Mercy to adversaries

Today’s khutbah (sermon) given at the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren, MI discussed the following:

1)      Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) was sent to be a mercy to all people.

2)      He (SAAS) was merciful with adversaries and Muslims within the boundaries that he (SAAS) was given by The Creator.

3)      He (SAAS) gave clear stances against torture and cursing people.

4)      He (SAAS) taught not to use the same tactics as those who harm and marginalize people.

5)      Discussion on the “Leaving Islam” ad campaign being advocated for by anti-Muslim bigots.

Click here to listen.

The truth behind the ‘Leaving Islam’ campaign in Detroit

Partners in anti-Muslim hate: Pam Geller and Robert Spencer

Islamophobe Pamela Geller and her minions state that they are suing SMART Bus company in Michigan because SMART refuses to allow the “Leaving Islam’ anti-Muslim ads on their buses.

Geller is attempting to veil her hatred of Islam and Muslims by stating that she is simply trying to assist American Muslims, who wish to leave Islam that are too scared to due to threat of potential physical harm.  Geller further states that the buses should allow this campaign under the guise of the 1st Amendment, Freedom of Speech.

First, we need to examine the motives of Geller and her crew.

Geller is a flaming anti-Muslim bigot, which is not an exaggeration by any means.

Loonwatch yesterday posed some rhetorical questions about Geller to highlight this point:

Should a woman who believes and regularly states that Obama is an anti-Semitic, Jihadist Mohammadan who is aiding the Iranian regime get a pass? Does someone who calls for the Golden Dome Mosque (Masjid as-Sakhra) to be destroyed and replaced by a Jewish temple get a pass? Should a historical revisionist who says Hitler adopted Jihad and was inspired by Islam to commit the Holocaust get a pass? Should someone who states that Israel should nuke Mecca and Medina be given a pass?

Geller has called Islam a “religion of barbarism,” and has insulted mainstream Muslims by saying Muhammad “Piss Be Upon Him” instead of the customary “Peace Be Upon Him.” Geller has also advanced the extreme right wing Obama is an undercover Muslim conspiracy theory and has referred to him as a “Muhammadan.”  She even invoked vulgar slurs against our president calling him a “ball sucker” (ball meaning testicle).

David Yerushalmi, Geller’s comrade in hate, who is an attorney related to the lawsuit against SMART is perhaps more vocal in his anti-Muslim bigotry.

Yerushalmi, who has been described by Jewish American Richard Silverstein as a “devout Jewish fascist” has advocated in the past that “adherence to Islam” in America be punishable by sentencing of 20 years in prison!

Yerushalmi has also stated that Black people are predisposed to violence, a position also taken by the Klu Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation.

The Thomas More Law Center, which is also assisting Geller in her lawsuit are known to be extremists as well.  Within the past year, they filed a lawsuit against AIG for using tax dollars to promote Islamic law, which helps fund terrorist organizations because AIG offers a financial package to Muslims that is free from investing in corporations that make profits from alcohol, gambling and pornography.

With this in mind, Geller and her ilk are not benevolent Americans, who are concerned about Muslims having the freedom to convert to another religion.  They are for the elimination of Muslims practicing Islam in America in general.

Although people who change religions may be alienated by some of their family members and friends (as happens in many cases when people revert to Islam from other faiths in America), there is no empirical data that supports people who leave Islam in America do so at the threat of suffering bodily injury or lose of life.

In summation, Geller, Yerushalmi and Thomas More Law Center’s strategy is based on anti-Muslim bigotry, not in defending the 1st Amendment, which includes freedom to practice Islam in America.  Let’s not fool ourselves.

http://www.detnews.com/article/20100528/METRO01/5280364/1409/metro/-Anti-Muslim–ad-sparks-suit

‘Anti-Muslim’ ad sparks suit

Bus system refused to show ad aimed at those leaving Islam

Mark Hicks / The Detroit News

Detroit — An ad aimed at Muslims who want to leave Islam that was rejected for display by a regional bus system has prompted a lawsuit alleging violation of constitutional rights.

“Americans have a right to know the truth — Islam is a religion of intolerance and violence,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, the Ann Arbor public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit with the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi P.C. Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

“Christians, Jews and other non-Muslim minorities are persecuted in every country where Islam dominates,” Thompson said in a news release.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Freedom Defense Initiative, which sponsored the ad and had sought to display it on Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation buses.

The Freedom Defense Initiative’s website says its objective is “to go on the offensive when legal, academic, legislative, cultural, sociological and political actions are taken to dismantle our basic freedoms and values.”

