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DEARBORN: Community commended for ignoring string of anti-Islamic events

03 July, 2014 09:31
DEARBORN: Community commended for ignoring string of anti-Islamic events

Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, leader of the Islamic Center of America, told The Arab American News that he is proud of the behavior of the local Muslim community, despite all that transpired in the last week.

A string of events targeting the local Muslim community last week prompted little-to-no response from local residents.

On June 14, Qur’an-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones protested outside of City Hall, along with a handful of supporters.

Jones had planned to come to Dearborn with a gang of bikers known as the American Patriotic Riders to protest against “Sharia law.” At one point, it had been estimated that up to 400 bikers would be in attendance. In the end, many of them never showed up.

During his protest, Jones revealed that he had a falling out with the American Patriotic Riders, claiming that they had bailed out of the event at the last minute. The bikers had originally scheduled the protest, calling it the “Dearborn Freedom Rally”, and had asked Jones to speak at the event. However, according to Jones, the bikers feared that their presence at the protest would prompt authorities to photograph their license plates and begin to use surveillance methods against them. He reportedly called the bikers “a bunch of cowards.”

Not only were the American Patriotic Riders absent, but local Muslim residents didn't bother to counter-protest. 

A few motorcyclists were spotted riding around City Hall displaying the American Flag. A handful of local Arab American teenagers were also at the scene on bicycles, but didn't interact with Jones and his small group of followers. 

In the days leading up to the protest, some community members distributed American Flags to local businesses, in order to orchestrate a simultaneous raising of the U.S. banner on Flag Day, which took place the same day as Jones' event. 

Mayor Jack O'Reilly published an ad in The Arab American News urging community members to ignore Jones and his companions during their scheduled protest. "[Jones'] false portrayal of Dearborn and of our citizens has nothing to do with who we are as a community," O'Reilly said in the statement. 

During that same weekend, pamphlets were distributed around Dearborn neighborhoods in both English and Arabic titled “The difference between Islam and Christianity.” The pamphlets highlighted a Christian perspective on the views of God and negatively comparing it to the views of Islam. 

The Dearborn Bible Fellowship, the group that distributed the brochures, was “planted” under the direction of Grace Evangelical Fellowship in Taylor, according to Grace Evangelical Fellowship’s website. The group considers itself a sister church to the Grace Church.

Though it turned out to be unnecessary, the city prepared for the worst. Just days earlier, a shocking anti-Islamic act had taken place.

On Tuesday, June 10, members of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center on Warren Ave. were startled when they found three burning copies of the Qur’an in front of the facility. The incident occurred during the afternoon prayer when people saw a fire in front of the mosque.

Members of the mosque, predominantly Iraqi Shia's, reportedly tried putting the fire out with water and their bare hands. Imam Husham Al-Husainy, who's been a leader at the center for decades, called the incident an “act of terrorism.” Police were called to the scene and are still investigating the incident. 

Al-Husainy said he's met with other local imams and that they plan to petition City Council to pass a new law that would make it illegal to burn holy books. 

On the day of the protest, State Police assisted Dearborn Police in and around the grounds of City Hall. The Wayne County Sheriff's office also provided security at the Islamic Center of America on Ford Rd., where a blockade restricted public access. 

Despite the string of anti-Islamic events, it appeared that Dearborn residents remained un-phased by the attacks and conducted business as usual. Many attended graduation ceremonies at Edsel Ford and Fordson High School over the weekend, while others turned out for the city's annual Flag Day Ceremony at Ford Field Park. 

Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, leader of the Islamic Center of America, told The Arab American News that he is proud of the behavior of the local Muslim community, despite all that transpired in the last week.

"I urged the community not to react towards the Terry Jones propagation," Al-Qazwini stated. "I am proud of our community who made it difficult for him to achieve his goal. He came here and he did not find one person from our community who gave him what he wanted and he left with despair and failure. This should be the example of [our community] anytime someone tries to provoke us; we should completely ignore them."

source: http://www.abna.ir

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DEARBORN: Community commended for ignoring string of anti-Islamic events
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