Friday, September 29, 2006

Walid gives sermon at Muslim Community Center of Detroit about lessons of Ramadan

The following audio was recorded today at the Muslim Community Center of Detroit [Nigerian Muslim Assoc.] in Detroit, Michigan.

Cut and paste to listen:
http://media.putfile.com/Khutbah-Ramadan

Bigot of the Month - George Allen (R-VA)



US Senator George Allen gets the dubious distiction of being the Bigot of the Month. Following his recent fiasco of calling a native born American of East Indian heritage the name "macaca," Mr. Allen has been accussed by old collegues of having freely used the "N" word to describe African-Americans.

Oddly, Mr. Allen, whose mother was born in Tunisia and is from Jewish background, became hostile with reporters earlier this month when questioned about his Jewish heritage. He later acknowledged that he comes from a Jewish mother, which qualifies him as being born Jewish according to Jewish doctrine; however, he joked referring to his lineage by stating that he "just finished eating a ham sandwich for lunch."

It's also worth noting that the term "macaca" that Mr. Allen used is similar to the word "macaque" that is used to describe monkeys and is a racial slur for blacks in the area of North Africa, which his mother is from.

SEE: http://youtube.com/watch?v=9G7gq7GQ71c (Mr. Allen's "macaca" statements on video)

Recent reports about Mr. Allen are a sad reminder that things have not changed that much in the "Old Dominion."

Walid speaks at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor at the Political Science Department regarding political activism

Last night at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a forty-five minute presentation was given regarding the Islamic textual basis as well as the incumbent societal circumstances, which summon American Muslims to become more politicaly active in Michigan.

Topics of discussion also included the Islamic basis for supporting affirmative action, the need to address political apathy and suggestions of how the Muslim community can become more involved in mainstream American issues.

Unfortunately, the audio for this lecture was mistakenly erased.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Message for Friday - G'd gives to the tender, not to the cold-hearted

The following brief lecture was given today to youth during the Ramadan assembly at Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, a private Islamic school located in Detroit Michigan.

Cut & paste link to listen:
http://media.putfile.com/Address-to-Muslim-Kids-about-Mercy-during-Ramadan

Walid meets with Cardinal Maida of Archdiocese of Detroit regarding Pope Benedict XVI's statements


Today at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan hosted Imam Sayyid Hassan Al-Qazwini, Muslim leaders met with Cardinal Maida and other top staff of the Archdiocese of Detroit to discuss the recent comments of Pope Benedict XVI that spark disappointment to violence throughout the Muslim world.

The major concern that was presented to the Cardinal from this vantage point is that the Pope's statements have embolden some neo-conservatives, both secular and evangelicals, to promote their concept of the "clash of civilizations." The Cardinal agreed that one of the major challenges both Catholics and Muslims have is the promotion of both dialogue and religious values, which the "clash of civilization" proponents, primarily secularists, are opposed to.

The Cardinal also was informed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) efforts to raise funds to help repaired the churches that were damaged in the West Bank by radicals in response to the Pope's comments.

Both parties expressed that they are commented to Catholic-Muslim dialogue including discussing matters of deeper significance including the rise of secularism, support for religious schools and protecting affirmative action in America.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Walid Addresses Homeland Security Students at Madonna University

Today, a 90 minute presentation and question/answer session took place a Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan with students of a new college course entitled, "Homeland Security & Terrorism."

Cut & paste to hear the audio of this event:
http://media.putfile.com/Lecture-for-Homeland-Security-Students-at-Madonna-University

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Muslim charity cleared for donations

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060926/METRO02/609260320/1009

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Charity raided by FBI cleared for donations
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News


SOUTHFIELD -- Contributions to an Islamic charity in Southfield remain legal despite an FBI raid on Sept. 18, according to federal officials.
The Life for Relief and Development has not been designated by the federal government as an organization that provides support for terrorists, according to Bob Beeckman, a spokesman for the FBI in Detroit.
FBI agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided the offices of the organization Sept. 18, but still unclear are the reasons behind the raid.
"The search warrant is based on criminal statutes, and I can't go any farther," Beeckman said.
Local Muslim leaders said that the information that donations remain legal will help assuage rampant concerns in their community, at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are required to make charitable donations, or zakat.
Life for Relief and Development is a popular, 15-year-old charity and one of the largest Muslim relief groups in North America.
Muslims have long considered it safe for donations, especially amid increasing federal scrutiny of Muslim charities in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Federal law enforcement officials said this summer, amid large demonstrations in Metro Detroit against the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, they would increase enforcement efforts in the wake of public statements in support of the militias of Hezbollah, considered by the United States to be a terrorist group.
"It's a big deal because people in the Muslim community are wondering who they will give their zakat to," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Walid speaks at Rosh Hashanah program in Ann Arbor

Yesterday, CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid had the opportunity to attend a program at the Jewish Community Center of Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor, Michigan marking the second day of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

The two hour program, which began with a Jewish religious song sang in Hebrew, focused around Prophet Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son by the command of G'd. Walid discussed the Muslim perspective on this event, citing verses from The Qur'an and varying narrations from books such as The History of At-Tabari by Imam At-Tabari, The History of the Prophets by Ath-Thalabi and Al-Mustradrik As-Sahihayn by Al-Hakim.

Walid also fielded questions relating to this topic as well as answering questions relating to the differences of textual authority in varying Islamic schools of thought.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Walid comments on how bogus allegations diminish America's image in the Muslim World

http://www.arabamericannews.com/newsarticle.php?articleid=6382

Ramadan Scare
FBI, IRS raid headquarters of charity

WASHINGTON - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the FBI in a press release this week to provide a public explanation for what appears to be a series of coordinated raids against Muslim affiliated locations in Michigan and Missouri, including a major charity, three days before the start of Ramadan, when Muslims are religiously obligated to give alms to those in need by donating to charity.

The FBI raided the offices of Life for Relief and Development (Life), a Muslim-American charity organization located in Southfield, MI with United Nations affiliated-status and U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense authority to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also the only Muslim-American charity with a permit by the Government of Israel to operate in Israel, assisting Palestinians. The FBI also raided the home of the charity's CEO in Michigan Dr. Khalil Jassemm, the offices of the nonprofit agency's accountant, A & A Management on Telegraph Road in Southfield and the Dearborn offices of Focus on Advocacy & Advancement of International Relations (FAAIR) LLC, headed by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, as well as the home of a Muslim community leader in Missouri.. (This came only three days after a community outreach event there to strengthen ties between the community and the FBI which was held at a local mosque.)

"These raids serve as a major obstacle in the continuing endeavors to build trust and communication between Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities and the federal government," the release said. "In a post September 11 world, this interaction has proved vital for the national security of our nation and the protection of our communities."
ADC's Midwest Regional Director, Imad Hamad, said Life is sound and operational and urged the community to donate during Ramadan.

Life's external legal counsel, attorney Shereef Akeel, called the raids disappointing. "It's very disappointing because Life always kept an open door policy and has been very transparent with the government. So for them to be subject to such an aggressive act is a breach of a trust that was established after 9/11 It was a strong cooperative relationship. Life invited all departments of government to come. The organization made PowerPoint presentations to inform everyone what the organization was about to alleviate suspicion."

