Muslim leaders gathered Monday on the steps of Dearborn City Hall to strongly condemn ISIS, saying the militant group in Iraq and Syria doesn’t represent Islam or Muslims.
ISIS members are “crazy criminals who are abusing our religion,” said Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. “You’re a bunch of gangsters … you’re not Islamic.”
Organized by imams with the Michigan Muslim Community Council, the speakers included both Shia and Sunni leaders of different ethnicities and races, all united in saying ISIS doesn’t speak for them.
“The beheading of James Foley … is a clear violation of the holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed,” said Imam Mustapha Elturk, who cochairs along with Elahi the Imams Council of the Michigan Muslim Community Council. “ISIS neither represents Islam nor Muslims.”
Monday’s event was the third anti-ISIS rally in Dearborn this summer that was organized by local Muslims. Two rallies organized by Shia leaders were held in Dearborn in June that condemned ISIS. Hundreds attended both rallies.
About 50 attended Monday’s rally, which included remarks by local imams, Osama Siblani, publisher of Arab American News in Dearborn, Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Steve Spreitzer, president and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.
“They are the enemies of humanity,” Siblani said of ISIS.
Siblani and Elahi asked the U.S. to stop supporting Syrian opposition groups such as ISIS. The U.S. has said it supports moderates in Syria’s opposition, not extremist groups like ISIS. Elahi also criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“ISIS is a terrorist group,” said Imam Ali Ali, religious leader of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs, a Canton mosque. “They don’t speak in the name of Islam, in the name of Muslims, in the name of humanity.”
One cleric in Dearborn, Ahmad Jebril, has become the most popular religious leader online for ISIS fighters from the West, according to a British think-tank. But leaders at Monday’s rally were squarely united against ISIS.
“They have an evil agenda not witnessed since Nazi Germany,” Ahmad Nasser of Livonia said of ISIS. “They are repulsive.”
Imam Aly Lela of Troy said of ISIS: “This is not the Islam we practice.”