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Protestors Rally in Dearborn Against U.S. Intervention in Syria

Arab-Americans across Southeast Michigan worry that military strikes in Syria could escalate ongoing violence in the Middle East.

Protestors rally outside of Dearborn City Hall on Thursday to oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria. Photo Credit: Daniel Lai.
Protestors rally outside of Dearborn City Hall on Thursday to oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria. Photo Credit: Daniel Lai.
DEARBORN — More than 100 people across Southeast Michigan opposed to western military intervention in Syria staged a peaceful protest near city hall in Dearborn on Thursday.

The rally was organized by Syrian American Forum and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), based in Detroit. 


Peter Thabet, 13, of Southgate, attended the protest in support of his relatives who live in Syria.

"My father's family has been living in fear that the United States will attack," Thabet said. "They can't do anything about it."

Thabet said if he could get a message to President Obama, he would tell him to step back and think about the innocent lives of his grandparents, aunts and uncles.

"Don't do it. Don't attack Syria," he said.

Osama Siblani, founder of the Arab American News in Dearborn, also issued a stern warning to Obama:

"Stay out of Syria. The Syrian Arab Army has a right to defend the country and kill invaders," Siblani said. "We do not want to see our brothers die on Arab land. Instead of spending money to destroy Damascus, why don't you build up our brothers and sisters homes in Detroit?"

Nourhan Mahmoud of Dearborn said she has aunts, uncles and extended family in Syria.

"We are worried for our loved ones," she said. "We hope that people will come to their senses. We do not want to see more violence in our country. We do not want to lose our family in the blink of an eye."

'Show us the proof'

The United States, Britain and France are blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged deadly chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that reportedly killed or injured hundreds of people.

Livonia resident Mark Samet says that the United States has not presented concrete proof, however, and United Nations inspectors currently in Syria to investigate the alleged chemical attacks have not endorsed the allegations brought by Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The charges trumpeted by President Obama's administration echo those of the Bush presidency and the allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction," Samet said. "Show us the proof."

No decision yet

President Obama said Wednesday that he had not made up his mind about any U.S. intervention in Syria. The president said that Syria should be punished for using chemical weapons on its citizens but that he hasn’t decided on how to proceed.

According to NBC News, U.S. Navy destroyers, plus two American and one British submarines, were in position in the Mediterranean Sea and ready to launch Tomahawk missiles into Syria if Obama receives the go ahead from Congress.

U.S. Speaker John Boehner and a bipartisan group of 116 congressmen have signed a letter asking the president to provide a specific rationale before moving forward with any military action.

David Sole, a member of MECAWI, said he strongly opposes U.S. intervention in Syria.

"Here we are again facing a government here in the United States that has nothing to offer the people of the world except cruise missiles, napalm, bombs and bullets," Sole said. "This is nothing new for the Obama administration. For two years they have been arming rebel terrorists to fight the Assad regime."

Sole said he's tired of watching U.S. tax dollars go overseas to fight wars for oil profits.

"The U.S. government doesn't care about the Syrian people nor do they care about the people they are arming in Syria. The only thing they care about is the billions of oil dollars that they can soak out of the Middle East and fatten the oil companies profits in this country," he said.

Levin supports military action

In a statement released Thursday evening, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said he supports any action the Obama administration may take against Syria.

"I have previously called for the United States to work with our friends and allies to increase the military pressure on the Assad regime by providing lethal aid to vetted elements of the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I suggested that we should do so while United Nations inspectors complete their work and while we seek international support for limited, targeted strikes in response to the Assad regime’s large-scale use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people," Levin said.

"I appreciate the administration’s continuing efforts tonight to consult with Congress about the situation in Syria, and its commitment to further consultations with Congress."

WATCH: Arab American News founder speaks out against U.S. intervention in Syria.

