Many American Muslims are concerned that the upcoming 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks will prompt renewed attacks on their faith.
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) tried to counter that, with a workshop about “Presenting Islam to Fellow Americans.”
Presenters suggested Muslims speak from personal experience, and emphasize commonalities between Islam and other religious traditions.
They also addressed how Muslims should react to concerns about Sharia law.
CAIR Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid says some Americans are afraid that Muslims are working to impose Islamic laws over civil law—but that fear is unfounded.
“Our religion mandates us to abide by the laws of the land in which we live in," Walud said, adding, "And I hope all of you believe that.”
So-called “anti-Sharia law” bills have been introduced in more than 20 states, including Michigan.
That proposed law would “restrict the application of foreign laws.”
Saleem Sidiqqi, who attended the workshop, says it’s helpful to hear how other Muslims deal with questions and concerns about Islam. But he says he hasn’t had to contend with much anti-Muslim sentiment in his suburban Detroit community.
“I guess we hear it more in the media, is where we hear it. I haven’t really heard it from my neighbors or anybody that we know. But it’s probably something that we should be aware of, and know how to respond to it.”
Sidiqqi says the upcoming 9/11 anniversary is “another reason to be aware” of what people are thinking about Muslims. He says he and his wife have been trying to explain that attack and its consequences to their young children.