"What adds insult to injury," Akeel said, "was how the media was there at the time. How did the media know to be present at the time of the raid? Clearly no one from Life would have called which certainly makes me suspicious. Why glamorize this and try to make this organization look guilty?

"There were no arrests, no charges against anyone for committing any indecent act or violation of laws. The organization is still open and running a legal charity. But the FBI said that this has nothing to do with terrorism, the organization is viable and open to donations. It's disappointing that they seemed to have the media there to generate the appearance that the organization was doing something wrong."

Said Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan, "The actions of the FBI have international implications. Our government claims to be spreading democracy in the Mideast yet uses intimidating tactics on its own citizens and when Muslims in the states contact their family members back in the Muslim world about the bogus situation, it does nothing but further diminish the esteem that the Muslim world has for America.

Walid comments on statue constructed by Albanian Catholics and Muslims

As a side note, most Islamic scholars find it reprehensible to construct statues of humans. I personally do not endorse the construction of statues either; however, this particular statue was going to be built regardless as to Muslims donating to it. In this circumstance, its symbolic meaning of tolerance among Catholics and Muslims in these particular times is a good sign.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060923/NEWS05/609230320

Statue stands for religious unity
September 23, 2006
BY DAVID CRUMM
FREE PRESS RELIGION WRITER

More than 10,000 Albanian Americans are expected to crowd into the gardens outside a Rochester Hills church Sunday to see Detroit Catholic Cardinal Adam Maida and Albanian President Alfred Moisiu unveil and bless a statue of a 15th-Century hero who symbolizes the way Catholics and Muslims once overcame differences in the interest of national unity.
"This event couldn't come at a better time," Dawud Walid, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, said Thursday. He has spent days trying to resolve concern among local Muslims over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 12.
Like the new statue, the text of that speech reached back into medieval history. In the case of the pope's speech, however, what was pulled out of the past was an anti-Muslim quote from a 14th-Century Byzantine emperor criticizing Islam's founder, the prophet Muhammad.
Later, the pope said he was only trying to remind his listeners of past conflicts as a way to spur stronger interfaith dialogue today. But the quote sparked violence by Muslim groups in several parts of the world and eventually drew a papal apology.
"I think that the symbolism of this Albanian statue could become an opportunity for local Catholics and Muslims to show that there are bridges between us, too," Walid said.
At least a few local Albanian Muslims contributed to the $90,000 cost of the 12-foot-tall bronze statue of the Albanian hero known as Skanderbeg by Fairfax, Va., sculptor Kreshnik Xhiku.
"All Albanians will be interested to see this, because all Albanians, regardless of their religion, consider Skanderbeg a hero who fought to preserve the nation," Imam Shuajb Gerguri, head of the Albanian Islamic Center in Harper Woods, said Thursday.(MORE)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Walid gives sermon in Flint, Michigan

The following sermon addresses the need to cultivate patience during Ramadan as well as the ongoing situation with the Muslim charity that was raided by the FBI and IRS.

To listen, cut and paste the following:
http://media.putfile.com/Cultivating-Patience-in-Ramadan

Muslims donate money to rebuild churches damaged by anti-Pope vandals

Please watch video of CAIR donating money to rebuild damaged churches in the West Bank:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvX3IqnvWzk

Walid links misreporting by media and the rise of Islamophobia

The following link is of a press conference held yesterday, which discusses how misreporting helps perpetuate Islamophobia, the irrational fear of anything that deals with Islam or Muslims.

Cut and paste the following to watch the video:
http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/9904825/detail.html

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Walid comments on "Driving While Muslim"

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061009/ackerman


September 21, 2006 (October 9, 2006 issue)
Driving While Muslim
Spencer Ackerman

Ali Houssaiky and Osama Abulhassan left their homes in this historic Muslim-American enclave as college students and came home as terrorists. On August 8 Houssaiky and Abulhassan drove to an Ohio Wal-Mart to buy hundreds of cheap cellphones, intending to sell them back to a distributor they knew to earn some extra cash for tuition. The Wal-Mart employee, fearing two young men of Arab heritage were terrorists, called police, who promptly apprehended Houssaiky and Abulhassan. Making matters worse, they were in Houssaiky's mother's car, which contained a manual outlining airline checkpoints, a necessity for her job at Royal Jordanian Airlines. To the police and the Washington County, Ohio, prosecutor, Houssaiky and Abulhassan were the sum of all fears: two young Arabs with airline manuals and hundreds of devices that could be used as bomb detonators.
Houssaiky and Abulhassan were quickly convicted in the press. "I went to our cell," Houssaiky remembers. "The inmates showed us on TV, there was a line going across the screen [saying], Is This an Act of Terrorism at Work?" Yet within a week of their arrest, it became clear to prosecutors that there was no evidence linking either student to terrorism. Returning home to Dearborn, Houssaiky and Abulhassan called a press conference to denounce the "paranoia and xenophobia that is gripping the country." To Houssaiky, the fact that he and his friend were cleared of all charges is no comfort. "The media made us into animals," he says. "This is going to stick to us the rest of our lives."


The persecution of Houssaiky and Abulhassan--two former high school football stars--underscores the sense of besiegement felt widely in this community of 35,000. Dearborn has been a magnet for Arab and Iranian immigrants for more than 100 years, and its streets and storefronts proudly display the signs of Middle Eastern-American culture: Mosques and community centers sit peacefully next to McDonald's and Burger King along Dearborn arteries like Schafer Road and Warren Avenue. Yet over the past few months, and particularly during the Lebanon war, the Justice Department and the FBI have increasingly put Dearborn under collective suspicion. Nearly thirty people in the Dearborn area have been indicted on often-flimsy charges related to terrorism in the past three years, and more than half of them have been accused in the past four months. Assistant US Attorney Kenneth Chadwell, who heads the Justice Department's efforts to investigate terrorism connections in Dearborn, told the Chicago Tribune in late July, "The question is: Are they loyal to the US or to this terrorist group Hezbollah?"
The answer Dearborn gives is that it's loyal to both, in much the same way that many American Jews are Americans first, with a sentimental attachment to Israel. There is no doubt that much of Dearborn's Muslim community, many of whom are Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian Shiites, is sympathetic to Hezbollah, which the State Department designates as a terrorist organization. Some have gone beyond passive support. In March the US Attorney's office indicted eighteen men for funneling profits from a Dearborn-operated cigarette-smuggling ring to Hezbollah, two of whom have pleaded guilty.
But most community leaders consider support for Hezbollah a derivative of Lebanese and Shiite identity, indicating support for resistance to Israel, not for terrorism. "Certainly there were a number of individuals, especially over the thirty-three days of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, who spoke very much in support of [Hezbollah], but they weren't speaking in favor of the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers as much as they were speaking in favor of the sole institution there assisting the country during the invasion," says Noel Saleh, president of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. "'Hezbollah' means in the West different things than it means in the East," adds Mohammed Elahi, the Iranian-born imam of Dearborn's Islamic House of Wisdom. "Muslims on the whole, especially Shiites, but even Sunnis, support the resistance in Lebanon." Indeed, on a recent visit to Dearborn only days after the cease-fire took effect, I saw the red, white and green Lebanese flag everywhere--on shop windows, residential flagpoles and bumper stickers--but the yellow flag of Hezbollah was nowhere to be found.
It's that constitutionally protected sympathy that Dearborn considers the reason for the Justice Department's increasing scrutiny of the town. Not one resident has been charged with attempting to commit an act of terrorism against the United States, and Dawud Walid of the local Council on American-Islamic Relations insists that local leaders frequently inform the community of alternative, non-Hezbollah-linked Lebanese charities for their donations. The US Attorney's office in Detroit declined comment for this story, and the Detroit FBI office referred questions to the Washington headquarters, which also declined to comment...(MORE)

