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

Review of ‘The Establishment of Clear Exposition’


The Zaydi (Zaidi) school of thought is perhaps the least written about in English of the existing classical schools as well as perhaps the least translated of classical works within it into English from Arabic.  To address this issue, The Imam Rassi Society has published within the past year a commentary on a classic work by the first Zaydi Imam of Yemen, Al-Hadi ila Al-Haqq Yahya bin Al-Husayn (AS), entitled The Establishment of Clear Exposition: A Commentary on Al-Hadi’s “The Fundamentals of the Religion.”

The book provides not only as a translation of Al-Hadi’s elucidations on matters of creed, which Muslims in the mid to late second century after Hijrah (migration) debated, but also serves as an exegesis and defense of Al-Hadi’s theological positions.

Though the commentary does discuss important issues relating to Zaydi creed pertaining to the necessity of Imamah/Khilafah, the institution of leadership for the Muslim nation, its qualifications and answering those who state that this leadership can be held outside of the Prophet’s descendants, its strength, from my perspective, is its discourse relating to Divine Oneness (At-Tawhid), its implication related to Divine Justice and how some misunderstand the Divine Decree (Al-Qadr.)

Within the commentary on specific issues, there is a breadth of translations from other classical texts that serve as proofs to Al-Hadi’s discourse.  For instance in discussing Al-Hadi’s view that Allah is independent of space, the commentary answers the position of corporeality and use of interpretation (Ta’wil) by citing from Majalis At-Tabari, referencing a debate between Ahmad bin Musa At-Tabari and Maymun, a scholar from Sana’a, Yemen.  It is as follows:

[At-Tabari]: “O Maymun, what do you say about the statement of the Mighty and Majestic: {But      no one knows its hidden interpretations except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge}?”

[Maymun}: “O Abul-Hussein, that is not the recitation. One says: {But no one knows its hidden interpretations except Allah.} with the stoppage there.”

[At-Tabari]: “O Maymun, what is the meaning of Allah’s statement: {“Ask the city that we were in and the caravan that we came in…”} (Q. 12:82)?

[Maymun]: “It is not a city that you ask because it is an inanimate object (jamad). Similarly, the caravan does not speak. It is people that are meant.”

[At-Tabari]: “O Maymun, is this from revelation or interpretation?”

[Maymun]:  “Indeed, it is from interpretation.”

[At-Tabari]: “Did you not say to me that one is supposed to stop after the phrase: {But no one knows its hidden interpretations except Allah.}? When was this interpretation revealed to you?

(He [i.e. Maymun] then felt embarrassed and began to fidget nervously. Then the people began laughing at him.)

Relating to Divine Justice, the commentary goes through an exhaustive length proving Al-Hadi’s statement:

He [Allah] does not create injustice and tyranny. He does not create disbelief in the slaves. He does not desire injustice and disobedience. There is no declaration of evil in speech. He does not will the slaughter of His friends (awliya’u). He does not lie in His conveyances. He does not decree or predestine evil on Himself. He does not commit falsehood. If He were to do so, of if a wife or child were to will along with Him, He would not be All-Wise or Omniscient.

The commentary elucidates that Allah being All-Good and All-Wise simply cannot perform obscenity and that it is outside of His divinity to choose foolishness; since ignorance is impossible for the Omniscient.  In a hadith qudsi in Sahih Muslim, Allah (SWT) states, “I have made injustice (thulm) prohibited for Myself, and I have prohibited it for My slaves.”  Thulm, as explained in the commentary, means “placing something in its improper place;” since, justice (‘adl) means to place something in its proper place.”  Hence, the commentary states that it is obscene to state that Allah would decree/compel His slaves to commit crimes then punish them for those crimes though He forbade them from committing such crimes.

The book does provide an interesting critique of Imamah/Khalifah especially on how the Zaydis differ from the Isma’ilis and Ja’fari Shi’ahs (12’vers) pertaining to their belief in a set appointed amount of Imams who are infallible, some of them who did not openly proclaim their imamships as well as their belief in the “Hidden Imam.”

Relating to the issue of Imams who purportedly hide their Imamah, the book gives the following viewpoint:

Third, we say that one of the qualifications of an imam from the Prophetic Household is that he must issue a call to the Muslims and make his imamate known. This is because if it is obligatory for the Muslims to follow the imam, the imam must make himself known as such. Otherwise, how could the people follow him?!

Relating to the necessity of having infallible Imams to fulfill leadership roles, the book states:

We reply by saying that it is not necessary that the imam be infallible to fulfill his role. This is because Allah has used fallible people to uphold the standards of His religion. For example, the Qur’an mentioned King Saul as an exemplar ruler whom Allah chose to rule over the Children of Israel. Nevertheless, he was not said to be infallible. The Exalted says concerning him: {Allah has chosen him over you [i.e. as ruler] and has increased him in knowledge and build. Allah gives dominion to whomever He wills} (Q.2:247)

The commentary further states that the verse of purifying the People of the House in Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 33, which Isma’ilis and Ja’faris use to state that latter Imams after Al-Husayn (AS) such as Ja’fari As-Sadiq (AS) are infallible, is confined to the People of the Cloak (Ali, Fatimah, Al-Hassan and Al-Husayn), per the authentic narrations conveyed by Sunnis, Isma’ilis and Ja’faris, which make no mention of others beneath the cloak, who did not reside in the house dwelled in by Fatimah Az-Zahra (AS).

Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi’i (RH) stated, “I never once debated an opponent except that I prayed to Allah to show me truth on his lips.”  This book will probably challenge some preconceived notions and perhaps provoke the rethinking of generally held positions.  This is what scholarship should do.

