Local media is reporting that the executive director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – Michigan has traveled to the African nation of Mali on a program underwritten by the US State Department. According to an interview with Dawud Walid:
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — Michigan, wrapped up his second visit to the African nation of Mali on Friday. He also serves as assistant imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and board trustee for the Metropolitan Detroit Interfaith Workers’ Rights Committee.
This is your second trip to Mali? What program are you participating in there?
This is my second time participating in a delegation organized by Michigan State University, which aims to build religious and cultural ties between American religious and civic leaders with Malian counterparts. The program is underwritten by the U.S. State Department. On Saturday (July 17), Islamic studies professor Achmat Salie from Oakland University and I spoke at the third annual Malian Association for Peace and Tolerance Conference in the capital of Bamako. There were representatives from a number of North and West African countries … from the Islamic, Catholic and Evangelical faith groups. Speakers and attendees came from countries such as Nigeria, Mauritania and Senegal.
What is the purpose of the program?
At the conference, I spoke about the state of interfaith cooperation in America. I stated that Muslims in America have many challenges from Islamophobia to unjust government policies that profile us. However, we have interfaith partners that stand in solidarity for fairness and justice with Muslims and that this is an American tradition. I also mentioned the shooting of Imam Luqman and discussed the case with some leaders.
What do the people of Mali know about Detroit?
People in Mali know little about Detroit, or that there are so many Muslims in America in general. People were pleasantly surprised at the amount of Muslims in Detroit and how the community is so diverse.
What other countries have you traveled to?
I’ve traveled to 15 different countries, including United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Malians by far are the most hospitable nation of people that I’ve ever encountered even though they are (one) of the poorest on Earth. Average household income is about $275 per year. [
Previous posts have documented numerous networking visits by foreign Islamic leaders to US Muslim Brotherhood organizations under the State Department’s International Visitors program but this is the first trip abroad of a US Brotherhood leader financed by State that has been documented by the GMBDW since April 2006 when Ahmed Younis, then National Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), traveled to Tajikistan as part of a Central Asian U.S. Speaker trip.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the US. Brotherhood. A recent post discussed an interview with the Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in which he confirms a relationship between his organization and CAIR. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and CAIR and its leaders have a long history of defending almost all individuals accused of terrorism by the US. government, frequently calling such prosecutions a “war on Islam.”