Community Leaders Urge Support for Islamic Charity

September 21, 2006
By Niraj Warikoo
Free Press Staff Writer

Arab-American and Muslim leaders urged the public to support an Islamic charity based in Southfield that was raided Monday by federal agents. Speaking at a press conference today at the headquarters of Life for Relief and Development, they said that the charity was still open and accepting donations. "We will urge our community to make a point by donating to Life," said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which has worked with Life officials before. "Donations to Life are not illegal."

While the charity is still open, Life CEO Dr. Khalil Jassemm said Thursday it is hard to operate because federal agents hauled away six computer servers that contained its electronic data.The raid, conducted by agents with the FBI and IRS, came just days before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims donate money to help the needy. Charity officials said they usually raise more than two million dollars during the month, which starts this weekend. Hamad and others said that there appears to be a pattern of federal officials targeting Muslim donors or charities around the Ramadan season.

Jassemm said that in 2004, the Islamic American Relief Agency, in Missouri, was searched by federal agents near the start of Ramadan. And in 2005, Muslim donors in the Flint area who give a lot of money to Life, Islamic Relief, and Mercy USA, were questioned by federal agents, Jassemm said. Robert Beeckman, a Special Agent in the Detroit FBI office, said the agency does not target anyone based on their religion. "Whenever possible, we take people's religious sensibilities into account," he said. "But the timing of the execution of search warrants is based solely on the evidence, and it is not intended to coincide with any religious holiday."

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he hopes that Life, "like any group or individual targeted by law enforcement, receives all the due process rights guaranteed by Constitution."

In July, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the public in a news release to donate supplies to Life for people in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories affected by the conflict. The charity has distributed more than $50 million since it was established in 1992 by a group of Iraqi-Americans...(MORE)

Message for Friday - Prophet Muhammad's welcoming for Ramadan


حديث سلمان رواه ابن خزيمة في صحيحه فقال: باب في فضائل شهر رمضان إن صح الخبر، ثم قال: حدثنا علي بن حجر السعدي حدثنا يوسف بن زياد حدثنا همام بن يحيى عن علي بن زيد بن جدعان عن سعيد بن المسيب عن سلمان قال: خطبنا رسول الله في آخر يوم من شعبان فقال: «أيها الناس: قد أظلكم شهر عظيم، شهر مبارك، شهر فيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر، جعل الله صيامه فريضة وقيام ليله تطوعا من تقرب فيه بخصلة من الخير كان كمن أدى فريضة فيما سواه، ومن أدى فيه فريضة كان كمن أدى سبعين فريضة فيما سواه وهو شهر الصبر والصبر ثوابه الجنة، وشهر المواساة، وشهر يزداد فيه رزق المؤمن، من فطر فيه صائماً كان مغفرة لذنوبه وعتق رقبته من النار وكان له مثل أجره من غير أن ينتقص من أجره شيء
"Oh people! A great month is coming to you. A blessed month. A month in which there is one night that is better than a thousand months. A month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night.
Whoever draws nearer to Allah by performing any of the voluntary good deeds in this month shall receive the same reward as is there for performing an obligatory deed at any other time. And whoever discharges an obligatory deed in this month shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time.
It is the month of Sabr (patience), and the reward for sabr is Heaven. It is the month of kindness and charity. It is a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased.
Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without the latter's reward being diminished at all." [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

Walid addresses media concerning due process rights for Muslim charity


Official statement from Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-MI regarding raid on Life for Relief and Development’s office:

On September 18, Life for Relief and Development was raided by the FBI and the IRS reportedly to investigate activities that are not related to terrorism. Although no arrests have been made, no funds have been frozen and the charity continues to operate, several media outlets reported that the counter-terrorism task force assisted in this on-going investigation.

Yesterday at a meeting with the FBI, I posed the question to Mr. Dan Roberts of the FBI of how were major media outlets able to be at the raid site so quickly and how did the media conclude that the counter-terrorism task force was at the raid if the FBI did not inform them. Mr. Roberts purports that the FBI did not contact the media, nor did the FBI inform the media that the counter-terrorism task force was involved in the investigation.

Furthermore, Mr. Roberts stated that Life for Relief and Development is not on the list of organizations that our government deems as supporters of terrorism and that it is perfectly legal to still donate to the charity.

We question why the FBI, using a sealed warrant, conducted such a high profile raid when by their own admissions Life for Relief and Development poses no threat to National security.
We also take issue with the media sensationalism of some outlets that have insinuated that Life for Relief and Development has potential ties with terrorism. Such reckless reporting only serves the purposes of increasing Islamophobia and producing a chilling effect upon the Muslim community to donate to their own charities. We need to make sure that Life for Relief and Development, like any group of individual, receives all the due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution. An organization’s reputation can suffer irreparable damage if it is not able to refute allegations made against it or to even know what accusations it faces.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Walid speaks about Bilal and his importance to African-American Muslims

Bilal the son of Rabaah was one of the early accepters of Islam in during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad. He was an ex-slave from Ethiopian lineage, who rose to be the first caller to prayer in Islamic history as well as serving as a charity collector and shop keeper for Prophet Muhammad.

Many African-American Muslims have a special affinity for Bilal due to the history of slavery.

The following lecture discusses Bilal's biography as well as some of the similiarities between his life and African-American Muslims. This may hold high interest for those who wonder why so many African-Americans have reverted Islam without the help of external propagation efforts.

Cut and paste the following to listen:
http://media.putfile.com/From-Bilal-to-Bilalian

Walid meets with Homeland Security, Justice Department and FBI regional director to discuss raid on Muslim charity

Today at the Lebanese American Heritage Club in Dearborn, Michigan, several community leaders including officials from ADC, CIOM and CAIR met with FBI regional director Dan Roberts and other officials to discuss the raid of two days ago on Life for Relief and Development, which is a Muslim charity based in Southfield, Michigan.

When asked about how the media knew to come to LIFE's office almost simultaneously with the FBI and IRS, Mr. Roberts asserted that the FBI did not tip off the media. Furthermore, Mr. Roberts purported that the FBI never stated that the counter-terrorism task force are assisting in the investigation.

Either Mr. Roberts is not being 100% forthcoming, there is an agent who is leaking partially false information to the press or the press has misreported this story.

