CIOM Statement on Sunni-Shi’a Relations
In response to a statement released by the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America on Tuesday, July 1, 2008, regarding a well known Sunni scholar, Dr. Israr Ahmad, accused of making derogatory and insulting remarks about Imam Ali during a telecast of an 11 year old program, Dars of Qur’an, on QTV on June 12, 2008, the Sunni and Shi’a imams in Michigan under the umbrella organization, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, CIOM, held two meetings (7/8 & 7/15) deliberating on and discussing the issue and its affect on the Muslim community in America. It was concluded that:
1) We reaffirm the Muslim Code of Honor signed by Shia and Sunni imams, on May 10th, 2007. The signed agreement calls for Shia and Sunni communities, led by the imams, to live together peacefully in America acknowledging fundamental differences among madahib . It is imperative, upon signing the Code of Honor, last year; we work towards maintaining and enhancing good relationships among us.
2) Adhering to the Code of Honor, we must encourage respectful language in our institutions and discourage speech or material that engages in rhetoric of takfîr or disrespect of Muslim scholars and leaders – traditional or contemporary.
3) Be aware that there are some who promote discord and fitna. We must not allow such parties to distract us, for the sake of Muslim Americans who live and struggle for a dignified existence for Islam and Muslims. We remember Allah (SWT) commandment: “And hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and be not divided among yourselves. And remember with gratitude God’s favor upon you, when you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love. Thus by His grace you became brethren. And you were on the brink of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you, that you may be guided. So let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to attain felicity. And be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs. For them is a dreadful penalty.” (3:103-05)
4) We encourage our national organizations, moreover, through the example of our brotherly cooperation in SE Michigan, to honor the terms of the Code of Honor we signed. We stand ready to work with anyone towards this goal to promote true spirit of peaceful coexistence and respect among all. We ask God the Exalted to aid us in this and all our efforts to conduct ourselves in a manner that is most pleasing to Him.
Present at the meeting were: Sheikh Ali Sulaiman Ali, Muslim Community of Western Suburbs Mosque, Canton; Imam Baqir Berry, Islamic Institute of Knowledge, Dearborn; Imam Muhammad Ali Elahi, Islamic House of Wisdom, Dearborn Heights (HOST); Imam Muhammad Moosa Unity Center, Bloomfield Hills; Imam Mustafa ElTurki, Islamic Organization of Norht America, Warren; Imam Abdullah El-Amin, Muslim Center, Detroit; Imam Aly Lela, Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, Rochester Hills; Sh. Syed Ibrahim Saleh, Islamic House of Wisdom, Dearborn Heights; Imam Cise, Asst. Imam at the Muslim Center, Detroit and the imam of the Gambian Community in Detroit; Imam M. Jowad Al-Ansari, As-Sojood Islamic Center, Auburn Hills; Imam Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI; Imam Hisham Al-Hussainy, Karbala Center, Dearborn; Imam Qasim Baydoun; Hajj Ghalib Begg, Chairman of Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan; Contact, the Council of Islamic Organzations of Michigan org.