Tuesday, May 08, 2007

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)

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