DEARBORN HEIGHTS — The Islamic House of Wisdom hosted its 2019 semi-annual fundraiser on Thursday, April 25, at the Bellagio Banquet & Conference Center in Dearborn Heights in the presence of many leaders and members of the community.
Part of the message the center aims at bringing forth is fighting Islamophobia.
“We in the 21st century need our own miracle,” Imam Muhammad Ali Elahi told The AANews. “We need to work together to bring awareness through education and cooperation. Dialogue and interfaith and engagement is a big part of the mission of the Islamic House of Wisdom.”
He also said that the center promotes faith, family values and education as well as serving the community through outreach and interfaith relationships.
“This dinner will honor some of the local, national and international faith leaders from all religions and segments of religion like Sunnis, Shias, Jews and Christians,” he said prior to the event. “Especially now, we need this more with the 2020 elections.”
Elahi said he is “concerned” that President Trump would use Islamophobia to promote his 2020 campaign.
“So we are here to say that Islamophobia is not only a threat to Islam and Muslims,” he said. “Islamophobia is also a threat to our democracy, dignity, unity, diversity, security and the prosperity of our community in general.
“As a Muslim community we stand against any kind of extremism and any kind of terrorism or violence, under any name and against anyone,” he added. “So anyone who commits an act of terror against a mosque, church or a synagogue, whether in New Zealand, Sri Lanka or anywhere else, we say that these are faithless people who do not belong to any faith.
“The point is that we cannot be selective when it comes to terrorism; terrorism and extremism must be condemned. We do not have good and bad terrorism.”
The dinner honored New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s actions in handling the Christchurch shooting that took place on March 15.
Elahi said that a representative was supposed to be present at the dinner, but wasn’t able to make it because of a public holiday.
April 25 is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand as Anzac Day, a day of remembrance for those from those nations who served and died in wars and peacekeeping operations.
“We would like to admire Prime Minister Ardern for her actions for her heroic position in defending the innocent and standing against terrorism, regardless of their background,” Elahi said.
Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel S. Paletko and Wayne County Commissioner Sam Beydoun each gave brief speeches.
Universal Peace Federation Chairman Thomas G. Walsh was honored at the dinner for his contributions to interfaith relations through his publications and work with the United Nations.
In addition, Dr. Michael Jenkins, Robert A. Bruttell and Imam Abdullah El-Amin were awarded for their contributions to interfaith and peace promotions in the community.
Elahi asked the community to keep contributing to the Islamic House of Wisdom so it can continue to offer services, because it doesn’t get grants or financial support from the government.
“We are a humble mosque, but we do ask of people to help us help people locally and internationally in war struck nations like Syria and Yemen,” he said. “So this is a fundraiser in the sense that we need the help, but we also want to make sure that it is not only about collecting funds; it’s also about standing against what’s wrong and opposing injustice.”