By LEO HOHMANN
Parents, pastors, politicians and educators will join a Muslim imam at a mosque Friday in Oakland County, Michigan, to pray and discuss how to make their schools and community safer in an era of mass school shootings.
The Muslim Unity Center, a mosque in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, is hosting an “Interfaith Prayers and Symbolic Walkout Vigil” April 20 that feeds off of the anti-gun fervor created in the wake of the mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 students in February.
The Muslim Unity Center, led by Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari, will host the event at 6 p.m., after its Friday afternoon Jummah or “call to prayer.”
Almasmari is heavily involved in the interfaith movement in Michigan. He has an outreach program, featured on the mosque’s website, called Building Bridges with our Neighbors.
A regular part of his presentations to Christian churches is a segment on “Islamophobia and its impact.”
“Islamophobia” is essentially a Western version of the Islamic blasphemy laws, where non-Muslims are not allowed to speak critically of Islam without incurring severe social penalties. Actual violence against Muslims is rare in the United States, and many such claims have turned out to be fake. [See Fake Hate Crimes, by Kevin Williamson, National Review, March 5, 2017]
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has made a huge priority of promoting Muslim Americans as persecuted religious minorities struggling to survive as victims in the oppressive society of America.
Churches helping resettle Muslim refugees
Pastors of at least two Christian churches in Oakland County — First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham and Christ Cranbrook Episcopal Church — plan to join Shaykh Almasmari at his mosque Friday for interfaith prayers.
Christ Cranbrook works with Samaritas, a partnership of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services with Episcopal Migration Ministries, to help resettle refugees into southeastern Michigan, according to the church newsletter.
Michigan has been a popular destination for refugees making hijra, an Arabic term for migration, from the Islamic world with the help of government contractors like Samaritas. The state has received 32,401 refugees from Muslim-majority nations since 2002, resettled primarily by Catholic Charities and Samaritas, according to data at the U.S. Refugee Processing Center.