Democracy is dead, civil rights leaders say

Democracy is dead, civil rights leaders say

Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:16
Written by Minehaha Forman
IMG 30891

Democracy is dead. That was the message leadership from Rainbow PUSH Michigan, and other civil rights groups wanted to spread Monday morning by staging a mock funeral for democracy at Galilee Baptist Church in Detroit. The rally attracted nearly 50 people and was a stark protest to Public Act 4 and the Michigan Board of Canvassers’ failure to certify a petition for a ballot measure to let residents vote on whether the City of Detroit should allow a state mandated finance team to take over the city’s money during it’s financial crisis.

The purpose of the event was to call attention to threats to democracy in financially vulnerable cities such as Detroit and to organize leadership to fight for voting rights.

“We hope to get the word out,” said Alexander BullockState Coordinator of Rainbow Push Michigan and President of the NAACP Detroit Chapter. 
“This is as much about saving the vote as it is about stopping violence,” he said, noting a correlation between political apathy and lawless behavior including violence.

Instead of appointing a nine-member board to take over Detroit’s finances or a state appointed emergency financial manager, Bullock believes the city should lobby for a federal intervention.

He noted a recent report that Jack Martin, the Chief Financial Officer of Detroit’s mandated financial advisoryteam, called for advice and administrative help from the Obama administration.

“If a ‘competent’ guy is saying we need help from the Obama administration, then what do we need a financial board for?” Bullock asked. He said Detroit needs to call for a federal plan that targets public safety and supports small businesses.

Other human rights groups agreed. “Selling our democratic rights at a cheap price just because we’re in a crisis is absurd,” said Dawud Walid, President of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “Public Act 4 is turning back the clock and disenfranchising American citizens,” He said, adding that state takeovers of Michigan cities have had a “disproportionate affect on people of color.”

The event was themed to bring attention to other voting rights issues such as voter suppression and voter suspension and challenging ballots as the 2012 presidential election draws closer.

Rev. Robert Smith, pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church, gave the eulogy at the mock funeral and said people need to become more educated on their rights. “I hope this wakes people up,” he said.

CAIR-MI Rep Speaks at ‘Funeral for Democracy’ Event



CAIR-MI Rep Speaks at ‘Funeral for Democracy’ Event

CAIR-MI Rep Speaks at ‘Funeral for Democracy’ Event

(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 5/29/12) – A representative of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) yesterday spoke at a symbolic “Funeral for Democracy” event at the Galilee Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich.

The event, which was sponsored by Rainbow PUSH – Michigan, raised concerns about Michigan Public Act 4, which gives the governor and state treasurer authority to strip citizens of their voting rights through handpicking “emergency managers” to replace mayors, city councils and school boards.  

The event also focused on proposed voter ID legislation in the Michigan legislature, which copies voters ID laws in South Carolina Texas that were challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice for disproportionately effecting minorities. 

SEE: On Memorial Day in Detroit, a “funeral for democracy”

Speakers at the event included Rev. David Bullock (Rainbow PUSH – Michigan), Chris Michalakis (Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO), Rev. Robert Smith (New Bethel Baptist Church) and CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.

“We join other civil rights organizations and people of faith in the calling for the reinstatement of voters’ rights for all citizens of Michigan,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.  “It is not within the spirit of justice to institute measures that specifically block certain groups’ voices from the democratic process.”

Walid also mentioned that all cities in Michigan, which objected to be given emergency managers are majority people of color while the city of Allen Park, which requested an emergency manager, yet was not given one, is a majority White-American.

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, 248-559-2247, E-Mail:

Convince us that Obama is different from Romney

Convince us that Obama is different from Romney
• Sun, May 27, 2012

By Dawud Walid

President Barack Obama is on tenuous ground with many activists within the social justice realm, which may cost him politically in this year’s election.

Many have stated the alternative to Obama, Mitt Romney, is basically the “greater of two evils;” thus, we should all rally behind the president. 

My response to them is, please articulate three substantial policies Obama has executed — not simply rhetoric — that clearly distinguish him from Romney. My reservations stem from the following policies, among others. 

Obama, who chides Wall Street banks, recently praised JPMorgan as “one of the best-managed banks there is” on the very same day a Department of Justice (DOJ) employee leaked that the bank was under criminal investigation for losing some $3 billion. 

Moreover, Obama had at least 19 meetings with the CEO of JPMorgan, including a private dinner with him in the Oval Office. So, even though he chided Wall Street after he stated the bank bailout program “was necessary,” Obama continues to flirt with the same institutions that are involved in our homeforeclosure crisis, which the Occupy Movement and local clergy, including myself, have protested against. 

