Saturday, September 01, 2007

MI congressman attacks mainstream Muslim group

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070831/NEWS06/70831115/1003/NEWS01

Feds defend decision to associate with Muslim group
August 31, 2007

By NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Facing criticism from a Michigan Congressman, the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday defended its decision to associate with a Muslim group at its annual convention this weekend.

U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) sent a letter on Tuesday to the Attorney General at the Department of Justice, slamming it for working with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim group that is holding its convention in Rosemont, Illinois, from Friday through Sept. 4...

In response, Justice Department officials said Friday they are reaching out as part of a general effort to engage communities.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a letter sent Friday that the "Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and Community Relations Service will be operating a literature and information table at the conference."

Officials with ISNA could not be reached Friday afternoon, but local Muslims defended the group.

The secretary-general of ISNA is Muneer Fareed, who is from Oakland County and was once an imam at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, based in Rochester Hills, said a local Muslim leader.

"If Mr. Hoekstra has a problem with ISNA, then he is stating his disdain for the mainstream Muslim community," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "ISNA is not an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, and even if it was, the Muslim Brotherhood is not designated by our country as a terrorist organization."(MORE)

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