Friday, June 29, 2007

Walid meets with OIC reps to discuss interfaith dialogue and the Darfur crisis


(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 6/29/2007) - The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) yesterday met with representatives from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Detroit to exchange information about interfaith dialogue and social justice issues.

The meetings, which were coordinated by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, were held at the Muslim Center in Detroit, Michigan and the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

OIC representatives inquired into the demographics of the Detroit Muslim community, religious programs of local mosques and interfaith activities.

The representatives also discussed the organization's efforts to confront Islamophobia as well as its analysis and intervention in the current humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

"We commend the U.S. State Department's efforts to cultivate better relations between America and the Muslim world through its activities with the OIC," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. "The meeting was not only an educational opportunity for the OIC delegates, but also an opportunity for American Muslim leaders to share their common interests and concerns with OIC representatives."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Walid gives sermon regarding materialism

Today's sermon was delivered at the American Muslim Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

The topics covered were spiritual purification through charitable giving and seeking to live an austere lifesyle as well as discussing the Muslims legal right to give to Islamic organizations and mosques.

Cut & paste to listen:

Shunning materialism

‏ازْهَدْ فِي الدُّنْيَا يُحِبَّكَ اللَّهُ

The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) stated, "Shun materialism, and G'd will love you."

In today's world, success in life by many is measured by the piling up of material acquisitions. Many of the problems in today's world including war, oppression, crime and debt can be traced or linked to greed in most cases.

Islam promotes austerity, the life of simplicity. Austerity, zuhd in Arabic, does not translate into shunning all aspects of the material world or making unlawful what is lawful. According to Islam, the human being is to resist notions that material acquistion is an end, not a means to an end. Neither is one to preoccupy themself with the accumulation of wealth.

The preoccupation of wealth accumulation may cause one to scuttle their religious and ethical values out of fear of loosing a opportunity for increased material benefit. Such an example would be for a person of faith to hide their religious identity at work or even work against the ethical principles of their religion at their place of employment to advance their career. Thus, the person sells their soul for monetary benefit, which cannot be taken to the grave and will assist them none when meeting their Lord.

"Keeping up with the Jones'" is contrary to the Islamic ethic and should not be the goal of any religious minded person.

And surely G'd knows best.

Sharing religious texts between the People of the Book

In the era of Muslim Spain, Muslim and Jewish intellectuals would engage in dialectics and read each other's religious texts.

One example of this is the relationship that Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd aka Averroes shared with his contemporary Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher. Many of Ibn Rushd's works were translated into Hebrew.

SHARING FAITHS: Program brings sacred Jewish texts to mosques
June 29, 2007



A national pilot program to link Jews and Muslims with sacred books kicked off in Detroit on Thursday with the delivery of 17 Jewish books to one of the city's leading mosques.

"I hope this idea extends from Detroit across the U.S. and even throughout the world," Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said as a Jewish delegation from Oakland County delivered the first collection of Jewish books to a local mosque.

The books included translations and commentaries on the Torah, which Christians regard as the first five books of their Bible. Many of the early figures in the Jewish Bible, including Abraham, are considered sacred figures in Islam.

The idea of combating bigotry by sharing sacred texts isn't new. In 2002, Walid's Washington, D.C.-based group kicked off a three-year campaign to place Muslim books in nearly 8,000 public libraries across the country.

The effort launched Thursday is designed to bring Jewish books directly into Muslim centers across Michigan and eventually other parts of the United States.(MORE)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Walid addresses ending torture

ACLU, Citizens Rally for Human Rights

Pat Sweeting, WWJ Newsroom Reporting

Rallies across the country, including Detroit, by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are focusing on human rights.

Joining in an ACLU rally Tuesday in downtown Detroit was Dauud Waleed[sic], Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. Waleed[sic], like the ACLU, is calling on U.S .Senator Debbie Stabenow to restore due process and end torture of political detainees.

Waleed[sic] told WWJ Newsradio 950's Pat Sweeting that, since 9/11, Muslims have been the primary objects of the suspension of habeas corpus as well as being subjected to toucher by the American Government.

"We don't think that these are American values -- suspending due process -- and we certainly don't think that toucher fits in with American values," Waleed[sic] said. He says that if we take on the same tactics as the enemies of America, then we are no better than them.(MORE)

The Michigan American Civil Liberties Union led rallies across the state and in Washington D-C today (Tues) to protect Americans’ due process rights. WDET’s John Notarianni has more.

