Sunday, May 27, 2007

What's right & what's wrong with Pew's recent survey

By: Dawud Walid / The Arab American News

A recently released study by the Pew Research Center on the American Muslim community, which does contain several positive findings about the community, is laced with some problematic and troubling statistics.

Pew’s study states that the overwhelming majority of the American Muslim community is happy with life in America and that it reflects mainstream American identity patterns regarding placement of importance of religious identity with national identity. Moreover, Pew's analysis also shows that American Muslims resolutely reject extremism in the name of Islam.

The more problematic portions of the study, however, relate to reported condoning of suicide bombing by Muslim youth in the defense of Islam and significant lowering of the generally accepted number of Muslims in America.

According to Pew, 26% of the Muslim youth answered that suicide bombing even against civilians in the defense of Islam is acceptable ranging from 2% having strong endorsement to 11% stating that it is rarely acceptable. Obviously, if these troubling statistics are fairly accurate within a 5% error margin, then these answers must be placed within context, for the same study also states that these same youth are overwhelmingly satisfied with their lives in America.

Although Pew's study shows that Muslim youth show a higher level of religiosity than their parent generation, those who have the pulse of the community know that the majority of Muslim youth do not regularly attend mosques nor are they involved in receiving consistent education on Islam from qualified teachers. Thus, the lectures that are intermittently given in mosques against extremism, to the explanations of the fatwa given by the Fiqh Council of North America against extremism in 2005, may have escaped a sizeable percentage of the Muslim youth. Clearly, the majority of American Muslims (95%) according to Pew, know that attacking civilians or condoning "collateral damage" in defending Muslim lands is unacceptable. A small percentage of Muslim youth driven by lack of understanding or strong emotions due to political conflicts in the Muslim world probably have not internalized the Islamic basis against such extremism.

Knowing the psyche of the Muslim community, however, I believe Muslim youth answered this question based upon a particular geographical location in which the socio-political environment of Muslims is in a state of desperation. Suicide bombing among Muslims in a historical context has been viewed by some as a means of resistance by Palestinians against Israeli occupation. In reiteration that attacks against civilians is clearly prohibited by virtual consensus of Islamic scholars, American Muslim youth answered this question within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, not within the American context.

In regards to Pew's demographic results, which state that there are approximately 2.35 million Muslims in America, these numbers are extremely low in comparison to other studies and accepted numbers by scholars and organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which estimates the American Muslim community to be approximately 6 million. For instance, Pew states that 37% of the American Muslim population is of Arab background, which would put the population of Arab Muslims at 859,500. However, according to the Arab American Institute's scientific study, there were approximately 3.5 million Arab Americans in 2000 with 24% being Muslim. Factoring in population growth due to birth rate and immigration, there are far more than one million Arab Muslims in America. Other shortcomings in Pew's research includes lack of means of identifying or communicating with Muslims that have names that are not readily known to be traditional names of Muslims such as Muslims who originate from sub-Saharan Africa to converts with legal names such as Robert Smith that do not reflect religious identity. Pew, themselves, admitted this point during their press conference on the report, specifically citing their lack of identification and communication with some Muslims, using Senegalese as their example.

In short, Pew's latest study appears to have some flaws, but there are lessons to be learned from the study. Muslims are progressing in many areas within the society and are truly part of mainstream America. This study, however, should be a wake up call to the Muslim community that it is incumbent for it to invest more in community organizations and think tanks to disseminate more accurate reports about the Muslim community with proper explanation of the community’s sensitivities as well as giving increased support for Islamic institutions that give proper education to Muslim youth about Islamic positions on contemporary issues to help shield them from extreme positions.

The writer is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Warren's first mosque opens

Sarah Hulett



A new mosque opened today in southeast Michigan. The Islamic Organization of North America is Warren's first mosque. It hosted an open house for the community this afternoon.

Dawud Walid heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. He says the mosque is an example of how ethnic and religious minorities are moving into new areas of metro Detroit.

"Not only because of housing and educational concerns, but also in regard to the growing pockets of ethnic groups that are actually increasing in metro Detroit while other groups of people within the locality are actually fleeing from the area," says Walid.(MORE)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mosque plans to tell visitors about Islam

Warren's first mosque, which has faced opposition and been vandalized several times before opening to the public, will host an open house this afternoon.

The Islamic Organization of North America, 28654 Ryan Road, will open its doors from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. to offer visitors information about Islam as well as opportunities to walk through the building after nearly a year of renovations.

Imam Steve Elturk, a native of Lebanon who lives in Troy, has faced opposition to the project from some neighbors. Some residents had feared a loudspeaker attached to the building would blare calls to prayer. To quell those concerns, Elturk signed documents saying he'll never have a loudspeaker.

The mosque also has been vandalized.

Dawud Walid, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he's not so sure the open house will go as well. He said he doesn't believe the mosque is out of the woods from more acts of opposition.

"Now, we'll see the reaction from the community," he said. "We're still cognizant of the religious and racial tensions in Warren."(MORE)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Message for Friday - Suicide bombing violates Islamic law

The following fatwa (religious verdict) was issued in July 2005 by the leading Islamic scholars and organizations in the United States of Islam's clear opposition to terrorism.

See Arabic version here:


The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism.

Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives.

There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not “martyrs.”

The Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, states: " Whoever kills a person, unless [as punishment through due process] for murder or mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed all mankind.
And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." Qur'an, 5:32)

Prophet Muhammad said there is no excuse for committing unjust acts: "Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil." (Al- Tirmidhi)

God mandates moderation in faith and in all aspects of life when He states in the Qur’an: “We made you to be a community of the middle way, so that (with the example of your lives) you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind.” ( Qur’an, 2:143)

In another verse, God explains our duties as human beings when he says: “Let there arise from among you a band of people who invite to righteousness, and enjoin good and forbid evil.” ( Qur’an, 3:104)

Islam teaches us to act in a caring manner to all of God's creation. The Prophet Muhammad, who is described in the Qur’an as “a mercy to the worlds” said: “All creation is the family of God, and the person most beloved by God (is the one) who is kind and caring toward His family."

In the light of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah we clearly and strongly state:

1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.

2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.

3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.

We issue this fatwa following the guidance of our scripture, the Qur’an, and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him. We urge all people to resolve all conflicts in just and peaceful manners.

We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security of our country, the United States , and its people. We pray for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet. We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail both in the United States and all around the globe.

1. Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
2. Dr. Abdul Hakim Jackson
3. Dr. Ahmad Shleibak
4. Dr. Akbar Muhammad
5. Dr. Deina Abdulkadir
6. Shaikh Hassan Qazwini
7. Dr. Ihsan Bagby
8. Dr. Jamal Badawi
9. Dr. Muhammad Adam Sheikh
10. Shaikh Muhammad Al- Hanooti
11. Shaikh Muhammad Nur Abdallah
12. Dr. Salah Soltan
13. Dr. Taha Jabir Alalwani
14. Shaikh Yahya Hindi
15. Shaikhah Zainab Alwani
16. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah
17. Dr. Mukhtar Maghraoui
18. Dr. Nazih Hammad

