Thursday, November 30, 2006

Michigan Civil Rights leader condemns violence againt Detroit Muslim

US States News

November 29, 2006

Wednesday 1:11 AM EST


The Michigan Department of Civil Rights issued the following news release:
Linda V. Parker, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), has issued the following statement on behalf of the Department following what appears to be an anti-Muslim attack of a Detroit man on November 27th:

"The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is again compelled to speak out against any and all acts of hate. According to a press release issued yesterday by the Council On American-Islamic Relations, the men engaged in the violent assault of a Detroit Muslim shouted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs during the attack. Although all acts of violence are unfortunate, targeting victims based on religion and ethnicity has a chilling effect on all members of that community.

On a related note, I am personally alarmed at the recent spike in particularly egregious alleged hate crimes in Michigan. Over the last few weeks Michigan residents have reported several serious alleged hate crimes, including:
- In Van Buren Township on October 23rd, an African American couple returned from a trip to find their residence severely vandalized, including racial slurs and threats spray-painted onto the walls.
- In Grand Rapids on November 11th, an Asian man was beaten and remains in a coma following an incident created by racially derogatory remarks directed at the man and his friends.

While we will leave the investigation of the criminal allegations to local, state and federal law enforcement authorities, the Department will be engaged in victim and community support in the wake of these tragedies. It is our hope that all involved perpetrators are brought to justice, and that residents and leaders in Michigan act quickly to confirm that acts of hate will not be tolerated."

Through the work of the Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes, MDCR works to provide resources and training to local law enforcement, community, civic and faith-based organizations who want to help fight hate and intolerance in their community.

In addition, through MDCR's Crisis Response Team, the Department is also available to provide support to victims of hate crime and communities attempting to cope in the aftermath of such incidents.

Individuals, families, agencies or community members in need of
support should call our Department at (800) 482-3604 and ask to speak
to members of our Crisis Response Team.

For more information on the Department of Civil Rights visit the
Department's website at http://www.michigan .gov/mdcr.

Message for Friday - Verification of news and testimony is essential

G'd says in the Qur'an (49.6): "Oh you who beleive! When a corrupt person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards be full of repentance for what you have done.

In the age of the internet, humans are able to receive information at a rate never imagined by previous generations. This advancement, however, has opened the door to people with corrupt intentions to circulate misinformation as never before.

Hence, a person, even with the most sincere intentions, can see, hear, or read information, yet be led astray by one who seeks to defame or present a particular perspective for their own monetary benefit, fame or vengeful desires against a particular issue, group or person . Therefore, the Qur'an calls the sincere to also be responsible in their intaking and spreading of reports that they have received.

The following questions should be asked when receiving news:
1) Is the person who gives the information being paid to represent a particular perspective?
2) Is the person who gives the information known for misreporting in the past?
3) Is the person known to be unethical in business?
4) Is there a possible motive attached to giving a particular perspective?
5) Is the person sane?
6) Is there means to verify the veracity of the information?
7) Is there reporting mixed with assumptions or commentary about events or potential issues that have yet to occur?
8) Is this person known to be unjust and/or prejudice?

These are some of the points that can be used as a litmus test, be it hearing conversations about an issue, group or person, seeing or hearing news on television or reading blogs.


The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "Ascertainment is from G'd, and rushed judgment is from the Satan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

1 male charged with 3 felonies for assault on Detroit Muslim

Detroit man charged in beating case

November 29, 2006

By Niraj Warikoo and Naomi R. Patton

Free Press Staff Writers

A Detroit man suspected of beating a 51-year-old neighbor while hurling ethnic insults at him was charged Wednesday with home invasion in the first degree and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

Combined, the two charges carry a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Ernest Domenech, 19 of Detroit, is expected to be arraigned in the case later this afternoon, according to a news release from the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Shafick Shoaib, 51 of Detroit, said he was beated up on Monday at his home on Piedmont by a group of men who made anti-Arab and anti-Muslim remarks while assaulting him. Shoaib, a U.S. citizen, was born in Egypt and is Muslim, while his alleged assailants are white.

Domenech, speaking on Tuesday from the Wayne County Jail, said he was not at home when the beating occurred.

"I wasn't there at the time," he said. "I went to the store."

Police are investigating another suspect who may have been involved in the attack, according to the news release.

“Mr. Shoaib is a long-time resident of the Warrendale area of Detroit and never had trouble with anyone until the defendant moved into the neighborhood," Worthy said in a statement. "This case is an extremely ugly neighborhood dispute that culminated in the defendant becoming violent. The primary motive for the home invasion and the brutal attack was because the defendant became upset about some words the victim allegedly said."

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has asked prosecutors to charge the suspect with a hate crime.

But Worthy said that "while the evidence shows there were some ethnic insults uttered during the assault they do not support the two-year misdemeanor charge of ethnic intimidation."

