Michigan Muslim group wins FBI Detroit's Community Leadership Award

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Michigan Muslim Community Council has won the Detroit FBI's community leadership award for 2020, officials announced Thursday.

The honor has been given annually since 1990 to a person or group demonstrating "extraordinary contributions to the education and prevention of crime in their communities," the FBI Detroit Field Office said in a statement.

MMCC volunteers worked with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit packing peppers in 2017 as part of the annual Ramadan Fight Against Hunger.

As part of FBI Detroit’s multicultural engagement council, Michigan Muslim Community Counci has fostered dialogue between the bureau and the regional Muslim community, the release said. 

The council also has participated in virtual town halls in the last year, bringing together community leaders and the FBI to built trust as well as provided information on COVID-19 schemes, elder fraud and hate crimes, officials said.

“The FBI’s mission is a heavy one: to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. And we can’t carry that weight alone. We can’t fully succeed without strong law enforcement, intelligence, business and community partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters. “The MMCC has helped us learn and understand more about the people we serve and helped the community learn and understand more about the FBI. This is a key step in making our communities stronger and safer.”

The FBI also cited the group's work helping first-responders, health care workers and others during the pandemic.

Volunteers with the council have delivered halal meals to hospital staff during the holy month of Ramadan, and MMCC led a humanitarian effort across six counties to distribute an estimated 500,000 food boxes to more than 100,000 families. 

Volunteershelp with food distribution that the Michigan Muslim Community Council coordinated in January.

“The FBI in Detroit is honored to be able to recognize and thank the MMCC for its service to the community and for helping the FBI better protect the people of Michigan,” Waters said.

The council launched in 2012 through the merger of two groups that had long served Metro Detroit's Muslim community: the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan and Islamic Shura Council of Michigan.

It serves as an umbrella group and routinely partners with others for initiatives, said Dr. Mahmoud Al-Hadidi, the council's board chairman.

He called the FBI honor a welcome surprise to the hundreds of volunteers who have been working throughout the pandemic.

"It's uplifting to be recognized as a humanitarian, bridge-building organization," he said. "We fight discrimination, we fight hatred and prejudice. ... It's going to be definitely encouraging to go forward with our work."