145 Muslim organizations, mosques and imams have endorsed the preceding fatwa as of July 28, 2005 (see below). More signatory organizations are to be added in the following days. To add your American Muslim organization to the list, please use the this form.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Muslim American Society (MAS)
Muslim Student Association of the US & Canada (MSA)
Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations
American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin
American Muslim Alliance
Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America
Islamic Networks Group & Affiliates
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Muslim Student Association of the US & Canada
USA Halal Chamber of Commerce, Inc & The Islamic Center for Halal Certification
Islamic Center of America
Islamic Sharia Advisory Institute of North America
Islamic Resource Group
Islamic Schools League of America
Kashmiri American Council
Minaret of Freedom Institute
Project Islamic HOPE
United Muslims of America
Muslim Ummah of North America
Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
Islamic Center of Northeast Florida
Islamic Center of South Florida
Islamic Foundation of South Florida
Islamic Movement of Florida
Islamic Society of Central Florida
Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Islamic Center of New England
Islamic Center of Maryland
Islamic Society of Washington Area
Muslim Federation of New Jersey
Islamic Council of Ohio
Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio
Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee
Islamic Association of West Virginia
Islamic Center of Little Rock
Greenway Islamic Center
Afghan Cultural Center
Al Nur Islamic Center
American Muslim Voice
Blossom Valley Muslim Community Center
Dar As-Salaam, Islamic Society of San Francisco
Elmhurst Islamic Center
Hidaya Foundation
Indian Muslim Relief & Charities
Islamic Center Of Fremont
Islamic Center of Pleasanton/Dublin
Islamic Center Of Reseda
Islamic Education Center
Islamic Learning and Practicing
Islamic Society of Orange County
Long Beach Islamic Center
Masjid Al- Rasul
Masjid Al- Taqwa
Muslim Community Association of the Peninsula
Muslim Community Association of the San Francisco Bay Area
Muslim Community Center of San Francisco
Muslim Community Services, Inc.
South Bay Islamic Association
South Valley Islamic Center
Yaseen Foundation and the Muslim Community Center
Masjid Al- Kauthar
Assadiq Islamic Educational Foundation
Bay County Islamic Society Inc
Islamic Center of Boca Raton
Islamic Center of Tampa
Islamic Jaffaria Association
Islamic Society of Pinellas County
Masjid Al- Ansar
Masjid Al- Faizal
Masjid Al- Hijrah
Masjid Al- Ihsan
Masjid Al- Nahl
Masjid An- Noor
Masjid Jama Al Mumineen
Masjid Miami
Masjid Muttaqeen
Masjid Sahmsuddin
Miami Gardens Masjid
Muslim Community of Palm Beach County
Nur Ul Islam
Palm Beach Mosque
Dalton Islamic Center
Islamic Center of Marietta
Masjid Al Muminun
Islamic Center of Des Moines
Masjid Dar- ul-Argum
Belleville Mosque and Islamic Education Center
Masjid Centralia
The Mosque Foundation
The Muslim Community Center
Islamic Society of Michiana
Islamic Center of Somerset
Islamic Association of Greater Shreveport
Masjid Abu Bakr Al Siddique
Islamic Society of Boston
Howard County Muslim Council
Islamic Society of Annapolis
Islamic Society of Baltimore
Mecca Learning Center
Muslim Community Center
Islamic House of Wisdom
Kalamazoo Islamic Center
Al- Mu'minun Islamic Center
Daar-ul-Islam Masjid
Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau
Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City
Masjid Al Heyder
Masjid Mohammed
Islamic Association of Cary
Islamic Association of Raleigh
Islamic Center of Raleigh
American Islamic Academy
Islamic Center Passaic County
Islamic Center Old Bridge
Islamic Educational Center North Hudson
Islamic Society Essex County
Muslim Center of Middlesex County
Siddiquia Jamia Masjid
Umar Mosque
Islamic Center of New Mexico
First Cleveland Mosque
Islamic Center of Cleveland
Islamic Society of Greater Columbus
Masjid Saad Foundation
Uqbah Mosque Foundation
Islamic Center of Portland , Masjid As-Saber
Foundation for Islamic Education
Muslim Community of Knoxville
Muslim Community of North East Tennessee
Masjid Al- Noor
Islamic Society of Greater Houston
Muslim Children Education & Civic Center
Islamic Society of Salt Lake City
All Dulles Area Muslim Society ( ADAMS )
Islamic Center of Virginia
Masjid Darul Huda
Muslim Association of Virginia
Mustafa Center
Islamic Center of Blacksburg VA
Rashid Lamptey
Rizwan Jaka
Islam Mossaad
Didmar Faja
Rashid Ahmed
Souleiman Ghani
Riaz Ahmad
Mubashir Ahmed
Ali Shakoor
Ahmad Sakr
Misbah Eldereiny
Muzammil Siddiqi
Shakeel Syed
Ismail Majoo
Tarek Mohamed
Mujahid Abdul-Karim
Abdul Karim Salih
M. Rezar Rahman
Tahir Anwar
Ilyas Anwar
Ziyad Dahbour
Rudolph Ali
Sayed Mohammad Jawad Qazwini
Hashem Mubrak
Jalal Khan
Zaid Malik
Hassan Sabri
Ziad Taha
Rashid Ahmad
Mohamed Banglori
Moneer Khan
Ziah Sheikh
Mohammed al Masri
Haitham Barazangi
Muhammad Sultan
Nasir Ahmed
Roshan Ali
Kamruz Hosein
Tarik Chebbi
Rashad Mujahid
Mohamed Zakaria Badat
Khalil Hussain
Hamid Samra
Usman Rahaman
Foad Farahi
Abdul Hamid Samra
Murtaza Kakli
Roshan Ali
Osman Chowdhury
Hammad El- Ameen
Amjad Taufique
Furqan Muhammad
Ibrahim Dremali
Abdul W. Kazi
Zahir Ansari
Abdul Malik Mujahid
Kifah Mustapha
Elkheir Elkheir
Mohammed Sirajuddin
Husein Turki
Sayed Jumaa Salam
Abdur Rahman Bashir
Talal Eid
Shaykh Besyouni
Anwer Hasan
Amin Ezzeddine
Mohammad Arrafa
Abid Husain
Faizul Khan
Azad Ejaz
Habib Diab Ghanim
Hasan Al- Qazwini
Mohammad Ali Elahi
Tariq Jameel
Samuel Ansari
Muhammad Nur Abdallah
Shafiq Malik
Shahir Safi
Hafiz Inayadullah
Said Mohammed
Maha El- Genaidi
Salam Al- Marayti
Mohamed Sheibani
Shakil Ahmed
Mohammed Bainonie
Shaykh Al- Tayyab
Mohammad Qatanani
Alvi Fakhruddin
Mohamed Alhayek
Ismail Elshikh
Abubakr Nadwi
Saif Ul-Nabi
Tariq Khawaja
Nimer Judeh
Isam Rajab
Abu Nuruzzaman
Abbas Ahmad
Zahid Siddiqi
Fawaz Damra
Sohail Khan
Siraj Haji
M. N. Tarazi
Ziad Abu Hummos
Ramez Islambouli
Samir Horani
Sheikh Mustafa Ahmad
Mohammad Islam
Taneem Aziz
Danish Siddiqui
Abdul Wahid
Ali Mohammed
Mohamed Magid
Mohammed M. Safa
Shaheed Coovadia
Abdul Hameed
Rafi Uddin Ahmed
Mohammad Zia
Mohamad Jamal Daoudi
Syed Samee
Agha Saeed
Sayed Moustafa Al- Qazwini
Anwar N Haddam
Zafar Siddiqui
Karen Keyworth
Ghulam Nabi Fai
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad
Najee Ali
Zain Ali
Islamic Society of East Bay
Basit Qari
As Salaam Islamic Center of Raleigh
Imam Olivar Mohammed
Mohamed Elsanousi
Abdullah Akbar
(EACH) Education for Afghan Children
Zubair Alam
Hazem Galal
Muhammad Quadir
Discover Islam
Dr. Adel Elsaie
Basym Hasan
Muhammad 'Abdur-Razzaq Miller
Dr. Abdu Moheet
Mr. Mikal Akhtab
Al Islam In Focus Productions, Inc.
Jumaana Amatullah
Br. Waseem Abdul Baari
Sr. Jumaana Salma Amatullah
Br. Waa'il Abdul Salaam
Hamid Ahmed
Batavia Islamic Center
Muneeb Nasir
Olive Tree Foundation
Shahid Hashmi
Nur Azlina Abdul Aziz
Dr. Fauzia Khan
Ahmed Nezar
Islamic Center of the Capital District
Mohammed Joz
Salaam Muhammad
Mr. Abdul Wahab
Imam Ahmed Elkhaldy
Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids
Mr. Masum Azizi
Waqar Qureshi
Adam Abu Bakar
Roxie France-Nuriddin
Ayah Nuriddin
Mr. Sulman Yousuf
Br. Amjad Taufique
Islamic Center of Marietta/Masjid Al-Hedaya
The Ummah Project
Cherine Abdalla - Smith
Sr. Rafia Syeed
Bridging the Gap, INC
Afeefa Syeed
Al-Fatih Academy
Dr. Firoj Khan
Council of Pakistan American Affairs
Khalid Rashied
Imam Rabbil Ramjohn
Al-Huda Islamic Center
Rasidah Zan
Muslim Womens Education and Advocacy Network
Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Abdul Rahman and Ra'ufa Clark
Heart of the Rose (Tariqa Shadhuliyyah)

