Dawud Walid is the longtime executive director of Michigan’s chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). His Twitter profile currently bills him as a “human rights advocate and political blogger,” and his blog sells him as an imam who lectures on topics such as how to maintain your manners when dealing with hostile people (the irony of this will soon become abundantly clear), and how to address the very real problem of anti-Black racism within the Muslim community.
To anyone less familiar with Walid’s persona — especially online — he could easily appear to be a champion of civil rights, a man before his time in terms of addressing intra-community problems as well as hostilities between Muslims and non-Muslims. A more comprehensive review of his activities — or even just a cursory review of his commentary on one of the days he has chosen to lash out at anyone with whom he disagrees — reveals a more sinister, even cruel, man. Further, his true aim seems not to be civil discourse and community cohesion, but rather the furtherance of a particularly malignant, vicious strain of political Islam.
I have seen Walid demean, bully, and slander other Muslims for years. He has actively worked to silence discussion of critical issues, by working to shut down screenings of Honor Diaries, a film addressing the mistreatment of women in the name of “honor” culture; instigating online hate campaigns and witch hunts against dissidents — women in particular — and pushing Muslims to ostracize those with whom he disagrees. While this behavior has been abhorrent and has brought significant distress and even potential danger to those he has targeted, the broader public has paid little mind.
His most recent tirade on social media, however, may — and should — wake the public up to his real agenda.
On March 25 of this year, Walid took to social media to talk about the Easter holiday, and how he believes Muslims should treat Christians on this day. Rather than using the opportunity to offer best wishes to Christians and condemn the slaughter of Christians by ISIS, Walid urged Muslims not to “encourage infidels” by wishing Christians a “Happy Easter.” His comments were at best hateful, at worst incitement. His is the kind of thinking that leads to attacks such as the one against Christians in Pakistan over Easter, or when the Pakistani Taliban blew up a crowd of mostly women and children of Ahmadi Muslims, or when Asad Shah, stabbed 30 times, was assassinated recently in his store in Glasgow, Scotland, for wishing Christians a Happy Easter.
Dawud Walid wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post:
“Being respectful of others’ rights to observe and practice religious holidays doesn’t mean welcoming or celebrating them.
“‘Good Friday’ and Easter Sunday symbolize the biggest theological difference between Christians and Muslims. The belief of ‘original sin’ needing a human sacrifice of Jesus (peace be upon him) who is believed by Christians to be the son of Allah the Most High is blasphemous according to Islamic theology.
“There’s no original sin for humans to atone for since ‘no soul bears the burden of another’ according to the Qur’an. Regarding the crucifixion, ‘they killed him not’ and it was only a ‘likeness of him’ is stated in the Qur’an. And of course, ‘He begot none, nor was He begotten’ meaning Allah didn’t have a son is also a primary belief of monotheism articulated in the Qur’an.
“Be respectful, and don’t pick theology debates with your Christian family members and friends this weekend. However, avoid wishing them ‘Happy Easter’ greetings.
“Avoid giving the remote appearance of passively affirming shirk [polytheism] and kufr [disbelief].”
In the above post, Walid is referencing blasphemy — a crime in places such as Pakistan, where Christians and even minority Muslims are marked for death under archaic “blasphemy” laws, perceived insults to Muhammad or Islam. He further suggests that he believes Christianity to be a polytheistic religion, again asserting his belief in the doctrine of blasphemy. Finally, he instructs Muslims to self-isolate from both family and friends, by not extending the normal human kindness of a “Happy Easter” greeting, lest they seem to be affirming “shirk” (idolatry, polytheism) and “kufr” (disbelief; related to kafir, often used to mean “infidel”). Where blasphemy laws exist, and where this mentality takes hold, the punishment for what he calls “kufr” is death — sometimes by the state, sometimes by mobs tacitly endorsed by the state.