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muslims in detroit rally against terrorism

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January 9, 2010


Rally speaks out against terrorism


Metro Muslims, Nigerians denounce failed bombing





Trying to give a better picture of Islam, Muslims spoke out Friday against terrorism with national and world news media in town to cover the court hearing of a Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb a plane over Detroit on Dec. 25. The denunciations come at a time of growing concern about the radicalization of some Muslims in the West.


Chanting, "No more terrorism," about 150 people waved U.S. flags as they rallied in the cold outside the courthouse where 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab appeared for his arraignment.


"Muslims here to tell you: Go to hell," read a sign held by Majed Rizki, 48, of Dearborn.


"It was a sin against humanity, against civilization," Rizki said of the failed bombing attempt.


Earlier in the day, about 10 Muslim imams gathered for a news conference to declare that terrorism has no place in their religion.


"In the teachings of the Quran, security is very, very important," said Imam Mohamed Musa of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills.


The afternoon rally largely consisted of Arab-American Muslims, but also included some Nigerian Americans, both Muslim and Christian.


Ramigius Obi, 40, a Nigerian-American Christian from Ypsilanti, held a sign that read: "Nigeria says sorry to America & World."


"We love life," Obi said. "This is not Nigerian culture."


He and other Nigerians at the rally said they felt compelled to defend their culture and homeland, noting that the suspect was not radicalized in Nigeria.


"Nigerians are against terrorism," read a sign held by Ogunyinka Ogunleye, 59, of Detroit, a native of Nigeria. "God bless America ... We are ready to go against anyone who" supports terrorism.


The Muslims at the rally were visibly angry about the Dec. 25 attempt, saying it tarnished their image and religion. It was led by Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni.


"We are here to send a message," Moughni said next to a large banner that read, "Not in the Name of Islam." "We won't let anyone hijack our religion."


The rally came the day after President Barack Obama announced that he was asking officials to look into what may cause so-called lone recruits to become terrorists.


During the news conference, some of the imams said they were concerned that the ideologies of al-Qaida may be attracting a tiny percentage of young Muslims.


"Al-Qaida must be defeated not only militarily, but intellectually," said Imam Aly Lela of the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, a mosque in Rochester Hills.


At the same time, the imams cautioned against the profiling of Muslims.


Dawud Walid, assistant imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, noted that Muslims are rooted in the history and culture of metro Detroit, saying they have lived here for at least a century.


"We have a long track record of speaking out against terrorism," said Walid, who later participated in the rally at the courthouse, waving a U.S. flag.


Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO: 313-223-4792 or

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