Walid comments on need for Federal probe into attack on Detroit Muslim

Detroiter beaten outside his home
Muslim leaders call it a hate crime

November 29, 2006



There are at least two versions of how Shafik Shoaib was beaten Monday evening in front of his home in the Warrendale neighborhood on Detroit's west side. One of them, if true, could constitute a federal crime.

At a news conference Tuesday, area Muslim leaders called the beating a hate crime. They allege that a group of 10 white men repeatedly swore at Shoaib and told him "go back to where you came from."

But the neighbor involved in the incident, Kelly DuVall, 40, tells a different story. She said Shoaib started the argument when he admonished her about smoking on her front lawn near his children.

Both DuVall and Shoaib, 51, said this isn't the first clash between them since DuVall moved to the neighborhood in February.

Detroit police have arrested one man, Ernest Domenech, 19, who lives in DuVall's home and is engaged to her daughter, Angela.

At the news conference in front of Shoaib's Piedmont Street home, Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the men used profanity and slurs, saying Shoaib is an Arab, a Muslim and wasn't American.

"They beat an American citizen like a dog in front of his children," Walid said. "There is no excuse."

Walid said CAIR wants the incident to be investigated by local and federal authorities as a hate crime.

During the news conference, Shoaib sat on his front porch with crutches, a broken, bruised nose and swollen eyes. He also suffered a sprained right knee, a fractured left leg and cuts to his head.

His blood-soaked clothes sat in a bag at his feet. Drops of blood and broken glass remained on the porch of the home where Shoaib has lived for 17 years. The bottom of his screen door was kicked in.

His wife and four of his children, ranging in age from 4 to 11 years old, were home during the attack.

"They said, 'If you are a man, just come out,' " Shoaib said. "I'm scared about my life, my kids. I don't feel normal anymore."

Shoaib said his family called Detroit police about five times during the attack, but no one responded before the ambulance took him to Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn.

James Tate, a Detroit police spokesman, said Shoaib identified Domenech as one of his attackers. But Domenech, speaking by phone from the Wayne County Jail, said he was not at home when the beating occurred.

"I wasn't there at the time," he said. "I went to the store."

And DuVall and Mark Floyd, 37, of Westland, said one man -- not 10 -- beat Shoaib. They said they gave his name to police.

Walid has a meeting planned with Wayne County prosecutors today and has spoken with the Detroit-based FBI special agent that handles hate crimes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Muslim leaders allege hate crime in Detroit

November 28, 2006

By Niraj Warikoo

Free Press Staff Writer

In what Muslim leaders are calling a hate crime, a 51-year-old Arab-American Muslim said he was beaten up at his Detroit home by a group of men who repeatedly swore at him and told him to "go back to where you came from."

Shafik Shoaib, a U.S. citizen born in Egypt, was allegedly attacked at his home in Detroit on Piedmont Monday night, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The assailants were a group of about 10 people who were white, Walid said. While beating him, members of the group used slurs and swear words, saying things such as "You're a (expletive) Arab," "You're a (expletive) Muslim," and "You're not a (expletive) American."

At one point, one assailant said that his "great great grandfather was born in're not an American," according to Walid.

Walid said he was with Shoaib when he told his story to Detroit police today.
Shoaib's wife and kids were in the house during the attack, Walid said.

They also threatened to burn down his house. According to Walid, Detroit police are investigating the case and have made one arrest.

Shoaib said some of the people in the group, which included men and women, had been loitering around in the area in the past, smoking and drinking.

Shoaib was taken to Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn for treatment before police arrived at the scene. Shoaib said that his family had called Detroit Police five times during the attack, but no one responded before the ambulance took him to the hospital.

"Based upon the slurs that were stated during the attack, it appears these people have deep-seated Islamophobia in their hearts," Walid said. "We're extremely concerned about the assault, but we're also troubled by the extremely slow response time from the Detroit Police department."

Walid said that Shoaib suffered head contusions, lacerations, a busted nose, blackened eyes, torso bruises, and sprained knees.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Walid's pre-9/11 anniversary sermon

Due to technical error, the post in September of a sermon delivered on 9/8/06 in Southfield, Michigan was not transferred correctly.

Cut & paste to hear the 5 year anniversary sermon on 9/11:

Walid interviews "Zaydi" in Dearborn

The Zaydi school of thought is one of the three schools of jurisprudence in the Shi`ah interpretation of Islam. The Zaydi school is the Shi`ah school closest to the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence, primarily the Shafi`i school. It is also very similiar to the Ibadi school, which is the majority school of thought in Oman.

The following interview is of a Muslim from the Dix mosque in South Dearborn. The gentleman, who was interviewed is not an Imam or scholar of the Zaydi school of thought. As with most Muslims, they are born into a family that follows an particular school of thought and have not studied the basis of that school of thought.

Cut & paste the following link to listen:

Walid addresses youth regarding civil rights

The following speech and Q&A session was on 11/25/06 at the Michigan Institute of Islamic Studies in Dearborn, Michigan.

