Metro Detroit Muslim, Arab leaders condemn attack in Libya

Dawud Walid is photographed Dec. 17, 2011.

Dawud Walid is photographed Dec. 17, 2011. / MADALYN RUGGIERO/Special to the Free Press
Written by
Niraj Warikoo
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Arab-American and Muslim leaders in metro Detroit condemned the attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three staffers.

“There is no justification for such wanton violence that led to the deaths of innocent Americans in Libya,” said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The attacks on the embassies may have been prompted by an anti-Islam film produced by an Israeli filmmaker based in California who says he financed the movie with 100 Jewish donors, according to the Associated Press. The filmmaker told the Associated Press that “Islam is a cancer, period.”

The movie negatively depicts Islam’s prophet, Mohammed; Muslims believe that any artistic depiction of Mohammed is wrong.

Regardless, Muslims should not react violently when Mohammed is attacked, Walid said. They should “return insults with righteousness, not with criminality,” said Walid, who oftenlectures about Islam across Michigan.

Islam’s holy book, the Quran, says that killing one innocent person is “like killing all of humankind,” Walid added.

Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, also condemned the violence.

“Any act of violence towards a civilian or diplomat should not be tolerated, condoned or justified under any circumstance,” said Hamad.

The attacks were “alarming because it’s a reflection of the resentment of a certain groups that continue to target us as Americans,” he said. “It should be taken seriously by the administration.”

Regarding the anti-Islam film, Hamad said it’s part of a pattern of anti-Islam rhetoric from extremists.

“This is not sparking constructive dialogue and debate that enhances co-existence and mutual respect,” Hamad said. “People are free to debate, but do it in an ethical, professional, constructive, objective fashion.”

Hamad also cautioned that the facts of what exactly happened in Libya is not yet fully clear. The attacks may have been done by people looking to promote division, he said.

“We’re dealing with a very chaotic situation in Libya,” Hamad said. “There are a wide range of possibilities” as to what may have caused the attack.

The Jewish Community Council of Metro Detroit said they’re working on a statement for later this afternoon.


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