Dearborn conferences to address honor killings, Islamophobia

Apr 27, 2012

Dearborn will host two very different conferences about modern Islam on Sunday.

The group “Stop the Islamization of America” is sponsoring the “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.”

Mokdad is a young woman who was murdered by her stepfather in Warren last year.

Some of Mokdad’s friends and family members have said the killing was motivated by personal issues.

But Pamela Geller, a conference organizer and vocal anti-Muslim blogger, insists it was an honor killing. And in an online video, she called it part of a disturbing, larger trend.

 “I am deeply concerned with the increase in honor killings in the West. The spike in honor killings,” Geller said. “And the accompanying Sharia silence.”

But Muslim and civil rights leaders say Geller is simply a hate-monger. They maintain the conference is really evidence of another trend: growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.

Some of those leaders will counter by holding a “Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate” town hall on Sunday.

Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations says Jessica Mokdad’s family opposes the conference. They maintain her murder was a classic case of domestic violence.

And Walid says the conference is more about spreading anti-Muslim hate than stemming honor killings.

“In our book, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organizers are part of a hate group,” Walid said.

Walid says Dearborn and Metro Detroit have become a target for national anti-Islam activists. He and other community leaders plan to talk about that at the town hall.