Slated for tomorrow is a press conference with CAIR-MI, ADC-MI and LIFE officials to discuss this issue in detail.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Walid says Pope's comments embolden "Clash of Civilizations" proponents

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060919/OPINION01/609190305/1008

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan chapter:

Pope Benedict XVI's comments are extremely disappointing. It appeared that he was affirming the negative and historically incorrect statements of the 14th century emperor concerning Prophet Muhammad.

The pope wields influence that is unequaled among world religious leaders; hence, he should be extremely sensitive that his comments not trigger his followers to distance themselves from Muslims in a unhealthy manner.

Sadly, those who wish to divide the Christian and Muslim worlds will use his comments in conjunction with the heinous, un-Islamic vandalism of churches in the West Bank and proclamations of terrorists in Iraq against the pope as fuel for their concept of the "clash of civilizations."

It is my hope Metro Detroit's Muslim community will be able to maintain its close relationship with the Archdiocese of Detroit and use this opportunity to increase dialogue and education.

Walid questions FBI raid on Muslim charity

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/091906/loc_2006091932.shtml

FBI raids Muslim charity in Southfield
Leaders say similar events happen each year just before Ramadan

By KANIQUA DANIEL SMOTHERS
Of The Oakland Press

SOUTHFIELD - While some leaders in the Muslim community were shocked and saddened by the Monday morning raid of an Islamic charity in Southfield, others said it came as no surprise.
"We're used to this kind of activity from the federal government prior to the month of Ramadan," said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, based in Dearborn. "Their pattern of behavior has been the same since September 11 (2001). They do raids and things like this ... always before the holidays."
FBI, local police and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents executed search warrants at the Southfield headquarters of Life for Relief and Development around 8:40 a.m., said organization CEO Khalil Jassemm, whose home was also raided during the same period, along with the homes of other board members.
The charity's head of legal services, Ihsan Alkhatib, told The Associated Press that agents are investigating whether the charity conducted business in Iraq before the 2003 war in violation of legal sanctions against the country.
Alkhatib said the organization "did everything by the book."
Jassemm said agents informed him the raids were related to an ongoing criminal investigation and had nothing to do with terrorist activities. He was also provided copies of the search warrants.
"I don't know what the reason is behind this. I don't know what they are looking for, but I'm sure they won't find anything," he said. "My organization is not doing anything wrong. ... We will just be patient. We are expected to be cleared."
Like Siblani, Jassemm wonders if the raid could be related to the Islamic holiday beginning Sept. 23, given similar past incidents.
The month of Ramadan is a time of worship and contemplation when Muslims concentrate on their faith by fasting. They are not allowed to eat or drink during daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations also are forbidden.
"I don't know if it's coincidental, but our entire community is very sad," Jassemm said.
Siblani added: "I don't know of any other reason they would do this. They say it's an ongoing criminal investigation, but we don't know the real reason behind this. We'll just have to wait and see. But I believe at the end of the day, our justice system will work."
News of the investigation led to mixed reactions at the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), based in Lathrup Village.
"At one moment, I was surprised. But at the same moment, I was disappointed, like, here we go again," said Executive Director Dawud Walid. "Times have gotten worse for us, and we don't know the foreseeable end to these situations. ... The consequences of these types of raids have a chilling effect on the Muslim community."
Walid said he highly doubts anything will come of the investigation and is not sure what evidence authorities have against Life for Relief and Development.
"Judging by the reputation of the organization and the director, we are highly confident that there will not be any links with this organization at any time with extremist or terrorist affiliation, and there never has been in the past," he said.
"That poses another question: If this is an ongoing criminal investigation which has yet to yield any criminal charges or arrests, why was the investigation so intense, garnering so much media attention? I don't believe this is the normal standards of the FBI. ... I believe if this was not a Muslim charity - if it were a Jewish or Christian charity - it would not have been treated in the same manner."(MORE)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Walid comments further on FBI raid of Life for Relief & Development

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/18/america/NA_GEN_US_Muslim_Charity_Raided.php

Federal agents raid Islamic charity in suburban Detroit
SOUTHFIELD, Michigan Federal counterterrorism officials on Monday raided the suburban Detroit offices of an international Muslim humanitarian organization.
FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents executed search warrants at the headquarters of Life for Relief and Development in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.
The warrants were based on a criminal assertion, but the affidavits in support of the warrants are sealed, William Kowalski, an assistant special agent in the FBI's Detroit office, told the Detroit Free Press.
"The warrants have been signed off by a judge, and it pertains to an ongoing criminal matter," FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney told The Associated Press. She did not give additional details.
Agents hauled away documents, letters and ledgers starting at about 9 a.m. (1300 GMT), said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Walid said agents told officials at the charity that the raid was related to criminal activity.
"They're seizing documents," Walid said. "They haven't closed down the charity, they haven't filed any charges against the organization nor have they arrested anyone. It was totally unexpected and they're baffled."
Mohammed Alomari, spokesman for Life for Relief and Development, described the federal agents as courteous and said staff members who remained in the office were cooperating. He said much of the staff was sent home for the day after agents arrived...(MORE)

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060918/UPDATE/609180422

Feds raid Southfield Muslim organization
Paul Egan / The Detroit News


SOUTHFIELD -- FBI agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided the Southfield offices of an American Muslim relief organization today, but would not disclose the nature of the criminal investigation they were conducting.
The FBI executed a search warrant at the offices of Life for Relief and Development, located off 10 Mile Road, at about 9 a.m. and remained there for several hours, FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney said.
The reasons given to a federal judge to obtain the search warrant were sealed and no arrests had yet been made. The search is "pertaining to a criminal matter," Clenney said.
Life for Relief describes itself on its website as the largest American Muslim humanitarian relief organization. The non-profit organization was founded in 1992 by concerned Iraqi-American professionals in response to the crisis in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War, the website says.
The charity says it has provided more than $50 million in aid to over 13 million people around the world.
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said he spoke to Life for Relief's director this morning and the director said he had no idea why the raid was executed.
"There have been no charges and no arrests thus far," Walid said...(MORE)

Muslim charity gets raided by the FBI for what?

Why is the FBI sensationalizing a raid of a Muslim charity without filing any charges or making any arrests? Is this the standard operating procedure of the FBI with Non-Muslims?

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060918/NEWS99/60918019

Federal agents raid Muslim charity in Southfield
September 18, 2006

By Niraj Warikoo
Free Press Staff Writer

Federal counterterrorism agents raided a Muslim charity in Southfield on Monday morning, according to the FBI.Agents with the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force executed search warrants at the headquarters for Life for Relief and Development, a Southfield-based charity that works in Arab and Muslim countries around the world. The warrants were based on a criminal predicate, said William Kowalski, assistant special agent in charge for the Detroit office of the FBI. The affidavits in support of the warrants are sealed, he said. At about 9 a.m., agents raided the Southfield office, hauling away documents, letters and ledgers, said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Agents told officials with the charity that the raid was related to some sort of criminal activity, Walid said...(MORE)

Walid briefly comments on Pope Benedict's boorish statements

The following comments were made at the Bosnian-American Islamic Center in Hamtramck, Michigan on September 17, 2006. Cut and paste the following link:

http://media.putfile.com/Comments-about-Pope-Benedict

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Walid appointed Ambassador for Peace by IIFWP

On September 15, 2006, Dawud Walid was appointed an Ambassador for Peace by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), which is an organization that strives to promote peace and dialouge among the civil, political, academic and religious leaders worldwide.