The ability of a prisoner to question the legality of his detention. . . or habeas corpus. . . is part of the foundation of American Democracy. The 2006 Military Commissions Act. . . however. . . waives that right for suspected enemy combatants in the war on terror. Representative Joe Knollenberg and Senator Debbie Stabenow both voted in favor of that law. The Michigan A-C-L-U is leading a coalition to change their minds. At Senator Stabenow’s office in Detroit. . . Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations Director Dawud Walid said the suspension of due process isn’t just a problem for Muslims. . . it threatens all Americans.

"This is a coalition of Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists. We want to remind her of the values of this country and to remind her that all people are entitled to respect and dignity and all are entitled to due process and not to be tortured and treated less than human."(MORE)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

UN says Darfur conflict triggered by environmental degradation, not ethnicity

Environmental Degradation Triggering Tensions and Conflict in Sudan

Investments in Management and Rehabilitation of Natural Resources Central to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building in Sudan Says UN Environment Programme

Geneva/Nairobi, 22 June 2007 - Sudan is unlikely to see a lasting peace unless widespread and rapidly accelerating environmental degradation is urgently addressed.

A new assessment of the country, including the troubled region of Darfur, indicates that among the root causes of decades of social strife and conflict are the rapidly eroding environmental services in several key parts of the country.

Investment in environmental management, financed by the international community and from the country's emerging boom in oil and gas exports, will be a vital part of the peace building effort, says the report.

The most serious concerns are land degradation, desertification and the spread of deserts southwards by an average of 100km over the past four decades.

These are linked with factors including overgrazing of fragile soils by a livestock population that has exploded from close to 27 million animals to around 135 million now.

Many sensitive areas are also experiencing a "deforestation crisis" which has led to a loss of almost 12 per cent of Sudan's forest cover in just 15 years. Indeed, some areas may undergo a total loss of forest cover within the next decade.

Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence of long-term regional climate change in several parts of the country. This is witnessed by a very irregular but marked decline in rainfall, for which the clearest indications are found in Kordofan and Darfur states.

In Northern Darfur for example precipitation has fallen by a third in the past 80 years says the report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch.

The scale of climate change as recorded in Northern Darfur is almost unprecedented, and its impacts are closely linked to conflict in the region, as desertification has added significantly to the stress on traditional agricultural and pastoral livelihoods.

In addition, "forecast climate change is expected to further reduce food production due to declining rainfall and increased variability, particularly in the Sahel belt. A drop in crop yields of up to 70 per cent is forecast for the most vulnerable areas," says the Sudan Post-Conflict Assessment.

Video in which oil was also mentioned as a source of conflict.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Message for Friday - Help the oppressed and the oppressor

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "Help your brother when he is an oppressor and when he is oppressed."

And man question, "Oh Messenger of G'd! I help him that is oppressed, but when I see him oppressing, how do I help him?"

He (SAAS) replied, "You block or repel his oppression, and that is how you help him."

The believer in Islam is commanded to help the oppressed irrespective of their religion or whether the oppressed ask for assistance or not. In the struggle to help the oppressed, this automatically puts liberators and oppressors at odds.

Helping the oppressed takes moral strength and conviction, for liberators must be willing to put their wealth, reputations and possibly their lives in peril. When the oppressors, however, have close relationships, even the same faith, as those who seek to liberate the oppressed, there is a tendancy for many to blind themselves to the oppression.

In the Muslim world today, many of the governments are ran by oppressive regimes. From Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa to Turkmenistan in Central Asia, Muslims are being oppressed by fellow Muslims while most of the Muslim world passively watches. Business transactions and investments go undisturbed by rich businessmen while private dismay by some behind closed doors translates into idleness.

Perhaps, this could be one of the biggest challenges for Muslims today is to resist oppression within its own ranks without bringing about anarchy within their own societies.

Although American Muslims lack the power to physically remove oppressors, the community should at least have the moral strength to speak out against these forces and divest their resources from the reigns of the oppressors.

And surely G'd knows best.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Few Iraqis find refuge in the U.S.

By Brian Padden
Washington, D.C.
19 June 2007 (Video link - Real player)

June 20th is International Refugee Day so we are turning our attention to the refugee situation in Iraq. The United Nations says nearly four million Iraqis have fled from their homes seeking refuge in either safer regions of their country or abroad. And every month at least 40,000 more people are displaced.

The United States faces increasing criticism for not doing more to solve the refugee crisis there or allowing more Iraqi refugees into the U.S. In 2006 the United States allowed only 202 Iraqi refugees into the country. VOA's Brian Padden found one of the few -- in Dearborn, Michigan.

