Walid to appear on WDET regarding Muslims in the election season

Tomorrow, Tuesday July 1 from 11 am – 11:30 am, WDET 101.9 FM will have a segment during its “Detroit Today” talk show on American Muslim sentiments during the election season including what issues are major importance.

Also joining the show besides myself will be Shaykh Baqir Berry from the Islamic Institute of Knowledge in Dearborn.

Click here to listen to live stream: www.wdetfm.org/listenlive/

Message for Friday – “Don’t act off of anger”

إن الغضب من الشيطان

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, “Surely anger is from Satan.”

الغضب مفتاح كل شر

Ja’far As-Sadiq bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali (RA) said, “Anger is the key to every malicious act.”

Reason is one of the attributes that separates man from beast.  When man relegates reason, the actions of man will not only be counterproductive but can lead to ruination.  Anger is one such factor that clouds reason.

العجلة من الشيطان

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) stated, “Haste is from Satan.”

Acting from anger triggers hasty decisions that are usually regretted after done.  Hasty decisions by nature are done without factoring in the long term consequences and the harm that those decisions can cause for the actor as well as others. 

Recommended steps to avoid acting off of anger:

1) Make ablution with water then pray.  The Prophet (SAAS) stated that water puts out fire and that Satan is made of fire.

2) Remember G’d when feeling angry. Say I seek refuge with G’d from the accursed Satan.

3) Sit down or even lay down to collect thoughts.  If neither of these are possible and/or a situation is invoking much anger, walk away from the situation until calming down.

لا تغضب

When a man came to Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) and asked for his advice, the Prophet (SAAS) said, “Don’t be angry.”

اللهم إني أسألك كلمة الحق في الغضب والرضا

Oh G’d! Surely I ask you for correct speech in anger and in pleasure.

And surely G’d knows best.

Islamophobia in 2008 election season

Back in January, we already knew that Islamophobia would continue to express itself and increase during the 2008 election season.  This was told to editorial boards of major newspapers across Michigan as well as discussed on talk radio.

Approximately 1 month ago, Adil James from The Muslim Observer and I were on the “Lynn Rivers Show” – 89.1 FM (WEMU) – discussing Islamophobia in the election season.

Click below to listen:

http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10051 – part 1

http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10052 – part 2

http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10053 – part 3

Muslim Voters’ Waning Support for Obama?


Muslim Voters’ Waning Support for Obama?

Recent Events Put Damper on Support Obama Had in Primaries from Muslim Americans

In Democratic primaries this year the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans voted for a man who has, throughout the campaign, vigorously knocked down rumors that he is a Muslim.

But support for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during the primaries doesn’t mean the Democrat has a free pass from the Muslim American community.

Last week’s incident at an Obama rally in Michigan put some added strain on Obama’s support in the Muslim American community. A campaign volunteer reportedly barred two Muslim American women from appearing in camera-range behind Obama’s podium after they refused the campaign representative’s request to remove their headscarves. After the incident received media attention, Obama called the women personally to apologize. But the hurt still lingers for some Muslim Americans.

“I was quite disappointed. The Obama campaign to me, represents a change from traditional politics and embodies an America which supersedes discrimination and racism. This incident is in stark contradiction to that notion,” said Lydia Habhab, a 23-year-old Arab Muslim-American graduate student and Dearborn, Michigan native.

“For a candidate who is talking about change, and who is a minority … who is talking about giving hope to everyone, it was very offensive to me as a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf,” said Tuqa Nusairat, a 24-year-old Arab Muslim-American who is a Virginia native and graduate student.

“Although Obama personally called the girls wearing hijab to apologize, it is still disheartening to think that the level of Islamophobia in his campaign and within America is so high, that having women wearing hijab within a camera shot away from Obama was even an issue, especially within one of the most highly populated Muslim areas in the country,” said Habhab.

Reza Marashi, a 26-year-old non-practicing Iranian Muslim American raised in Seattle, agrees. “I think it’s a testament to both the climate of misunderstanding in this country surrounding Muslims and Islam, and the inexcusably poor job the Bush Administration has done in trying to educate American people on Muslims and Islam. ”

“Obama called the two women personally to apologize. That’s the classy thing to do. If he becomes president, hopefully he’ll continue to address these issues with class,” Marashi added.