According to the lawsuit, SMART this week refused to display the group’s bus ad, which read: “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get Answers!”

The lawsuit alleges the transportation authority violated First and 14th Amendment rights dealing with free speech and equal protection.

Attorneys also said SMART previously displayed an ad from the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason, an atheist group, which read: “Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.”

“In Detroit, government officials grant atheists the right to express a view that God does not exist, not worrying about offending Christians,” said Robert Muise, senior trial counsel with the Thomas More Law Center. “Yet, these same politically correct officials censor speech that might offend Muslims. Such blatant discrimination is offensive, and it violates our Constitution.”

Elizabeth Dryden, a SMART spokeswoman, said it would be “inappropriate to comment” on the case until company officials speak with the bus agency’s attorney.

Some local supporters of Islam say they support the group’s right to free speech, but believe the ad could be seem as spreading intolerance.

“It’s a purely anti-Muslim hate issue,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter. “The SMART bus company, or any bus company, should not be used to marginalize a minority group.”

Did FBI shot their own attack K-9?

http://www.detnews.com/article/20100526/METRO/5260421/1361/Veterinary-report–FBI-dog-in-warehouse-sting-shot-twice-in-neck

Veterinary report: FBI dog in warehouse sting shot twice in neck

Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

Detroit — The Council on American Islamic Relations — Michigan has obtained a copy of a report detailing the medical treatment provided for an FBI dog that died in an October FBI raid that also claimed the life of an Islamic cleric.

Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was the target of the sting operation and was fatally shot after the FBI said he refused to put down a gun and shot an FBI dog sent into a warehouse where the sting occurred. Abdullah was shot 20 times in the incident.

The dog was taken to Veterinary Emergency Services Inc., in Madison Heights. The three-page report indicates that the dog was shot in the neck twice. Two bullets and some bullet fragments were removed from the animal, according to the report. The report does not state the caliber of the bullet fragments or the bullets.

Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said not knowing the caliber of the bullet makes it difficult to know who shot the dog.

“We don’t know if the dog was shot by friendly fire or not,” he said.

In addition, Abdullah suffered wounds in the sting that could have been caused by the dog, Walid said. The News reviewed autopsy photos that showed cuts to the imam’s face and other wounds whose origins were unclear.

The authorities did not test Abdullah’s hands for gunshot residue, something that also could have proven whether he shot at the dog, Walid said.

Walid and a coalition of religious leaders have called for an investigation into the death. At a press conference earlier this month, Walid said he sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to start a civil rights probe.

“Due to conflicting accounts of the incident and numerous Freedom of Information Act requests filed to law enforcement agencies relating to the shooting which have been denied, numerous parties … have called for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to open a thorough and robust civil rights investigation into the circumstances of Abdullah’s death,” the letter to Obama stated.

Walid said Abdullah’s family is frustrated by the slow release of information in the case.

“We all want closure on this issue,” he said.

FBI officials were not available for comment.

One of the veterinarians who worked on the dog is out of the country and the other was not due to work until later this evening, Veterinary Emergency Services staffers said.

***

http://www.freep.com/article/20100526/NEWS02/100526040/1320/2-shots-to-the-neck-killed-FBI-dog-tests-show

2 shots to the neck killed FBI dog, tests show

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

The FBI dog killed during a raid involving Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot twice in the neck, according to a veterinary report released today by a Muslim group.

Freddy the dog was used by the FBI during the Oct. 28 raid in Dearborn to arrest Abdullah and his followers on suspicion of dealing in stolen goods. Abdullah was shot and killed during the raid by FBI agents.

The FBI has said Abdullah first shot Freddy, after which agents returned fire. Family members and some advocates say it’s unclear who shot the dog, raising the question of whether the dog could have been shot by friendly fire.

The veterinary report, known as a necropsy, talks about bullet fragments found in the dog, but does not indicate what type of bullets were used. It also says there were four wounds noted on the dog, but does not indicate whether some of those were from exit wounds or other bullets. It says, “Multiple small bullet fragments seen.”

The dog arrived Oct. 28 at Veterinary Emergency Service of Madison Heights, which did the report.

The veterinarian named on the report is currently on vacation and another involved with the report is not at work now, the company said today.

The report was released by the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been critical of the FBI’s killing of Abdullah, a Muslim leader who headed a mosque in Detroit.

The FBI, which used informants to monitor Abdullah, has said Abdullah made statements that were anti-government and advocated violence.

