Advertisement Close

Jackson Reaches out to Metro Detroit Muslims

posted on: Mar 29, 2010

Civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged Muslim Americans to partner with his organization not only for civil rights but on economic issues facing Americans, such as foreclosures.

“When we fight against foreclosure … that’s all of our fight,” Jackson told a crowd of about 900 people gathered Sunday for a banquet marking the 10th anniversary of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan.

In January, Jackson, founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and other prominent clergy called for action on home foreclosures and other issues in Detroit, saying like the civil rights movement, it was time to take the issue to the streets.

Michigan ranks in the top 10 in foreclosure rates in the country. Wayne County led all counties in the state, totaling 5,098 properties with foreclosure filings for January, according to RealtyTrac.

He was the keynote speaker for the event, held at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn.

Jackson also told the crowd about being called the N-word last week by people he identified as members of the Tea Party grassroots group when he went to Capitol Hill to observe the historic vote on health care reform, challenging Muslim-Americans to fight against racial and religious bias. Some lawmakers also reported being taunted with racial and other slurs by a crowd of protesters assembled a day before the health care vote.

“They called me out of my name,” he told the crowd. “Many people are being misled by demagoguery. These are the same voices that blocked school doors … in the name of protecting the sanctity of Alabama.”

Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, said Muslim-Americans must fight against “Islamaphobia.”

“Right now we are being challenged, but we are being challenged because we are about to move to the next stage. Muslim-Americans will be seen and treated as equals. Muslim-Americans will be recognized, respected and celebrated.”

CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid renewed his call for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open an investigation into the October shooting death of Imam Luqman Abdullah by FBI agents during a raid at a Dearborn warehouse and to revisit the issue of racial profiling.

“Mr. Holder, we are at the front door (asking) to review the latest FBI guidelines,” Walid said.

Dr. Ghazala Burney, who attended the dinner, said CAIR remains important and relevant.

“It’s an extremely important organization for the preservation of civil rights for Muslims,” Burney said.

“Before CAIR, people could do anything they wanted to do to you just because your last name was Muslim,” said Burney, a Canton Township resident.

Orlander Brand-Williams
The Detroit News