Like Marashi, leaders of the Muslim community appear to be willing to accept Obama’s apology for the incident and his statement that it does not represent his campaign, says Dr. Yvonne Haddad, a Christian Arab professor at Georgetown University and expert on Islam in North America and the West. But Haddad said it’s hard to tell whether this incident will have any lasting repercussions among voters.

 Muslim Rumors as ‘Smears’

The Michigan speech episode adds to some feelings of resentment at the way that Obama has knocked down false rumors that he is, or was at one time, Muslim. Some say they are offended when the Obama campaign refers to those false assertions that he is a Muslim as “smears.”

The Obama campaign earlier this month launched a new Web site dedicated to knocking down false rumors, especially those circulated on the Internet, called www.fightthesmears.com. The third ‘smear’ listed on the site’s homepage is the one that claims Obama is a Muslim. The campaign explains on the site that the truth is: “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”

“When the mudslinging began and campaigns were launched ‘exposing’ Obama as a Muslim, he had every reason to deny it,” said Habhab.

But, she said, “I would have preferred Obama to have seized the opportunity to rhetorically ask, ‘What is wrong with being a Muslim?’ raise awareness of this phobia we are self-imposing, and promote the fact that regardless of religion, we are all Americans, which is what matters.”

The Obama campaign earlier this month launched a new Web site dedicated to knocking down false rumors, especially those circulated on the Internet, called www.fightthesmears.com. The third ‘smear’ listed on the site’s homepage is the one that claims Obama is a Muslim. The campaign explains on the site that the truth is: “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”

“When the mudslinging began and campaigns were launched ‘exposing’ Obama as a Muslim, he had every reason to deny it,” said Habhab.

But, she said, “I would have preferred Obama to have seized the opportunity to rhetorically ask, ‘What is wrong with being a Muslim?’ raise awareness of this phobia we are self-imposing, and promote the fact that regardless of religion, we are all Americans, which is what matters.”

Haddad agrees that Obama is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to disproving claims he is Muslim. “What Muslims are objecting to is that his dissociation from Islam is confirming the American attitude that there is something wrong with Islam and that it has no place in American democracy.”

“Muslims are often not viewed as fully American or are seen as the ‘other people’,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR Michigan.

Walid says Michigan has had mosques vandalized in recent years, and spray-painted with hate slurs such as “9/11 murderers go home,” as well as death threats against Muslims American leaders, including at his office. (MORE)

Most open to other religious interpretations


Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

Most Americans think their faith is not the only way to salvation and that there are different interpretations of their religious beliefs. But they also want their traditions to remain unchanged, according to a national study of religion released Monday.

According to U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 70 percent of Americans believe “many religions” can lead to eternal life. And 68 percent believe “there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”

“Perhaps it is contradictory,” said the Rev. Patrick Halfpenny, pastor of St. Paul parish in Grosse Pointe Farms, who is active in interfaith issues affecting the Archdiocese of Detroit. “Truth is truth, or it is only opinion. But truth is not a monolith in people’s minds.”

Of those surveyed, 63 percent view the sacred texts of their faith as “the word of God,” and 44 percent believe “their religions should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices.”

Majorities of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of evangelical churches and nearly half of members of historically black churches say their religion should preserve their traditional beliefs and practices.

But most Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus favor “adjusting to new circumstances or adopting modern beliefs and practices.”

“In the Hindu faith there is a statement in Sanskrit that I can translate: The truth is one. The learned call it by many names,” said Padma Kuppa, who works in information technology for Chrysler. “This is why for me, being American, the findings of the study make 100 percent sense to me as a Hindu, because my faith does not preclude another faith from having validity.”

Many Metro Detroiters say that inherent in a country that allows for freedom of religion is tolerance, but perhaps a conservative understanding of one’s own faith.

“Coming to America changes all of these religions to some extent, and the desire to preserve the traditions of their faith here in America has kept them alive and vibrant,” said Gail Katz, who is Jewish and active in interfaith circles.

For Muslims, the words come directly from the Quran, according to Dawud Walid, an assistant imam at the Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit, who also is the director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Michigan.

“According to Islamic teachings, all people should have the right to worship freely, as they choose,” Walid said. “In particular, the Islamic faith has historically been more accommodating of Jews and Christians in this regard.”

Can Obama address Islam & the West as he addressed race in America?

