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IONA Commemorates 10th Anniversary Of 9/11 At Warren Civic Center

On September 11, 2011, IONA’s Ameer, Imam Mustapha Elturk, stood alongside Warren Mayor James R. Fouts and Rev. Michail Curro (Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ)), along with several local police and fire department officials to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001. The gathering of about 1,000 people at the Warren Civic Center drew a diverse crowd of Christian and Muslim families, including members of the IONA community.
Imam Mustapha Elturk, who is also the President of the Board of ICRJ, came forth to represent the Muslim community despite facing opposition before the event by some who argued that the gathering should only be for Christians. ICRJ and the City of Warren’s office upheld the positive inclusion of Muslims in the community and went ahead to host the event as planned.
The leaders called upon the diverse crowd to unite in solidarity for their common core values of freedom, equality, and justice. Mayor Fouts said, “We must always protect our freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” and that “the equal treatment of all people regardless of race, creed, or ethnic background is what America is all about, and we should never ever forget that.”
Taking note of the resultant ‘Islamophobia’ following 9/11, he reminded the audience that Muslims had also lost their lives on that day; and that only those Muslims should be condemned who “betray their religious beliefs with acts of terrorism.” “We cannot condemn all Muslims,” he asserted. Imam Mustapha Elturk mentioned the names of some of the Muslim first responders on 9/11, which included Mohammed Salman, Rudina Ramadan, and Kevin James. Quoting verse 49 of chapter 13 from the Qur’an, Imam Elturk emphasized its teaching that all men belong to one race, and all racial or cultural differences are a cause for mutual discourse, not distrust. “In the end it is all about equality and fraternity,” he said.
Rev. Curro echoed their statements, “We will not see lasting peace until we recognize our common humanity and truly believe that we are all brothers and sisters.” While acknowledging the countless individuals who suffered and those who continue to suffer as a result of 9/11, he also noted the importance of taking a positive step forth, “It takes spiritual resolve and strength to move forward in hope and not to get stuck in the past, focus on the loss, remain angry about the event, or become bitter regarding what happened.”
The leaders praised the courageous efforts of the first responders on 9/11, including Warren’s very own police force and firefighters, many of whom were present at the gathering and honored for their roles.
The afternoon event included recitals of hymns, prayers, and anthems led by local groups, including the Warren Community Chorus, the teenage participants of ICRJ’s 2011 “Listen, Learn, & Live Summer Camp,” and music by the Warren Mott High School Marching Band.
The event was a reminder for all participants of their shared loyalty towards the nation and respect for all of its citizens. It was a call for coming together to honor shared goals and values and to realize the common adversities faced by all. “We as people of conscience, who cherish our diversity, have a moral obligation and resolution to live as one family, working together to combat evil through peaceful means,” affirmed Imam Mustapha Elturk. “It is time we roll up our sleeves and get to work. Let us build a better future for our children and those to come.”
IONA, 28630 Ryan Rd., Warren, MI 48092 | Tel: 586-558-6900 | E-mail: center@iononline.org
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IONA’s mission is to transform its members and help transform the surrounding communities to righteous, God-fearing people, who collectively strive for the highest moral standard and constantly seek forgiveness from our Creator to earn His pleasure. We seek His compassion and mercy in this life and in the hereafter. We rejuvenate our soul through internal struggle and spiritual exercise in worship of our creator God. The strength of our belief in God gives us the courage to establish good and forbid evil, thus promoting a system of justice for all mankind.