Cut & paste the following link to listen:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Community update regarding LIFE/Comerica Bank situation and Imams being ejected from US Airways

The following update was given in a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan on Wednesday, November 22, 2006.

Cut and paste to listen:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Walid comments on praying in public in airports

Praying in public concerns Muslims

Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

Muslims protest removal from flight

DEARBORN -- With many Muslims traveling to and from Detroit Metro Airport for major events in December, local leaders said they are concerned about continuing friction at airports and the phenomenon many now call "flying while Muslim."

The Hajj begins on Dec. 29, with thousands attending from Metro Detroit, and the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America are holding their annual convention in Dearborn from Dec. 21-25.

"Our concern is that when there's a large delegation of Muslims traveling from or to the city, when prayer time comes, they may be seen as doing something suspicious, when in fact it is nothing but prayer," said Dawud Walid, the local director of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Muslims generally have two kinds of prayer. One is a silent, often brief invocation that may occur throughout the day. The other, which is supposed to occur five times a day, involves some ceremony beyond simply kneeling, as Muslims prostrate themselves, touching their foreheads to the ground, in order to venerate God.

Eide Alawan of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn said that he always looks for a place to practice that prayer in some isolation. And if no provisions can be made, Alawan said he suggests that Muslims ask for permission and explain to others nearby what they are doing.

"I tell people it's common courtesy," Alawan said.

"I tell Muslims, 'You should ask for permission.' I have never been refused, by the way. There is always an accommodation that can be made."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The truth about the Council on American-Islamic Relations

The Truth about CAIR
By: Hussam Ayloush
Executive Director
CAIR Southern California

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) generally does not bother responding to Steven Emerson, a leading Islamophobe who uses scare tactics to defame mainstream Muslim leaders and organizations. It was Emerson who went on national media in 1995 and insisted that Middle Eastern Muslims were behind the Oklahoma City bombing. He accused Muslims again in the TWA 800 plane crash in 1996.

It is perplexing to see an extremist, anti-Muslim voice make the pages of the Jewish Journal. However, I think it would be of interest to the readership of a mainstream Jewish publication to hear the truth about CAIR’s work in fostering positive relationships with all faith communities, including the Jewish community.

CAIR is the largest American Muslim civil rights organization, with 33 offices across the country. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. CAIR is well respected by public officials, law enforcement and interfaith leaders. Over the past 12 years, we have worked closely with our nation's lawmakers, media and law enforcement agencies to provide them with the Muslim community’s perspective on issues of importance to our society. We have trained and worked closely with FBI agents, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, school principals, teachers, interfaith leaders and groups, and civil rights activists.

Emerson’s real aim is for the Jewish community to shun CAIR solely on the basis of guilt by association. CAIR is the largest advocacy group representing American Muslims, with hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of members. It is ludicrous of Emerson to hold CAIR responsible for the alleged infractions of former affiliates acting on their own volitions. It is similar to blaming the entire U.S. military for a few, wrong acts carried out by a minority of the military personnel.

Emerson also attacks CAIR for defending the civil rights of unpopular individuals. Organizations are judged on the quality of their work and substance of their statements. Like the ACLU, we as a civil rights organization, are bound to defend the rights of all Americans, even those perceived to hold unacceptable views. Unlike Emerson, we strongly believe in the due process.

Moreover, CAIR's early and principled stance against all forms of terrorism is well documented and can be found on our web site, We issued our strong condemnation of terrorism within a matter of hours following the Sept. 11 attacks. On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, we issued the statement, "As American Muslims ... we will not allow terrorist groups like Al-Qaida to be the voice of Muslims or the representation of Islam to the rest of the world." We are additionally proud to have launched one of the many initiatives against terrorism, “Not in the Name of Islam” petition, which has been signed by nearly 700,000 people. That petition was turned into a television public service announcement that was viewed by millions of people nationwide. CAIR also coordinated the release of a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and extremism issued by Muslim scholars in America.

CAIR is a human rights organization. As such, it is our duty and Islamic obligation to speak out against human rights abuses, whatever the faith of the victims or the perpetrators. We recently issued a statement against a predominantly Muslim country, Tunisia, for banning Muslim women from wearing the headscarf. We have regularly been critical of our government’s handling of the Iraq War. Yet, we are not labeled anti-American, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim. However, when we denounce human rights violations committed by Israel, we are quickly criticized as being anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic.

CAIR will speak out against injustices and abuses committed against innocent civilians, whether that be in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel or any other country, including our very own. No country in the world is beyond legitimate criticism. Moreover, an essential tenet of democracy is that no person or nation is above the law.

Emerson’s allegations against CAIR, and his previous attacks on Muslim Public Affairs Council Senior Adviser Maher Hathout, are nothing more than desperate attempts to marginalize the American Muslim community and its leaders, to stifle legitimate debate over the Middle East conflict and to undermine genuine efforts by moderate Muslims and Jews to foster dialogue and mutual understanding.