For more information, log on www.peacefederation.org.

Walid comments on the need for more Muslim facilities

http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/base/news-39/1158328509167590.xml&coll=5

New site proposed for Muslim cemetery
CLAYTON TOWNSHIP
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Friday, September 15, 2006
By Beata Mostafavi
bmostafavi@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6210

New cemetery plan
Three years after failing to get approval for an Islamic Cemetery in Flint Township, Flint Generals owner Dr. Khaled Shukairy has a similar plan for Clayton Township.

Where: A 56-acre farmland on Morrish Road, north of Corunna Road, south of Calkins Road.
Conceptual plan (not yet an official site plan): 2,453 grave sites, a prayer center and area for homes. Would include several phases over several years.
Westland's Islamic Memorial Gardens is the only other exclusively Islamic cemetery in the state.

CLAYTON TWP. - Local Muslims are hoping a tree-dotted field here will become a final resting place for their loved ones.
Three years after Flint Township officials rejected Dr. Khaled Shukairy's proposal to build an Islamic cemetery there, he has plans for a similar project north of Corunna Road that could potentially hold 2,453 gravesites.
The 56-acre farmland with the rust-red barn and patches of violet florets on Morrish Road could be replaced by rows of grave sites of the first Islamic cemetery in the county and second in the state.
Some say the rare project - whose conceptual plan includes an area for a prayer building, cemetery and about 30 acres for 1-acre-lot, single family homes in a future phase- is a sign of a growing Muslim community carving a place in this end of the state.
"We respect the dead and want to have a place for them," said Dr. Abdelmajid Jondy, president of the Islamic Center in Clayton Township. "It's pretty simple. We have our own burial (rites) as do the Christians, as do the Jews. I think it's time for us to have a cemetery here."
Jondy, who like Shukairy came to the United States from Syria, said the Muslim population in this county has gone from fewer than 20 families in 1971 to more than 200 now.
While sections of nondenominational cemeteries - which fill rapidly - have been set aside for Muslims, an exclusive cemetery is unusual, even near Metro Detroit where an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 Muslims live.
In June, the 15,000-plot Islamic Memorial Gardens, the first all-Islamic cemetery in the state, opened in Westland.
"Muslim cemeteries are extremely rare throughout America at this time," said Dawud Walid, executive director for the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "But with the growing population, the community's needs grow as well."
An estimated 600,000 Muslims live in Michigan, he said, noting that many face harassment and opposition to building something faith-related, such as a mosque or community center post-Sept. 11, 2001...(MORE)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Walid gives sermon related to Ramadan and the mercy of G'd

Cut and paste the following link:
http://media.putfile.com/Two-Portions-of-Mercy-from-Gd

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Message for Friday - Rationalization Produced Satan

وأخرج أبو نعيم في الحلية والديلمي عن جعفر بن محمد عن جده " أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: قال أو من قاس أمر الدين برأيه إبليس. قال الله له: اسجد لآدم. فقال : أنا خير منه خلقتني من نار وخلقته من طين
It is related that Prophet Muhammad, Messenger of G'd (SAAS) stated that whoever uses analogical reasoning in matters clearly defined in religion, he is using the reasoning of Iblees.
G'd commanded him [Iblees] to prostrate to Adam. Iblees responded as told in the Qur'an:
I am better than him [Adam], you created me from fire and you created him from clay.
Unlike Christian theology, it is not an aspect of the faith of Muslims that the original sin in creation was of Adam eating from the forbidden fruit, which he was seduced to eat by Eve.
The Qur'an and prophetic traditions of Islam relate that the initial grave trangression of a created being was that of Iblees [Lucifer according to Christian tradition] disobeying the command of G'd when angels and Iblees were commanded to prostrate to Adam.
This clear command that G'd gave to Iblees was not obeyed due to the rationalization and comparison that Iblees made with Adam's perceived inferiority. Ibless' rationalization transformed him into the accursed Satan; G'd did not create the Satan.
Inductive reasoning is a powerful tool that the Creator has given to men and jinn. When inductive reasoning, however, supersedes clear commands from G'd, it leads to the ruining of the body and life that houses the mind.
If one beleives in an Intelligent Being Who created the entire universe, should not this same person beleive that the Creator knows better what brings about wholesome, productive life?
And surely G'd knows best.

Interfaith event between African-Americans & Jewish-Americans or Evangelical & Pro-Israeli propaganda?

Tonight in Detroit, the Fellowship of Israel and Black America (FIBA) will be holding an event to propagate the misnomer that African-Americans and Israelis have a natural connection whose interests are mutually exclusive.

Rev. Glen Plummer, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric is well known to African-American Muslim leaders, is one of the key organizers of the new evangelical, ultra-Zionist organization FIBA, which is based in Plymouth, Michigan.

With Islam being the fastest growing religion among African-Americans and waning pro-Israeli sentiments within mainstream America, this organization reeks a marriage of political convenience.

The doctrine of evangelical Christians states that those who do not expect Jesus as their lord and saviour will be damned to hell-fire, which includes Jews. Rev. Plummer, who comes from this school of thought, has no spiritual interest in having brotherly conversation with Jews outside of conversion if he is holding fast to this doctrine. Thus, this is political marriage. It does not hurt that his endeavors receive funding from those who are not of his ethnic and religious group either.


http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060914/NEWS05/609140334/-1/BUSINESS07

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Walid Addresses Numerous Topics on Ohio Radio Show

On WAIF 88.3 FM in Cincinatti, Ohio, Dawud Walid spoke for approximately two hours on talk radio addressing a vast array of contemporary Muslim issues.

Part 1 - Importance of the leadership of Imam WD Mohammed and Islam's influence on Hip-Hop
http://media.putfile.com/Part-1-interview-on-WAIF-883

Part 2 - Monotheism in Islam and the Importance of Interfaith dialog
http://media.putfile.com/Part-2-interview-on-WAIF-883

Part 3 - Importance of Respecting Culture
http://media.putfile.com/Part-3-interview-on-WAIF-883

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Comcast to show Bridges TV without additional surcharges

Today at the Muslim Center in Detroit, Michigan, Comcast and Bridges TV announced that Bridges TV, America's first all English Muslim television station, will be offerred at no additional cost.

Log on www.MuslimsforComcast.com

Monday, September 11, 2006

Walid comments on 9/11 and the "War on Terror"

The following comment was printed in the Detroit News on the 5th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01:

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan (from a talk at the conference of the National Association of Black Journalists): Sept. 11 only heightened the misconceptions about Islam. Islam-phobia has risen in the post-Sept. 11 era among certain populations in the United States.

