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.

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
Several comments have been deleted for violating our Terms of Service. Please keep the conversation on topic and away from personal attacks.


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