This site contains the views and opinions of American Muslims living in Michigan on a wide range of issues affecting our lives. Its authors are just a sampling of the diverse American Muslim community here, comprising many races, ethnicities and sects. Although we do not speak for any particular group, we are members of the large moderate majority of Muslims who call America their home and feel a responsibility to see that it prospers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Muslim women sue McDonalds for discrimination

Suit alleges discrimination against hijab

DETROIT, July 25 (UPI) -- Two women claim in a lawsuit that a Michigan McDonald's refused to hire them because they wear the hijab, or Muslim headscarf.

Toi Whitfield of Detroit and Quiana Pugh of Dearborn say they were both told by managers at a McDonald's in Dearborn they would have to take off their hijabs to work, the Detroit Free Press reports. They filed a discrimination lawsuit Thursday in Detroit.

The Detroit area has one of the biggest Muslim communities in the United States, and the Dearborn McDonald's is one of only two restaurants in the chain that serves halal Chicken McNuggets that meet Muslim religious standards.

"They'll take Muslim dollars, but won't hire Muslim female employees," said Dawud Walid, head of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Michigan.

The suit named McDonald's, the management company at the Dearborn store and the manager who allegedly refused to hire the two women.

A spokeswoman said the management company has a strict non-discrimination policy.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Michigan Muslims feed poor

Charities enjoy Muslim holy day tradition of sacrifice
Meat donations for poor increase in year of belt-tightening.
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

At a time of acute need, local food banks and soup kitchens say the tradition of Muslims donating meat from sheep or lambs sacrificed for the holy day Eid al-Adha -- the Feast of Sacrifice -- is particularly welcome this year.

Muslims in Metro Detroit this year collected nearly four times the amount of meat they did three years ago, when the program began. Distribution begins at 10 a.m. today from Gleaners Food Bank.

"There will be a lot of Muslims benefiting from this donated meat as well as a lot of non-Muslims," Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"What really increased the donations is that we ran out of meat last year before we met the demand that is out there."

In the first year of the program, spearheaded by the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, the meat from 167 sheep or lambs was donated, Walid said. Last year, the number was 263. This year, Walid said, the meat comes from 625 of the animals.

For Gleaners, and for operations around the city that feed the poor of all faiths and no faiths, like the soup kitchen at the Muslim Center on Woodrow Wilson in Detroit, the timing of the donation could not be more beneficial. Charities working with the hungry in Metro Detroit are reporting historic shortages of food.

Experts attribute the shortage internationally to rising energy prices and the increased use of corn and grain to create fuel. While charities in Metro Detroit also experience that impact, the dire economy in Michigan is fueling the crisis.(MORE)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Anti-Muslim talk spurs action

Anti-Muslim talk spurs action

Advertisers withdraw from radio show 'The Savage Nation,' aired locally on WDTK-AM.

Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

Two companies have withdrawn advertising for "The Savage Nation," a nationally syndicated radio talk show broadcast in Metro Detroit by WDTK-AM 1400, after host Michael Savage repeated hate-filled assertions about Muslims during a recent broadcast.

OfficeMax, of Naperville, Ill., and Citrix Systems, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pulled their advertisements at the urging of religious and civil rights groups, which have long campaigned against the program. The groups have now moved on to other advertisers, including J.C. Penney, urging them to withdraw.

"We have freedom of speech in this nation, and Mr. Savage is free to say what he chooses, just as we as a community are free to support the businesses we choose," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations -- Michigan. Its national office has launched a campaign against the program.

"And it's good to know that corporations such as OfficeMax uphold the principles of diversity and justice and will not advertise on bigoted shows such as Michael Savage's show."

Savage, whose real name is Michael Alan Weiner, vented his rage at Muslims in an Oct. 29 broadcast that critics say is representative of some of his previous statements.

"I'm not going to put my wife in a hijab," said Weiner. "And I'm not going to put my daughter in a burka. And I'm not getting on my all-fours and praying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don't like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don't want to hear any more about Islam." (MORE)


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why not allow footbaths?

Bishop Keith Butler should restrain his suspect motives. Why is he attacking one religion over another? Universities accommodate the Jewish student population by providing Kosher, so what's wrong if a university allows Muslim students footbaths for washing their feet before prayer? Also, educational institutions are full of Christian clubs. Nobody is suppressing the Christians.

