Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi talks concerning the New Zealand mosque assault throughout prayers at The Islamic Home of Knowledge in Dearborn Heights on March 15, 2019.
Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press

DETROIT – After he heard Thursday evening concerning the assault inside a mosque in New Zealand, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi stated he grew fearful. 

“I couldn’t even sleep final evening,” Elahi, the non secular chief of the Islamic Home of Knowledge in Dearborn Heights, stated. “It is actually a tragic day, a darkish day.”

However Elahi was determined to lead Friday prayers, the preferred gathering time for Muslims – and when the New Zealand shooter attacked, killing 49 worshippers. 

The New Zealand taking pictures is likely one of the deadliest assaults in opposition to Muslims in a Western nation in latest reminiscence. Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old man born in Australia who’s reported to have expressed white supremacist views, has been arrested and charged within the shootings; three others had been arrested in reference to the shootings.

“This isn’t the time to present in,” Elahi stated inside his mosque Friday afternoon after prayers. “This isn’t the time of displaying weak spot, silence; our silence will not assist us, it’ll damage us. We now have to return to prayer and present extra devotion and extra willpower and … present that we’re not scared. If we do not come, we’re giving a present to the terrorists.”

Elahi’s views had been echoed in a lot of metro Detroit’s Muslim communities, the place there’s nervousness however willpower to maintain on attending their homes of worship and practising their Islamic religion.

There have been elevated patrols and police presence Friday at some mosques in Michigan, together with in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, police and religion leaders stated. At Elahi’s Islamic Home of Knowledge, there have been two Dearborn Heights law enforcement officials close to the doorway maintaining an eye fixed out. 

Faik Nasser of Canton stated he and his spouse felt anxious Friday however confirmed up for providers on the Islamic Home of Knowledge. 

“He attacked humanity,” Nasser stated of the New Zealand shooter. “He attacked all the teachings of the good Abrahamic religions.”

Nasser stated the assaults are the results of elevated Islamophobia. He criticized President Donald Trump for what he stated are the president’s illiberal views of Muslims and Islam. 

Throughout his Friday sermon, Elahi additionally criticized Trump, saying his “each side” remarks are failing to criticize the specter of violent white supremacy. It “sends the fallacious message,” Elahi stated. 

A spread of Muslim and Arab-American teams in metro Detroit despatched out statements condemning the New Zealand assault, together with the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn Heights, the Islamic Middle of America in Dearborn, the Arab American Civil Rights League in Dearborn and the American Human Rights Council in Dearborn. 

The Catholic Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, additionally launched an announcement, saying partially: “On behalf of the all the Catholic trustworthy of southeast Michigan, I supply prayers and condolences to the Muslim neighborhood all through the world, particularly in New Zealand, as they mourn the horrific violence that unfolded Friday in two homes of worship.”

Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, the non secular chief of the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn Heights, requested “all Muslim communities within the U.S. to be vigilant throughout Friday prayers and name on U.S. legislation enforcement businesses to give protection to homes of worship.”

A vigil was deliberate Friday evening at Al-Qazwini’s mosque and one other was deliberate on the Islamic Middle of America. 

“We urge Muslim communities to be vigilant, the menace is actual,” Imad Hamad, the manager director of the American Human Rights Council, stated. “The bloodbath in New Zealand ought to shock us all into contemplating the foundation causes of such crimes.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who’s Muslim, stated in an announcement: “This morning I attempted to carry again tears as I hugged my two brown, Muslim boys slightly tighter and longer. The painful lack of life based mostly on hate makes me so indignant.”

Whereas Muslim communities are tense, they’re hopeful, seeing the expressions of help from different faiths, stated Elahi. 

“All human beings are organs of the identical physique,” Elahi stated throughout his sermon. “When one member of the physique is damage, the whole physique is damage. … We’re unhappy, we’re upset, however we’re not dropping our hope.”

Drawing upon Muslim and Christian beliefs, Elahi added: “The Earth is useless with vanity, the Earth is useless with injustice, the Earth is useless with injustice; however the lifetime of peace, the lifetime of justice, the sunshine of affection, the sunshine of peace, the sunshine of unity and brotherhood is coming.” 

Elahi urged prayers for the victims and “for the speedy therapeutic of the wounded. … Please proceed your prayers for them.”

Observe Niraj Warikoo on Twitter: @nwarikoo. Contributing: Micah Walker of the Detroit Free Press


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