As I have received numerous phone calls and e-mails from journalists overseas ranging from Egypt, UAE to Germany on this hijab issue to many inquires about the Islam in America in the past few years, I’ve always stated to audiences at home that there is a direct connection between how America is perceived in the “Developing World” with how Islamophobia seems to be acceptable in many quarters of American society.  This includes how America is viewed in Non-Muslim nations.

Perhaps what is suggested below could be addressed by Senator Obama.  The unfortunate situation that took place at the rally last week has opened the door to this conversation.  Let’s see where it takes us. 


After the Historical Race Speech, Obama Should Address Islam and the West

Omid Memarian, Huffington Post, 6/21/08



The barring of two Muslim women from sitting behind Barack Obama during his Detroit rally last Monday illustrates that now more than ever, Barack Obama must address the issue of Islamophobia in the United States in an exclusive speech.


Rally volunteers were concerned that the Muslim women wearing their traditional headscarves would appear on camera with Obama, thus giving Obama’s opponents the opportunity to suggest that Obama is pro-Islam and, therefore, pro-terrorist. Yet this was not just an “unfortunate” experience for Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel, the two women involved in the incident; rather, it is a bold reflection of a deep-rooted fear about the Muslim identity in the United States, which has become a matter of security, a fear which harms many Muslims everyday.


The fear expressed by the volunteers is a general reflection of what the Bush administration, mainstream media, Hollywood, and, recently, a part of blogsphere have done to portray Islam and Muslims as a security threat rather than a historical culture with its own identity.


By asking the Abedelfadeels to remove their scarves before being seated, the volunteers bluntly showed the penetration of this fear into the campaign. Any connection to Islam, is automatically perceived as a negative factor for Obama campaign.


Evidently, seven years after the declaration of the “war on terror”, little has changed regarding the general mood of Americans towards Muslims. No wonder, Republicans and their advocates help spread this fear by suggesting that Obama’s childhood connection to Islam is a valid reason why Americans should not vote for him.


However, one of Obama’s major foreign policy challenges is dealing with the predominantly Muslim countries of the Middle East and as a result Obama’s personal understanding of the most dominant religion in the region should be something that is welcomed, not criticized.


Millions of moderate Muslims have been the first victims of the failed policies of the war on terror doctrine. They want to see a man in White House who has a basic understanding of “other” religions, ethnicities, and cultures. Obama’s knowledge of Islam could help the United States find ways to address terrorism without senseless and violent military attacks.


Though race has been one of the deepest, oldest struggles in United States, religion, specifically, the way in which the United States perceives and interacts with Muslims, is one of the country’s most vital, urgent and crucial international issues. Americans may cast their votes based more so on the candidate’s stance in domestic issues, but Obama’s campaign should also highlight for voters the importance of international issues and how foreign and domestic policy are interrelated.


Obama should use his understanding of different faiths to help voters realize the commonalities among all religions and challenge the identity the “War on Terror” Era has left Muslims. He should emphasize that terrorists, not Muslims, are the enemy, and terrorists can be found among the supporters of all religions.


Like McDonald’s, Disneyland, Starbucks, and other cultural symbols, America’s horrible characterization of Islam has spread to other countries. With a speech on this issue, Obama could start to end this trend.


Just a few days ago, I was amazed watching a movie on “modern terrorism.” The Russian documentary “World War 3” depicted the effects of stereotyped hate speech centered around Muslims and Islam as a whole. This was screening at the United Nations, not at a radical right-wing organization in Washington. It was graphic, even offensive to some of the attendees, but it left one question unanswered: with this horrible global mischaracterization of the Islam and Muslims, how can America deal with this huge amount of hate and cynicism in the coming years?


Unfortunately, the widespread nature of this mischaracterization makes it hard for even people knowledgeable of current events to distinguish the Muslim reality from the myth.


Millions of Muslims worldwide closely follow the US election process, and they should not be treated with disrespect and prejudice as the Abedelfadeels were for wanting to express their religious beliefs along with their political affiliation.


Obama, As the next president of the United States, will not be able to negotiate with either America’s friends and foes as long as American culture continues to propagate such a gross mischaracterization of Muslims.


Just as he addressed the issue of race during the Pennsylvania primary, Obama should address America’s islamophobia. In a speech he can say that by reducing the whole Islamic World and all its contributions in world history to a few terrorists groups and characterizing Muslims as security threats, America has done itself more harm than good. Hate mongering and ignorance are the foundations of terrorism. Such a speech clarifying this point would beneficial for both Muslims and the United States.