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.


Anti-Muslim Hate Hurts Michigan

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Anti-Muslim Rally Hurts Michigan

By Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI Executive Director
Michigan, which contains one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in America, is also home to aggressive Islamophobic and xenophobic elements that unfortunately include some elected representatives. 
Michigan State Representative Dave Agema (R-Grandville) plans to hold an “Anti-Sharia Rally” at the state capital this Thursday in order to push copy-cat restriction of foreign laws legislation, which has been promoted nationwide by a cottage industry of Islamophobes.  Agema, who introduced this legislation last year but failed to get it out of the Michigan House Judiciary Committee, hopes that his “rally” will encourage his legislative colleagues and the public to jump on his extremist and un-American bandwagon.
In recent past, Agema also sponsored an Arizona immigration copy-cat bill that would have justified racial profiling in practice for local and state law enforcement.  During a hearing a few months ago, he trotted out fake ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem to testify as to how E –Verify would keep Michigan safe from undocumented boogeyman Muslims, who have plans to infiltrate our nation.  He has even endorsed making changes to the 14th Amendment, which grants birthright citizenship to all born in America to wanting to make Michigan an “English-only” state.
Besides the fact that his intolerant bill will have a negative impact on Jews, Catholics and others whose religious codes are considered in Michigan courts pertaining to congregational and marital arbitration, hate simply hurts Michigan.
Michigan is the only state in the past decade that suffered population atrophy.  In addition, Metro Detroit is one of the most segregated major cities in America, and Michigan in general has one of the worse economies in our land.  Wisdom should dictate that a climate of inclusion, not division, should be cultivated by politicians and religious leaders to help attract migration to Michigan both in persons of various ethnicities and faiths as well as businesses.  Agema and his supporters truly do not comprehend that propagating hate is not simply immoral, but also has negative economic consequences in chilling growth.  
Although Michigan Governor Rick Synder, who is a Republican, has clearly stated that immigration is a key to bolstering our economy and he has friendly relations with Michigan Muslims, we have not heard from him nor our state’s GOP leadership a clear repudiation of Agema’s anti-Islam message.  Our politicians simply cannot hide on the sidelines and be silent while their colleagues foment division.  As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated, “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” and that betrayal is to the values that we as a state and a nation claim to represent.
A coalition ranging from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan (ADC-MI) and the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) to the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) and Jewish Voices for Peace – Detroit stand in solidarity against Agema’s fear-mongering in favor of a more inclusive Michigan.  It is our hope that our elected officials will also join this same spirit and speak out strongly against Agema’s anti-Muslim antics.  At the end of the day, we must all recognize that hate hurts Michigan. 
Dawud Walid is the Exec. Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), and a board member of the Metropolitan Detroit Interfaith Workers’ Rights Committee. A decorated US Navy veteran, Dawud has presented about Islam/interfaith dialogue at over twenty institutions of higher learning, on panels with int’l leaders and academics, and in media outlets including Al-Jazeera, CNN, BBC Radio, FOX, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal.
Posted by Garrett FitzGerald at 12:10 PM