Islamic leaders meet with FBI before mosque's debut


The head of the Islamic Organization of North America is scheduled to meet with local FBI officials this afternoon, two days before the organization opens its mosque in Warren.

Imam Steve Elturk, head of the organization, and Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, were set to meet with the FBI. Walid said the meeting served as a way for both groups to get to know each other and talk about what the Islamic organization has planned for the mosque.

The mosque has had to deal with several incidents of vandalism since its plans were announced. Elturk was confronted by a man earlier this year who was shouting ethnic slurs.(MORE)

Most Muslims are moderate

"Our tradition leaves no place and no justification for suicide bombings," said Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi, the leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights.

"I think that if other Americans read this stuff they'll say, 'Wow, and they are right next door." Elahi said. "But I am 17 years in this country and I haven't faced any young individuals who say it is OK in Islam to have a suicide bomb and to support suicide bombings."

American Muslims, the survey showed, reject extremism by greater numbers than Muslims in the Middle East, South Asia or Europe, according to the Pew survey. Fewer than half of American Muslims think of themselves as Muslims first, and Americans second.

"Clearly, this public comes across as much more moderate than much of the Muslim public in most of the world," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. "They are decidedly American in outlook -- 72 percent say hard work can get you ahead in the society, and that is even a larger segment than the general public in the United States."

American Muslim views diverged from the mainstream, however, when questioned about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Forty percent said they believe Arabs were responsible. The remainder either didn't respond, weren't sure or said they were not responsible.

"I think it is a little like the O.J. Simpson case," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan. "Minority groups are defensive of their own and at times shocked that one of their own would commit heinous crimes."(MORE)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Walid comments on Pew study on American Muslims

Survey: Muslims largely assimilated in U.S.
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

Muslims are largely assimilated into the United States, happy with their lives and moderate in outlook, especially with respect to many issues that divide Muslims and westerners around the world, according to a major national study released today by the Pew Research Center.

By greater numbers than Muslims in the Middle East, South Asia or Europe, American Muslims reject extremism. They also have significantly greater incomes than Muslims from those other regions, according to the study -- billed as the first nationwide, random sample survey of Muslim Americans.

The Pew Research Center conducted more than 55,000 interviews to obtain a national sample of 1,050 Muslims living in the United States, including in Metro Detroit. It was not immediately known how many residents of southeastern Michigan were polled.

"Overall, the report shows that the American Muslim community is very well integrated into mainstream American society," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, in Michigan.

The report did show some support of extremist views among Muslim youths and African-American Muslims.

"The most disillusioned segment of the Muslim community being African-Americans is not a big surprise. African-Americans have been historically disenfranchised in America and have not enjoyed the degree of economic upward mobility as immigrant Muslims."(MORE)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Islamic scholar helps draft unity code

Islamic scholar helps draft code of honor Mutual respect called for among sects
Monday, May 21, 2007

Staff Reporter

Sherman Jackson has little use for decorative wall art.

There isn't much need when nearly every inch of wall space in his corner office at the University of Michigan's Thayer Building is covered with volumes of religious texts, Islamic law, and commentaries on theology.

On the wall just inside the door frame hangs a document representing what some are calling a watershed moment in Muslim American history, a reference that draws a reflective and immediate smile from Jackson.

Jackson was among 20 Muslim activists, academics, and spiritual leaders from around the state to recently sign a code of honor. They have pledged to promote unity and mutual respect among the religion's different sects here while the bloody conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims continues to take its toll abroad.

"This is a wonderful achievement,'' said Jackson, a Philadelphia native who converted from Christianity to Islam in the late 1970s. He is now an Islamic scholar and professor of East Asian studies at U-M.

"It's just a start, but there was this sense of a growing need now for something like this, given what is going on in Iraq, to ensure that whatever happens in the Muslim world does not spill over into the American space in such a way that it would divide the Muslim community in America.''

Similar codes have been signed recently in California and other Muslim communities across the country.

Leaders from Muslim communities in southeast Michigan were already trying to foster better relations and interaction between Sunnis and Shiites locally when the sectarian tensions ignited more than a year ago into deadly violence nearly every day in Iraq.