“The necropsy report raises more questions than answers,” said Dawud Walid, head of the council. “It doesn’t tell us what bullet calibers were found. So we don’t know if friendly fire was involved or not.”

The FBI said it had no comment today on the report. The head of the Detroit FBI, Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, has said previously that his agents acted appropriately. Speaking in West Bloomfield two weeks ago, Arena said he worried that Abdullah or his followers might attack police officers.


Addressing the concerns regarding shooting of Aiyanna Jones

Yesterday’s comments were made at the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality meeting at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit relating to the recent shooting of 7 year old Aiyanna Jones by a Detroit Police officer as well as a warrantless entry by the Detroit Police of Masjid Al-Haqq late last year.

Click here to listen.

*Mayor Bing’s spokesperson responded to yesterday’s concerns that were voiced at the meeting by stating that his administration hears certain people making noise about him and the police but not about the criminals.  See  article below.

This is a flawed, deflective response for two reasons:

1) Criminal activity has been spoken against at such meetings and was spoken against during this meeting.  Some of the video of it should be posted soon.

2) The mayor and the police are held to a HIGHER STANDARD than criminals.  It is the responsibility of citizens to not only report crime when it is seen but to also check the mayor and the police since they are SERVANTS of the community, not the other way around.  It is the right and duty of citizens to voice concerns and dissent to their elected officials, not just praise them.  This is an American tradition as old as apple pie.

***

http://www.freep.com/article/20100524/NEWS01/100524009/1318/Mayor-Bings-office-defends-actions-in-wake-of-recent-violence

Mayor Bing’s office defends actions in wake of recent violence

By ZLATI MEYER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s office is dismissing criticisms that he doesn’t have a plan to reduce the violence that has rocked the city in recent weeks.

Bing spokeswoman Karen Dumas rejected comments disparaging how he is coping in the wake of a spate of violence, which has included the fatal shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a police raid on May 16. The statements were made during a Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality community meeting Sunday evening in Corktown.

“People are upset with the police, and not upset with the criminals. That’s the problem,” Dumas said. “Our efforts are methodical, not reactionary. … We understand there’s a problem.”

Approximately four dozen people attended the coalition’s two-hour meeting at St. Peter Episcopal Church on Sunday.

“The mayor said he doesn’t have a plan; I’m going to be so bold to say we do have a plan,” coalition spokesman Ron Scott said. “We are the answer we are looking for.”

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who addressed the group, said he was “extremely troubled” by the mayor’s statement that an investigation into Aiyana’s death should be handled at the local, not federal, level.

He also questioned the wisdom of having a TV crew following Detroit cops at work, which may provoke overzealous actions. Crews for A&E’s “The First 48″ were filming police the morning of Aiyana’s shooting.

The city’s recent wave of violence also includes the deaths of Police Officer Brian Huff during a raid on May 3; of 69-year-old Geraldine Jackson by a stray bullet on May 13; and of 17-year-old Je’rean Blake on May 14.

Presentations also included violence-prevention advice, questions about the police department’s gang squad methods and information about an individual’s rights.

The coalition is planning to protest outside the Detroit Police Commission meeting at police headquarters at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Probe into imam’s death goes to Cox’s office

http://www.freep.com/article/20100521/NEWS02/5210334/1001/News/Probe-into-imams-death-goes-to-Coxs-office

Probe into imam’s death goes to Cox’s office

BY ERIC D. LAWRENCE
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

The Dearborn Police Department has forwarded the results of its investigation into last year’s fatal shooting of a local Muslim leader during an FBI-led raid to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot 20 times Oct. 28 at a warehouse in Dearborn as federal agents sought to arrest him and 10 other people on suspicion of dealing in stolen goods.

“The investigators assigned to this incident conducted an exhaustive investigation, they reviewed statements from and interviewed all available witnesses (totaling over 80 individuals), collected and analyzed several items of evidence, and reviewed all related statements, reports and documents, which included the autopsy report, necropsy report and the ballistics report,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said in a news release Thursday.

He could not be reached for additional comment.

The FBI has defended its actions that day and during the two-year investigation that preceded the raid. Delays in the release of the autopsy report and completion of the police investigation fueled criticism of the case’s handling.

Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Cox, said the Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the results of the police and the FBI’s internal investigation.

“This is a serious investigation, and we’re trying to complete it in a timely manner while also being thorough,” Yearout said.

