Local Imam rejects study on American mosques
Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By AFTAB BORKA
Special to The Oakland Press
A local imam and the executive director of Council of American-Islamic Relations in Southfield has rejected a recent study that says more than 80 percent of mosques in America promote moderate to severe violence.
“The report is a bunch of rubbish” said Dawud Walid of CAIR about the study conducted by Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar and lawyer David Yerushalmi of the Center for Security Policy.
The study, which was published in the MIddle East Quarterly, was released after compiling data from 100 randomly selected American mosques.
Walid said the report seems prepared by people with an anti-Islam agenda.
Walid accused the author of the report of being a white supremacist, “not just a bigot against Muslims but also against African Americans,” he said.
The report says 85 percent of the imams in the studied mosques recommend Islamic literature that promotes violence in their prayer sermons.
Walid said that the proof of Muslims promoting violence is not in the study of some author but in the fact that Muslims have been living in America for centuries with a peaceful history.
“There’s never been an American Muslim residing in Detroit that has even committed an act of terrorism that we know of as ever been indicted, much less convicted,” Walid said.
The study, which included eight mosques in Michigan, said the imams in these mosques use references to the Quran that speaks of violence.
Walid said all religious books contain passages of violence if they are taken out of context. He said just like any other holy book, people have to understand the Quranic verses in their true sense.
“The NPR (National Public Radio) did a story over a year ago doing a verse-by-verse analysis of violence in comparison of the Bible with the Quran. And there are more verses in the Bible relating to violence than in the Quran itself,” Walid said, highlighting the importance of understanding the holy books with context.
Walid is an imam himself and gives weekly prayer sermons in different mosques in and around Detroit. He invites everyone to listen to his sermons and decide if he promotes violence.
“There is a mosque in Oakland County known as IAGD, (the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit). Any American can go to this mosque’s website and can listen to the sermons of the imam live every Friday in English. And they can hear exactly what is being said and preached,” Walid said.