Sadr’s Influence lives in Dearborn
DEARBORN- The legacy Imam Musa al-Sadr was clearly in evidence here the week following the University of Michigan conference as Sayyid Ibrahim Saleh, current representative of the Islamic Shi’a Supreme Council (ISSC) in the United States, addressed a couple hundred community members at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center. The event marked the launch of a “new social and cultural organization,” according to emcee Khalil Rammal, well known and longtime community activist.
The Sadr Foundation already exists with its vision of “a world free of ignorance, poverty, disease, and conflict, where individuals and groups actively participate in the development of their own communities and enjoy equal rights and opportunities regardless of their faith, gender, or any other difference. ” Lady Rabab al-Sadr, the imam’s sister, heads the Girls Division. A very successful fundraising event was held here for the foundation a few weeks ago. In his introduction Sunday, Rammal blasted Osama bin Laden as “a person who hijacked our religion” and has caused the suffering of many people and negative repercussions on Muslims worldwide. He said that Muslims need to take back the process of informing the world about their faith. Rammal reiterated many of Sadr’s distinguishing character traits and said that indeed the imam was revolutionary, but not in the Western interpretation of the word. “Imam Musa was a reformer who used nation-building and coexistence among all 17 religious communities in Lebanon which reside in an area smaller than Connecticut,” he said. “Imam Musa created an earth-shaking movement against the inertia of Lebanon’s sectarian regime. His reforms, which were based on principles, fairness and equality of all people, appealed to all citizens of Lebanon, except the zu’amaa.” He ended by saying the “imam’s inspirational words and deeds still reverberate today.”
Sayyid Saleh spoke to the crowd in Arabic about the need for an organization in Dearborn that could handle family matters, like marriage, divorce, custody issues, etc. He declared the beginning of his organization, to be called the Educational and Cultural Association. Sayyed Saleh is empowered to adjudicate family matters and to maintain the flow of social statistics and records to Lebanon. Until now, such record-keeping matters had to be handled through the Lebanese consulate in Detroit. Saleh can perform marriages. The organization also plans to build a senior citizen center and hold educational seminars.