If there was a different administration [with] a different language about the Muslim community and had a different foreign policy and a domestic agenda, and a different agenda on the so-called war on terror, I think Islam-phobia would decrease.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060911/OPINION01/609110303/1008

Friday, September 08, 2006

Walid gives sermon on 5th anniversary of 9/11

Cut and paste the following link:
http://media.putfile.com/9-11-anniversary-sermon

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Message for Friday - Islam Clearly Prohibits Terrorism

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Terrorism, the unlawful or threaten use of force or violence against a group of people or government that is driven by an ideological or political aspiration, is strictly forbidden in Islam. In the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions (ahadeeth), there is no formal term called terrorism. However, prohibition of aspects of the modern term called terrorism, are addressed.

Aspects of Terrorism addressed in the Qur’an and ahadeeth:

Vigilantism is prohibited:

The Qur’an (6:151) - … Do not kill a person/soul, which G’d has made sacred except by what is right [and just].
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ

Killing of civilians is prohibited:

The Qur’an – (2:190) - And fight in the way of G’d with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely G’d does not love those who exceed the limits.
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

In Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Abi Dawud, it is recorded that that the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) came across a deceased woman at a battle, and he communicated his disdain for the killing of women and children.
وَجَدْت اِمْرَأَة فِي بَعْض مَغَازِي النَّبِيّ - صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ - مَقْتُولَة فَأَنْكَرَ رَسُول اللَّه - صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ - قَتْل النِّسَاء وَالصِّبْيَان

Torture is prohibited:

As-Seerah by Ibn Hishaam - `Umar said to the Messenger of G’d (SAAS), Oh Messenger of G’d! Let me pull out the front teeth of Suhayl; his tongue will stick out, and he will not be able to speak against you again. The Messenger of G’d (SAAS) said: No, I will not multilate him, so G’d will not multilate me, even though I am a prophet.
فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : لا أمثل به فيمثل الله بي ، وإن كنت نبياً

Kitaab Al-Kharaaj by Abu Yusuf - From Sa`eed ibn Zayd that he passed by a people who were being coerced to stand in the sun in some part of Syria [Shaam]. He said, What is the matter with them? It was said to him, they have been made to stand in the sun for non-payment of the tax [jizyah]. He said that he disliked that and went to their leader and said, surely I heard the Messenger of G’d (SAAS) say: Whoever tortures people, G’d will punish him.
من عذب الناس عذبه الله

Suicide including suicide bombing is prohibited:

The Qur’an (4:29) – Do not kill yourselves.
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ

Physical jihad differs from terrorism. Jihad means exertion or struggle, which can include, but is not limited, taking up arms.

Jihad for self-defense:

The Qur’an (2:190) - And fight in the way of G’d with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely G’d does not love those who exceed the limits.
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

Jihad to liberate the oppressed:

The Qur’an (4:75) – And how should you not fight in the path of G’d and of the weak among men and of the women and the children who say: Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! And give us from your presence a protecting friend! And give us from your presence a helper!
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيرًا

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Walid Speaks about Muslim Community's Need to Engage the Media

On Saturday, September 2, 2006, Dawud Walid addressed a mix crowd of Muslim community activists and journalists about the importance of engaging American media outlets and mainstreaming the message of Islam to the American public.

Listen: http://media.putfile.com/Dawud-Walid-Speaks-About-Media-at-Zaman-International-Conference-06-in-Dearborn

Professor from LSU clarifies misinformation about Islam from the media

http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion/3846081.html

In the “Background” feature of Aug. 28, there were a number of misleading if not absolutely incorrect statements made in regard to Islam.
First of all, Muhammad did not teach that the “only way to God” was “through him, Muhammad.” In fact, Muhammad recognized the validity of the revelations claimed by both Judaism and Christianity. While the Qur’an (the preferred English spelling, rather than Koran) was regarded as God’s final and complete revelation, Islamic governments tolerated other monotheistic religions to a degree unmatched in Christian political states until the 18th century. Further, while Islamic tradition views Muhammad as the best exemplar of Muslim life, he is most assuredly not a savior figure who controls access to God.
Secondly, it is incorrect to assert that Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini simply “insisted on a very strict, literal interpretation of the [Qur’an].” What Khomeini insisted upon was a very strict application of shari’a — Islamic law — of which the Qur’an forms the basis, supplemented by the hadith (written traditions about the Prophet Muhammad) as well as some 1,400 years of Islamic jurisprudence (which, like Western law, places great significance on precedence). Further, as a representative of the “Hidden Imam” in Iran’s “Twelver” form of Shi’ism, Khomeini would have been recognized as having a teaching authority that transcended any mere literalist interpretation of the Qur’an.
Finally, the assertion that “Islam is bound by tradition” is, on the one hand, an assertion that can be made about virtually any religion; and on the other hand a dismissal of the variety of forms within Islam, as well as the tremendous adaptability that Islamic cultures have demonstrated throughout history. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, is far removed in spirit and practice from the Republic of Turkey. Further, many of the most important foundations of modern science came into the West from Islamic areas where “tradition” did not prevent remarkable advances in medicine, mathematics and numerous other fields.
One comment — that Khomeini “viewed religion and politics as being inseparable” — is undeniable because it is typical of most forms of religious fundamentalism. What troubles me more than Khomeini’s position on this matter, however, is the fact that politicians in this country — such as Florida U.S. Rep. and candidate for Senate Katherine Harris (as reported in a story that appeared in The Advocate Aug. 27) — continue to advocate the very same position. According to this Associated Press report, Harris classified the separation of church and state as “a lie” and argued that the founders did not seek to create “a nation of secular laws.” I wonder — from whose form of “fundamentalism” do we as Americans have most to fear?

Rodger M. Payne, chair
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, LSU
Baton Rouge

Misinformation campaign regarding Darfur is alive & well

With the African Union in the process of withdrawing its troops from the war torn region of Darfur in Sudan, the Sudanese government is still balking at the United Nations sending peacekeepers into the region. Indeed, the Sudanese government has its own self interests in mind for not allowing Non-African troops into Sudan; however, misinformation propagated by members of the UN Security Council relating to the situation in Darfur could be considered one of several valid reasons to the Sudanese government for denying UN peacekeepers into Darfur.

The US government, in particular, along with lazy US reporters have continued to call the conflict in Darfur a "genocide" perpetrated by "Arabs" against "Africans." This misinformation has not only skewed the discourse of problem solving this horrible situation; it has also embolden rebel factions to continue fighting.

Read the following commentary, which debunks this misiformation. Unfortunately less than a week after its publication, the Washington Post decided to pull this article from its website.

5 Truths About Darfur
By Emily Wax
Sunday, April 23, 2006; B03

KOU KOU ANGARANA, Chad
Heard all you need to know about Darfur? Think again. Three years after a government-backed militia began fighting rebels and residents in this region of western Sudan, much of the conventional wisdom surrounding the conflict -- including the religious, ethnic and economic factors that drive it -- fails to match the realities on the ground. Tens of thousands have died and some 2.5 million have been displaced, with no end to the conflict in sight.