Marci August 31, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Sorry to disappoint you Amir, we've not met before ~ never was Fatima nor was I on other boards. BTW, I was against sending money to Arafat nor do I believe we should have sent money to fund all this conflict over the years and that includes Israel. It is their region, let them figure it out. Yet again we are going to bomb using Israeli intelligence and direction. Let Israel buy their own weapons and fight their own war. They are as much a part of the mess as the Arab countries. And we have created much of our mess by having presence there. Did this clear up my view for you?
rommel gainer August 31, 2013 at 12:08 AM
so PATCH I guess the same peeps that run hp run you, you're done
rommel gainer August 31, 2013 at 12:08 AM
funny how you posted that
Linda Sinclair August 31, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Mr. Schwartz, Nobody could have said it better then you just did! You are so correct in every statement that you posted. I agree with you 1000%. Just maybe, one of the imbeciles will learn something, but I kind of doubt that, as they were most likely brought up "brainwashed." Thank you for your input. At least you speak the truth, with intelligence, and knowledge, unlike many on here with their ignorant posts.
Karl Bernhard Möllmann August 31, 2013 at 08:21 AM
. . . For the smallest judgement in court - a truly constitutional state needs month of due dilligence - but to permit mass-murder to the US-army it just takes a few liars & some FALSE proof, which is kept in secrecy, so no one can find out the scam . . .
Dave Larkin August 31, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Go Home and see for yourself instead of hiding out here. If YOUR country is in such bad shape don't you think yoou should be there to help strighten it out?
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Dave: I am at home, silly boy. What Karl Mollmann says is true, especially since I cannot trust the POTUS. I believe he wants to bomb them to save his face...to late the world thinks all of us are idiots...Benghazi shows we are impotent...with him at the helm. That was so shameful...Our military smacked in the face, stabbed in the back by the one who swore to uphold the constitution... Where are the leaders we elected?
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 10:55 AM
RESPONSE TO MARCI - just like we did so many others so why the hell do you think refugees came here? To tell someone to go home is so heartless and rude.---- We offer safe haven to a lot of folks, sadly most do not embrace our way of life, our values, or respect our system of doing things. To them I say: GO HOME. They came here because they did not like where they were then to disprespect us...GO HOME and fight you own battle then. It is not easy to survive in a democracy but 100% a better place to try.
Marci August 31, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Mr. Swartz, where did I ever state that I support Palestinians???????????? Sir I will never lower myself to your level of name calling. You have your view I have mine. Israel is not a country fighting for its right to coexist ~ if its idea was one of peace all along it would have achieved peace by working the highest good for all involved. Senator Paul Findley was most impressive as he once supported Israel until he began to question why so much hate toward them and questioned what he supported. Friedman has great insight also. I have met survivors of the USS Liberty. My father fought in WWII, my uncles, my grandfathers. Oh but you will have negative response to me once again, will you stoop to question my intelligence? That is a reflection of yourself sir and not me. I am not a supporter of Arab or Israeli or Persian ~ I am not a supporter of my tax dollars used in the conflict as a whole. We helped create this mess then we blame. Back to my original point at present our govt is going to bomb solely on Israeli intelligence. If Israel had interception these CA were happening why did they or the US not step in the moment to halt the CA operations???? Israel has bombed Syria in past months so what did their bombs accomplish? We are now doing Israel's dirty work, we are aligning ourselves to a point we have lost sight of what this country stands for. You and I may have different views simply because we have differing views on Israel. I see Isreal with neutral transparency and do not support their ruthless behavior as I do not support ruthless behavior of the Arab side. In all humanity their are light in dark in all cultures. Bombs focus on the dark, harmony focuse on the light.
Marci August 31, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Linda why must you resort to name calling? What has it accomplished for you? What you resist, remains to persist. What you hate is engulfing Dearborn, taking over. Assuming you are a Dearbornites and planning to remain, what you hate is what you will live with. So happy this is temporary for me, My experience of Dearborn is one of the most hateful places. Dearbornites allowed their town to become what it is and should face responsibility for it. Where you live is what you create and my this town is so negative and hateful. So happy I experienced this extreme as I didn't realize places like this existed. I gain my knowledge from experience.
