Sermon regarding benefits of taqwa & protest of terrorism suspect

Today’s sermon was delivered at the American Moslem Society mosque in Dearborn, MI to a predominately Yemeni-American audience.

Topics covered were:

1) The basic meaning of taqwa or having proper consciousness of G’d.

2) Taqwa gives spiritual insight that no university can give.

3) The protest in downtown Detroit in reaction to the terrorism trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab and the distinction between condemning terrorism and being apologetic about terrorism falsely committed in the name of Al-Islam.

4) The last century of Muslims in Metro Detroit is a record of being law abiding citizens.

Click here to listen.

Muslim, Nigerian leaders rally against terrorism

http://www.freep.com/article/20100108/NEWS05/100108015/1318/Muslim-leaders-condemn-terrorism

Muslim, Nigerian leaders rally against terrorism

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Chanting “No more terrorism,” about 150 Muslim and Nigerian protesters waved U.S. flags as they rallied in the cold outside the federal courthouse during a hearing for the suspect accused of trying to bomb a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day.

“Muslims here to tell you: Go to hell,” read a sign held by Majed Rizki, 48, of Dearborn. “It was a sin against humanity, against civilization,” Rizki said of the attempted attack.

“Islam is not a terrorist religion,” Bilal Amen, 27, vice chair of the Islamic Institute of Knowledge in Dearborn, said while holding an American flag. “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

Amen and others said they were concerned that the Muslim suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, was giving the wrong image of Islam.

“I’m an American, born and raised,” Amen said. “Islam teaches us to abide by the laws of our land.”

Many in the crowd were angry and upset over the actions of the 23-year-old man, who reportedly was radicalized by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen.

Dave Alwatan, 36, an Iraqi-American Muslim, said that the bombing suspect and Al-Qaida have nothing to do with Islam. At one point, Alwatan shouted at a woman leaving the courthouse he thought was the mother of the suspect.

“Shame on you!” he shouted as TV cameras rolled. “Shame on you for how you raise your kids.”

It’s unclear if the woman was the suspect’s mother.

“Nigerians are against terrorism,” read a sign held by Ogunyinka Ogunleye, 59, of Detroit, a native of Nigeria standing outside the federal courthouse in Detroit.

“We all support America,” Ogunleye said. “God bless America. … We are ready to go against anyone who does” terrorism acts.

The group consisted of Nigerians who were Muslim and Christian, reflecting the growing population of Nigerians and other west Africans in metro Detroit. The suspect is from Nigeria, but local Nigerians note he did not become a radical in Nigeria.

The protest was led by Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni. Others held up signs that read, “Not in the Name of Islam,” “We are Americans,” and “Islam is Against Terrorism.”

“We are here to send a message,” Moughni said. “We won’t let anyone hijack our religion.”

Moughni said he organized the rally after becoming angry over the attempted attack on Christmas Day. It marks one of the first rallies in recent memory where local Muslims are rallying against Muslims who commit terrorism acts.

Ibrahim Aljahim, 27, of Detroit waved a big U.S. flag at the rally.

“I love the flag,” said Aljahim, who also had a flag pin on his jacket and suit.

“We are Americans,” he said. “And we are against terrorism.”

“Al-Qaida must be defeated not only militarily, but intellectually,” Imam Aly Lela of the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit said at a meeting earlier this morning organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama addressed the issue of radicalization, saying that he has directed officials to address the issue of “lone recruits” who turn to terrorism. Some Muslims and security experts say there is a problem with a small percentage of Muslims becoming extremists, as in the case of the Nigerian man who tried to detonate a bomb on Christmas Day over Detroit.

At the same time, the imams asked that Muslim Americans not be singled out for profiling.

Leaders hold news conference

A group of about 10 imams spoke at the New Center One building in Detroit at a news conference organized by the council, chaired by Victor Ghalib Begg of Bloomfield Hills. In a statement from the council, the imams said they oppose Al-Qaida “and are committed to the security of the people of this great nation.”