Here are five truths to challenge the most common misconceptions about Darfur:

1 Nearly everyone is Muslim.
Early in the conflict, I was traveling through the desert expanses of rebel-held Darfur when, amid decapitated huts and dead livestock, our SUV roared up to an abandoned green and white mosque, riddled with bullets, its windows shattered. In my travels, I've seen destroyed mosques all over Darfur. The few men left in the villages shared the same story: As government Antonov jets dropped bombs, Janjaweed militia members rode in on horseback and attacked the town's mosque -- usually the largest structure in town. The strange thing, they said, was that the attackers were Muslim, too. Darfur is home to some of Sudan's most devout Muslims, in a country where 65 percent of the population practices Islam, the official state religion.A long-running but recently pacified war between Sudan's north and south did have religious undertones, with the Islamic Arab-dominated government fighting southern Christian and animist African rebels over political power, oil and, in part, religion."But it's totally different in Darfur," said Mathina Mydin, a Malaysian nurse who worked in a clinic on the outskirts of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. "As a Muslim myself, I wanted to bring the sides together under Islam. But I quickly realized this war had nothing to do with religion."

2 Everyone is black.
Although the conflict has also been framed as a battle between Arabs and black Africans, everyone in Darfur appears dark-skinned, at least by the usual American standards. The true division in Darfur is between ethnic groups, split between herders and farmers. Each tribe gives itself the label of "African" or "Arab" based on what language its members speak and whether they work the soil or herd livestock. Also, if they attain a certain level of wealth, they call themselvesArab. Sudan melds African and Arab identities. As Arabs began to dominate the government in the past century and gave jobs to members of Arab tribes, being Arab became a political advantage; some tribes adopted that label regardless of their ethnic affiliation. More recently, rebels have described themselves as Africans fighting an Arab government. Ethnic slurs used by both sides in recent atrocities have riven communities that once lived together and intermarried."Black Americans who come to Darfur always say, 'So where are the Arabs? Why do all these people look black?' " said Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh, editor of Sudan's independent Al-Ayam newspaper. "The bottom line is that tribes have intermarried forever in Darfur. Men even have one so-called Arab wife and one so-called African. Tribes started labeling themselves this way several decades ago for political reasons. Who knows what the real bloodlines are in Darfur?"

3 It's all about politics.
Although analysts have emphasized the racial and ethnic aspects of the conflict in Darfur, a long-running political battle between Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir and radical Islamic cleric Hassan al-Turabi may be more relevant.A charismatic college professor and former speaker of parliament, Turabi has long been one of Bashir's main political rivals and an influential figure in Sudan. He has been fingered as an extremist; before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks Turabi often referred to Osama bin Laden as a hero. More recently, the United Nations and human rights experts have accused Turabi of backing one of Darfur's key rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement, in which some of his top former students are leaders.Because of his clashes with Bashir, Turabi is usually under house arrest and holds forth in his spacious Khartoum villa for small crowds of followers and journalists. But diplomats say he still mentors rebels seeking to overthrow the government."Darfur is simply the battlefield for a power struggle over Khartoum," said Ghazi Suleiman, a Sudanese human rights lawyer. "That's why the government hit back so hard. They saw Turabi's hand, and they want to stay in control of Sudan at any cost."

4 This conflict is international.
China and Chad have played key roles in the Darfur conflict.In 1990, Chad's Idriss Deby came to power by launching a military blitzkrieg from Darfur and overthrowing President Hissan Habre. Deby hails from the elite Zaghawa tribe, which makes up one of the Darfur rebel groups trying to topple the government. So when the conflict broke out, Deby had to decide whether to support Sudan or his tribe. He eventually chose his tribe.Now the Sudanese rebels have bases in Chad; I interviewed them in towns full of Darfurians who tried to escape the fighting. Meanwhile, Khartoum is accused of supporting Chad's anti-Deby rebels, who have a military camp in West Darfur. (Sudan's government denies the allegations.) Last week, bands of Chadian rebels nearly took over the capital, N'Djamena. When captured, some of the rebels were carrying Sudanese identification.Meanwhile, Sudan is China's fourth-biggest supplier of imported oil, and that relationship carries benefits. China, which holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council, has said it will stand by Sudan against U.S. efforts to slap sanctions on the country and in the battle to force Sudan to replace the African Union peacekeepers with a larger U.N. presence. China has built highways and factories in Khartoum, even erecting the Friendship Conference Hall, the city's largest public meeting place.

5 The "genocide" label made it worse.
Many of the world's governments have drawn the line at labeling Darfur as genocide. Some call the conflict a case of ethnic cleansing, and others have described it as a government going too far in trying to put down a rebellion.But in September 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell referred to the conflict as a "genocide." Rather than spurring greater international action, that label only seems to have strengthened Sudan's rebels; they believe they don't need to negotiate with the government and think they will have U.S. support when they commit attacks. Peace talks have broken down seven times, partly because the rebel groups have walked out of negotiations. And Sudan's government has used the genocide label to market itself in the Middle East as another victim of America's anti-Arab and anti-Islamic policies.

Perhaps most counterproductive, the United States has failed to follow up with meaningful action. "The word 'genocide' was not an action word; it was a responsibility word," Charles R. Snyder, the State Department's senior representative on Sudan, told me in late 2004. "There was an ethical and moral obligation, and saying it underscored how seriously we took this." The Bush administration's recent idea of sending several hundred NATO advisers to support African Union peacekeepers falls short of what many advocates had hopedfor."We called it a genocide and then we wine and dine the architects of the conflict by working with them on counterterrorism and on peace in the south," said Ted Dagne, an Africa expert for the Congressional Research Service. "I wish I knew a way to improve the situation there. But it's only getting worse."

waxe@washpost.com

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Interview of President Ahmadinejad with Mike Wallace


On August 8, 2006, 60 Minutes featured an interview with the current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14547.htm

Mike Wallace was very disrespectful to a head of state.

Israel still holding Hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese Hostage

As aid and peacekeepers trickle into Southern Lebanon following the armed struggle between Hizbullah and the Israeli Defense Forces, hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese are still being held illegally by the Israeli government. US media has spoken about the capture of the Israeli soliders in Gaza and Southern Lebanon void of context to what truly sparked the recent border conflicts.

Since 2000, the United Nations has reported that the IDF has made hundreds, almost daily incursions, into Lebanese soil. Furthermore, Palestinians and Lebanese civilians, including women and children, have been held hostage by Israeli security forces during this same period of time. Currently, Israel is holding corspes of Lebanese men as a bargaining tool for calling for the release for three of their solidiers, which is in clear violation of the Geneva Convention Articles 118 and 119.

