By: John Roberts
Michael Salman says he is a man haunted by where he chose to worship, but the city of Phoenix says he is a man who falsely owns buildings that he runs like churches without permits.
In a building on his property, at 35 and Glendale avenues, is a pulpit and chairs, a room for the weekly study for the 30 to 40 people who gather here. But Salman insists that this is not a public church.
"If people can gather for parties like the Superbowl, Thanksgiving, Christmas, poker night, then we have the right to meet every week for bible study," said Salman. The City and the neighbors did not agree with that statement.
Inspectors say that what Salman was doing, he needed dozens of construction and security updates. All Salman says he was doing was to practice freedom of religion. The court disagreed as well.
"I was convicted for violating 67 codes," said Salman.
Salman appealed the decision and lost. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years probation, which he is due to start serving at any time.
He still maintains its place of worship is private and should be treated that way.
"Here is a man that is being thrown in jail for worshiping at home!" said.
The Office of the Maricopa County prosecutors told the news media that he should realize that this is not a matter of religious freedom, but Salman has refused to comply with building codes and safety standards that are required by law.