Seema Ahmad

Canton Township


Anti-profiling laws protect against discrimination

Racist attitude

Rep. Kim Meltzer's proposed Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act is less about a concern for stemming illegal immigration than a thinly veiled racist attitude toward all immigrants in general. Meltzer wants to penalize municipalities that have passed anti-profiling laws that prohibit police and other city employees from targeting people based on race, ethnicity, physical appearance, religious dress or immigration status.

Rather than applaud the cities that seek to end racial discrimination, she wants to punish them. The anti-profiling laws are against racial profiling and about treating everyone with the same amount of respect. They do not threaten our national security, nor do they support illegal immigration.

Let us not be deceived about the purpose of this proposed legislation; it is about racial discrimination, pure and simple.

Ruqaya Ali

Ramadan unites Muslims in quest for spiritual development

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, began Sept. 13 and will continue until Oct. 12. Every adult Muslim who is not traveling, pregnant or nursing and is healthy is required to abstain from food, water, smoking and sex, from dawn to dusk, during this spiritual month.

The tradition of fasting is practiced among many Christians during Lent and Jews on Yom Kippur. For Muslims, fasting is a requirement and a major tenet of Islam. The greatest gift of Ramadan was the revelation of the holy Quran which was the foundation of God's universal message presented by Prophet Mohammed.

The Quran considers fasting a prescription for "Taqwa" or spiritual self-discipline and protection against all things harmful to our human soul. Fasting leads to piety and total commitment towards goodness and rejection of evil. Thus, we discipline our eyes, ears, and speech, to connect with the presence of God and to distance ourselves from actions that damage our dignity.

The first step in the journey is respect for God's commandments and submission to His teachings. The goal is to move beyond religious laws and establish a loving, spiritual connection with God; moving closer to please God through every intention, expression and action. The fulfillment of this journey is to achieve total trust in God; when the will of man is unified with the will of God!

In this journey, man moves from hatred toward love, from revenge toward forgiveness, from war toward peace, from selfishness toward fairness, from tension toward tranquility and from greediness toward generosity.

The late Edward Earle Purinton encouraged fasting for health and spiritual tranquility.

"Clear your blood of wrong food, your lungs of wrong air, your brain of wrong thought, your nerves of wrong tremors, your heart of wrong fear, and your soul of wrong residue; -- then see how absolutely right the whole world becomes."

We waste enough food to feed more than 33 million people, including 8 million children, who experience hunger or malnutrition in this wealthy nation. We can exhibit solidarity with the suffering citizens and honor the spirit of this season, by sharing our food and charitable deeds with friends, families, and the needy.

During this month, many Muslims fast from media entertainment to move toward seeking truth in their lives through spiritual reflection, reading the Quran, extra prayers, and purifying their hearts from pride, anger, jealousy and suspicion.(MORE)


Sunday, May 27, 2007

What's right & what's wrong with Pews recent survey
By: Dawud Walid / The Arab American News

A recently released study by the Pew Research Center on the American Muslim community, which does contain several positive findings about the community, is laced with some problematic and troubling statistics.

Pew’s study states that the overwhelming majority of the American Muslim community is happy with life in America and that it reflects mainstream American identity patterns regarding placement of importance of religious identity with national identity. Moreover, Pew's analysis also shows that American Muslims resolutely reject extremism in the name of Islam.

The more problematic portions of the study, however, relate to reported condoning of suicide bombing by Muslim youth in the defense of Islam and significant lowering of the generally accepted number of Muslims in America.

According to Pew, 26% of the Muslim youth answered that suicide bombing even against civilians in the defense of Islam is acceptable ranging from 2% having strong endorsement to 11% stating that it is rarely acceptable. Obviously, if these troubling statistics are fairly accurate within a 5% error margin, then these answers must be placed within context, for the same study also states that these same youth are overwhelmingly satisfied with their lives in America.
Although Pew's study shows that Muslim youth show a higher level of religiosity than their parent generation, those who have the pulse of the community know that the majority of Muslim youth do not regularly attend mosques nor are they involved in receiving consistent education on Islam from qualified teachers. Thus, the lectures that are intermittently given in mosques against extremism, to the explanations of the fatwa given by the Fiqh Council of North America against extremism in 2005, may have escaped a sizeable percentage of the Muslim youth. Clearly, the majority of American Muslims (95%) according to Pew, know that attacking civilians or condoning "collateral damage" in defending Muslim lands is unacceptable. A small percentage of Muslim youth driven by lack of understanding or strong emotions due to political conflicts in the Muslim world probably have not internalized the Islamic basis against such extremism.