Pam August 31, 2013 at 11:56 AM
This discourse has become bizarre and I fear what is to become of Dearborn.
Linda Sinclair August 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Marci....If your Dearborn is so ugly, and hateful, it's because of the people who live there that are trying to destroy our country, the USA. I would leave that evil place. They came to ruin whatever they can. They hate the western world, period! Sharia law is absurd, backward, and evil. Women are equal to men, and they will never accept this. Those women are afraid, and brainwashed, as is their poor children. Destroy the enemy, and all who practice, and teach evil. Maybe then, and only then, we will find peace. But I doubt that immensely. Very sad, and so unnecessary.
Marci August 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Then Linda hate begets hate. Why not reach out with understanding and kindness? I see ugliness and goodness in the Arab American population ~ it's the goodness one must focus on so as to not let the ugliness overrun. I see the same ugliness in the American community. Understanding other cultures and people is a first. We brought them here, we are responsible. Dearborn is most responsible and should take accountability for allowing the town to become what it is. Again, I am so happy this is not permanent for me ~ i speak of the community as a whole. Just the nastiness on this board speaks for itself:(((
Marci August 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM
As far as destroying our USA, well we should have not been fighting senseless wars overseas and putting our nose where it did not belong. Our actions come back to roost.
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM
RESPONCE TO LINDA SINCLAIR: The Muslims are here at the command of the clerics. Some are to be sleepers, others to subvert the laws of the land. Julie G. of Australia said it...Muslims need Australia, Australia does not need Muslims. They are now doing the same thing here as there...Look at France and Great Brittan. Give them hand up and you owe them forever. Not to mention Sharia Law is barbaric. Muslim women should go on strike and do what they want. One wife in Pakistan was cut up in pieces by her husband for not wearing a vail as instructed by her husband. He walk free today. I say Muslim women in America should all get divorced and learn to be self reliant as most of us here are.
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 01:01 PM
RESPONCE TO MARCI: YOU SAID: We brought them here, we are responsible. ; - We did not bring them here, they came here of their own freewill, such as it is. Second: We are not responsible for them...they are responsible for themselves and to us not the other way. They are responsible to abide by our laws.
Linda Sinclair August 31, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Sharon Rice....I agree with you!
Marci August 31, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Yes Linda our govt had no place to send the refugees who helped us with intelligence during war. How do you think almost overnight about 5 years ago Dearborn starts seeing ladies in totally covered black dress began to appear. Dearborn was the best place to bring the refugees due to already Arabic speaking community. Was Dearbornites in the dark this much? You did not even realize what was happening in your community. So we allow them and we blame them for not acclimating when we have places like ACCESS to teach how live off the system. Our govt, Bush era as well, gave the refugees a certain amount of funds. When they arrive to Dearborn they are not expected to acclimate with signs in Arabic. Who is to blame? Such as the welfare system. Every citizen paying taxes are to blame for allowing the system to exist. It is American Citizens responsibility for allowing it to happen in the first place. But everyone waste their energy On complaining, watching TV, and blaming the world.
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Dear Sharon: Few things illustrate why the Obama Administration is in increasing trouble more than the contrast between its hostility toward the Keystone XL Pipeline and its drift toward an ineffective and probably self-defeating attack on Syria. Watching all the evolving crises in the Middle East, Americans understand why a strategy of American energy independence would make sense. It would create American jobs in a weak economy. It would grow government revenues without raising taxes. And it would increase American independence from the violent mess that is the Middle East. The Keystone XL Pipeline would both drive down the cost of oil and gas and guarantee that Canadian energy flows to the United States instead of to China. In fact, getting the pipeline approved is one of the top foreign policy goals of the Canadian government, one of our most consistent allies. Despite overwhelming support from the American people, 62 votes for the pipeline in the Senate, and the appeals of the Canadian government, the Obama Administration has bowed to pressure from environmental extremists who oppose the project, including one billionaire who has promised a massive anti-Obama campaign if the pipeline is approved. The result looks like it will be one more delay of the five-year-old proposal. Kicking the Keystone decision into next year is a risk-avoidance strategy