In the Media

08/26/14: ISIS is a bunch of gangsters, says imam at Dearborn rally (SLIDESHOW, VIDEO)

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By Aysha Jamali
Press & Guide Newspapers
Twitter: @AyshaJamaliNews

Imam Mohammad Elahi, of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, says ISIS does not represent Islam. Photo by Aysha Jamali (See more photos via the link in the article.)

Muslim imams from across metro Detroit gathered on the steps of Dearborn City Hall Aug. 25 in a united voice to speak out against ISIS, the Islamic State militant group wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic House of Wisdom, a Dearborn Heights mosque, organized the unity prayer and candlelight vigil where imams from the Imams Council of the Michigan Muslim Community Council spoke.

Imam Mohammad Elahi, of the Islamic House of Wisdom, said ISIS does not represent Islam and called the group “a bunch of gangsters.”

Click here to SEE PHOTOS from the rally.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the imams have always condemned terrorists, whether they be al-Qaeda, ISIS, or Boko Haram.

“We’re here primarily to defend the true message of Islam,” he said.

Imam Aly Lela, of Troy, said ISIS is killing in the name of religion but they are not that religion. They are evil, he said.

“This is not the Islam that we know. This is not the Islam that we practice,” he said.

The imams were also supported by those in the crowd who agree with their message.

“We just believe in supporting the Muslims against the terrorists,” said Judy Satterthwaite, 75, of Rochester.

She heard about the rally and came out with three friends, all in their 70s and 80s, from Rochester Hills.

Speakers also talked about American journalist James Foley, who was abducted by ISIS in Syria and is shown in a recently released video being beheaded by the group. All observed a moment of silence and lit candles in his memory.

“I am a journalist. He is a journalist,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News in Dearborn. “I stand with him and the rest of his family.”

Imam Mustapha Elturk, of the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren, sent his condolences to Foley’s family and other victims’ families.

“The barbaric behavior of ISIS is abhorred and cannot be justified,” he said.

Contact Staff Writer Aysha Jamali at