Based upon his relationship with Wall Street bankers, I am not sure how he can, in good conscience, say anything about Romney and Bain Capital.

Secondly, when it comes to militarism, Obama is not much different from Romney. Even though the Pentagon was forced to cut its military budget back some in comparison to military spending increases since 9/11, both Obama and Romney are for the projection of American power for the purposes of supporting military strategic assets as well as corporate interests. Furthermore, both support the usage of military and CIA assassination drones that have killed countless civilians in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In fact, Obama is the first president in American history to kill American citizens through a drone attack per executive order without those citizens being indicted of a single crime much less asked to turn themselves in. And I can write an entire piece simply on the scheduled “troop withdrawal” in Afghanistan.

Even on the gay marriage issue, in which Obama appears to be different in substance from Romney, he is not in favor of making “marriage equality” a federal issue. Obama parrots the conservative talking point of states’ rights when he says gay marriage should be left up to each state even though the DOJ is currently challenging South Carolina and Texas’ voter ID laws, laws that Romney supports under the same states’ rights argument. 

There are other issues from supporting charter schools, which drain resources from our public schools to unconditional support of Israel, which illegally occupies Palestinian and Syrian land, which I see no substantive difference between Obama and Romney. There are many people like me out here, who feel the same. If anyone can articulate major substantive differences, perhaps our minds can be changed. As of now though, I don’t see much difference between Obama and Bush, or Romney.

Dawud Walid is a Muslim preacher and prayer leader in Metro Detroit and board member of the Metropolitan Detroit Interfaith Workers Rights Committee.

Do all Muslims hold the belief that Jesus will return?

The status of the return of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) has been an issue of dispute among Muslims for centuries.  It is the consensus of the generality (Ahl As-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah) as well as the largest sect within Shi’ism, madhhab Ja’fari, that Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) has not died yet, but will return under the leadership of Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi, who implement the shari’ah of Prophet Muhammad (Prayers and peace be upon them and his family), in which both will fill the earth with justice.  There is, however, another opinion, from other schools of thought, which state that Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) has already died and will not return.

Madhhab Zaydi, which has historically been the predominant school of thought in Yemen, holds that there is no strong proof from the Qur’an or authentic hadeeth that prophecy the return of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him). Mufti Abdullah Alshathely of Yemen gave a recent fatwa regarding this issue:

 بالنسبة لعودة المسيح عليه السلام فلم اقف على كلام لأئمتنا عليهم السلام في الموضوع وأعني بذلك المتقدمين و لأن المسئلة لا يلزم منها ضلال ولا يتعلق بها علم ولا عمل لم يكن من هم ائمتنا عليهم السلام ردها او اثباتها والذي يظهر لي ان تلك الروايات سربت من الإسرائيليات ولا سيما من كتب اليهود ودسهم لأنهم لا يعترفون بالمسيح الذي بعث قبل النبي صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم فلا زالوا بانتظار مبعثه ولما كان قد بعث عند النصارى والمسلمين جعلوا تلك الروايات عودة والمسئلة قليلة الجدوى لأن من قال بعودته جعل تلك العودة تحت امارة المسلمين وتحت قيادة المهديبالنسبة للإمام يحي بن حمزة عليه السلامفالسبب في تعلق السلفية ببعض كتبه هو افراطه في الحمل على السلامة فاستغل ذلك في دس بعض الاقوال عليه عليه السلام وبالنسبة لرأي اهل البيت عليهم السلام فيه فهو امام من ائمتهم ولكنهم لا يعتقدون عصمة الأئمة عليهم السلام فهم يخطئونه في بعض المسائل ولا يعتقدون فيه سوءا لكون المسئلة مما يحتمل ان يخطء الناظر فيها لأنها ليست قطعية


As for the return of Christ, upon him be peace, I am not aware of the statements of our imams, upon them be peace, concerning this issue—by that, I mean the early authorities (al-mutaqadimîn). This is because the issue is not one of affirming deviance or related to the belief or practice. There has not been any from our imams who has refuted or established it. What is clear to me is that those narrations that have infiltrated are amongst the narrated Jewish legends (Isrâ`iilîyât), especially from the books of the Jews and their interpolations. This is because they do not recognize the Christ that was sent before the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, and they are still waiting for his coming. Yet, according to the Christians and Muslims, he has already been sent. Therefore, they constructed these narrations of his return. The issue is one of small advantage because the one who says that he is to return makes the return under the rule of the Muslims and under the leadership of the Mahdi.

