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« Stockholm Syndrome | Main | Setback for Socialism »

The Company You Keep

Denver's favorite Imam, Ibrahim Kazerooni, translator of Ayatollah Mezbah-Yazdi and now head of the local Episcopal Church's "Ibrahimic Initiative," er, "Abrahamic Initiative," is keeping some interesting company these days. Appearing at a forum in New York, Kazerooni shared the stage with:

The conference featured five guest speakers as well as renowned linguist and author Dr. Noam Chomsky.


...Amy Goodman, host of the nationally syndicated radio show, "DemocracyNow!"

Annas Shallal, a Sunni Iraqi artist who does intra-faith and inter-faith work with different groups, was the first to address the audience. He spoke about the targeted killing and torture of Iraqi civilians by American troops.

Dr. Anisa Abdul-Fattah, an African-American Shi'a activist and scholar, followed Shallal and echoed his sentiments, criticizing the premise of the war, which was to liberate Iraqis from an oppressive dictator. Instead, she said, the Iraqis find themselves in a similar, if not worse, situation.

A Shi'a Iraqi imam from Denver was the third panelist to discuss the current situation in Iraq. Ibrahim Kazerooni was held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and was tortured by Saddam's troops when he was 15. He added that Abu Ghraib was originally built to accommodate 4,000 inmates and was currently holding close to 16,000 prisoners, who have mostly been picked up randomly and detained without access to legal counsel.

The most passionate talk was given by Salma Yaqoob, a British Sunni Muslim who was the head of the Birmingham, England-based "Stop the War Coalition" and was recently elected to Birmingham's city council. Yaqoob spoke about the stigma and fear that Muslims have of speaking out for political and controversial causes that affect the Muslim community and her own struggle to overcome this.

Last winter, Kazerooni spoke at a panel discussion comparing the warlike passages in the Tanach, the New Testament, and the Koran. Kazerooni's comments were less enlightening than obfuscating, whitewashing the manifest violence done to spread Islam over the centuries. Whether he's being honest, or just too weak to stand up to the radicals among his community, American Muslims need better leaders than this guy.

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