U.S. Islamic Leader Imam Hassan Qazwini: Human race, religions have lots in common, few differences

Important Message from the Leader of Largest Mosque in North America – Imam Hassan Qazwini: Major world religions and people have more in common than differences

Imam Hassan Qazwini, leader of the Islamic Center of America

(Photo by Greg Peterson)

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The interfaith Earth Keeper Initiative in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has always promoted interfaith connections – and America's top Muslim Imam brought just that message to Marquette, MI.

Thies video is the first of several with excerpts from a heart-felt and candid conversaion between northern Michigan residents (most Christians) and U.S. Muslim leader Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America on Oct. 22, 2008 at the Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) Lothlorian House in Marquette, Michigan.

Northern Michigan University (NMU) Health & Nutrition Professor Mohey Mowafy (above left) of Marquette introduced Imam Hassan Qazwini to an eager audience of mostly Christians for a living room chat.

Imam Qazwini answered a wide range of questions including the murder of many of his family members in Iraq, the War in Iraq, hunting, interfaith environment projects and common perceptions and misconceptions between religions. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

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Imam Hassan Qazwini:

I was born in Iraq (1964) in a city called Karbala. Its a holy city in Iraq. After that I went to Kuwait and then to Iran. (studied in Iran). In 1992 I came to the United States."

"Up until I came to the United States in 1992, I knew there were Christians in Iraq but I never had any interaction with Christians. I never had any interaction with Jews in Iraq. I lived my own inner world. In Karbala, everybody is Muslim."

"There were Christians, there were Jews and obviously other denominations in Iraq, but I lived my own inner world. In Karbala, everybody is Muslim, so I really did not have any interaction beyond my little world."

"It was in the United States when I have my first encounter with non-Muslims.

Iman Hassan Qazwini spoke candidaly to about 25 people at the Lutheran Campus Ministry home in Marquette. In one of several lighter moments, Imam Qazwini urged everyone to see the new Oliver Stone movie "W" about President George W. Bush. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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Imam Hassan Qazwini told a story about riding in a car with his brother in California and stopping into a busy Christian church – and discovering that all religions believe the concept of love:

He said to Mulsims – Jesus is as respected and revered as Mohamad.
Imam Hassan Qazwini said all religions and peoples basically hold the same values – the same beliefs.

We passed by a church in a city called West Covina. So I see a church, it was Sunday, it was a church and the parking lot was full. Probably there was over 300 to 400 cars. So I asked my brother What was going on here? He said the pastor is giving a sermon.

I said Can we go? He says What? I said Can we go in? He said you want to go in, really? I said Yes really. He says – he wanted to say, he didnt say – out of respect – he wanted to say: Are you out of your mind? But he didnt say that. (Laughter from audience)

He said Are you sure you really want to go inside the church?
I said Yes. He said What do you do? I said Come on, Im not going to covert to Christianity. Whats going on here? (laughter) I said I have a chance to see what does the pastor have to say when he speaks to this congregation.

I know what I tell my, what I say to my congregation What I preach to my congregation. I want to see what he says. So we went in and it was a beautiful church and the pastor was speaking. There was at least 400 to 500 people listening.
And I listened but at that time my English was not that good. My brother was occasionally translating.

But, all I heard him talking about was love. Jesus loving you. You love Jesus. And about the concept of love. So as hes talking I am listening.

I said to myself Look, in our religion we also talk about love.
Muslims believe that God has 99 names. And one of his names is Al-Wadud. And Al-Wadud is The Loving One.

I said to myself Look almost everything he is talking about is there in my religion. And how similar we look. And for every word he says quoting Jesus. I have a word to quote from Mohamad. As Muslims, Jesus to us – he is a prophet as well."

"He (Jesus Christ) is as respected as Mohamad and as revered as Mohamad because we Muslims believe there are five superior messengers – Mohamad, Jesus, Moses, Noah and Abraham.

So we place Jesus almost in the same place – or status – as we place Mohamad.

In my mind as I am listening (to the Christian pastor) These words he was uttering are resonating in my mind. And reflecting my own faith system.

An Iman of Many Gestures: However the biggest gesture from Imam Hassan Qazwini was a message of love, peace, respect and common ground to all the World's major religions. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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When we do not see each other, when we do not interact with each other. We think of each other – that we are weird. I think you are weird. You may think that I am weird."

"You may thing that I harbor some very weird thoughts. I could be a very weird person. I could be someone who does not think like you think. And probably I would have the same thought about you.

But when we meet, and we mingle, and we exchange thoughts, we find how striking our similarities are.

"Be Muslims, Christians, Jews or what else – non-denominational – basically we hold the same values – the same beliefs. And we worship God with different tongues and different languages and different stlyes – but the direction is the same.
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Related Links:
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Mosque photo courtesy the Islamic Center of America website

Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America

Critic of Imam Hassan Qazwini:

Wikipedia article on Karbala, Iraq:

Wikipedia article on "People from Karbala" (Iraq):

Muslim 99 names for God: Al-Wadud isThe Loving One:

Articles about Muslims & Quran: Muslims believe there are five superior messengers – Mohamad, Jesus, Moses, Noah and Abraham:

http://www.shiatv.net/search_result.php?search_id=Blessing

Imam Hassan Qazwini NPR interview May 12, 2005 on opening of new Islamic Center of America Mosque in Dearborn – the largest in the U.S. (Recording of NPR interview)

Photo courtesy NMU website

Mohey Mowafy
NMU Health & Nutrition Professor
906-249-9133 (hm)
906-227-2366 (wk)
Professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
201C Physical Education Instructional Facility
Began teaching at NMU in 1976

mmowafy@nmu.edu

NMU Health & Nutrition Professor Mohey Mowafy is member of speakers bureau with talks on biodiversity:

Mohey Mowafy, a 63-year-old Northern Michigan University professor, brought 32 students to the Democratic Party rally with former Pres. Bill Clinton & an effort to recruit Rudy Giuliani into presidential bid:

Meet NMU Professors:

NMU Presidents Council & Prof. Mohey Mowafy:

Northern Michigan University Professor Mohey Mowafy on health and nutrion:
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Lutheran Campus Ministry – Marquette, MI
http://www.nmulutherans.org

Rev. Jon Magnuson, founder & executive director of the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute, welcomes Imam Hassan Qazwini to the Lutheran Campus Ministry house in Marquette, MI.

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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