The local tension was exacerbated when six Detroit-area Shiite-owned businesses and mosques were vandalized shortly after many Shiites celebrated Saddam Hussein's execution by taking to the streets of Dearborn in January, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.(MORE)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walid gives sermon - "Guarding Against Disputes"

Yesterday's sermon was given at the American Muslim Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Message for Friday - Do not fall into disputes

With the Name of G'd, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer

G'd says in the Qur'an (8:46) - And obey G'd and his messenger. And do not fall into disputes so that you loose heart and your strength leaves you. So be patient; surely G'd is with the patient people.

Part of Satan's scheme is too keep people of faith arguing and disputing among themselves, which includes casting suspicion in the enviroment, which people of faith dwell. In the days of chattel slavery in America, the slave-masters' objective was to keep confusion among slaves and have them distrustful of each other, yet instill within them a higher level of trust in their master, who oppressed them. This was the divide and conquer strategy that was articulated by the infamous Willie Lynch that still is at work today within socio-political and religious realms.

Disputing in smaller issues cultivates an enviroment perfect for the sowers of the seeds of distrust to plant more seeds. The harvest of these seeds are greater levels of disrespect and even violence in some cases.

The people of faith in their servitude to G'd should display patience during matters of dispute in order that the larger objectives are reached. For believers, the objectives are inner contentment in this life and eternal felicity in the hereafter.

And surely G'd knows best.

Dearborn mosque vandalized again

At front window next to the main entrance Rear entrance back door

The grafitti appears to have been sprayed with the help of a stencil. Spray paint from a can cannot make letters of such size in the top picture plus there was spray on the sides reflecting border. Especially in regards to the front picture, a person, who does know one word of Arabic or knows how to write Arabic letters could have sprayed this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Walid on the death of Falwell

Metro Detroit reactions to Falwell's death mixed
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

Reaction to the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell was mixed in Metro Detroit today, with many Baptists honoring him as a man of God and some Muslims remembering his prejudices.

Muslims Tuesday recalled that Falwell made public statements against their faith that they believe revealed no small amount of intolerance.

"Unlike many Christian religious leaders, like the late Pope John Paul II and the Rev. (Robert) Schuler, of the Crystal Cathedral, Rev. Falwell was a bridge destroyer, not a bridge builder, between Christians and Muslims," said Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations.(MORE)

Muslim group rips Emerson

Speaker warns of radical Islam — Muslim group rips terror expert's remarks
By Dan Meisler

Terrorism expert Steven Emerson warned a luncheon audience in Genoa Township on Monday that militant Muslims are using "strategic deception" to enter the mainstream political debate in America and advance their terrorist agenda.

But his comments drew denials and denouncement from a local Muslim group.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of CAIR, was not present at the speech but responded by blasting Emerson as having an anti-Islam agenda: "He has a crusader mentality. ... He's not an unbiased analyst."

"With all the scrutiny Muslim organizations have been under since 9/11, if there was even a shred of validity to the charges of Mr. Emerson, we would have been closed down a long time ago," Walid added.

He said Emerson's casting suspicion on mainstream Muslim groups "clearly increases Islamophobia."

Emerson was the latest speaker in Cleary University's Livingston Economic Club series that will include controversial conservative commentator and columnist Ann Coulter in October.

Walid criticized the university for not inviting anyone to debate Emerson's claims.
"We should have the opportunity also to present who the American Muslims are and what our organization truly is about," he said. "If it is interested in dialogue and academic discourse, it would bring in an opposing view. That's called being fair."(MORE)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

No evidence of sectarian violence or vandalism among Muslims in Metro Detroit

Michigan Muslim leaders sign pact

By: Tarek M. Baydoun / The Arab American News


DEARBORN - Over two dozen local Muslim leaders met in Dearborn Heights this week to sign the "Muslim Code of Honor," widely touted as an unprecedented proactive statement of unity between American Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. The signing and press conference were organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) and hosted at the Islamic House of Wisdom by . A similar event was recently held by California’s American Muslim population and similar signings are planned across the country.

The signing built upon recent efforts in the community after tragic events in the Middle East were perceived to have strained relationships between local American Muslims. After the bombing of the Askari mosque in Samaraa last February, several local Sunni and Shi’a imams issued a unified condemnation of the sectarian violence and a press conference was held at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. After the execution of Saddam Hussein in January of this year, several acts of vandalism occurred to Shi’a owned centers and businesses on Warren Avenue in Dearborn.

It was widely reported that this was likely a reaction by some Sunnis to the festivities in the local Shi’a community celebrated the execution. According to Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan (CAIR-MI) law enforcement agencies have not identified the perpetrators and there is no proof that the vandals had a sectarian motive.(MORE)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Walid gives sermon regarding racism & Sunni - Shi`i pact

Today's sermon was given to teachers and students at Al-Ikhlas Training Academy in Detroit, Michigan.

The 1st section discusses how racism is against the creed of proper Islam. The 2nd section discusses how hostility between Sunnis and Shi`is is not acceptable among the majority of the Sunni & Shi`i leadership in Metro Detroit.

Cut & paste the following link to listen:

Palestinian conference in Dearborn tonight


“The plight of the Palestinians is something that all Muslims have an attachment to, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality,” said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who plans to attend.

The event will mark the 40th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, which started in June 1967.

Programs will run from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.,Dearborn.(MORE)

Walid appears on John Gibson Talk Show last night

Last night's discussion with conservative talk show host John Gibson related to the anti-profiling ordinance, which passed two days ago in Detroit's city council.

