Local Muslims, Nigerian Americans gather to denounce terror attack
The Detroit Newshttp://detnews.com/article/20100108/METRO/1080422
Detroit -- A large number of Muslims, Arab Americans and Nigerian Americans are standing together today outside a federal courthouse to condemn the alleged actions of a suspect accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest flight on Christmas Day.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian authorities say attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with explosives hidden in his underwear, is to be arraigned this afternoon at the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in downtown Detroit.
Ali Fawaz, 30, of Dearborn held a sign today that read, "Not in the name of Islam," as he joined about 100 other demonstrators.
"I came out to show I'm against it (terrorism)," Fawaz said. "We're tired of Islam being hijacked."
Nigerian American Remigius Obi of Ann Arbor was also among the crowd. He held a sign that read, "Nigeria condemns terrorism. Nigerians disown Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Nigeria says sorry to America & the world."
"I'm here to tell the world that Nigerians don't support terrorism," Obi said. "Terrorism is not part of Nigerians' culture. We love America. We love life."
Earlier today, a group of Imams and other local Muslim leaders also condemned Islamist extremists and the Christmas Day attack.
Ten Imams held a news conference at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion offices in Midtown to condemn extremists and terrorists.
"Muslim Americans want to make it clear that Islam stands for life, not death," said Victor Begg, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.
A passenger on Northwest Flight 253, Hebba Aref, 27, Bloomfield Hills, was also at today's news conference. She expressed concern that her religion, Islam, was brought into the discussion about the failed bombing attempt.
Abdulmutallab was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges that include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which can bring up to life in prison, and attempted murder, a 20-year felony.