A local church has canceled an anti-Muslim event after facing condemnation from members of Congress and local organizations.
The two-day “9/11 forgotten? Is Michigan surrendering to Islam?” event was slated for Wednesday and Thursday at Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church. It was organized by the church’s pastor, Donald McKay, a self-proclaimed Islamophobe.
Although The Oakland Press was able to reach the church by phone Wednesday morning, McKay was not available. A message was left for him.
The event was going to include speakers addressing such topics as “How the interfaith movement is sabotaging America and the church” and “How Islam is destroying America from within.”
Last week, U.S. Reps. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Hills) and Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) called for the event’s cancellation.
“There is no place for hate in Metro Detroit, in Michigan or anywhere in the United States,” they said in a joint statement. “We implore the Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church to forgo the anti-Muslim events planned for next week and instead recognize America’s rich cultural and religious diversity as we reflect on one of the most painful days in our country’s history and heal from recent acts of white supremacist violence. As people of faith, we ask Michiganders to unify in peace and celebrate our shared humanity to help prevent future acts of hatred.”
Before arriving in Bloomfield Hills, McKay served as the senior pastor at Campbell Baptist Church in Windsor, ON, Canada, for 15 years where he gained national attention for his stand against Islam. The church’s January 2007 four-week lecture series, “The Deadly Threat of Islam”, was canceled following protests.
His Facebook page includes posts about the Islamic faith including one from May 2017, in which he says, “the true face of Islam cannot be reasoned with, bartered with, or negotiated with, but which must be stamped out.” The post came after a suicide bomber had killed 22 people in Manchester, England, following a concert.
State Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) and Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) issued a joint statement Tuesday following the event’s cancellation.
“The cancellation of these events is in the best interest of everyone in our communities and state,” they said. “Hatred and intolerance have no place in America, and this latest development shows the importance of calling out hate when we see it. Instead of using diversity as a reason to divide us, we welcome the opportunity to recommit ourselves to fostering dialogue and greater understanding with one another to build a stronger, safer, more tolerant community. We remain optimistic that our communities can move beyond this toward a more united and welcoming Michigan.”
State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) was also among the politicians that condemned the event in saying “I am deeply distressed that an individual in a position of authority and power is spreading such a divisive, misguided and ignorant message.” The church is located in the senate district she represents.
Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of Emgage, a pro-Muslim advocacy group, issued a statement Tuesday in response to the cancellation as well.
“This is a major win for Emgage and other advocacy organizations in combating Islamophobic and hateful rhetoric, rooted in pure ignorance. This is a perfect example of the power we ALL have to bring change when we speak up, engage ourselves, and stand for what is right.”