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Mich. church cancels anti-Muslim 9/11 event after backlash

Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press on

Published in News & Features

DETROIT -- A Bloomfield, Mich., church is cancelling an anti-Muslim event scheduled for Wednesday's 9/11 anniversary after facing condemnation from Michigan representatives and organizations.

Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church announced in a one-sentence email that it will cancel the two-day "9/11 forgotten? Is Michigan surrendering to Islam?" event that was originally scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The event was slated to host two speakers, who would address topics like "How the interfaith movement is sabotaging America and the church" and "How Islam is destroying America from within."

The church's pastor, Donald McKay, defended the event to Fox 2 last week, telling the station that "Islam is a growing threat in the United States of America," and that while he couldn't speak for his church, "we don't hate Muslims, we hate the ideology they are identified with."

"I am an Islamophobe, I wear that badge proudly," said McKay, who told Fox 2 at the time that he did not plan on cancelling.

The event quickly gained attention from political leaders and organizations in Michigan, who condemned the discussion and called for its cancellation.

In a joint statement on the issue, U.S. Democratic Reps. Andy Levin and Debbie Dingell said there is "no place for hate in Metro Detroit, in Michigan or anywhere in the United States."

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"We implore the Bloomfield Baptist Church to forgo the anti-Muslim events planned for next week and instead recognize America's rich cultural and religious diversity as we reflect on one of the most painful days in our country's history and heal from recent acts of white supremacist violence," Levin and Dingell said. "As people of faith, we ask Michiganders to unify in peace and celebrate our shared humanity to help prevent future acts of hatred."

Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan's Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) chapter, said the anti-Islam rhetoric the church was promoting was "troubling," especially in light of the frequency of hate crimes against Muslims.

"Though we believe that houses of worship have the right to preach their doctrine, we find it incredibly irresponsible for a church to invite someone who has the objective of spewing clear anti-Muslim bigotry," Walid told the Free Press.

(c)2019 Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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