Nationally known forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht has completed his own review of Abdullah’s autopsy results for the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Dawud Walid, the group’s executive director, said Wecht is expected to discuss his findings in Detroit, possibly as early as next week.

“According to his report, there are some discrepancies between his findings and the Wayne County Medical Examiner,” Walid said.

The New Miss USA: Progress or Bigger Problems for Muslims?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nida-khan/the-new-miss-usa-progress_b_585108.html

Nida Khan

Nida Khan

News correspondent for WRKS 98.7 Kiss FM NY

Posted: May 21, 2010 04:38 PM

The New Miss USA: Progress or Bigger Problems for Muslims?

Long before the now-infamous scantily clad pictures of the newly crowned Miss USA gyrating against a pole surfaced, the debate surrounding Rima Fakih’s triumph was already well under way in certain households. Virtually overnight, the American Muslim diaspora was cast into the spotlight in an unprecedented and complex manner. On the one hand, Rima’s win symbolized a tremendous gain for Muslim acceptance into broader society and pop culture. But as the concepts of modesty and humility remain central to Islam, many began questioning if winning a beauty pageant was truly a moment of joviality.

Now to be fair, Rima has not openly proclaimed herself to be a Muslim. In fact, she has stated that her family ‘celebrates both the Muslim and Christian faiths’ and she instead classifies herself simply as an Arab American. But since the media, pundits and average folk have already dubbed her a representative of the community, let’s treat this as such.

As an American Muslim woman who prides herself on bridging the many worlds that encompass my own identity, I was initially elated to learn that an Arab American took home the crown in a contest that serves as a pinnacle — if not the pinnacle — for the standard of beauty in this nation. FINALLY, I thought. At a time when the Muslim and Arab disposition is so often misconstrued and stereotypically represented, Rima’s win in my mind served as a reminder that 1.5 billion people on this planet are not a homogenous body, but rather represent a broad spectrum of lifestyles. This was undoubtedly, a great moment for us — or so I presumed.

“Everyone practices his or her faith in their own way,” says Suehaila Amen, VP of the Lebanese American Heritage Club in Dearborn, Michigan, who has interacted with Rima in the community for several years. “But you’re not going to get Muslims to say this is who we are, and this is what being a Muslim is all about. On the one hand, it’s great; Rima has the opportunity to put Dearborn and Arab Americans on the map, but I would love to see other ways of Muslims being accepted into the mainstream culture.”

In a country where assimilation is the appropriate means of gaining acceptance, how much is too much? Can one strip (no pun intended) his or her identity to the point where the values and culture that defined this individual become virtually non-existent? As I continue to boast of ‘one of our own’ taking home the crown, I cannot help but think of those women who don’t feel comfortable wearing a bikini or who — dare I say — cover their hair. Even though I firmly believe people need a moderate balance of the competing dualities that define him or her, I cannot say without hesitation that Rima’s conquest is a gain for those on the more conservative end of the spectrum.

Dawud Walid, an assistant Imam of Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and an active participant in the Dearborn community believes Rima’s pageant win puts an unwarranted burden on the 24-year-old.

“She won a beauty contest, and now she’s being looked upon as an ambassador to her religion,” he says. “Every time you have a person from an oppressed group break the threshold in a specific area, suddenly they are forced to represent the entire community whether or not they are qualified to do so or even have the desire to do so.”

Case in point: Vanessa Williams. As the first African American woman to win the Miss America pageant in 1984, her victory — and almost immediate downfall — became a reflection of all African American women in the court of public opinion. And in the decades since, African American women have been consistently battling for appropriate representation within mainstream society when it comes to the notion of beauty. Instead of headscarf versus no scarf, the conversation has often centered around light skin versus dark skin. But the underlying principle is still the same — when does acceptance translate into conformity?

During my days as the editor-in-chief of a Muslim magazine dedicated to young professionals, I debated and probed these very issues with my all-female staff. And today, while I’m ecstatic that we are finally depicted in another context outside of the usual long-bearded extremist chanting epithets in Arabic while draped in long garb, I have to think of our progress in critical terms. Even though Rima’s victory is undoubtedly shattering the proverbial glass ceiling, it is also simultaneously painting those Muslim women who practice the religion in a more traditional manner as further and further from the norm.

As Muslims slowly receive recognition from the halls of Congress to the latest swimsuit competition, I’m torn between pride and notions of otherness. While the United States continually diversifies and reshapes its own identity, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Rima pulled out a hijab (headscarf) last minute and tied it snuggly underneath her crown right before taking the legendary Miss USA victory walk.