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Muslim leaders speak out


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
...continued from page 11

ALMASMARI:
The reaction goes back to the educational level of each person that is reacting. You have people that go, "Oh my god, what is happening!" And you have others who know it is a political stunt.

People forget we have a Constitution. It's not about what one person says.

OSMAN: When it comes to certain comments about "banning Muslims from entering the country" – forget the fact that it's just completely unconstitutional and goes against the fabric of our nation – especially when our nation was formed by individuals who were escaping religious persecution in Europe – I would ask a politician, if an American, Muslim soldier is serving overseas, fighting and dying for this country, are you going to then say, no, they cannot come back in this country?

It's ludicrous and it's fallacy.

Yes, security is very, very important. Yes, it's important to have background checks.

Regarding surveillance, first, the responsibility of Muslims leaders is to be always 100 percent open, their doors are 100 percent open, sermons 100 percent open. Yes, you need to know what is happening in mosques and houses of worship. If a house of worship is open, then the responsibility is to be open. FBI, you want to come in? We're not doing anything, come in.

With that being said, you cannot marginalize or intimidate, a group of people that you need assistance from. You want their cooperation. It's not practical, and it's dehumanizing.

With the current political campaigns, has there been greater prejudices against Muslims – the "Trump effect"? What is the current climate in Oakland County? Do you feel isolated, or welcome and part of the community at large? Do you encounter Islamophobia, either subtly or overtly? How?

ALMASMARI:
Of course. The disapproval of Muslims now in the U.S. raised from less than 20 percent to over 60-some percent. And when I say raised from, I mean from 9/11. There's more towards Muslims now than what they faced (after) 9/11.

What shocks me is that, of course there is a lot of support. I've had calls, I had Rabbi (Mark) Miller (Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township) that spoke here, and everyone was able to address these issues. There is some kind of support where you find Islamophobia.

In Oakland County, we're blessed. I think it's more of a race issue than a religious issue.

In the United States, where we are supposed to have religious freedom for all, what are Muslims experiencing in 2016? Is your community finding acceptance, or bigotry? As our children are being raised in a multi-cultured world, with its encouragement of assimilation, is there mutual respect and tolerance among the younger generation, or are there cliques and isolation? Do many Muslim youths attend local public schools?

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Tags: LONGFORM

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