CAIR-MI Seeks Clemency for Michigan Muslim Detained in Iran

CAIR-MI Seeks Clemency for Michigan Muslim 

Detained in Iran


(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 1/31/2012) — The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today sent a letter to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i seeking clemency for a Michigan Muslim who was recently sentenced to death for espionage in Iran.

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a veteran of the U.S. Army, was detained after he traveled to Iran in August 2012. His family maintains that he was visiting relatives during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and that they respect Iran’s sovereignty.

SEE: 20-day Timeline to Appeal Sentence Passes for Amir Hekmati

Ex-Marine Unlikely as Spy in Iran, Experts Say (Wall Street Journal)

In his letter to Ayatollah Khamenei’i, CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid wrote in part:

“It is our hope that the Iranian government will offer the same mercy and compassion to Mr. Hekmati as it recently offered to other Americans charged with similar offenses, including an Iranian-American journalist and three American hikers.

“We respectfully request that you spare the life of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, grant him clemency and facilitate his immediate release, allowing him to return home and reunite with his family.”

SEE Entire Letter:

CAIR has communicated with Iranian officials in the past regarding Americans.

CAIR Welcomes Roxana Saberi’s Release by Iran

CAIR Director Discusses Release of Iran Hikers on CNN

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418,, CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Lena Masri, 248-390-9784, E-Mail:

Christianity and Islam talk speaks to similarities of the two

Posted: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Jan. 18, the Center for Multicultural Initiatives gave the Oakland University community an opportunity to listen to three panellists discus the link between Christianity and Islam.

“Christianity and Islam: The Link” was part of African-American Celebration Month, which runs Jan. 16 to Feb. 16.

“This event perfectly embodies the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Charles Mabee, panel member and professor of Christianity studies, said.

The panel’s discussion centered on what the Islamic and Christian faiths had in common in their ideals.

“All of the Ten Commandments from the Christian faith can be found in the Quran,” Malike Balla, professor of Islamic studies and member of the panel, said.

The discussion quickly shifted to what the differences are and how we as people should try to bridge those differences.

“We both believe in one God and we must manifest that through how we treat other people,” Dawud Walid, US Navy veteran and  Assistant Imam of Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit, said. “Within the similarities between Islam and Christians there are interwoven differences.”

According to Mabee, a source of compromise, in which to carry us to the promise land of religion, must be found.

“Both Islam and Christianity need to figure out how do we come together and help the plight of the family of man,” Walid said. “It is more fruitful to stop talking and to do something.”

During the final 15 minutes, the audience had an opportunity to ask the panel members questions.

In conclusion of the event, Mabee gave his thoughts about what we should do to better understand and help grow the relationship between Islam and Christianity.

“We should have an international conference, maybe here at (OU), to take on issues that are often swept under the carpet,” he said.

For more information on the events coming up during African American Celebration Month go to


Letters: Stop the racial pandering and stick to issues

Letters: Stop the racial pandering and stick to issues

January 22, 2012

The national Republican establishment needs to address overt and subtle bigoted statements from GOP presidential candidates that are further polarizing our nation.

Though a number of boorish comments have been made during recent months of jockeying for the GOP presidential nomination, many comments made on and around our nation’s marking of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day truly show the lack of sensitivity to our country’s long history of racial and religious tension and how we need to move forward.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calling President Barack Obama the “food stamp president” takes us back three decades ago to when the GOP began using code words referring to African Americans as a means of galvanizing support from working-class whites, primarily Southerners.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s black people on welfare comment (he claims to have said bleaugh people), despite the majority of American welfare recipients being white, is but another example of race-baiting to score cheap political points.

And as Santorum in recent months has openly called for Muslims to be profiled by law enforcement even though 94% of domestic terrorism attacks, thwarted or executed, within the last two decades have been committed by persons other than those of the Islamic faith, Gingrich also continues his Sharia

fear-mongering discourse while Texas Gov. Rick Perry refers to the government of secular Turkey as “Islamic terrorists.”

National Republican leadership should repudiate such racial and religious smearing and encourage presidential candidates to stick to the issues. Without it clearly and openly doing so, it will be seen as complicit in taking America back to a less tolerant time, which was not Dr. King’s dream.

Dawud Walid

Executive director Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI) Southfield

Alleged former terrorist Kamal Saleem to speak in Allegan

Published: Monday, January 23, 2012, 6:58 AM
ALLEGAN — Allegan County political organization Constituting Michigan-Founding Principles will host a self-proclaimed former terrorist on Thursday at the Allegan High School Events Center.

Kamal Saleem claims to have been a former Islamic radical and terrorist before converting to Christianity. He has since published a book detailing his experiences and makes regular tours speaking about his life and views.

”He had entered the U.S. and gotten in an accident, and received medical care,” said Carol Dannenberg, of Constituting Michigan-Founding Principles. “He thought, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want to hurt these people.’ He was raised to believe that there was no hope, that killing was a good thing.”

”I met Saleem in my travels to Lansing,” said Bill Sage, one of the co-founders of Constituting Michigan. “He’s here to talk about keeping American law in American courts, to make sure that the Constitution is what we’re drawing from.”

Sage characterizes the organization’s main focus as education reform and a return to focusing on the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in schools. Sage will also be speaking at the event, as will state Rep. Dave Agema, according to organizers. Agema is one of the sponsors of House Bill 4769, which seeks “to restrict the application of foreign laws” in Michigan. Opponents have characterized the bill as discriminatory towards Islam.

Saleem himself is also the subject of controversy. Questions have been raised regarding the authenticity of his claims, as well as the goals of his speeches.

”I believe he’s a complete fraud, and his claims are bogus,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, an American-Islamic relations council. “He says he’s been reformed by the Holy Ghost. If he were an actual former terrorist who snuck into the U.S., the FBI or immigration services would’ve detained and deported him by now.”

Walid claims that Saleem’s real name is Khodor Shami and that many details of his background do not add up.

”He’s profiting off the cottage industry of Islamophobia,” Walid said. “If he thinks that I’m lying, that I’m trying to falsely discredit him, he should sue me for defamation.”

Sage claims much of the controversy surrounding Saleem is the result of media bias.

”People don’t like his message, they don’t want him out there,” said Sage. “But if you listen to Kamal, you’ll understand.”

Walid encourages caution.

”Individuals should research his claims, and form their own opinions,” said Walid. “Don’t be taken in just because it sounds interesting.”