Human Rights Conference at Hyatt Sparks Controversy

DEARBORN, Michigan – The Dearborn area will be hosting two conferences on Sunday, April 29 that deal with the controversial topics of  “Honor Killing in Islam” and “Islamophobia”. It’s been about one year since Jessica Mokdad was murdered. She was just 20 years old. Organizers for the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference  (to be held at the Hyatt Sunday evening) claim it was an “honor killing” and say they want to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference

Poster Art for the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference

Organizers of the Rejecting Islamophobia conference (to be held at the DoubleTree hotel Sunday afternoon) claim the ‘Human Rights Conference’  is misleading and argue that Dearborn has become a “convenient target for anti-Muslim groups”  – such as the recent protest led by activist Terry Jones.

Its unfortunate that conference organizers from each group were not mature enough (or did not try hard enough) to organize one large conference where a healthy debate could occur, and differing viewpoints could be heard and understood.  These groups have very strong opinions and ideas, but how often do they really listen to each other? Today they are in Dearborn at different hotels – on the same day.  Each group is clamoring for media attention – but they won’t listen to each other and talk in the same conference room? Why is that?

Jessica Mokdad was a 20-year-old Muslim woman in Warren, Michigan, who was brutally murdered in May 2011. Fox News Detroit reported: “Authorities say a Minnesota man killed his 20-year-old stepdaughter in Michigan because she left home and wasn’t following Islam.” Jessica’s stepfather, a devout Muslim, tracked his stepdaughter over four states to murder her for bringing dishonor on her family.

 “We’ve named the conference after her as part of our ongoing campaign to raise awareness and bring a stop to the phenomenon of Islamic honor killing. These girls have rights, too, they’re human beings, and yet they’re completely forgotten in our politically correct culture, in which speech that is offensive to Islam is increasingly forbidden. We’re standing for the human rights of girls like Jessica Mokdad.” – Pamela Geller said in a statement.

Geller added: “AFDI tried to place ads on Detroit-area buses offering help to people wishing to leave Islam and threatened by their families. Detroit SMART Transit refused the ads, and we sued on free speech grounds. We won, and the ads were scheduled to run, but Detroit SMART still refused to run them – and the same week they were supposed to run, Jessica Mokdad was murdered. Perhaps if she had seen one of our ads, she would be alive today. This underscores the cowardice of Detroit-area officials and the need for this Conference in Dearborn. We welcome women seeking help and resources to escape dangerous and misogynist households.”

Cassandra Mokdad told Fox News she was upset that conference organizers where using Jessica’s name to promote the conference.  “Absolutely I’ll go [to the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference] I won’t let her [Pamela Gellar] sit there and misuse Jessica’s name, and I will let her know exactly how I feel.”

Islamophobia and Islamophilia Duke it Out in Dearborn

Hosting the Human Rights Conference and also speaking are Pamela Geller, and author of Stop the Islamization of America, and Robert Spencer – the  author of  several books including Islam Unveiled, and The Truth About Muhammed.

One of the Human Rights Conference speakers, David Wood of Acts 17 claims a Dearborn police officer told him that honor crimes are committed (and covered up) in Dearborn.  Details about that are sketchy. Seems like an outrageous claim.  Let’s hope the Dearborn police officer was exaggerating the truth. An ongoing lawsuit will uncover any real evidence.  Robert Muise, an attorney who is no stranger to Dearborn, is another invited speaker.  The list of speakers includes ex-Muslim human rights activist Nonie Darwish. Other speakers include Magdi Khalil  – a Coptic (Egyptian) Christian political analyst, researcher, author and executive editor of the Egyptian weekly Watani International. Mr. Khalil is also a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, in London, and a free-lance writer for several Arabic language newspapers. Darwin Jiles – who was  a close friend of Jessica Mokdad – will offer “firsthand testimony about Jessica being a victim of  an Islamic honor killing”.

The Islamophobia Town Hall is sponsored by the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab American Civil Rights League, the Arab American Institute, the Arab American News, and the Lebanese American Heritage Club.  Speakers will include speakers such as  Dr. James Zogby (Arab American Institute President), Sara Posner (journalist and blogger),  Dawud Walid – the Executive Director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Michigan,  American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan Director Imad Hamad, Imam Qazwini and Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Conference Details

  • “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” – April 29th from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn – Live streamed internet video on the ABN TV Network (Over 2 hours of video).
  • “Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate” –  April 29th from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel at Southfield and Ford Road. – The town hall is free to attend and open to the public.  A video of the Rejecting Islamophobia Michigan Townhall (2 hours and 26 minutes) is available on the Arab American Institute channel.

