Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini is the most prominent Shia Imam in Michigan, and until recently headed up the Islamic Center of America mosque in Dearborn.
It appears that ethnic infighting played a role his ouster--he is Iraqi, and the ICA is largely Lebanese.
Still, an interesting look at one of Michigan's unique communities.
Outside, the walls of the Lebanese-American center had been spray-painted sometime over the past 24 hours with anti-Iraqi graffiti aimed
at denigrating Qazwini, who is of Iraqi descent: “The Iraqi Center of
Baghdad,” read one insult. It was a symbol of the lingering tensions
that remain over his forced departure from the Islamic Center.
despite the vandalism, Al-Qazwini garnered a massive show of support
that day as he talked about the importance of educating the public about
Islam. That night happened to be what is called in Islam the Night of
Power, when one’s prayers and good deeds are believed to be worth more
than those done in 83 years.
Jabbing his finger in the air to
stress his points, Al-Qazwini cited a survey in which “62% of Americans
... have a negative view of our religion.”
“They think that
Muslims are either terrorists or they support terrorists,” he said.
“Who’s going to change that perception? You. Us. ... Allah will not
change any people’s conditions unless they change their own conditions.
We cannot sit aside and blame the Jews, continue to blame the Zionists
for our pain.”
few minutes later, he started a bidding process to help raise money for
the new mosque. It’s common during the Night of Power for congregations
to raise money.
“I need 10 hands, 10 people, brothers and sisters, who would donate $10,000,” he said.
In 15 minutes, Al-Qazwini raised $129,000 for the mosque.