The large Iraqi community in Dearborn, Michigan, makes up a significant part of the 500,000 Arab-Americans who live in Detroit.
There is a large Iraqi community in Dearborn, Michigan. It makes up a significant part of the 500,000 Arab-Americans who live in or around the Midwest city of Detroit.

Most of the men at the Karbala Islamic Center, like the vast majority of Iraqis here, came in the early 1990s after the first Gulf War. But Ahmed Kareem arrived just a year ago. Before he left Iraq, Kareem says he was working as a journalist in Baghdad for an American-supported Iraqi newspaper. He says he fled after he was targeted for assassination for helping Americans.

The Karbala Islamic Center
"The last time in Iraq a couple of guys shot at me and that's why I had to leave Iraq because of this. And my family was threatened too, and one of my brothers was assassinated," Kareem told us.

Kareem now lives in one small rented room. He wants to bring other family members here. They are now living in Egypt. Kareem is one of the few Iraqi refugees who have been allowed into the United States. In 2006 only 202 Iraqis were resettled in the U.S. This is a controversial issue even in the Arab community here.

Dawud Walid is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. He says the government is discriminating against Arabs and Muslims. "We believe it is partly due to the demonization of Arabs in the post-9/11 era."(MORE)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Regarding funding of the "footbaths"

*NOTE* - The Muslim community has not stated that it would not fund the foot washing area. It would if need be.

Since the school's position is that this is a public safety issue, which is not promoting one religion over others and that civil rights lawyers, Muslim and Non-Muslims, have informed us that the "footbaths" being built with student activity fees is not unconstitutional, the need to privately fund the "footbaths" does not appear to be incumbent.

Muslims won't fund footbaths

Leaders cite ACLU's decision not to oppose use of public money for UM-Dearborn project.

Karen Bouffard / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Muslim leaders in Metro Detroit have decided not to raise private money to pay for two footbaths at a local college campus now that the American Civil Liberties Union has said the plan doesn't pose constitutional problems.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn's plan to spend $25,000 on the footbaths was criticized on conservative blogs and radio shows this month. Critics said using public money for the project would violate the First Amendment, which says governments can't favor or subsidize religions.

Muslims are required to wash body parts, including feet, up to five times daily before prayers.

University officials say the floor-level wash basins are needed because some students at the 8,600-student campus wash their feet in the sinks.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said his group was concerned a public outcry would cause the university to back down from the project.

"If the ACLU had decided to take legal action against the UM-Dearborn, we probably would have called for the university to raise the funds privately, just so that the UM-Dearborn wouldn't have to go through the trouble of having to defend its position against the ACLU," Walid said.(MORE)

Walid gives "Know your rights" presentation

Last night's presentation, which was in English and Arabic, was given at the American Moslem Society in Dearborn, Michigan.

To listen, please click on the following link:

Friday, June 15, 2007

American Muslim civil rights complaints up 25%

Norman Sinclair / The Detroit

DETROIT -- Civil rights complaints by American Muslims rose 25 percent across the country, according to the latest report by a national advocacy group; however, complaints in Michigan remained among the lowest, with a 3 percent increase in 2006.

Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said while Michigan might have fewer complaints, the numbers could be skewed by the presence in Dearborn of one of the country's largest and most active chapters of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

"A lot of complaints that would normally go to CAIR go to ADC when it primarily involves Muslims who are Arab-American.," he said. "A lot of the complaints we get at CAIR are from various ethnic groups, with Arab-Americans not being the dominant complainers."

The most significant increase in any category related to immigration issues, which accounted for 36 percent of the complaints, up from 19 percent the previous year. Hate crime complaints rose 9 percent, from 153 complaints in 2005 to 167 last year.

Walid said a disturbing trend locally is the increase in vandalism of mosques. In 2006, two such incidents were reported. In the first five months this year, there have been 12 such incidents in Metro Detroit, he said.

He said last year there was one incident of a hate e-mail sent to a Muslim student group at the University of Michigan. This year there has been an increasing number of these incidents, he said.(MORE)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sunni & Shi'i imams speak out against terror bombing of mosque in Iraq

Detroit-Area Clerics Condemn
Mosque Bombing
Sarah Hulett

Islamic clerics from the Detroit area are condemning the bombing of the Askaria Mosque in Samarra today. And they're urging southeast Michigan's Muslim community to stay calm in the wake of the destruction of a one of the holiest Shi'ite shrines.

Dawud Walid directs the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. He says there needs to be a thorough investigation into who's responsible for the explosions."We also call on the Muslim community and the Muslim scholars both in Iraq and here and to remind their followers to be calm," says Walid.

"We should not jump to any conclusions as to who was behind this crime.

