Ghalib Begg speaks at the interfaith event, with Imam Qazwini of the ICA behind him to our right. (Photo by Laura Fawaz)
Guests and participants at the interfaith rally against hate. (Photo by Laura Fawaz)
Dearborn, MIâ€“A large crowd gathered outside the Islamic Center of America on Friday to take a stand; they were all here for a rally against hate.
â€œWe are here to tell the world that we are against bigotry and hatred,â€ said Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, the religious leader of the Islamic Center of America.
It was a meeting of many faiths coming together to rally against violence and to condemn the killing of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. He was among those who were killed at the American Embassy in Libya on September 11th, 2012. This movement is in reaction to an anti Islam film and cartoons that have sparked a rash of violence across many parts of the Muslim world. Over the past ten days, over 40 people have died as a result of the video. All while outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, MI, people are praying for peace. They are leaders from different religious backgrounds standing together as a united front, rallying against hate.
â€œYes we Muslims have to condemn this kind of film, but Muslims should not resort to violence by attacking innocent people and killing the diplomats,â€ said Imam Al-Qazwini.
The religious leaders at the rally call for an end to the violence while condemning the film as hate speech. They also believe those behind the film should be held responsible, and hope that this demonstration of unity will show that people of all faiths can stand together, despite their difference. In attendance was Pastor Charles Williams who spoke on unity among humanity, no matter your religious background. â€œWe stand together today to say that it is wrong to attack someone simply because they may not look like you, or think like you,â€ Pastor Williams said.
There has been a push to have this anti Muslim video pulled from the Internet, but our constitutional right of freedom of speech is the reason it is very difficult to block. The Imams told the crowd that they support freedom of speech, but not the abuse of that right, or of the film that attempted to demonize a faith. Imam Dawud Walid, the Executive Director of CAIR-MI spoke on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (s), and how any violent actions taken towards innocent people are against the teachings of the Prophet of Islam. â€œProphet Muhammad (s) never returned insults with injury,â€ Imam Walid said.