American Muslims and CAIR have unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism, stand side by side with other Americans for justice and peace, and are committed to continue working closely with our Jewish partners and friends, even those with whom we have differences on the Middle East conflict.

It’s time Emerson and his extremist associates stop crying wolf, drop their fear-mongering and intimidation, and join others in the efforts for peace and justice.

People of all faiths must challenge and repudiate extremists. CAIR, through initiatives like its fatwa on extremism, is doing its part. Will the mainstream Jewish community do the same with extremists like Emerson?

Message for Friday - Lack of interaction breeds racism

قال علي رضي الله عنه ـ الناس اعداء ما جهلوا

Imam Ali said, "People are enemies of what they do not know."

One of the branches of ingornace is racism. Ignorance in any subject, of course, can be related to a lack of serious study of a particular subject. Hence, if one has not studied astronomy, a person may not see the value or merits of the science, much less be able to have an intelligent discussion about astronomy. On another level, the ignorance of racism, in many instances, stems from a lack of interaction with another group.

If a person or group of people, for instance, have never interacted with a Indian and have heard and seen nothing but negative depictions of people from India, this ignorance may summon fears and biases against Indians. This also holds true when a person or group of people do not interact with people outside of their religion.

Muslims today suffer discrimination in America, for the most part, because the majority of American society has not and does not interact with Muslims. This obligates Muslims in America to make a greater effort to extend themselves to their co-workers, school mates and neighbors in order that myths and misconceptions about Muslims and Islam can subside in America. The erasure of myths about Islam will alleviate many of the fears that the average American has about Muslims.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ
The Qur'an (49.13) says, "Oh humanity! Surely We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you make know each other [not despise each other]. Surely, the most honorable of you with G'd are those who are the most pious; surely G'd is all-knowing, all-aware."

And surely G'd knows best.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Imams denied passage by U.S. Airways - U.S. Airways is at it again

Yesterday, 6 Imams were denied flight upon U.S. Airways from Minnesota to Arizona because of a passenger sliding a note to a flight attendent that he saw suspicious behavior from the 6 men. That suspicious behavior was praying in the airport before boarding the airplane.

The 6 imams of various ethincity, Arab-American and Non-Arab American, were escorted off of the airplane and not allowed to fly on any U.S. Airways flights. They ended up flying home today on Northwestern.

See video with CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper on MSNBC discussing this matter:

Previously this year, U.S. Airways denied passage to a Jackson, Michigan woman without just cause. U.S. Airways has yet to refund her money.

See story:

Passing of Imam Rasul Madyun (rh)

Surely, we come from G'd and surely to him do we return.

Yesterday, the American Muslim community lost a valuable asset. Imam Rasul Madyun of Washington DC passed due to complications of a stroke.

Imam Madyun, who was in his early 30s, was bridge between the younger and older generations of Muslims in America. He was the assistant Imam of Masjid Al-Mu'minun in Memphis, TN before moving to Washington DC and coming assistant Imam of Masjid Muhammad and teacher at Sister Clara Muhammad school. He was a very active member of the National Young Adult Association, a youth group affliated with the leadership of Imam WD Mohammad, including holding the position of Chairperson of Religious Studies for the organization. He also interned and was a student at the ISNA headquaters in Plainfield, IN.

He leaves behind a wife, parents and many dear friends.

May G'd have mercy upon his soul, forgive him of his sins, shine HIS light upon his grave and grant him eternal bliss. AMEEN!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Black Church leaders vow to focus on the plight of Palestinians

Black church delegation visits Holy Land, vows to focus attention on Palestinian plight

NEW YORK – A delegation of leaders from historic African American churches returning from Jerusalem and the Holy Land says conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank painfully echo the injustices suffered by people of color during South Africa's apartheid era and during the pre-civil rights era in America.

Black church leaders in the delegation, hosted by global humanitarian agency Church World Service, now are vowing to work with their communions and congregations, the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith communities, politicians and Palestinians in diaspora to focus attention on the deteriorating situation in the Holy Land.

On a visit to the Israeli-built barrier now separating Palestinian residents in the West Bank from residents in Israel-controlled Jerusalem, African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr., said: "I'm surprised by the blatant attempt of Israelis to separate themselves. I've also been on the backside of fear of Black people and it makes me sad to see this wall and to hear so many say this wall has been built with money I have sent to the U.S. government in tax dollars."

Supporters call the approximately 26-foot-high wall portion of the barrier – which in many places runs through the home sites and farms of Palestinians – a "separation barrier." Palestinians alternately refer to it as the "apartheid wall" or the "segregation wall."

The controversial 400-mile-plus West Bank barrier is being constructed by Israel using a network of 90 percent fences, with vehicle-barrier trenches averaging 65 yards wide, and 10 percent concrete wall up to 26 feet high.

