The Islamic Association of Greater Detroit (IAGD) held its monthly dinner last week. Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan Chapter was the keynote speaker at the dinner.
The Dinner Event Commenced with a short prayer by Imam Aly Lela of the IAGD, followed by opening and introductory statements by Hussain Akbar, President of the Board of the IAGD.
Imam Dawud Walid spoke on the very relevant and timely topic of increasing repression against Muslim youth and entrapment activities on the part of intelligence agencies.
He also defined extremism as the promotion or active participation of acts designed to “intimidate, maim, torture or kill civilians in not combat circumstances.”
The Imam also defined what is not extremism, as in growing beards, wearing of hijabs, or even taking part in tableegh jamat religious education circles.
“I have never heard any of the authentic scholars of Islam in Saudi or the scholars of Al Jamaat Al Tableegh telling people to go and blow up people or places.”
“We have to stop demonizing people who want to be strict in their religious practice” He said.
He mentioned that youth are being radicalized by Internet YouTube videos and that the internet is not a valid source of Islamic education. Imam Dawud Walid explained that only
Muftis have the right to give Fatwas and religious decrees must not be made by only looking at a few verses of the Quran or a few excerpts from the Authentic Hadeeth, rather the Muftis look at all the evidence on a given subject and then issue decrees.
“We are a community of balance” he said, “Not too far to the right, and not too far to the left, so there is no place for extremism in Islam”.
He also mentioned that Muslims constitute a majority of the victims of extremism and that we as Muslims start blaming the CIA, Israel, or the Indian Intelligencia for crimes because we do not want to accept that Muslims can do things in the name of our faith that are criminal.
He gave the precedent of the Khawarij, a group among early Muslims who thought it was legal to kill innocent people after declaring them apostates.
The Khawarij assassinated the fourth Khalifah of Islam, Hazrat Ali (R.A) after pronouncing him non-Muslim. He brought the point out to explain that Muslims are not free from extremism.
He also said that the Extremists believe that Jihad does not need to pronounced by the Khalifah of the Islamic State which is necessary (hardly any exist today) rather it is an individual duty, and as such they have deviated from the path of Islam.
“The Extremists also believe that it is permissible to kill Muslims and non-Muslim civilians living in America because they support the US government by paying taxes and as such they believe that you and I are legitimate targets.” He said.
Imam Dawud re-iterated that since most of us are naturalized citizen or immigrants, we have a religious obligation to stand by the oath we took to uphold the constitution of the USA, and those of us who were born here are under a social contract to do the same.
Imam Walid mentioned that as long as the government does not prevent us from carrying out the basic obligations of faith we have a religious obligation to be loyal to the laws of the land.
“And if god forbid, for some reason, the government places a ban on Muslims performing Salat Al Jumah, I will be the first to go in public and lead the Jumah prayer in an act of civil disobedience.” He said.
“If things get too hard, if we get tortured or killed, then we have the obligation to migrate, but we have no obligation to pick up arms against law enforcement, but at the same time we also have to raise our voices against injustice, we can’t be passive in that regard” he said.
Imam Walid spoke about how certain types of people are being targeted by the FBI for entrapment. “Muslim from poor backgrounds, from vulnerable groups, refugee communities, are being targeted. Somali Americans are most at risk” he said.
Muslims are being brought into plots that they were not planning to be a part of, new Muslims, poor Muslims and young Muslims are being entrapped into these plots he explained.
He also mentioned that the people who are being used as informants are Muslims and non-Muslims pretending to be Muslims. The Muslim who are being asked to act as informants are mainly people who are facing criminal liabilities, who are facing immigration issues, or financial issues.
He also spoke about Imam Luqman’s assassination, he said that there was not a shred of evidence that he ever shot the dog or even held the gun, yet the FBI agents shot him over 21 times, and the only people who testified that he had a gun and shot the dog are the people who shot him in the first place.
He spoke of the details regarding the entrapment plot of Imam Luqman, he said that Imam Luqman was being set up for a long time and that the agent provocateurs had suggested to Imam Luqman that they commit a terrorist attack at the super bowl and Imam Luqman told the agent provocateur that it is against Islam to harm innocent civilians. So when they could not get him that way, they lured him to a FBI warehouse, full of FBI goods, paid by our taxes and shot him up and then said fabricated stories and lies about him being part of an illegal stolen goods racket.
Imam Dawud said “if anyone comes to you with terrorist plots, or with extremist rhetoric, tell them that they are wrong and tell them to get away from you.”
He also said that it is a religious obligation to report such people to the authorities because they may be extremists or FBI informants and either way they are not welcome among Muslims.
The Dinner ended with a serious note and a lot of questions