by an intimidated administration. Like all of the previous postponements, it will satisfy neither side and accomplish nothing. The Syrian decision promises to be even more destructive than the Keystone indecision. The Obama Administration has already announced that any bombing campaign in retaliation for the alleged use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons will be short and limited. The Obama team has already promised that the campaign would not try to overthrow the Assad dictatorship. A limited "symbolic" attack against a hardened dictatorship is an absurdity. The Assad government has an endurance strategy of outlasting its enemies. It is backed by Russia and Iran. They will replace anything the Americans destroy. Russia is deeply opposed to an American bombing campaign. This will further widen the gap between the two countries. When the Syrian attacks are over, the American military will have spent a billion dollars or more, including hundreds of millions on munitions alone. That is money the Pentagon does not have given the budget crunch. Exactly how would President Obama propose to replace the weapons he would use so pointlessly? The Congress should pass a law allowing the Keystone pipeline and blocking any attack on Syria. That would be a major step toward putting America back on a rational, reasonable strategic direction. Your Friend, Newt
MoJo August 31, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Marci, Sharon Rice and Linda Sinclair are frighteningly misinformed, and seemingly hateful on top of it. Don't bother with any further discussion with them. It's useless, and just encourages them. Plus, Sharon thinks she's Newt Gingrich. 'Nuff said.
Bill Hilton August 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM
The Arabs have been "negotiating" with Israel for more than 65 years...and, it has gotten nowhere! The USA has been bribing Palestine (paying them to talk) ever since and still....no where! Why? The Arabs have said repeatedly..."their intention is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth"...what is it that we don't seem to understand? And, the UN created Israel..and, now the UN is a worthless drain on the American treasury...period! Israel has been attacked (in war) by the Arabs twice and kicked their butt both times...easily...and, without any American army casualties! The Israeli's are determined, dedicated and have shown the guts to protect themselves...Tax money well spent is support of Israel...the only democracy in the middle east! Syria...you are on your own! We have no national security interest in Syria...none! If, and when, it becomes necessary to defend ourselves against any Arab war...we are well prepared to kick their butt over the weekend! The Arabs are masters of deceit. Their time will come and all they will have left to sell is sand....and, we have plenty of that!
Sharon Rice August 31, 2013 at 11:16 PM
RESPONSE TO MARCI: You think I think I am Newt Gingrich? Perhaps you should stop thinking before you hurt yourself. Did you not see the salutation on the note? Do you think A limited "symbolic" attack against a hardened dictatorship is not an absurdity? Other than France, what other nation is supporting this fiasco? I think I am going become a fan of Linda's...she is fiesty I like her.
Linda Sinclair September 01, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Sharon, why thank you! I am feisty! LOL MOJO, you are the epitome of evil, and ignorance. Keep your trash to yourself. I have nothing to say to a parasite.
ray September 01, 2013 at 07:54 AM
If these cowards love their country so much, why aren't they over there trying to save it, instead of hiding over here, protected by the government they protest? Can't get much lower than that.
Linda Sinclair September 01, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Amen to your post, Whiskey Hill Bill
bkblue September 02, 2013 at 11:22 AM
The US has the enemy within! Dearborn is a prime example of where the enemy resides! I agree with Whiskey hill Bill! Send them back from whence they came! Let them fight their own wars. No more of our soldiers to be killed in these other countries filled with crazy people full of hate! Enough is enough!
Sharon Rice September 02, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Ray said it all....especially the part of hiding over here being protected by the government they are protesting. Well let me add a note: POTUS is doing the same thing being supported by those who are misled or uninformed...
Sharon Rice September 02, 2013 at 11:36 AM
The enemy is within...very much within. starting with POTUS.
Sharon Rice September 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM
ok, mojo...I am newt Gingrich. I could only wish. As for being hateful you misconstrue because you do not truly understand the facts or you would be in agreement. Why do you want to make this racist with white sheet remark? I simply do not believe we should bomb those who have not attacked us. We are under attack in our cities and from those to whom we have offered our hand in friendship. I do not think for one minute that the WMD's are anywhere near Damascus anymore...probably in Saudi Ariabia. We have no right to bomb them either legally or morally. MOOB
Jessica Nunez September 03, 2013 at 02:04 PM
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