Detroit-Area Muslims Respond to Controversy Over Cartoon Depictions of Prophet

February 4, 2006

Source: Detroit Free Press

On February 4, 2006 the Detroit Free Press reported, "Michigan Muslims joined others in the Islamic world Friday in denouncing European newspapers that have published cartoons they say defame Islam and the Prophet Muhammad... in Michigan, the concern was restrained. There were no demonstrations. One leader, while saying the cartoons are in bad taste, urged Muslims not to overreact.

Still, they were upset.

'Freedom of speech and expression -- all those things are great and we need that -- but there should be some understanding that freedom of speech does not include defamation,' said Victor Begg, 58, of Bloomfield Hills, who's an interfaith Muslim activist in Michigan. 'It's just ignorant.'

In Ypsilanti, Dawud Walid urged Muslims in his Friday sermon at the Masjid Ibrahim mosque not to react with hate.

Walid, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he recounted the story of Muhammad's visit to a hostile village. The villagers stoned Muhammad but he didn't strike back and, eventually, they accepted Islam.

'What would Prophet Muhammad have done in a similar situation?' Walid said. Muhammad 'encouraged us to be compassionate, tender and also patient. We should always take the moral high ground.'

Walid and other Muslim leaders planned to meet Friday night at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights to criticize the cartoons, but also urge restraint."