Related Books and Resources

  • Arab Detroit – 9/11:  Life in the Terror Decade – by Nabeel Abraham, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shyrock – This book by UofM Dearborn author Sally Howell (and co-authors)  “explores the trauma, unexpected political gains, and moral ambiguities faced by Arab Detroiters in post-9/11 America.”  Dr. Sally Howell is also the editor of Building Islam in Detroit.
  • Daughters of Shame – by Jasvinder Sanghera – a Google book review says:  “The woman who has done more than anyone to expose the plight of women in forced marriages tells their harrowing and moving stories… told by women who have been drugged, beaten, imprisoned, raped and terrorised within the walls of the homes they grew up in. I listen and I am humbled by their resilience… DAUGHTERS OF SHAME reveals the stories of young women such as Shazia, kidnapped and taken to Pakistan to marry a man she had never met; and Banaz, murdered by her own family after escaping an abusive marriage… DAUGHTERS OF SHAME reveals Jasvinder as a woman heedless of her own personal safety as she fights to help these women, in a world where the suffering and abuse of many is challenged by the courage of the few.”
  • Did Muhammed Exist? – by Robert Spencer – a Google book review says:  “Far from an anti-Islamic polemic, Did Muhammad Exist? is a sober but unflinching look at the origins of one of the world’s major religions. While Judaism and Christianity have been subjected to searching historical criticism for more than two centuries, Islam has never received the same treatment on any significant scale.”
  • Emancipating the World – by Darrow Miller – a Pearcy Report book review says: “Atheist ideologies have unleashed an assault on truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth is reduced to subjectivity — whatever works for you at a particular moment.  Goodness is dissolved into moral relativism — what is right for you may not be right for me. And beauty is lost in the banality and coarseness of the advertising and entertainment culture… Darrow Miller has written a particularly timely and necessary book. It pulses with the author’s desire to free and elevate, to enrich and liberate. It offers a stereotype-shattering way to cast aside forms of spirituality that are too small for the full flourishing of human life, too limiting for the human being created in the image of God. And it gives a true and humane basis for overcoming evil with the true, the good, and the beautiful.” 
  • Islomophobia / Islamophilia – by Andrew Shyrock – A Google book review says: “Islamophobia is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the “clash of civilizations,” they describe Islamophobia’s counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam.”
  • Nothing –  This book by well known Dearborn area journalist and photographer Nafeh AbuNab talks about “Forgiving Debts”.  “Since the dawn of human consciousness, there has been a dialectical struggle between two opposing concepts:  Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, Knowledge and Ignorance, Order and Chaos, Wisdom of Foolishness, Truth and Lies…  in the same brain just like Genius and Insanity”
  • Stop the Islamization of America – by Pamela Geller – a Google book review states:  “Islamic supremacism is seeping into every aspect of American life. Islamic jihad groups aren’t solely concentrating on terror attacks (although another one of those could come at any moment), but on the creeping encroachment to introduce Islamic law into this country, step-by-step and bit-by-bit, until finally America wakes up to a country transformed into an Islamic state.”

Related Stories and Links


  1. Muzzylator says

    Hey Jonathan Light,

    You wrote the paragraph starting with “Its unfortunate that conference organizers from each group were not mature enough……”

    It’s too bad you have not yet learned that the leaders of the Muslims will not accept ANY resolution of, or conclusion to this conflict except for total capitulation to Islam. There is no middle ground, compromise, or peaceful integration into American society or respect for American Constitution. The ultimate goal of Islam to establish a global Caliphate .With any compromise there could be no Caliphate. If any activist Muslim tells you otherwise he or she is exercizing Taqiyya, which if you didn’t know, is purposeful lying to dhimmi for the promotion of Islam.

    ALSO. Everyone EXCEPT the Muslims are way more mature than you know. It’s the Muslims who time and time again resort to death threats and violence to settle their “differences”. THEY are the ones who aspire to overthrow the US Government. GET YER HEAD OUT OF THE SAND!!!

    I invite you defend your silly scribble….
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. Sara Goodall says

    I’m going to buy a case of korans and start burning one every day in my front yard…maybe hold a draw a moohammed contest, and burn the islam flag…..freedom of speech assholes!