Supporters say the barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian suicide bombing in public places. Opponents say the barrier violates international law, is an illegal effort to annex Palestinian land and severely restricts the normal life movements of Palestinians who live in the area.

This delegation, led by Church World Service Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer the Rev. John L. McCullough, is the first time that the historic Black churches have been invited by Christian leaders in the Holy Land to come as a group to witness people living severed in the heart of a divided land.

Delegates reported their findings this week in Orlando at the combined General Assembly of Church World Service and the National Council of Churches – an annual meeting of leaders from 35 mainline Christian denominations.

"I found myself tearful at times as I looked at the consequences of that wall," said delegate Rev. Dr. Charles Mock of the National Baptist Convention USA. "I come back with mixed emotions because I also see complacency and a lack of commitment to struggle in defense of the have-nots at home."

The twelve-person delegation met with heads of the region's oldest Orthodox and Latin Catholic churches and with Anglican, Lutheran, and Jewish faith leaders and government officials. The group also conferred with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry representative Shmuel ben Shmuel.

In a sign of unity, after his meeting with the Church World Service delegation on Nov. 6, His Beatitude Theophilos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, was moved to visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem following Reformation Day services at the church. It was the first time ever that the Greek Orthodox Church - considered the mother church of Christendom in the Holy Land - has visited the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem.

The patriarch told the delegation that Jerusalem, the Holy City, "has been watered with the very blood of Christ," and that the Christian presence survives only because of the holy places.

He added that beyond moral support, the church also needed material support - in the form of schools, churches and job opportunities to assist the Holy City's mostly-Palestinian Christian community.

In a November 2 meeting with the delegation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shared his views on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. "We should have our own state within the borders outlined in the 1967 agreement," Abbas said. "In the past, Palestinians owned 95 percent of Palestine. The share now is 22 percent."

Abbas said the international siege over the past ten months has increased the suffering of people living in occupied Palestine, "with invasions every day, fatalities, and increased demolitions of houses."

"We recognize the right of Israelis to live, but we also want them to recognize our right to live safely within our own borders," Abbas told the delegation.

When Abbas revealed that his optimism has grown because the American government now is trying to facilitate, with the help of a mediator, discussions to resolve the conflict, CWS head McCullough told him, "I am encouraged to hear you say that America has been showing some positive signs."

As a relief, development and refugee assistance agency, Church World Service advocates in the U.S. and internationally for human rights and justice.

The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, said to the delegation, "The conflict is not just the business of Palestinians and Israelis. It is the business of every Christian whose obligation is to witness justice, equality and love for all, not just for a chosen few." He described life for Palestinian Christians as an existence "behind walls, with checkpoints, like prisoners living life by permit."

Sabbah said that Palestinian terrorism, violence and anti-Israel attitudes all are fired by the Israeli occupation of Palestine. "Take away the occupation and all these things will go away," he said.

He asked the delegation to tell U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "Palestinians are able to live with and love the Israelis, but the Israelis do not believe this. They will live in peace once the Palestinians have their rights."

The severely limited freedom and discrimination against Palestinian Christians make social and economic development impossible. "In the political arena," Sabbah said, "I think that we have no place on the agenda and we do not count."

In another meeting, Bishop Aris, the Armenian Patriarchate Ecumenical Officer for Jerusalem, said he wanted the people and government of the U.S. to know that "We have the same Lord and Savior, the same Bible that unites us.

"Christians should therefore unify in the common cause of maintaining the holy places of Jerusalem for people of all faiths," Aris said.

The Christian community represents less than 1.5 percent of the population in the region. Says CWS head McCullough, "If the current situation continues it may well result in the extinction of the Christian presence in the Holy Land and seriously endanger continued collaboration amongst the three Abrahamic traditions represented there.

"The mostly Palestinian Christian community is facing a period of intense crisis because of the expanded separation wall and restrictions on the ability of Palestinians to travel from the West Bank into Jerusalem," McCullough said. "Israeli security and defense policies also seem to unfairly infringe upon the churches, including the effective conduct of their affairs, the nurturing of their members, and the fulfillment of their ministries," he said.

The American group also visited the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour, just outside Bethlehem. The school's principal, Salameh Bishara, says the pass laws for Palestinians - similar to the apartheid-era pass laws in South Africa - mean that he and other Palestinians in the Occupied Territories "are living in a box; a big ghetto. My daughter has never been to the sea. We live a one-hour drive from the Dead Sea and I cannot take her."

Bishop Louis Hunter of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, said, "I don't care what anyone says, I'm going to do something for the kids in that Lutheran School." Hunter, whose episcopal seat is in Suwanee, Georgia, also declared that he will "become a megaphone in the AME Zion Church" to bring attention to the inequality in the Holy Land.

Others delegates share those sentiments. Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham says he is "prepared to become a part of a prophetic ministry to bring this situation to the forefront and to be a part of the search for a solution.”

