Aseer and Hamoud. At the time of the incident, Hamoud and a leader of the private security team instructed everyone in the Center to leave peacefully or face arrest by the police. The defendants did not leave and were charged and convicted of unlawful entry under D.C. Code § 22-3102. The defendants appealed on the grounds that: (1) they did not hear the instructions to leave the Center, or (2) they believed they were entitled to remain in the Center. The belief of the right to remain was based on an opinion Asi received from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt regarding the inability of persons to own a mosque or deny entry of other Muslims onto mosque property.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, C.J.)
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