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 Rallying to make a difference

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PostSubject: Rallying to make a difference   Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:28 pm



Rallying to make a difference
Hundreds of families and community leaders, Muslim and non-Muslim, attend a Dallas rally against terrorism, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations
By Katherine Morales, The Dallas Morning News, October 21, 2001


Dallas Muslims rally against terrorism, October 20, 2001

Imad Ismail stood on a sidewalk in downtown Dallas, telling strangers the same things he has told his friends at school for the last six weeks.

The 14-year-old didn't commit the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Nobody he knew was involved.

His religious beliefs don't condone them, and he was appalled by them.

"I'm here because I think I can try to make a difference – to inform the public about what's going on," he said.

Imad joined hundreds of other families and community leaders, Muslim and non-Muslim, on Saturday for a rally against terrorism sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations-DFW.

He stood with his siblings and cousins holding banners and American flags.

"Most people have been pretty cool – they've waved and smiled," Imad said, referring to passers-by.

The Duncanville teen said the reception hasn't always been as friendly.

"People would yell things at me on the street, and people at school would ask me if I was a terrorist," he said. "I don't take it seriously. They don't know me."

Behind Imad, speakers at the rally walked onto a small stage and denounced the attacks.

"The last six weeks have been difficult for our nation as a whole," said Mohamed Elmougy, president of the council. "We are here to reclaim our faith from those who have hijacked it from us. We cannot allow the few to ruin it for the many."

Mr. Elmougy also said it was unfair of people to think of Osama bin Laden as a true representative of Islam.

That statement brought rounds of applause from the audience. Some people waved handmade signs above their heads with messages of patriotism and peace.

Shamshad Haider Murtazawi, a Muslim cleric, gave those who gathered a perspective from the Quran on terrorism and murder.

"We do not kill, and it is absolutely forbidden in the Quran unless it is for self-defense," he said. "Human conscience does not allow terrorism, and Muslims will fight against it."

Melissa Walker drove from Sulphur Springs with her husband and two children to attend the rally after reading about it on a local website.

"I'm glad they have a variety of speakers with different perspectives," she said. "They speak for all of us and say the things we want to say. I wish there were more outlets for this."

A few non-Muslims also attended the event to show support for the Islamic community and to learn more about the tenets of Islam.

"I'm opposed to the violence that has been exhibited toward some of these people, although they had nothing to do with the attacks," said Norma Bell of Garland. "I'm Catholic, but we're all just trying to get to the same place."

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