They spoke on the same day that a 23-year-old suspect was due in federal court on charges in connection with the attempted bombing of an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day.

“In the teachings of the Koran, security is very, very important,” said Imam Mohamed Musa, of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills.

Imam Abdullah El-Amin of the Muslim Center in Detroit called the bomber a “nutcase” and called for more security at airports.

“We do call for more stringent checks,” El-Amin said. “I don’t mind. … But don’t single out Muslims to do that. Do that for everybody.”

Dawud Walid, assistant imam at the Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, noted that Muslims are rooted in the history and culture of metro Detroit, saying they have lived here for at least a century.

“We have a long track record of speaking out against terrorism,” Walid said. Walid later participated in the rally at the courthouse, waving a U.S. flag.

Regarding profiling, Walid said Obama — whose middle name is Hussein — might be profiled because of his Arabic name, and so he said it doesn’t make sense to target people based on their ethnicity or religion.

“Based upon his name, he would be a victim of profiling,” Walid said.

The leaders at the news conference came from mosques across metro Detroit and represented different schools of thought, including Sunni and Shia.

Nigeria:No Al-Qaeda in Country – Islamic Scholars

http://allafrica.com/stories/200912300514.html

Nigeria:No Al-Qaeda in Country – Islamic Scholars

Abbas Jimoh

29 Dec. 2009

Some Islamic scholars in Nigeria yesterday dismissed allegations that Al Qaeda exists in Nigeria following the alleged attempt by 23 year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bomb a United States passenger plane on Christmas day.

The scholars, who spoke to Daily Trust in separate interviews, said Nigerians are not terrorists, even as they urged the relevant security agencies to investigate the matter dispassionately.

Malam Abdulfattah Adeyemi, an Abuja-based Islamic Scholar, said, “I want to say confidently that there is no connection between the accused and any religious group in Nigeria. We are a nation that is focused. We are at the phase of rebranding and trying to move the nation forward.”

On Farouk Umaru Mutallab’s involvement, Adeyemi said: “We cannot say for sure what is responsible for the problem, but I will suggest that the matter should be thoroughly investigated and people should avoid passing comments that will bring disgrace to the nation and should equally refrained from wrongfully pointing accusing fingers to anyone when investigations have not been carried out or concluded.”

Dr Taofik Abdulazeez, the Imam of University of Abuja said Nigerians should take the news with extreme caution and asked the authorities not to rush into actions without sufficient information.

He said, “There may be a connection between extreme economic prosperity of some people and extreme poverty of some and certain tendency such as violence and other tendencies such as this may not be located among the poor. The care for our children and concern for them should be viewed with extreme caution and extreme care and monitoring so as to be able to stem certain tendencies that may have dear consequences to the lives and well- being of our families and the security of the nation.”

Other Islamic groups including Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, (NSCIA), Association of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN), and Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) among others have equally condemned the act and called for full investigation.

Privacy Isn’t the Price for Security

Opinion: Privacy Isn’t the Price for Security

(Dec. 29) – There is no doubt that the events aboard an airliner heading for Detroit on Christmas Day sent a collective chill down the spines of travelers everywhere. The attempted attack on that plane could easily have ended tragically, and we’re all grateful it didn’t. In the aftermath, it’s necessary for political leaders to find out what went wrong and what more can be done to protect our nation against terrorism.

But while it’s important to react quickly, it’s also important to react wisely and to adopt procedures that will be both truly effective and the least invasive to Americans’ privacy.

After the 9/11 attacks, many policies – from the overly broad Patriot Act to indefinite detention to misguided airline security measures – that, unfortunately, succeeded in neither increasing our safety nor honoring our values were quickly adopted. We should learn from that experience and in circumstances like this one insist on security measures that are actually effective rather than ones that just make us feel better.

