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MUSLIMS FROM AFRICA VISIT US

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    MUSLIMS FROM AFRICA PRAISE AMERICANS; BUT THEY CRITICIZE WHITE HOUSE POLICY Niraj Warikoo Detroit Free Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2006
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      MUSLIMS FROM AFRICA PRAISE AMERICANS;
      BUT THEY CRITICIZE WHITE HOUSE POLICY
      Niraj Warikoo
      Detroit Free Press
      http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060509/NEWS05/605090415/1007


      On a visit sponsored by the U.S. State Department, about a dozen
      Muslim leaders from Africa were in Michigan on Monday to learn about
      Islam in America.

      While they praised the U.S. government's treatment of Muslims inside
      the country, they were less enthusiastic about how it treats Muslims
      elsewhere, criticizing the White House for how it deals with Muslims
      in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Africa.

      "America's population is good," Abdel-Madjid Mahamat Amine, a Muslim
      leader from Chad, said through a translator. "But its foreign policies
      have caused America to be seen as having an ill spirit."

      Most of those on the visit, part of a State Department program to
      improve relations between the United States and foreign countries,
      were Muslim leaders from countries in the western part of Africa.

      The group visited the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn and then
      the Muslim Center in Detroit, where they discussed how Islam is
      practiced in the United States. Several said they were impressed with
      America's commitment to freedom of religion.

      "We have noticed there is ... freedom to practice your faith," Mahamat
      Amine said.

      At the Muslim Center, the group toured the mosque, had lunch and spoke
      with center members about a range of subjects, from politics to
      African-American Muslims.

      The group has been to Washington, D.C., and will next visit Santa Fe,
      N.M., and Seattle, before heading home.

      Djibril Zakari Sambaou of Benin was visiting the States for the first
      time. He said he was pleased to be able to pray in a room while
      visiting the Pentagon. But he said that the U.S. government should
      "get to know us more" through ways other than politics.

      Dawud Walid of Detroit, executive director of the Council on
      American-Islamic Relations, met with the delegation.

      "I'm glad to see these leaders make a clear distinction between the
      American people and the foreign policy of the current administration,"
      Walid said. "I'm hopeful they will take this message back home."

      Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at 248-351-2998 or nwarikoo @ freepress.com.

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