DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Detroit archbishop Allen Vigneron works closely with Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, a Detroit-area Islamic cleric who recently praised a terrorist mastermind and often publicly denounces President Trump with inflammatory rhetoric.
Vigneron has a history of interfaith activity with Muslim leaders, earning the prelate the "Interfaith Partner Award" presented by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan in 2011.
One of the Muslim leaders Vigneron has worked closely with is Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn, Michigan.
In December 2018, Elahi thanked Vigneron on Facebook: "Thank you Abp. Allen Henry Vigneron for visiting our Muslim community and Islamic Institute today. We appreciate decades of our respectful relationship, cooperation, bridge-building and standing together for religious liberty, justice and fighting hate, fearmongering, ignorance and extremism."
Attending an interfaith lunch with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders in 2016, Vigneron said at the time the lunch was "the latest of the many kinds of steps we've taken together to build up our communities and also to create an atmosphere of mutual respect."
Church Militant on Friday spoke with Saghar Erica Kasraie, an Iranian-born American, convert to Christianity and the executive director of Living Water Productions.
"As the archbishop, he has the moral responsibility to hold accountable those who refuse to acknowledge the Islamic Republic commits crimes against religious liberties. They arrest Christians. They arrest Christian converts," said Kasraie. "You can't ignore violations of religious freedom."
Kasraie mentioned a recent example of such an arrest: Mary Mohammedi, the 21-year-old Christian in Iran arrested in the capital city of Tehran and reported to be in Qarchak Prison, the country's largest and most dangerous detention center.
"These are the issues the archbishop needs to bring up when they are having interfaith dialogue," said Kasraie, who supports interfaith dialogue in general.
"You can't just ignore crimes that human beings are committing because you are considered a man of the cloth, a man who studies God's word," she said.
"Our God is a warrior God," Kasraie added.
"If the archbishop really believes in interfaith dialogue, then this imam [Elahi] — who considers himself a teacher — should be held accountable for his support of a regime that is the number-one sponsor of terrorism across the world," concluded Kasraie.
Mohammad Ali Elahi published an open letter to President Trump for the New Year.
"I am deeply hurt and disappointed with the way you are running our beautiful country," he wrote.
"Among your most awful, insane and contradictory positions are the ones related to Iran," continued Elahi.
The Muslim leader also publicly mourned the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — in particular, the elite intelligence wing that supports terrorist activities throughout the Middle East known as the Quds Force. The IRGC was designated a terror group in 2007.
If you truly hate ISIS and you are serious about fighting ISIS, you would have known for sure that Soleimani was the real force behind defeating ISIS. He should have been rewarded as an honest ally in fighting terrorism and saving American lives and be rewarded for it. ... You may see Soleimani as a terrorist but now tens of millions of Iraqis and Iranians marching behind his coffin are honoring him as a charismatic leader, and collectively condemning your action and they categorize it as an act of terrorism.
Elahi mentioned Soleimani again and bashed Trump on Facebook in early February after having been detained in the Detroit airport:
One of the officers was interested to know my opinion on killing of General Solaimani (sic) in Iraq, something I had already explained in my public letter to the president following the assassination! ... If this is the reality of the situation in America then Trump's propaganda about progress and making America great again, during his State of the Union speech last Tuesday sounded like fake news!
Soleimani had led a series of attacks against coalition bases in Iraq over several months in late 2019. The United States responded quickly with retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria, to which Soleimani spearheaded an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
In addition to Soleimani's aggressions, the U.S. State Department says the terrorist mastermind "was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."
Consequently deemed a high-profile military target, Soleimani was killed in a drone strike Trump ordered in early January.
The U.S. State Department reports Soleimani led the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces that killed 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War. According to their calculations, Soleimani orchestrated attacks resulting in 17% of all U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
"Before coming to America, Elahi ran the Iranian Navy's Head Political Ideological Bureau, a 1986 CIA report said. The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini appointed Elahi to that position in 1982, and he served in that post for five years," reports the Investigative Project on Terrorism.