AME Bishop McCloud says, "We're going to be looking for ways to positively and dramatically impact this situation. We're going to work with Church World Service. We're going to work with the Congressional Black Caucus. We're going to work with the ecumenical leadership. We've got to bring attention to this in America."

In a somber assessment, Church World Service Board Representative Dr. Belletech Deressa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, observed, "This crisis is different to me than any other one. I always thought that yes, there is a difference between the Palestinians and the Jews; yes, there is animosity. But now I realize that it is worse than racism and worse than apartheid. I don't really have a word for it."

In describing Church World Service's decision to sponsor the historic delegation in response to the invitation from the Mideast church leaders, McCullough said, "Our goal was to provide African-American religious leaders with an opportunity to analyze this crisis through the lens of their faith and their experience of the civil rights movement in the United States.

"We wanted to give them an open forum through which they could expand their previous knowledge of the region and give them sufficient space to reach to their own unbiased assessment."

Other members of the delegation included Dr. Tyrone Pitts, general secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, general secretary, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America; Rev. George T. Brooks, Sr., pastor of St. James Baptist Church, National Baptist Church of America; and Church World Service staffers Lesley Crosson, media relations officer, Cheryl Dudley, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, and David Weaver, director of mission relationships and witness.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Walid gives sermon - Comerica Bank issue raised

To hear today's sermon, cut and paste the following link:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Message for Friday - Islam condemns racism

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : من سره أن يكون أكرم الناس فليتق الله

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "Whoever fancies himself that he is the most honorable of men, then let him immediately fear G'd."

Prior to Islam coming to the Arab people, they were immersed in a caste system society were individual honor was linked to tribal affliation. At the lowest rung in that society, the Non-Arab (African, European, Persian & Indian) slaves were at the very bottom of the totem pole.

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آَدَمَ

G'd says in the Qur'an, "And most certainly, We have honored [all] of the Children of Adam."

In Islam, skin color, tribal affliation, and monetary status is not what gives human beings honor and dignity. Human beings contain intrinsic dignity, and this dignity increases or decreases based upon respect to the commands and decress of the Creator. And only the Creator truly knows who has kept their duties to him.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

G'd says in the Qur'an, "Oh humanity! Surely We created you from a male and a female, and We made you into Nations and Tribes in order that you may know each other. Surely the most honorable of you with G'd are you who are the most pious; surely G'd is all knowing, all aware."

Stories that are in the news of East Indian workers being treated like second class citizens in Arab Gulf states to racist statements that made about blacks being referred to as slaves or monkeys has nothing to do with Islam. This treatment is a violation of Islam. Muslims can be racist, but Islam never condones racism.

And surely G'd knows best.

Congress' first Muslim can build bridges

November 16, 2006

Keith Ellison pumps his fist during his acceptance speech last week in Minneapolis, Minn., after being electing the first Muslim in Congress.

The election of Keith Ellison to Congress is a victory for the 7 million Muslims living in the United States. And it's a victory for America.

Ellison will represent Minnesota's 5th Congressional District -- proof positive of Muslim integration into American society.

A 43-year-old black state legislator, Ellison will be the first nonwhite to represent Minnesota in Washington. And when he takes his seat in Congress next January, he will also be the first Muslim to do so.

Ellison's campaign brought people together from all walks of life. It earned him diverse endorsements, from the Somali-American Democratic Association to the American Jewish World newspaper.

Like members of other religious groups, Muslim-Americans are not monolithic in their views.

Public opinion surveys conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations reveal that Muslim-Americans tend to be left-leaning when it comes to social justice issues, the environment and foreign policy, and right-leaning when it comes to family values and taxes.

On issues like the war in Iraq, universal health care and increased school funding, Ellison is in sync with the opinions of most other Muslims. Yet his pro-choice stance on abortion, his support for gay rights and his support for Israel are in sharp contrast to the sentiments of most Muslims.

Ellison's election sends a positive message to the world.

About 1.5 billion Muslims witnessed firsthand the tolerance of the American people --or at least Minnesotans -- in electing a Muslim to Congress. The headline of a report by the Malaysian National News Agency read, "First American Muslim Congressman Crashes the Thick Glass Ceiling."

Not everyone in the Muslim world was happy with the win. Extremist Web sites were full of postings condemning Ellison. One blogger wrote, "May Allah destroy you."

Such vitriol could also be found on radical anti-Muslim Web sites that often accuse prominent Muslims for having "ties to terrorism" in order to malign them and diminish their power.

For those who think that the story here is Ellison's religion, they are woefully missing the point.

The blunders of the Bush administration have caused a great number of Muslims to believe that the global war on terror is nothing more than a war on Islam.

Muslim-American leaders have long insisted that the government use them to build bridges of trust and understanding between America and the Muslim world.

Rightfully so, they have argued that Muslims in America are the most valuable tool --and the most underused -- in America's broad arsenal to protect the homeland.