In these polemical times when Muslim groups mislabel and misrepresent others, it is important to read others’ writings instead of reading what others write about them.  If for no other purpose than receiving clarity on the creed of Islam from a Zaydi perspective, The Establishment of Clear Exposition: A Commentary on Al-Hadi’s “The Fundamentals of the Religion” is a must read.

Anti-Sharia rally planned at state capital this week

Anti-Sharia rally planned at state capital this week


Mon May 7, 2012

A rally is planned in Lansing this week in support of legislation to ban Sharia law in Michigan.

The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville). It makes no specific mention of Sharia. And Agema says his intent is not to single out the legal code of Islam.

“All this bill does – I don’t care if it’s coming from the United Nations or where it’s coming from,” said Agema. “If it’s anathema to our state Constitution or our federal U.S. Constitution, I’m just clarifying to the judges: don’t use it.”

The legislation has languished in committee for months without a hearing. Agema says he hopes the rally will convince Republican leaders in the state Legislature to take up the bill.

Muslim leaders in Michigan say the bill is a distraction from the state’s real problems. They say it can only serve to feed anti-Muslim sentiment.

“I think it’s unfortunate that instead of dealing with the real issues such as the suffering economy and the crime rate that we have here in Michigan, that Mr. Agema is involved in these hijinks such as protesting this non-existent threat,” said Dawud Walid of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan.

Two dozen states have passed similar legislation.


End Racial Profiling Act: A Smarter Policy

Dawud Walid

Executive Director, CAIR-MI

End Racial Profiling Act: A Smarter Policy
Posted: 05/ 3/2012 3:26 pm
Our nation has a long history relating to racial and more recently religious profiling by law enforcement, which needs be legally halted once and for all through the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA).

From driving while Black to traveling while Latino near border states to flying while Muslim or Sikh, racial and religious profiling continues to cause countless of indignities, which have led to detainment without predication and even acts of violence against law-abiding persons. In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Rights Working Group sent a report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination stating: “Both Democratic and Republican administrations [in the United States] have acknowledged that racial profiling is unconstitutional, socially corrupting and counter-productive, yet this unjustifiable practice remains a stain on American democracy and an affront to the promise of racial equality.” But besides racial and religious profiling being humiliating to those who suffer it, it simply is not effective in deterring crime and contradicts empirical crime data.

As Ohio State Professor Michelle Alexander highlights in her book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” White Americans use and sell drugs in close proportion to their percentage in society, yet Black and Latino males are the primary persons apprehended by law enforcement on suspicion of drug related activity. There is no racial profile to who does or does not consume and sell illicit substances in our nation, which is why such profiling is ineffective.

According to the FBI’s statistics going back to 1980, 94 percent of domestic terrorism is committed by persons who are of various faiths outside of the religion of Islam, yet ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation revealed in September 2011 that the FBI considered Metro Detroit a hotbed for potential terrorists because of our “large Middle-Eastern and Muslim population.”

In a veiled response last month to a CAIR lawsuit against the FBI, Customs Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration for asking invasive religious questions to Americans such as “Do you pray?” and “What mosque do you pray at?” FBI Assistant Special Agent Todd Mayberry dismissed citizens’ concerns by rhetorically asking, “What really are the offensive questions here?” Ironically, University of North Carolina Professor Charles Kuzman released a report on terrorism and homeland security in February 2011 using government data, which states that American Muslims cause “a minuscule threat to public safety.” More ironic is that the more religious or prayerful American Muslims are, the more likely they are to be adverse to violent extremism.

ERPA will not only make it illegal for all law enforcement officers to use race and religion as means to profile persons and entire communities of color but will also provide means to train officers to better police based upon behaviors, not race and religion.

We as Americans, once and for all, should loudly proclaim through federal law that racial and religious profiling is illegal and immoral. When we change the culture of profiling among our nation’s finest, perhaps it will lead to a general cultural shift in which we will see the end to the type of profiling that led to the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a private citizen.

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Bigots Sue CAIR-MI, PFAW For Protesting Bogus Ex-Terrorist

The Thomas More Law Center, a far right wing organization, has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Michigan State Representative Dave Agema (R-Grandville) and a representative of the anti-Islam group ACT! for America against CAIR-MI and People For the American Way (PFAW), a DC based progressive advocacy organization, and Allegan City for the January cancellation of a scheduled speaking appearance by bogus ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem aka Khodor Shami.

In January, CAIR-MI and PFAW sent a letter to Allegan school officials raising objections about Saleem’s anti-Islam message being given a platform in Allegan High School, a place of education funded by tax-payer dollars, which is meant to promote the American values of truth and diversity.

SEE: CAIR, PFAW Ask Mich. School Not to Host Anti-Muslim ‘Charlatan’

Saleem’s speaking engagement was later cancelled just prior to him speaking due to Allegan officials citing safety concerns.

SEE: Rep. Agema (R-Grandville) Sues Allegan City and CAIR-MI Over Kamal Saleem Event Shutdown (WOOD TV)

The Thomas More Law Center has worked with David Yerushalmi, the architect of the model anti-Shari’ah legislation, which has swept across the nation since 2010. MI State Rep. Agema unsuccessfully introduced similar anti-Shari’ah legislation into the Michigan House last year.

SEE: SION: Hate Groups Unite to Form an International Hate Coalition (The American Muslim)

SEE: Michigan GOP Rep. Caught Palling Around With Fake “Terrorist” (DLCC)

This nuisance lawsuit is designed to stifle advocates from raising constituent concerns about bigotry and to drain the Muslim community of its resources.  The parties involved in the lawsuit and fake ex-terrorist are all connected to an Islamophobia network within Michigan, which seeks to marginalize Muslims in America.