"The Call," a fundamentalist religious organization based in Kansas City, and apparently modeled after the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, held an anti-Muslim prayer rally in Detroit at Ford Field on Saturday, November 13. This rally of hate was the last thing greater Detroit needed as it tries to recover economically, and become a unified urban center embracing all its diverse ethnic and religious populations.
Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, MI
The Detroit Lions and the Ford family would have been far better served not being a part of such a thing. As The Call's spokesperson pointed out, it called the prayer rally in Detroit to protest the heavily Muslim population of Dearborn, the Detroit suburb in which Ford Motor Company is headquartered.
Lou Engle, leader of The Call is a member of a group calling itself the New Apostolic Reformation. This group rails against Muslims, gays, abortion, Catholics, African Americans and politicians who support abortion rights. The Call's excuse for showing up in Detroit was that:
"... Dearborn is under demonic control because of its Muslim population. And they say they believe African Americans have been cursed by Satan in recent decades because they vote Democratic."
Read that last sentence carefully.
Local religious leaders, including Catholics, several Protestant denominations and Muslims hosted a small rally opposing the anti-Muslim prayer rally at the stadium entrance.
"...several Detroit clergymen said they were being patronizing and racist toward minorities. Some Muslims were concerned about their mosques because Engle and others made references to targeting local Isl?mic centers."
Although Engle claimed the rally was not about hate, nor was it anti-Muslim, the 3-6 a.m. hour Sunday focused specifically on defeating Islam in Dearborn and eventually around the world.
Muslims in Greater Detroit were, understandably, deeply concerned about the rally and the sentiments expressed. Engle had spoken about "targeting" mosques in Dearborn, but he evidently did not mean that literally. Nonetheless one local Isl?mic leader said:
"Our concern is that we are literally being demonized by the organizers of this group," said Dawud Walid, executive director of Council on American-Isl?mic Relations' Michigan chapter, which last week urged local mosques and Islamic schools to increase security. "And given the recent history of other groups that have come into Michigan ... we're concerned about this prayer vigil stoking up the flames of divisiveness in the community."
In what may be, but most likely is not, a coincidental event, The Learning Channel debuts an eight-part series reality show based in Dearborn called "All American Muslim" on Sunday night, November 14 at 10:00 pm, the day after the anti-muslim prayer rally. If it is coincidence, irony needs a vacation.