Now that he's going to Washington, Ellison can become more than a political novelty. He can further America's necessary dialogue with the Muslim world.

RAEED N. TAYEH is author of "A Muslim's Guide to American Politics and Government." He wrote this piece for Progressive Media Project, which is affiliated with the Progressive magazine. Write to him at Progressive Media Project, 409 East Main Street, Madison, Wis. 53703, or at

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Walid speaks to Muslim youth

The following audio is a short talk to Muslim youth, which was recorded on 11/11/06 in Metro Detroit.

Cut & paste the link below to listen:

Should Muslims do business with Comerica Bank?
Arab groups question bank's action
Comerica to close charity's accounts

November 14, 2006


Comerica Bank plans to terminate on Wednesday the accounts of a Muslim charity headquartered in Southfield that was raided two months ago by federal agents, according to letters the bank sent charity officials.

The move by the private bank against Life for Relief and Development concerns Arab Americans and Muslims in metro Detroit, who note that the Islamic charity has not been charged with a crime.

A vice president with Comerica Bank, Kathy Pitton, said she would not comment about the charity's accounts, but added the bank has the right to terminate any bank account with or without cause.

Federal agents raided the Life for Relief office on Sept. 18, along with the homes and offices of some of the charity's employees, hauling away documents.

The FBI would not say what agents were looking for, but charity officials have said it might be related to relief work the group did in Iraq.

Three days after the raid, Life for Relief officials received a letter from Karen Davis at Comerica Bank, telling them "we are terminating our relationship with you."

The letter, obtained by the Free Press, was addressed to Life for Relief CEO Khalil Jassemm and stated that he had until Oct. 2 to close seven accounts kept by the charity and Jassemm.(MORE)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Message for Friday - Satan desires us to act from anger

الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Those who spend [for the pleasure of G'd] in prosperity and in adversity,who repress anger, and who pardon men; and G'd loves the doers of good. [3:134]

Part of being a doer of good, according to Islam, is to repress one's anger. Anger clouds rational thinking and lends itself towards excesses in behaviors and reactions.

عن عطية السعدي -رضي الله عنه - قال : قال رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم- ( إن الغضب من الشيطان ؛ وإن الشيطان خلق من النار ، وإنما تطفأ النار بالماء فإذا غضب أحدكم فليتوضأ )
Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "Surely anger comes from the Satan, and surely the Satan is made from fire. Fire is extinguished with water. So when any of you become angry, make ritual ablution (wudu')."

The fires of anger and aggression are put out by taking the time to rethink one's position and to remember how G'd would want us to accordingly.

Washing one's self with water, then praying to G'd for tranquility and clarity of thought is a prescription.

Being driven by on-going hatred and emnity not only provokes unjust responses but also consumes the hater with a sense of hell in this life, driving them further and further down into the depths.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Keith Ellison (D-MN)was elected the first Muslim to the US Congress and the first African American elected to Congress from Minnesota.

Ellison won his seat in a majority White, Christian district. Only in America!

See news story on Minnesota Public Radio:

Friday, November 03, 2006

CIOM Unity Banquet a Huge Success

Detroit–October 29–About 800 people gathered at the Burton Manor convention center in Detroit for a celebration of the accomplishments of the largest pan-Islamic organization in Southeast Michigan, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM).

CIOM was celebrating its 20th annual banquet.

Present were many local and national-stature politicians, including Mike Bouchard, (Republican senatorial challenger to Senator Debbie Stabenow) and Attorney General Mike Cox. Governor Granholm was not present but sent a letter of support. Also present, as he has been consistently at local Muslim events for several months, was the local candidate for Probate Judge, Frank Szymanski. All of these politicians were welcomed to the event and invited to enjoy their dinner.

The event began at about 5 pm with a small bazaar attended by about 10 vendors trying to get their message out, including The Muslim Observer, ACCESS, Life for Relief and Develeopment and some other local companies.

Then, at 7 pm, the dinner began in a huge hall accomodating about 100 tables, with a large crowd of people sitting at the tables.

AbuSayed Mahfuz of Hamtramck opened the evening with a beautiful recitation from Surat Ali Imran, vs. 102-108.

Following this there was a speech describing the influence and institutional strength of the Muslim community in Southeast Michigan, with 11 schools and many mosques and social institutions.

Kanesha El-Amin was MC for part of the evening. A comedian, Ramez Habbal, made most of the crowd laugh with his descriptions of Muslim idiosynchrasies and his explanations of “Arab Standard Time,” “Pakistan Standard Time,” and his funny looks at the difficulties of living as a Muslim in America after 911.

Asim Khan, the Secretary of CIOM, a trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Tawheed Center, spoke also and served as MC for one part of the program.

Salam al-Marayati, the keynote speaker, spoke next, and mentioned that while Muslims may be late some of the year, they are exactly on time during Ramadan when iftar is coming. He emphasized the importance of serving justice as one of the foundational parts of Islam.

