On Tuesday, April 8, 2008, the head of the Michigan office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Dawud Walid, will be giving a speech about extremism and terrorism, at Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan, hosted by the Muslim Students Association. But how can such topics be discussed, when the speaker is a known extremist, and the organization he represents has been involved in terrorism?
Dawud Walid is the Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan. The organization is a local chapter of the group that was recently named a co-conspirator for a Hamas financing trial that took place in Dallas, Texas. As well, in a December 2007 court brief filed by the United States government for a different Hamas-related trial, it is stated that “CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.”
Walid has held his position with CAIR, since July of 2005. In the nearly three years he has sat at the group’s helm, Walid has issued numerous statements that can be described as nothing less that outrageous.
When a Hezbollah-linked entity, the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization, was raided by federal agents in July of 2007, Walid posted on his website that it was still perfectly fine to donate to it, as well as to another terror-linked charity that had been raided, Life for Relief and Development (LIFE). He stated, “Al Mabarrat is still open for business like LIFE. [sic] Unfortantely, these charities may continue to have suspicion cast over them, and may never get their days in court to clear their names from suspicion. I repeat that it is still LEGAL to donate to Al-Mabarrat as well as LIFE.”
One month prior to the Al-Mabarrat raid, Walid gave a speech at the American Moslem Society (a.k.a. Masjid Dearborn), titled ‘Know Your Rights,’ during which he told the center’s congregants that it was alright, at times, to violate the law. He stated, “We should obey the laws of the United States of America, except when those laws bar us from those things that are obligations [of] our religion.”
In March of 2007, during a lecture he gave at Western Michigan University, Walid justified suicide bombings. He stated, “[W]e look at some of the things that have gone on in Palestine and suicide bombings and say, how can a sane person - how can a person in their right mind take a bomb and strap it to themselves and go into a market and blow themselves up, and for that matter, a woman even, who has children - how can a woman take TNT and blow herself up and kill innocent people?... But when you have a person's grandfather, great-grandfather, who owned a piece of property that was in their family for centuries, and they’re kicked off of their land with no monetary compensation, and to live [in] refugee camp situations and have to go through the humiliation of checkpoints, day after day… [A]nd then you see your baby growing up in situations with lack of water, with not even having the mobility to even see your own family members, what do you think this would do to the psyche and the mentality of people over generations?”
This Tuesday, Walid is set to take his radical Islamist show to Grand Valley State University (GVSU). The event possesses the ironic title of “Extremism, Terrorism and Islam’s Position.” The irony is not lost on the sponsor of the event, GVSU’s Muslim Students Association (MSA).
According to its GVSU “Student Life” page, MSA’s mission is to “maintain healthy relations between Muslims and non-Muslims on GVSU’s campus as well as to educate students on the message of Islam as a religion of peace.” Yet, some of the group’s actions and affiliations have not mirrored these goals.
In March of 2003, then-President of the GVSU MSA Ahmed Eissa, a.k.a. El-Masri (The Egyptian), posted many statements on the internet of both a violent and hateful nature. They included:
- “I always thought (and still think) it’s a great idea to join the US ground forces for a simple reason: they’re all getting shipped off to the Middle East for FREE! So, you go there, free, with US equipment and weapons... [T]hen when you get there, you change sides and fight the kufar! After changing your uniform of course! And while you’re at it, you can sabotage some of their stuff from the inside!”
- “I sometimes hope I can go and fight alongside Hizbollah, but I always have that fear that they might ‘stab me in the back’ because I’m a sunni, so I change my mind.”
- “I don’t think we should call the Zionists Nazis, because that would just make them proud... It’s like calling a homeless beggar a CEO or something like that! Plus the fact that I’m proud of the Nazis!”
- “The Intifada should go on!... [T]he Intifada should never die.”
- “I never thought there was any Americans left with any sense of intelligence! Christians at that! ‘The destruction of these shuttles should have been clear signs that G-d doesn’t want us letting Jews get any higher in the air than Mount Sinai.’ [Quote from Harry Hardwick’s From the Tower of Babel to Shuttle Demise: God Doesn't Want Jews Anywhere Near His Home] That was an excellent article!”
Today, one can find photographs on the GVSU MSA’s website of its members wearing keffiyehs, head coverings which are worn as symbols of Palestinian violence. As well, the group’s functions have featured materials from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that, like CAIR, was named as a co-conspirator for the 2007 Dallas Hamas fundraising trial. While these things can never represent peaceful coexistence, they certainly jibe with the beliefs of Tuesday’s speaker.
When Dawud Walid gives his speech about terrorism and extremism at GVSU, he will do so with full knowledge that he works for a group connected to terrorists and that he has, on a number of occasions, exhibited the same type of extremist behavior he may very well be denouncing. If he is to succeed in his attempt to convince GVSU’s students of his newfound good will, he will have to do so by erasing a large part of his and his organization’s history and present.