By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter
Dearborn, MIâ€“Local Americans joined together at the I.M.A.M. Office last Saturday, to rally against the terrorism in Iraq, and to say that they will not stand for violence and hate of any kind.
Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR – MI, speaks at I.M.A.M.â€™s rally.
Photos by Laura Fawaz
|Iraqis of all faiths join in freeing their home country against terrorism|
People of all races and religions joined religious community leaders, along with protesters from different states and Canada. They gathered together to show that human rights are universal and we should all be concerned. About 350 people were in attendance in this global call to action, in efforts of putting pressure on governments around the world to join forces and stop the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) from killing more people. This event was put together by I.M.A.M. (Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya), to voice of support of the grand religious authority (marjaria), and to denounce the terrorist attacks of ISIS. â€œBut more importantly, it is to correct the image shown by media about sectarian war in Iraq, and to tell the world that we are standing today, Shias and Sunnis, and Christians, Arabs and non-Arabs, to denounce terrorism and extremism wherever it may be,â€ said the emcee of the event.
During the past few days, the political situation in Iraq has been deteriorating. Initially, terrorists attacked the city of Samarra targeting the Shrine of al-Askariyyaen. They then continued their attack on the city of Mosul, as well as a number of nearby cities until finally taking control over the entire province of Nineveh. There are unjust killings of Iraq civilians, the raping of women, and efforts to over throw of the government and take over the region as a whole. â€œTo this day, reports reveal that the security situation in Iraq is dire as killings and threats are ongoing affecting all of Iraq and the greater region,â€ said I.M.A.M. in a statement they released when announcing the event and calling for action.
From there, the supreme religious authority in the Holy City of Najaf, Ayatullah Sistani, issued a statement in which he specifically obligates the believers that are in Iraq, who are able to take up arms, only in defense, to do so; exclusively through the Iraqi official security agencies. When the terrorists attacked the holy region of Samarra in 2011, Ayatollah Sistani kept quite, and asked the same of his followers. But when Iraq as a whole was targeted, Ayatollah Sistani said yes, now it is time for jihad.
Though one of the speakers at this rally gave a much-needed clarification on the word jihad. He explained that the people of Daesh and Al-Qaeda, whom are often called jihadist, are really only terrorists. Ayatullah Sistani explained the real meaning of jihad as â€œjihad is to eliminate terrorism.â€
The speaker continues with, â€œThe Qurâ€™an has used two words, one is jihad. And the other word is fashad, which means mischief, to cause terrorism and bloodshed. Ayatullah Sistani, through his fatwa explained so clearly that these people, the Dasesh, and people like them, are not jihads, they are fashads. What Ayatollah Sistani is calling for is defense against fashad, against mischief and terrorism.â€
With chants such as â€œShia Sunni unity, down, down Wahabis,â€ the message at this rally was clear: Religion cannot and will not be politicized, that every person should reject and stand against such hatred notions. Instead, they should focus on common beliefs across all faiths. As the violence in Iraq spreads, more holy sites are destroyed and people are brutally killed, demonstrators feel they can make a difference from all parts of the globe. They hope #no2isis will start trending on Twitter, and counter ISIS propaganda.
â€œLet there be no mistake dear brothers and sisters in Islam, and to our non-Muslim friends who are here or watching this on TV, that this has absolutely no place in the divinely revealed religion of Al-Islam,â€ said Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR- MI. And continued with, â€œIn fact, Allah (SWT) said in the Holy Qurâ€™an, â€œWhoever kills an innocent person is like killing all of humanity,â€ Walid said.
He also gave a message to young men in particular: We have a duty here as Muslims to protect the image of Islam here in America â€¦ please stay at home, and do not try to attempt to go overseas to join Daesh or any type of militia organization; that is not your place, you need to stay home,â€ Walid said as he then encouraged people to instead speak to their elected officials as that is the civic duty of American Muslims. They need to advice their elected officials on what type of policy they want their government involved in the Middle East and in the Muslim world.