ADC Community Update:
City of Dearborn Unfairly Charges Islamic Cleric

Contact: Rana Abbas at (313) 581-1201

June 24, 2002
Dearborn, Michigan

– Imam Hisham Al-Husainy, a local Islamic scholar, has been unfairly charged with Protesting Without a Permit by the Dearborn Police Department and faces a maximum jail term of 90 days and fines up to $500, as a result of his participation in a Pro-Palestinian Rally on April 14, 2002 in the City of Dearborn. 

According to Dearborn Police, Imam Al-Husainy’s participation in the demonstration, which he joined halfway through, makes him liable for the fact that the organizers had not obtained a permit. Imam Al-Husainy’s attorney has indicated that during the march, police made no effort to stop the demonstrators, even as the crowd grew, eventually reaching mass numbers of 2,000-4,000. In fact, more police arrived to assist in keeping order. 

Although Imam Al-Husainy was only one of five clergymen present at the rally, Dearborn Police singled him out, because he was the only individual, who went to the police station to personally apologize on behalf of the community for protesting without a permit, as advised by a mayoral staff member [Mr. Joe (Youssef) Baydoun]. Two other individuals, Mr. Imad Chammout and Mr. Libib Bijayih, who participated in the demonstration, have also been charged with the same offense.

On Tuesday, June 18, 2002, Imam Al-Husainy appeared in court to face the charges against him and entered a plea of “Not Guilty.” The Imam is scheduled to return to court (19th District) tomorrow, Tuesday, June 25, 2002 at 1:30 PM, before the Honorable William J. Runco.

While the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Michigan does not dispute the fact that the demonstration was held without a proper permit, we insist that this fact is not a justification to single out three individuals and place complete responsibility on them. As a civil rights organization, ADC is deeply concerned with how such a determination was made, and how these individuals have been made solely responsible in this matter. 

It is truly disturbing to witness the Dearborn Police Department take part in such selective treatment. For this reason, and for the sake of ensuring that justice is not abused, ADC urges the community at large to continue monitoring the proceedings of this case. As an advocate for open dialogue, ADC wrote a letter to Mayor Michael Guido on June 20, 2002, expressing its concern with this matter, but has not yet received any answer. ADC will, however, maintain a close eye on this matter due to its sensitive and serious ramifications, until it is resolved fairly.



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