By Ghalib Begg
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
April 8, 2009–CIOM organized a meeting of various community and religious leaders in Dearborn.
Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans of the Netherlands met with community leaders and imams. Floris Van Hovell, Counselor for Public Democracy and D.W. Schiff, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands were also present.
The event was graciously hosted by the Islamic Center of America with the help of our new CIOM Secretary, Hajj Bedoun and our past Chairman-Elect, Hajj Eide Alawan.
Ghalib Begg, Chairman of CIOM, moderated the event and Imam Hassan Qazwini, Imam of CIOM member Masjid, welcomed the guests. It was emphasized that there are strong bonds that connect the Muslim world to the Netherlands, highlighting that over 750,000 Muslims call the Netherlands home and constitute about 5% of its total population, about the same number equal to the Muslim population in Michigan.
Minister Timmermans then thanked the Council and spoke about the necessity for Muslims to dialogue with the respective countries in which they reside. He also spoke about Islamophobia and the paranoia being spread against Islam in Europe and, in particular, the Netherlands. Minister Timmermans advised Muslims not to pay attention to provocative acts such as the inflammatory movie Fitna. Minister Timmermans believes that paying attention to these destructive acts only encourages those who commit them by giving them undeserved notariety.
At the end of Miniser Timmermansâ€™s remarks, there was a very honest and open discussion that occurred addressing Muslim-European-Muslim-American relations. In attendance were, Imam Muhammad Musa, Sh. Ali Suleman Ali, Imam Baqar Berry, Imam Ali Elahi, Imam Dawud Walid, Imam Mustafa El-Turk, Sh. Radwan Baitiya and a number of other Muslim community activsts and leaders of Michigan along with Interfaith Partners, and Chair and CEO of the Michigan Round Table for Diversity & Inclusion.