"Imam Mohammad Musa is with the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills. He says it's critical for Sunni and Shi'ite leaders to come together.

"Our community is worried about what's happening there like disease," says Musa. "And they don't like the disease to come here."(MORE)

Walid urges unity after attack on shrine in Iraq

Muslim leaders to hold unity rally today in Dearborn
June 13, 2007

Muslims are planning to gather in Dearborn this afternoon to call for unity in the aftermath of the bombing of one of the most important mosques for Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq.

Sunni and Shi’ite leaders are expected to hold a 4 p.m. news conference at the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, a Shi’ite mosque headed by Imam Husham Al-Husainy.

“We want to affirm our unity as Shi’ites and Sunnis,” said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We should be an example of how all Muslims can work together.”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Walid addresses Muslim unity

The following lecture was given this past Thursday night during a special commemoration of Fatimah Az-Zahra (SA), the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) at the American Muslim Community Center in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Cut & paste the following link to listen:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Message for Friday - The caller is like the actor

It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "The one who guides towards excellence is like the one who does it."

People who have refined the art of eloquence can sway the hearts and minds of many. In fact, many eloquent speakers can influence their audiences without using logic but connecting through emotional appeals.

Hence, the callers to faith and civic responsibility have the weighty responsibility of mobilizing the public towards wholesome, constructive behaviors within society. Their ability to influence can be a powerful catalyst in bringing about good.

It is also narrated that Prophet Muhammad said, "The one that guides towards evil is similiar to it."

American law recognizes the illegality of those who call towards mischief; it is referred to as incitement. People, for instance, who incite others through their speech towards violence bear some of the responsibility of the active participants whether the inciters took part in the actions or not.

One example of this is the hate websites and blogs ran by terrorists to Islamophobes that incite hatred towards certain groups of people. They have a burden to bear for the actions of those who were inspired by their diabolical rhetoric. Although they may not face justice in a court of law, they most certaintly will answer to G'd for every word.

And surely G'd knows best.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

U of M "foot bath" station is about hygiene

What escaped being printed in this story is that Muslims make ritual ablutions before prayers and that Muslims have been putting their feet in face bowls because washing feet is a portion of the ritual ablution. The University of Michigan-Dearborn is simply making provisions based upon hygiene concerns. The school cannot restrict the practice of Muslims washing themselves for prayer.

The safety issue is also a factor in regards to possible slipping of a student or staff due to wet floors from feet washing, which is currently done at the face bowl areas.

College's foot bath plans spark backlash
Project for Muslim students draws accusation U-M Dearborn is giving faith favored treatment.

Karen Bouffard / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- The University of Michigan-Dearborn plans to spend $25,000 for foot-washing stations, making it easier for Muslim students to practice their religion but sparking questions about the separation of church and state.

The university claims the stations are needed to accommodate Muslim students, who must ritually wash their bodies -- including the feet -- up to five times each day before prayers. But critics hit conservative blogs and radio airwaves Monday to argue public money shouldn't cover the cost.

"Technically, they've got a problem, because it's public money they're using to pay for this," said Hal Downs, president of the Michigan chapter of Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"It's one of those issues that we're going to be facing more and more in this community."

The Internet has created the fuss at U-M Dearborn, argued Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"To my knowledge, none of the students or staff have made any complaints about the foot-washing area," Walid said.

"This whole thing came to light through some right-wing Islama-phobic bloggers that want to promulgate the idea that the university is being Islama-fied."(MORE)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

CAIR - 13 years of service


Friday, June 01, 2007

Walid speaks about being patient during opposition & ignorance of Islamic rulings among youth

Today's sermon was delivered in Southfield, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen:

Message for Friday - Be part of the solution, not the problem

بئس القوم قوم لا يأمرون بالمعروف ولا ينهون عن المنكر

The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "The worst of the people are people that do not enjoin the excellent standards and forbidden the despicable things."

Approximately 2 weeks ago in Detroit, a 91 year old man was beaten while being robbed of his car by a 22 year old man. This savage act, which was captured on a store security camera, was a heinous crime; however, what was even more disturbing was that a group of men were standing at the scene that watched the elderly man being attacked and did nothing to assist him.

To be a specator of a criminality without working to stop it equals complicity according to the teachings of Islam. A believer in G'd is summoned to do more than just prayer and be a "goodie-goodie." Sanctimonious people in religion that do not work for the betterment of the whole practice religion void of true spirituality.

According to the present day Gospels, Messiah Jesus son of Mary (Peace be upon both of them) said to the Pharisees of his time that had this similiar mentality (Luke 11:44), "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them."

And surely G'd knows best.