CAIRO - Anti-Islam groups from across the United State are planning a conference in Detroit on Sunday, April 29, to speak about what they call prosecution of women in Islam, a message rejected by American Muslims for promoting hatred and bigotry.
"We're standing for the human rights of girls like Jessica Mokdad," said Pamela Geller of New York City, a conference organizer who blogs against Islam, Detroit Free Press reported.
The conference, titled Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killings, is named after a 20-year-old Muslim woman killed in Warren last year.
According to prosecutors' records, Mokdad's death was not related to Islam or culture.
"It's not a case based on honor," Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo has said.
"The family objects to them using her name."
Cataldo believes the motive behind Mokdad's was rooted in the fact that her stepfather, Rahim Alfetlawi, had "been sexually abusing her.
He was afraid Mokdad might go public with the assaults, and so he killed her, Cataldo said.
The evidence shows the motive really was not a cultural (or religious) issue.
It's about power, control and rape.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
According to the Detroit Free Press, there are an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims in the Detroit area.
In Islam, there is no place for unjustifiable killing as the case in honor killing.
Even in case of capital punishment, only the government can apply the law through the judicial procedures.
Though portrayed in the Western media as exhorted by Islam, honor killing is a cultural act and has nothing to do with the faith.
In response to the anti-Islam conference, Arab-American groups plan to hold a separate conference nearby in Detroit that speaks out against bigotry.
"This is clearly not the first time our community in Michigan has had to deal with a hate group," Jim Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute (AAI), said in a statement cited by M Live website.
Despite repeated efforts to target Arab Americans and American Muslims, the community has remained resilient and poised, sometimes choosing to ignore the fervor, said Zogby, an organizer of the conference, themed Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate.
"This group we cannot ignore and this is the time to stand up and make our voices loud and clear in opposition to the politics of division and bigotry," Zogby said.
Local Muslims criticized organizers of the anti-Islam conference for abusing Mokdad's name to promote themselves.
"As a Muslim woman, I stand with pride in my faith," said Suehaila Amen, president of the Lebanese-American Heritage Club in Dearborn, who plans to speak at today's conference.
According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey has also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.