The Sunni scholar ibn Khaldun goes a step further by questioning the authenticity of hadeeth that prophecy the coming of Al-Mahdi though the Zaydis except the belief in Al-Mahdi; however, they view this concept differently from Ja’faris, who hold that as Jesus (Peace be upon him) was born and will return that Al-Mahdi has already been born and is in occultation to reappear in the future.

Madhhab Ibadi, the predominant school of thought in the Sultanate of Oman, and Madhhab Isma’ili (Fatimi) also take a similar stance to the Zaydis that Jesus (Peace be upon him), though he was not crucified by the People of the Book, has already died as all other prophets before him have died in flesh.

And Allah knows best. 

More on anti-Sharia flim flam

Part 1 of my discussing the anti-Sharia bill on Charlie Langton Show yesterday.

May 15, 2012 at 1:00 am

Commentary: Anti-Shariah law push could hurt Michigan’s tolerant image
• By Dawud Walid

The renewed push in Michigan to pass an anti-Shariah law under the guise of restricting foreign laws is not only unnecessary but would have negative consequences for our state if passed.

Given that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that no laws, be they local, state or foreign, can trump the Constitution, it is clear that no jurisprudence contrary to federal law can supplant our supreme law. Thus, the championing of the Restriction of Application of Foreign Laws Act in Michigan is simply political theater.

Muslims of all stripes, from military veterans like myself to new immigrants, respect and obey the laws of our country just like other Americans. Moreover, we believe in civic engagement within the democratic process with hopes that our country will become a “more perfect union.”

Our concern regarding this bill mirrors similar concerns of fellow Michiganians, who also believe this legislation could hamper the free exercise of religion.

Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul Long recently stated, “Any measure that could have the impact of interfering with the internal life of the Catholic Church shall be viewed as an attack on religious liberty itself and must be opposed.”

Our courts routinely consider and order reasonable accommodation for the observance of religious laws. Moreover, arbitrators consider religious laws on matters ranging from mediating conflicts within congregations to marital breakdowns. Any bill which treats Judaic Law, Catholic Canon Law under the direction of the Pope and Islamic jurisprudence as foreign laws is, in effect, an attempt to undo a long-held American tradition as well as legal precedent.

You would think that with Gov. Rick Snyder seeking to rebrand Michigan as an inclusive state — he sees immigrants being a vital tool in rejuvenating our economy — that the sponsor of the bill to restrict foreign laws, State Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, would follow suit.

Sadly, instead of Agema championing real issues such as fixing our economy and correcting our population atrophy, he has taken up the mantle of the nonexistent Shariah threat.

During this election year, politicians on both sides of the aisle are engaging in wedge issue politics, instead of working to bring our nation together for shared prosperity. It is my hope that our elected officials privately and publicly rein in their colleagues. It seems clear that in Michigan, they should start with Agema.

Dawud Walid is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — Michigan. Email comments to

Anti-Sharia rally set in Lansing

May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Anti-Sharia rally set in Lansing

Lansing — A rally is planned for 8:30 a.m. at the state capitol Thursday to support a bill aimed at banning foreign laws in Michigan.

The bills, HB 4769 and SB 701, have been called anti-Sharia legislation.

Its sponsor, Michigan Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville), said the bill is aimed at barring the implementation of foreign laws. While the law does not mention Sharia or Islamic law, local Muslim activists and others say the bill is aimed at Muslims.

“This is not controversial — this is a no-brainer,” said Agema in a prepared statement Wednesday. “Why would we ever surrender our Constitutional rights by eroding or supplanting them with wholly incompatible foreign laws? Millions have fled persecution from oppressive regimes to come to America, whose bulwark of freedom is ourConstitution. I urge my legislative colleagues to act swiftly to pass these bills.”

Metro Detroit Muslim activist Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said: “All who reside in Michigan have the fundamental right to practice their sincerely held, bona fide religious beliefs, as long as those do not violate the U.S. and Michigan constitutions and laws.”

Walid added that Agema’s bill “could not only adversely affect Michigan Muslims, but also followers of other religions, including Judaism and Christianity, for whom courts routinely order reasonable accommodations for the observance of religious laws.”

Also on Wednesday, CAIR released a list of organizations that includes the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Jewish Voice of Peace, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee — Michigan and the National Action Network which oppose the bills.