There are thousands of Muslims in Dearborn; why did only 100 show up for this? This is not the first time that attendance at a Muslim rally against terrorism has been decidedly underwhelming. Earlier this month, only 30 Muslims protested against the jihad massacres in Paris. In July 2015, a Muslim rally in Ireland against the Islamic State drew fifty people. In October 2014 in Houston, a rally against the Islamic State organized by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) drew the grand total of ten people. In August 2013 in Boston, about 25 Muslims rallied against “misperceptions” that Islam was violent. About the same number showed up in June 2013 at a progressive Muslim rally in Toronto to claim that their religion had been “hijacked.”
And back in 2005, a group called the Free Muslims Coalition held what it dubbed a “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” intending to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … and to send a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.” In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people.
Contrast those paltry showings to the thousands of Muslims who have turned out for rallies against cartoons of Muhammad or against Israel. Here are some headlines from the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre of Muhammad cartoonists in January 2015:
But given a chance to show how Muslims overwhelmingly reject “extremism,” only a handful show up, and add in whining about “Islamophobia” to their protest against the Islamic State. “Wearing a black turban, Ahmed Qazwini, who called himself a Muslim scholar but not an ordained cleric such as an imam, told the crowd that Islam had been hijacked by ISIS and that ‘most of the media keeps concentrating on them,’ causing a rise in anti-Muslim attitudes.”
So where are Muslims in Dearborn setting up programs to teach young Muslims to reject the understanding of Islam offered by the Islamic State? And is Qazwini suggesting that if only the media would stop reporting about the activities of the Islamic State, the problem would be solved?
“Dearborn rally protests ISIS,” by Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, November 28, 2015:
While thousands shopped Black Friday bargains a half-mile away at Fairlane Town Center, about 100 demonstrators stood in the rain outside Dearborn’s Henry Ford Centennial Library to protest Muslim terrorism overseas.
Calling themselves Dearborn Muslims Against Terrorism on placards they handed out, leaders of the event focused their opposition on the militant ISIS forces waging civil wars in Syria and Iraq.
“If you want to know about ISIS, they have no god, no faith, no morality – they are savages,” Mustapha Mourtada, 28, of Dearborn shouted to the crowd through a bull horn. Mourtada, an automotive engineering manager, led chants of “What do we want? ISIS out! When do we want it? Now!”
At a time when anti-Muslim attitudes are said to be running high in Europe – and when some Republican candidates for president of the U.S. have called for increased security against Muslims, and even a registry of Muslims living here – protest leaders said it was urgent that southeast Michigan’s Muslims show their opposition to terror in the name of Islam.
Members of the group said most Muslims around the world want peace, and they said that anti-Islamic feelings — what they called Islamophobia — had been stirred anew by recent events, including the downing of a Russian airliner claimed by militants; ISIS victories against U.S.-trained Iraqi troops, and terrorist bombings in Paris as well as at a hotel for tourists in Mali.
Wearing a black turban, Ahmed Qazwini, who called himself a Muslim scholar but not an ordained cleric such as an imam, told the crowd that Islam had been hijacked by ISIS and that “most of the media keeps concentrating on them,” causing a rise in anti-Muslim attitudes….
The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world do not support the aims of ISIS, said Saeed Khan, 48, of Rochester Hills, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Wayne State University.
” We’re looking at a force that is, maybe, 30,000 active ISIS members out of a worldwide population of about 1.6 billion Muslims,” Khan said. ISIS is concentrated in Syria and Iraq, “but recently there have been what you might call franchises of ISIS,” operating in several nations of sub-Saharan Africa, including Mali, Nigeria, East Africa, Kenya and Uganda, he said….
In reality, the Islamic State has attracted 30,000 foreign jihadis to Iraq and Syria. They have a considerably larger fighting force.
“As we arrived in Beirut for vacation, this bomb went off and ruined our trip. This bomber blew up a very crowded neighborhood and four of them were our aunt and her husband and two little girls,” said Century 21 Realtor Rumzi Chammout, 47, of Dearborn.
“So, we are the victims twice — by Islamophobia and ISIS,” Chammout said.