In the Media

03/26/11: Hundreds rally at Islamic Center in support of protesters in Bahrain, Arab world

Hundreds rally at Islamic Center in support of protesters in Bahrain, Arab world

By Nick Meyer- Arab American News

Saturday, 03.26.2011, 12:40pm

DEARBORN – The Islamic Center of America was the site of a rally attended by hundreds of people in support of anti-government protesters in Bahrain, with leaders calling for peace and justice in the gulf nation and stronger condemnations of the brutalities perpetrated by government police and Saudi troops, which has included attacking protesters in hospitals.

Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights was among the speakers advocating for the rights of Bahrainis to peacefully protest just as those in places such as Egypt and Tunisia among other countries have been praised for doing.

"Every person deserves human rights and dignity," he said. "These are people standing against torture and a brutal dictatorship."

Elahi condemned remarks by Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in which he said that Bahrain was a "sectarian" revolution of the Shi'a protesters rather than a people's revolution like in Egypt and Tunisia, as told to Al Jazeera. Bahrain has a Shi'a majority but many other protesters have joined them as well in a bid to topple King Hamad's dictatorial regime.

Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini of the ICA agreed in his speech as well.

"We thought he was on the right side and speaking on behalf of Islam (as a whole) but he was speaking the name of oil and gas," he said.

"We have supported Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and more even though they are not Shi'a (majorities), and we have stood up against attacks on Christians in Egypt and Iraq as well," he said while also condemning al-Qaradawi's focus on sectarianism.

Osama Siblani, Publisher of the Arab American News, told those in attendance to not let sectarianism stand in the way of the push for justice and peace.

"This community, which is mostly Shi'a, has a history of standing for human rights, especially for Arabs and Muslims, around the world. We should be proud of who we are," he said, noting rallies in the streets of Beirut in support of the occupied Palestinians; Arab world protesters holding pictures of former Egyptian pan-Arab leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser, and Arab world protesters supporting the African American civil rights movement  in the 1960s.

"We want to tell the world that we are from the school that says a man is either your brother in religion or your brother in humanity.

"Sheikh Yusuf (al-Qaradawi) should step up to the plate and issue the same statement of support for the brave people of Bahrain."