The ordinance simply states that city officials, including the Detroit police, cannot ask for citizenship status of individuals for them to receive services from the city or in minor traffic stops.

How does someone in illegal status look? Because someone's last name is Castro, Abdullah, or Khan, would that make them a potential illegal immigrant instead of someone with the last name of Gibson, McNichols, or McVeigh? Maybe if their skin is too dark, would that make them a potential illegal? A long beard, kufi cap or head scarf perhaps?

Obviously, it's quite easy for someone whose name is "traditional" who looks like an "average American" that has never been profiled or harassed by law enforcement to assert that people with an ethnic look should be comfortable with being profiled.

Muslims agree to peace

Metro Detroit harmony sought

May 11, 2007


In what they called a historic agreement, Muslims from across Michigan signed a document Thursday that calls for unity between Sunnis and Shi'ites, the two main sects of Islam whose metro Detroit relations have been strained in recent months.

About 30 Muslim leaders gathered at the Islamic House of Wisdom, a Shi'ite mosque in Dearborn Heights, to sign the Muslim Code of Honor. It calls on Muslims to refrain from insulting each other and using foreign literature that promotes hatred of Muslim sects.

The one-page document bans takfir, a part of Islamic law in which Muslims say that other Muslims are not true believers. Some Sunnis don't consider Shi'ites to be true Muslims.

"People shouldn't have the fear that Detroit is going to turn into Baghdad," said Dawud Walid, a Sunni who heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan branch.(MORE)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Message for Friday - The Qur'an is without doubt in the Islamic faith

{ ذَلِكَ ٱلْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ }

G'd says in the Qur'an (2:2) - This is the book [The Qur'an] without doubt in it, guidance for those who are conscious.

وقال علي رضي الله عنه من كفر بحرف منه فقد كفر به كله

And Imam Ali (RA) said, "Whoever disbelives in one letter [of The Qur'an] has disbelieved in all of it."

In the Islamic faith, Muslims believe that The Qur'an is the Word of G'd, which contains no doubt. The Qur'an is considered more than just inspiration or a dream; it is the verbatim Word that G'd revealed upon the heart of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).

A person, who believes that there are flaws in The Qur'an or that verses should be subtracted is outside of the fold of mainstream Islam, even if they call themselves Muslims. They could, however, be believers in a Higher Power, which they call ALLAH (G'd in the Arabic language).

For instance, there are heterodox individuals, who claim that Islam does not mandate praying at set times, fasting the Month of Ramadan or abstaining from alcohol consumption. They conjure up their own laws and rituals that are inconsistent with the clear instructions of The Qur'an. These people have invented their own religion and should call it other than Islam.

Baha'ism, which was derived from Islam, is one such example. Baha'is, although they share many beliefs of Muslims, are not Muslims for this very reason.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Detroit council OK's racial profiling ban

May 9, 2007

The City Council voted 9-0 today to pass a new ordinance that bans profiling people based on race, immigration status, ethnicity, dress and appearance, among other factors.

It was developed after talks with local Latino, Arab and Muslim groups, who say that immigrants are sometimes asked for their residency papers after being pulled over by police.

The Detroit-based group, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, played a lead role in pushing for the new law, which provides exceptions by allowing police to ask about immigration status in criminal cases.

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said he is pleased with the council’s vote. “It’s great it passed,” Walid said. “The city of Detroit should be seen as a place that is not hostile to immigrants.”(MORE)

Anti-profiling law passed in Detroit
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- In response to the concerns from groups representing Latinos, Muslims and people of Arab descent, the Detroit City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that prohibits city officials from profiling people based on their appearance, race and other factors.
The ordinance also prohibits city officials from asking the immigration status of people not involved in serious crimes.

"We are pleased the ordinance passed, but our support of the ordinance is not support for people coming to America and breaking the law," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Michigan.

"We are against the harassment of people who are residents of Detroit or who come to Detroit, based on their physical appearance."(MORE)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gonzales to tout civil rights?

Gonzales to tout civil rights
U.S. attorney general is expected to defend his department in speech to Detroit Economic Club.
Paul Egan / The Detroit News

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will defend his department's civil rights record and attempt to build bridges with area Arab-American and Muslim leaders when he visits Detroit today.

Gonzales, still facing calls for his resignation over his recent firing of eight U.S. attorneys, is expected to highlight national and Detroit area civil rights successes by his department, following recent reports that the number of civil rights cases initiated by the Justice Department has declined.

Gonzales will address a Detroit Economic Club luncheon at the Dearborn Marriott following a morning discussion with area leaders from the Arab, Chaldean and Muslim communities.
Civil rights issues will be the focus of the luncheon speech, officials said.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in April that the number of civil rights cases initiated by the FBI -- an arm of the Justice Department -- have dropped sharply nationally since 2001 as resources shifted toward counterterrorism. For example, the FBI is handling 60 percent fewer hate crime cases today than in 2000, the newspaper reported.

"Our civil rights complaints have gone up steadily since 9/11, while their handling of civil rights cases has gone down," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan.(MORE)

Muslims to sign anti-violence pledge

Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

DEARBORN HEIGHTS -- Muslim clerics from the Shi'a and Sunni communities on Thursday will sign a document, pledging to speak out against sectarian violence or division.