He spoke on the status of the Muslim community today and emphasized the differences of opinion between mainstream Muslims and American policy.

He also spoke about the unacceptability of extremism and emphasized the verse of Qur`an from Surat Hujurat, that Allah made us nations and tribes from a single pair so that we can know one another, and emphasized the mutual goodwill enjoined on people of the book by Islam.

Ghalib Begg, the current chairman of CIOM, did his best to thank all of the people who contribute to CIOM and who contributed to the unity banquet itself, including Imam El-Amin of the Detroit Muslim Unity Center, Kingdom Productions who provided Audio-Visual setup and coordination for the event at vastly reduced cost, and Farhan Latif, the noteworthy imams and shuyukh who were present from the vast majority of local mosques, both Shi’a and Sunni, and thanked also the Jewish and Christian clergymen who came.

Begg emphasized the importance of fighting Proposition 2, and spoke of CIOM as the voice of Muslims in Michigan, admonishing all Muslims to work together, not focusing only on our smaller concerns.

Many others spoke on the occasion, perhaps most notably David Crumm, a reporter from the Detroit Free Press, who was given the “Fairness in Media” award and who thanked CIOM for the award and made those present laugh with a story of how he was asked to speak on behalf of Muslim Americans in a small and isolated region of Indonesia with a small community of about 2,000 people, although he himself is not Muslim.

Brenda Rosenberg of the Children of Abraham Project, to whom CIOM awarded the Interfaith Partner Award, also gave a heart-warming speech in which she thanked many of the most prominent people present individually for their warm acceptance of her across the usually chilly gulf between the Muslim and Jewish communities. By her acceptance speech she showed a deep familiarity and warmth for the many imams present including Imam El-Amin, Imam Elahi, Imam Saleh, Imam Qazwini, Dawud Walid, ‘Eid Alwan, and others.

CAIR Michigan’s Executive Director Dawud Walid was awarded the Syed Salman Community Service Award named in honor of the late Syed Salman, who had been deeply involved in the work of local Muslim organizations until his recent passing. Mr. Walid spoke briefly, praying for Mr. Salman and for Dr. Shakir who had passed away at about the same time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Message for Friday - Remembering and thanking G'd obligates us to appreciate each other

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
فَٱذْكُرُونِيۤ أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ - 2:152
G'd says in the Qur'an: "Remember me then I will remember you, and be thankful to me and do not be ungrateful."

In Islam, remembering G'd is more than singing praises; the peak of rememberance is obeying G'd in our daily endeavors, including education and economics.
مَنْ أَطَاعَ اللَّه فَقَدْ ذَكَرَ اللَّه
"Whoever obeys G'd most certaintly has remembered G'd." - Prophet Muhammad (SAAS)

Obeying G'd opens the door for the human to receive and benefit more from the blessings and mercy of the Creator. Once the human recognizes that G'd is the source of all blessings, this summons the human to show thanks to his Beloved.

G'd blesses the individual with human beings that assitance and benefit in daily endeavors with HIS permission. In recognition of G'd using fellow humans as instruments of assistance, appreciation should also be shown to others.

لا يشكر الله من لا يشكر الناس - إسناد صحيح رواه أحمد وأبو داود والترمذي
"He does not thank G'd whoever does not appreciate people." - Prophet Muhammad (SAAS)

G'd has set up a method to maintain and enhance the collective pyschological health of society through the recognition of others' good deeds and achievements. Think of how many daily conflicts in work places and schools could be averted if time is taken to recognize and show appreciation for the merits and good deeds of others.

And surely G'd knows best.

Walid speaks at community event in Farmington, Michigan

Yesterday evening, the Muslim families of Farmington/Farmington Hills held their 4th Annual Ramadan Community Dinner. This year's event, which was actually held after Ramadan, had in attendance officials from the Farmington school district including the superintendent and members of the school board.

The title of the speech given was "Islam - a Proactive Way of Life." Questions were also answered in regard to the work of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Cut and paste to listen:

On Monday, October 30, TV 7 - WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan aired a story about the 20th Annual Council on Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) Banquet, in which CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid received the Commmunity Service Award of the Year. CAIR's work in calling for the release of Ann Arbor native Jill Carroll earlier this year while she was held hostage in Iraq was highlighted in the 3 minute news story.

CAIR rep. discusses the right to wear the head scarf on NPR

Yesterday, CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub appeared on the Diane Rehm Show discussing the topic of "Muslims, the Veil, and the West."

To listen to the one hour segment, cut and paste the following:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Walid addresses dental school faculty and students at University of Detroit-Mercy

Today, approximately 200 people, students and faculty including the Dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Detroit-Mercy, attended two presentations about Islam and how Islamic beliefs and practices could effect services delivered to Muslim patients.

Cut & paste links below to listen:

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