Knowing the psyche of the Muslim community, however, I believe Muslim youth answered this question based upon a particular geographical location in which the socio-political environment of Muslims is in a state of desperation. Suicide bombing among Muslims in a historical context has been viewed by some as a means of resistance by Palestinians against Israeli occupation. In reiteration that attacks against civilians is clearly prohibited by virtual consensus of Islamic scholars, American Muslim youth answered this question within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, not within the American context.

In regards to Pew's demographic results, which state that there are approximately 2.35 million Muslims in America, these numbers are extremely low in comparison to other studies and accepted numbers by scholars and organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which estimates the American Muslim community to be approximately 6 million. For instance, Pew states that 37% of the American Muslim population is of Arab background, which would put the population of Arab Muslims at 859,500. However, according to the Arab American Institute's scientific study, there were approximately 3.5 million Arab Americans in 2000 with 24% being Muslim. Factoring in population growth due to birth rate and immigration, there are far more than one million Arab Muslims in America. Other shortcomings in Pew's research includes lack of means of identifying or communicating with Muslims that have names that are not readily known to be traditional names of Muslims such as Muslims who originate from sub-Saharan Africa to converts with legal names such as Robert Smith that do not reflect religious identity. Pew, themselves, admitted this point during their press conference on the report, specifically citing their lack of identification and communication with some Muslims, using Senegalese as their example.

In short, Pew's latest study appears to have some flaws, but there are lessons to be learned from the study. Muslims are progressing in many areas within the society and are truly part of mainstream America. This study, however, should be a wake up call to the Muslim community that it is incumbent for it to invest more in community organizations and think tanks to disseminate more accurate reports about the Muslim community with proper explanation of the community’s sensitivities as well as giving increased support for Islamic institutions that give proper education to Muslim youth about Islamic positions on contemporary issues to help shield them from extreme positions.

The writer is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Michigan Muslim leaders sign pact

By Tarek M. Baydoun / The Arab American News

DEARBORN - Over two dozen local Muslim leaders met in Dearborn Heights this week to sign the "Muslim Code of Honor," widely touted as an unprecedented proactive statement of unity between American Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. The signing and press conference were organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) and hosted at the Islamic House of Wisdom by . A similar event was recently held by California’s American Muslim population and similar signings are planned across the country.

The signing built upon recent efforts in the community after tragic events in the Middle East were perceived to have strained relationships between local American Muslims. After the bombing of the Askari mosque in Samaraa last February, several local Sunni and Shi’a imams issued a unified condemnation of the sectarian violence and a press conference was held at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. After the execution of Saddam Hussein in January of this year, several acts of vandalism occurred to Shi’a owned centers and businesses on Warren Avenue in Dearborn.

It was widely reported that this was likely a reaction by some Sunnis to the festivities in the local Shi’a community celebrated the execution. According to Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan (CAIR-MI) law enforcement agencies have not identified the perpetrators and there is no proof that the vandals had a sectarian motive.

A link to the text of the code of honor is available at the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Council at

According to the preamble of the Code, the effort is aimed at “preventing… sectarianism from spilling over to our Muslim communities in the United States.” The six-point code condemns the practice of “takfir,” or the labeling of fellow Muslims as infidels, calls for respect and dignity between communities and schools of thought, opposes the distribution of inflammatory literature which it states emanates primarily from overseas, and announces the intention to host intellectual discussions to promote dialogue between Sunni and Shi’a scholars to promote understanding. Its primary agenda item is agreement that the members will stress the commonalities between them, which they stated at the press conference far outnumber and outweigh the differences.(MORE)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Story perpetuates McCarthyism against group

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Story perpetuates McCarthyism against group

In a reprint of a New York Times article, which was relabeled as "Muslim group under fire: Mandate of fostering understanding of Islam challenged by critics who allege terrorism links" on April 4 by The Detroit News, the edited version omitted an extremely relevant section that skewed the spirit of the original article.

The original article clearly presented that government officials in Washington, D.C., stated that linking the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to terrorism is akin to "McCarthyism."

Also omitted was the quote from Michael Rolince, a retired FBI official who directed counterterrorism from 2002 to 2005, who stated that "of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares."

The News' headline, combined with the omission of such pertinent information, inadvertently perpetuated the McCarthyistic atmosphere elaborated upon by federal law enforcement officials.

Dawud Walid
Executive Director
Council on American-Islamic Relations -- Michigan