With wounds still fresh from a divisive plan to build a massive mosque in a residential area of Sterling Heights, Michigan, a group of Pakistanis are moving forward with plans for another project, and this one involves the conversion of a church into a house of Islamic worship.
The group held an “open house” last weekend at the former St. Mark Lutheran Church on 16 ½ Mile Road in Sterling Heights. But a group of Christians who attended said it was unlike any open house they’d experienced.
A Realtor was present, along with several Pakistani men dressed in traditional Islamic robes.
“They used the term ‘open house’ because they probably didn’t know what else to call it,” said a local woman who dropped in on the event Sunday. “But in retrospect I think they were looking for money. That was their plan, to show the property, explain what they were going to do with it and see if people would donate.”
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she lives just two miles from the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in nearby Rochester Hills. Mosques in Oakland and Macomb counties tend to start out small and become very large, she said.
Sterling Heights is unique in that it is home to not only a growing Muslim community but one of the largest concentrations of Chaldean Catholic Christians in the U.S. These Christians fled persecution in Iraq. Word of the open house spread quickly among Chaldeans and other Christians when a flyer showing the targeted church started circulating in the area last week.
But that’s no longer the case under Alomari’s leadership, Mitchell said. With Alomari’s approval, the Cultural Exchange welcomes not just ethnic-food vendors and musicians but Islamic propaganda outfits such as the Omar Center for Awareness and Understanding, which is a network of grassroots Islamist activists who work through interfaith channels handing out free copies of the Quran, copies of Islamic sermons and various other religious literature under the guise of promoting “freedom,” equality and justice for all, according to its website, OmarCenter.org.
The group takes its name from the 7th-century caliph Omar, an Islamic leader who followed Muhammad and is often referred to by Muslims as “the Great Conqueror.” He earned this nickname for his achievements of defeating the two major powers of his time, the Persians and the Christian-led Roman Empire. Omar is also notorious for instructing his lieutenants to never allow a Christian or Jew to have a position of influence over a Muslim, whether in the military or civilian life. So much for equality.
Another group approved to set up a booth at the Cultural Exchange in March was the IONA Mosque of neighboring Warren. They handed out free Qurans and pamphlets published by Sound Vision, a Chicago-based nonprofit that some say presents a whitewashed view of Islam as a religion of peace.
“Mr. Alomari, as chairman of the Ethnic Committee, approves whatever exhibits or displays get set up at the Cultural Exchange, and now I know why we have all these groups like the Omar Center and IONA Mosque being given access in our citizens, with free Qurans, pamphlets and flyers showing how to contact civil-rights attorneys and immigration attorneys, all written in Arabic,” Mitchell said. “This has nothing to do, anymore, with getting to know your neighbor, this is all propaganda for their movement and the average person in our community has no clue this is going on.”
Manasseri says Michiganders can expect more of this type of deceptive outreach, not just in Sterling Heights but in every corner of the state if Dr. Abdul El-Sayed wins this year’s gubernatorial election. He is running in the Aug. 7 Democrat primary and seeks to become America’s first Muslim governor. While currently lagging in the polls behind front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, Dr. El-Sayed says his people are going door to door and will “shock” the political world on Aug. 7. He promises to make Michigan a sanctuary state, abolish ICE, offer universal healthcare and free college educations to all those whose parents earn less than $150,000.
Something more going on?
There is something more going on in Sterling Heights than just the sharing of cultural delights, exotic food and music, says Dr. Mark Christian, a former Muslim imam born in Cairo, Egypt, who immigrated to the U.S. and converted to Christianity. It’s called dawah in Arabic and it’s the Islamic form of proselytizing and inviting the non-Muslim to faith in Allah and Islam.
Church conversions are an important aspect of this process.
‘This is a very big deal’
Dating back to 1453 and its conquest of the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, Islam considers the takeover and conversion of a church to be of special significance.
There is a hadith that gives instruction on how to convert a church to a mosque.
“You go in and cleanse it with water, you say ‘Allahu Akbar!’ in the corners, you remove any and all signs and symbols of Christianity, then stand in the highest place in the building and make a call to prayer,” Dr. Christian said.