The 20 religious leaders will meet at 4 p.m. in the Islamic House of Wisdom at 22575 Ann Arbor Trail in Dearborn Heights. The clerics will sign the Code of Honor and hope it serves as a beacon for Muslims in other parts of the world.

Metro Detroit has the largest population of people of Middle Eastern descent outside of the Middle East. Much of that population is Muslim and that means leaders must be accountable, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan office of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"We have a special position and with that position comes … responsibility," Walid said. "Perhaps it can be a sign for Muslims abroad."(MORE)

Islamic leaders to sign pact to strengthen ties between sects

DETROIT -- Regional Islamic leaders are expected to sign an agreement this week to strengthen ties and ward off conflicts between the faith's two major sects.

About 20 Sunni and Shiite leaders from Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor and Lansing plan to sign the one-page "Intra-faith Code of Conduct" during a meeting on Thursday at the Islamic House of Wisdom in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights.

"It's a covenant of cooperation," Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Tuesday. "It affirms that each sect is legitimately within the fold of Islam. Each side should not say disparaging things about the other."

Islamic leaders in Detroit, home to one of the nation's largest Muslim populations, will follow leaders in Southern California, who recently signed a similar code. Muslims in Washington, D.C., also plan to sign a version of the agreement.

At the same time, intra-faith efforts can address the graver problem of anti-Muslim sentiment. Bias incidents against Muslims including harassment, violence and discrimination rose nearly one-third last year to a 12-year high, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Walid said it's important for Detroit-area Muslims to come together, given the area's status as a Muslim center.

"Metro Detroit typifies for many the Muslim sentiment and sensitivities in America," he said. "We believe that the signing of this code in Detroit can (have) influence internationally in Muslim world."(MORE)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Religious leaders gather, discuss civil rights

Religious leaders gather, discuss civil rights

By: Khalil AlHajal / The Arab American News

A week after Detroit City Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. proposed an ordinance against ethnic profiling and a day before 15,000 people marched through Detroit streets demanding fair immigration reform, Latin, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders met in Detroit on May 1 for dialogue on social empowerment.

Though not very many Arab or Muslim Americans attended, Rev. Rani Abdulmasih of the Abundant Life Arabic Church, Noel Saleh of ACCESS, Dawud Walid of CAIR and Dr. Saeed Khan of Wayne State University were all part of the panel discussion.

Also speaking were African American Rev. Charles Williams of the Mary Church Terrell Council, Latin American Fr. Thomas Sepulveda of Sainte Anne de Detroit Catholic Church and Jewish American Rabbi Joseph Klein of Temple Emanu-El.

They discussed from their various perspectives what impedes social and political participation and collaboration among immigrants and different ethnic and religious groups.

"This type of dialogue cannot be underestimated in Metro Detroit," said Walid.

Fr. Sepulveda said that among immigrants, a lack of comfort, security and a sense of legitimacy as Americans discourage many from activism, along with fear of speaking out (many coming from countries ruled by strict dictatorships) and a preoccupation with demanding or multiple jobs.

Rev. Williams said that many perceive certain issues as being specific to individual groups "when all of these issues have a certain amount of effect on all of us."

He said that whether the issues involve insurance redlining, immigration policy, discrimination at airports, or economic disparities, they should be seen as human issues.

In response to a question on the idea that immigrants take away from the rights and opportunities of African American workers, Williams said "We need to be fighting for workers rights, health care, fair wages…" for everyone, "not just for certain groups."

"If we don't come together and talk about our differences, we will suffer," said Abdulmasih.
He said that studying the different cultures, putting ourselves in each others' shoes and engaging in real interaction are the most important and effective means of coming together.

Rabbi Klein spoke intensely about the need for religious groups, when they come together, to pursue genuine, deep, far-reaching dialogue, so that events are not merely "feel-good, transitory moments."

He said discussions should focus on "how we read the old testament, new testament and the Quran," and in particular, certain passages and verses that often pit groups against each other.

Walid in response said that he accepted Klein's challenge of engaging in sincere, profound dialogue.

"We have to get to know each other and help erase misconceptions… to better work together."
Khan said that though he favors interfaith dialogue and active religious communities, he is not in favor of dialogue that creates preconditions for working together when "striving for civil rights and civil liberties."

Williams said that when fighting for social justice, spending time organizing and talking about the actual issues is "a lot better than talking about religion and trying to come up with an ecumenical statement."

The following day, demonstrators marched through Detroit's Mexican American community demanding changes in immigration policy and a path to citizenship for both legal and illegal immigrants.

They also demanded an end to profiling of immigrants, as many say they are sometimes asked for immigration documents by police and other officials simply because of their appearance.

On Friday morning, a Detroit City Council hearing was held regarding Councilman Cockrel's proposal to ban the practice.

Juan Escareño of Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), which organized Monday's interfaith event, said 130 people attended, that most council members spoke favorably of the proposal, and that the council is expected to vote on it Wednesday.(MORE)

Walid advises Detroit Muslims to take extra security precautions

Update regarding threat made to Metro Detroit Muslims was given to staff and students at local Islamic school today.

Cut & paste to listen:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Walid speaks about conviction in worship in sermon

Today's sermon was delivered at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Muslim leader in Florida gets mailed death threat

Ruth Morris, South Florida
Sun-Sentinel, 5/3/07,0,6579231.story

The head of Florida's most prominent Muslim group told the FBI on Wednesday that he had received a death threat.

Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he received the threat calling Islam "the religion of Satan" in the mail Monday.

The two-page letter came in an envelope addressed to him in large letters, he said. Inside, a handwritten message read, "Death to Islam," and called Ali "a walking dead man." It also included a cartoon picturing nuclear bombs raining down on mosques in Medina and Mecca, the two holiest cities in Islam, he said.

Ali said he did not report the threat until he talked to his wife and realized how frightened she was."It's only when my wife became alarmed that I saw this was more important," Ali said. "She said, 'Listen, can you put up the hurricane shutters?'"Two FBI agents arrived at his office Wednesday morning, he said.

Judy Orihuela, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Miami field office, confirmed the bureau was investigating the death threat. "We want to double-check to see if there are similar letters being sent," she said.

Ali said the cartoon and the letter's text closely resembled a letter sent to the director of CAIR's Michigan branch this week. Last year, the council reported a rise in discrimination and hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, and Ali wrote in a recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel opinion piece that vandalism against South Florida Islamic centers has surged. (MORE)

Message for Friday - Know G'd while alive

وَٱعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ ٱلْيَقِينُ

G'd says in the Qur'an (15:99) - So worship your Lord until certainty comes to you.

The ultimate reality of G'd, according to Islam, will reach every person upon death. Since G'd is a being, who cannot be observed through empirical means, pure rationalists dismiss the reality of G'd. Believers in G'd, however, have certainty in HIS reality in various degrees, but they always believe in HIM.

In Qur'anic language, there are three stages towards perfection of certainty:

علم اليقين
The knowledge of certainty

عين اليقين
The vision of certainty

حق اليقين
The reality of certainty

Pertaining to the first, if one was to tell you about fire and its effects, yet you have never seen fire, you could obtain knowledge and have a level of certainty pertaining to fire. Pertaining to the second, if one then took you towards fire and you witnessed its flames and it actually burning a substance, you could then visualize with certainty that fire exists based upon observation. Pertaining to the third, if one took your hand and stuck it into the fire for a mere moment and it burned you, you would then experience the reality of fire.

On the most basic level, there are people that are told about G'd as children. Many grow up with a belief that G'd is real without having any knowledge of religious scriptures. These people believe in G'd although their actions may be governed by their intuition or their emotions. However, it would be hard to convince them that G'd does not exist.

On a higher level, there are people that are told about G'd and observe HIS signs in religious scriptures and in HIS creation. Although their observations guide their philosophies and idealogies, their actions may not coincide with their observations that inform their belief in G'd. They, nontheless, have a stronger belief in G'd in many ways than the one, who has only been told about G'd.

On the highest level, there are saintly people that experience the reality of G'd, not through empirical observation of G'd, but through their worship and service. What they have been taught, what they have studied, and what they have experienced gives them certitude. These are the people, who in their entire lives worship and serve as if they can see G'd, knowing that they cannot see G'd but having the overwhelming certainty that G'd always sees them. Morever, this certitude governs their lives and sustains their consciousness in all endeavors. These people are rare, the Saintly People of G'd (Awliyaa.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) taught that worshippers serve G'd within three stages:

1) Muslim (One who adheres to the 5 pillars of Islam) - A basic submitter.

2) Mu'min (One who believes in the articles of faith such as believing in One G'd, HIS angels, HIS books, HIS messengers, HIS decree & the Day of Resurrection) - A more informed servant.

3) Muhsin (One who worships G'd as if he can see HIM, knowing that he cannot see HIM, but knowing that G'd always sees him) - A perfect servant.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Local Muslims will go about normal lives after deadly threat

By Tiffany L. Parks
Staff Writer

Two days after an advocacy group received a letter that threatened the lives of all Muslims in the Detroit area, small children shuffled into a straight line outside of Crescent Academy International and giggled with each other.

According to the academy’s principal, life is normal at the private Islamic school located on the campus of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs on Palmer Road in Canton.

A letter mailed to the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan on Monday made violent references to Muslims stating: “Our goal is to terminate all Muslums (sic) in the greater Detroit area...and we will kill you first!” Representatives from the Southfield-based organization have contacted the FBI.

“We are going to go about our work,” said Dawud Walid, CAIR-Michigan executive director. “We are not going to be intimidated.”According to its Web site, the group is “dedicated to the promotion and defense of civil rights and the image of Muslims through the use of grassroots activism, mediation, the media, education, and the law.”

Walid said the organization has gotten hate mail in the past, but nothing that ever included death threats. “We have no clue (who did this),” he said.

“We are leaving it to law enforcement.”Saleem Qureski, Muslim Community of Western Suburbs vice president, said the Canton organization has never received any hate mail, but said people are concerned about the threatening letter.“We all are Americans,” he said. “We all are human beings. Our nationalities don’t change the color of our blood.”(MORE)


Islamophobia rising in America - Death threats sent to Metro Muslims

Threatening letter mailed to Muslim advocacy group
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

SOUTHFIELD -- The Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan received a letter Monday that threatened to "terminate all Muslims" in Metro Detroit, according to officials at the Muslim civil rights organization. "We received hate mail in the past mocking the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad, including a page from the Qur'an with feces spread on it, but we had not yet received any threats of being killed," said Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan.(MORE)

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