For example, much talk this week has centered on airport security measures such as full-body-scanning technology, with speculation that such machines might have detected the hidden bomb material. But the effectiveness of such technology is far from clear. Experts have suggested that plastic explosives can be hidden from body scanners, and terrorists have proved adept in evading the post-9/11 security measures we’ve implemented. Al-Qaida has already launched attacks with explosives hidden in body cavities, which these machines cannot detect.

Meanwhile, this new technology presents serious threats to personal privacy. Body scanners produce strikingly graphic images, creating pictures of virtually naked bodies that reveal not only sexual organs but also intimate medical details such as colostomy bags and mastectomy scars. That degree of examination crosses the line and amounts to a significant – and for some people humiliating – assault on personal privacy to which travelers in a free country should not be subjected.

Other talk this week has been about terrorist watch lists, with some arguing that there should be more people, not fewer, on the lists. But to be effective, no-fly lists should be focused on true terrorists who pose a genuine threat to flight safety. Right now, the lists are bloated and unmanageable, keeping innocent travelers off their flights (remember Cat Stevens and Nelson Mandela?). This distracts from true terrorist threats while, as the recent event demonstrates, failing to identify true threats.

Instead, the government must find a better way to stop terrorist attacks than intrusive body scanners of questionable value and ineffective watch lists. Hindsight is always 20/20, but in several recent cases there appears to have been evidence that should have triggered more timely and detailed investigations, but that evidence was either lost in the vast seas of information now being collected under loosened surveillance laws, or was simply not shared effectively or acted upon properly.

We should invest our security resources in investigations based upon reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing so we can more effectively identify and stop attackers before they get to any airport. We must also hold our law enforcement and intelligence agencies accountable to ensure that the vast powers they’ve been given over the past nine years are being used effectively and responsibly.

Profiling and electronically strip searching the innocent doesn’t help find terrorists, it only wastes security resources. While we must work fervently to provide the best security possible, we must recognize that our constitutional freedoms are what we are ultimately trying to protect.

Americans can’t afford to be complacent about giving up civil liberties, especially to ineffective policies that don’t make us safer. Providing for security and liberty is not a zero-sum game. In America we should strive to be both safe and free.
____________
Michael German is ACLU policy counsel and a former FBI agent.

On Al-Jazeera today discussing Al-Qaeda, racial profiling

Our comments condemning Al-Qaeda are scheduled to shown on Al-Jazeera (Arabic) today at 11 AM Eastern time and will be playing throughout the day.

Television coverage of our condemnations & concerns of racial profiling:

FOX 2

WDIV Channel 4

WXYZ Channel 7

TV 20

Also see Detroit Free Press story Area Muslims: Don’t link us with Al-Qaeda:

Walid said the failed attempt to blow up Flight 253 from Amsterdam as it landed in Detroit is not “jihad,” or “striving in the cause of God.” Instead, attacks are “irhab,” or “terrorism,” and “hirabah,” or “unlawful warfare,” according to Islam’s holy book, the Quran, he said.

“To our fellow Americans, we ask you not to paint all Muslims with a broad brush,” Walid said. “We condemn this type of injustice.”

Walid’s group is launching its own jihad, an online endeavor to provide legitimate information to young, uneducated Muslims who might fall prey to Internet rhetoric from religious extremists. He expects the online presence to launch by spring.

Also see Detroit News story Yemenis, Muslims fear backlash:

“People in the community are just frustrated,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan’s Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He said that misinformation about Islam abounds after such incidents. Walid said that the vast majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world do not support al-Qaida, and, in fact, make up most of the terrorist group’s casualties in places such as Pakistan and Iraq.

“Killing and targeting civilians is unacceptable in Islam,” he said.

He offered a distinction between Islamic concepts, condemning the incident as “irhab” (terrorism) and “hirabah” (unlawful warfare), and denying that the act constituted true “jihad,” or work on behalf of God.

“These people are not engaged in legitimate jihad, and we should not embolden them further by calling them ‘jihadis,’ ” Walid said.