Imams gather to condemn terrorist attacks, encourage unity

Photo by Zeinab Najm. Michigan Council of Imams co-chairman Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi speaks out against the recent terrorism attacks in Beirut, Paris and terrorist groups during a press conference at the Islamic House of Wisdom Nov. 18.

Photo by Zeinab Najm. Michigan Council of Imams co-chairman Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi speaks out against the recent terrorism attacks in Beirut, Paris and terrorist groups during a press conference at the Islamic House of Wisdom Nov. 18.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The Michigan Council of Imams converged on the Islamic House of Wisdom Nov. 18 to condemn the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris and around the world.

Representatives and imams of the council expressed their thoughts, concerns and position of the Muslim community regarding the issues.

During the press conference, House of Wisdom founder and council co-chairman Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi spoke out against the terrorist attacks.

“The barbarian bloodshed in Beirut and Paris and daily terrorist attacks in other parts in the Middle East and Africa are all warnings for us to take terrorism very seriously,” he said. “We must demonstrate better determination to stop this aggression and uproot it from its foundations.”

He also addressed terrorist groups and Islam as a religion.

“ISIS and other terrorists represent the darkness of ignorance, arrogance, evil and injustice, but certainly not Islam,” he said. “Islam is about peace, justice, freedom and human integrity, but ISIS and similar evil cults are the enemies of all these values.”

Elahi also took the time speak on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States and Michigan.

“It’s unfair and immoral to add more insult to the injury of the Syrian refugees and accuse them of terrorism, while they are the real victim of war and terrorism,” he said. “The Syrian people used to live in a peaceful and prosperous country and never planned or desired to leave their country.”

On Nov. 15, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced he is suspending efforts to help Syrian refugees come to Michigan.

Iman Abdulrazzak, director of the Michigan Muslim Community Council Syrian refugee task force, said she was disappointed with Snyder’s decision.

“We shouldn’t fall victim to fear or terrorism in our community” she said. “Instead we should embrace refugees. Syrian refugees have to go through a detailed screening and security clearance process before entering the United States.”

Abdulrazzak also said that of the 750,000 refugees allowed into the United States over 10 years none has been charged with an act of terrorism.

Bob Bruttell, chairman of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, also was in attendance to voice his support for Arab and Muslim Americans.

“We stand arm and arm with each other hurt by the recent terrorism attacks,” he said. “I get asked, ‘When will the community condemn terrorism?’ and I say they already have and are still doing so.”

Along with the recent terrorist attacks, police in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights have been dealing with threats to both communities.

On Nov. 14 a Fort Gratiot Township resident, Sarah Beebe tweeted “Dearborn, MI, has the highest Muslim population in the United States. Let’s f— that place up and send a message to ISIS. We’re coming” which was investigated by Dearborn police.

Since then, the tweets have been deleted and Beebe has apologized to Dearborn its residents.

The FBI has stepped in to conduct further investigation.

“In response to recent threats in Dearborn, the FBI Detroit Field Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Dearborn Police Department have collaborated to ensure law abiding citizens are protected, and to deter those who would threaten them,” the FBI said in a press release.

In Dearborn Heights, the police department is investigating two hate letters that were sent to a resident from an unknown neighbor about Nov. 2.

One of the typed letters included a racial slur, profanity and “go back to your Middle Eastern country” in its message.

Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin said the department is investigating the letters to ensure the safety of the family and community.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92.com.)