Below are comments from an anti-war rally, which took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan prior to the so-called cease fire agreement.

http://www.easternecho.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?5017

Locals protest war in Lebanon Hundreds march, listen to speeches in Ann Arbor
By Dan DuChene / Staff Writer
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2006

More than 325 people assembled in downtown Ann Arbor on Aug. 11 to protest U.S. involvement in the war in Lebanon and called for an immediate cease-fire in the region. The crowd assembled on the steps of the Federal Building, located at 200 E. Liberty St., at 4 p.m. The protesters yielded signs and chanted for an immediate cease-fire in the region. "Who is the terrorist?" someone said into a bullhorn. A group responded by shouting, "Israel!" Nazih Hassan of Ypsilanti was one of the organizers of the event. He said two hours after the protest, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel. The two were at war for several weeks this summer in southern Lebanon. "I thought that we conveyed the message that the cease-fire was needed immediately," Hassan said. "We hope that peace will return to the area." Hassan sits on the board of directors of an Ann Arbor-based organization called the Muslim Community Association. He said the cease-fire went into effect in Lebanon on Aug. 14, the Monday following the gathering. "We are here to shed light on what is really going on in Lebanon," Hassan said when he addressed the protesters. "The same genius who conceived the war in Iraq, unfortunately conceived this war," Hassan told the audience. "We all know how well the Iraq war went. "It's this same Orwellian principal that war is peace," Hassan said. "Self-defense is not a reason for the destruction of a whole country."

Five other speakers addressed the crowd at the protest. Representatives from the Council for American-Islamic Relations, Michigan Peaceworks, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Arab and Iranian Women Against War and the Muslim Students Organization all delivered speeches at the rally. Chuck Warpehoski is the executive director for the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. In his speech, Warpehoski said, "We are here to mourn the over thousand dead in Lebanon. We are here to mourn the dozens dead in Israel." He said the dead Israelites break his heart as well. He called for "humanity in front of racial and religious differences." "We ask the voices in the Jewish community who normally oppose war to oppose this war as well," Warpehoski said. After this statement, a member in the audience said, "We're here."

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, was another speaker at the protest. "It is American tax dollars being used to pay for those bombs that are killing innocent civilians in Lebanon," Walid said "We stand here as Americans to ask our administration to stop sending material-aid to this country," he told the protesters. "They even bombed the Parker Brothers building," Walid said, "The interests of the United States of America and the interests of Israel are not this." After the speeches were complete, the protesters then marched through the streets of downtown Ann Arbor.

During the march, the crowd chanted slogans and waved banners. Demonstrators shouted slogans like "Free, free Lebanon" as they marched along Liberty Street to Main Street and followed it to Huron Street. The march then proceeded down Huron Street to Division and onto Williams Street. They finished up the march by taking Williams Street to Main Street, then back to Liberty Street. The crowd re-assembled on the steps of the Federal Building. Hassan said the United Nations resolution also promised an international force to establish order and rebuild southern Lebanon. He said the resolution called for the disarmament of Hezbollah. "All of these are good," Hassan said. "I want Hezbollah to be disarmed." However, Hassan said the cease-fire has not been completely successful. Hassan said, "Israel's raid of Lebanon was a direct violation of the UN resolution." In spite of his opinion of the event that occurred after the cease-fire, Hassan said the cease-fire "seems to be holding up."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Walid speaks about discrimination after 9/11

http://newsinfo.inq7.net/breakingnews/world/view_article.php?article_id=18722

US Muslims plagued by discrimination after 9/11
By Mira ObermanAgence France-Presse
09/03/2006
DEARBORN, Michigan -- Discrimination and harassment by law enforcement have come to plague American Muslims in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
There have been suspicious looks, slurs, physical attacks, extra screening at airports and arrests on groundless charges.
And it seems to be getting worse.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 39 percent of Americans admit to being prejudiced against Muslims and that nearly a quarter say they would not want a Muslim for a neighbor.
"Most Americans don't know Muslims except for those they work with in an urban environment so all the information they get is through the media," said Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
After having shown some restraint in his rhetoric after 19 Muslim men affiliated with Al-Qaeda flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush has of late been using far more inflammatory language such as 'Islamofacists,' Walid said.
"When the religious and political leaders use polarizing language these are the unfortunate side effects. It stretches from the likes of (Christian Coalition leader) Pat Robinson all the way up to President Bush."
CAIR has seen a steady increase in the number of complaints of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment over the past five years. In 2004, complaints rose 49 percent to 1,522, of which 141 were reports of actual and potentially violent hate crimes.
It appears that those numbers will continue to rise in 2005 and 2006, Walid said...(MORE)

Walid speaks at Interfaith panel on Mideast

http://www.arabamericannews.com/newsarticle.php?articleid=6203


Interfaith dialogue held on Mideast
By Aatif Ali Bokhari -- The Arab American News:

DETROIT – A Christian, Jewish and Muslim panel gathered earlier this week to discuss the importance of the Holy Land in their faiths.
St. Peter Catholic Church in Harper Woods hosted the event, "Are You As Confused About The Middle East As I Am?" on Tuesday. About 35 attendees, the majority of them senior citizens, took part in the morning program.
Panel participants included Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations - Michigan Chapter (CAIR-MI); Sharona Shapiro, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee; and Reverand Daniel Buttry of International Ministries.
The goal of the meeting was not to have debate over political issues but to share feelings on the importance of the Holy Land. "If you came here with a sharpened sword, my job is to disarm you today," said moderator Steve Spreitzer, to chuckles from the crowd.
Shapiro spoke extensively about the meaning of the word Zion, noting, "Zion can also refer to the people of God, the kingdom of God and the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. … When praying, Jews face towards Jerusalem."
Shapiro added that throughout the centuries since Jews were exiled from the Holy Land, they have always clung to the idea of returning to Jerusalem. She said that a small number of Jews have always lived there.
Walid said that the idea of the Holy Land being sacred was not foreign to Muslims either. "In strict Islamic theology the city of Jerusalem is a sanctuary. The cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are considered haram, which means there can be no fighting there.
"In the time of the Prophet Muhammed, the first place Muslims were told to face in prayer was not Mecca but Jerusalem, just as in Jewish tradition.
"It's very important to understand that although Mecca is considered the holiest site in Islam, it had been a place of idols. The Prophet Muhammed turned his back on this place as a symbolic gesture which is why he didn't pray facing Mecca first, as well as to show solidarity with the other prophets.
"In the 17th chapter of the Qur'an in the first verse is an event called the night journey of the Prophet Muhammed. From the location of the Sacred Mosque in Jerusalem he made a journey to heaven - it is the reason that Jerusalem is so important to Muslims," said Walid.
Buttry said that he was tempted to say that the Holy Land was not as important to Christianity as the other two faiths, and that the idea of Zion as a people was more important than as a geographic region to Jesus. "You are to be my witnesses to all the earth," said Jesus to the disciples, according to the Reverend.
Buttry said that today people visit the Middle East, but that is for personal inspiration, not religious mandate. The crusades, he said, were a way of busying idle Christian soldiers so that they would not cause trouble in Europe. Buttry said that the popes of Europe made the decision at the expense of Muslims and Jews who suffered greatly at the marauding crusaders' hands.
Buttry added that in the last 50 years, a number of Protestant groups – who interpret literally Biblical verses and claim the verses portend the coming of Armageddon after the Jews regain control of the Holy Land – have called for unconditional support of Israel. He said that he believed that Fundamentalist Christian support of the Jews is out of opportunism.

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