Muslims in Detroit and adjacent Dearborn, Michigan, which is considered the “Islamic capital” of the United States, have mourned Hizbullah spiritual leader Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah for six days and nights, since early last week.
One-third of the population of Dearborn is estimated to be Muslim, the largest proportion of Muslims in a city of its size outside of the Middle East. Although New York and California both host more Muslims, Michigan has the highest concentration of Muslims in the United States.
Fadlallah, 74, was considered a Muslim scholar, known for opposing "honor killings" of women, as well as promoting suicide attacks against Israelis as part of the Hizbullah “resistance.” He also mocked the Holocaust. The United States listed him as a supporter of terrorism and accused him of having given his blessings for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine corps barracks in Beirut, where 241 soldiers were killed.
Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights eulogized Fadlallah as a "man of peace, man of justice ... a man of anti-terrorism and anti-violence."
A joint memorial service on Sunday in Dearborn Heights was scheduled to feature Lebanon’s Ambassador to the United States, Antoine Chedid.
Muslim sources in the United States tried to show that he was against terrorism, noting that he condemned suicide attacks against civilians such as the Moscow subway bombings. No mention was made of his stated policy urging suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.
"His passing away affected literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people across the globe; his passing is the reason why people were sad, and I was among them of course, because of the great things he did to communities and his great knowledge and understanding with his moderate views on certain issues," said Imam Mustapha El-Turk of the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren, Michigan.
Local Muslims tried to stage an anti-terrorist protest earlier this year as a court hearing took place for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Muslim terrorist accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane.
"This is people from all over southeast Michigan coming together and saying we're against terrorism. Our message is going to be louder than the message the terrorists have sent. The masses will be speaking," Majed Moughni said before the demonstration.
Twelve people showed up, according to The New York Times.