A Muslim leader from Dearborn met privately with Sen. Barack Obama during his Wednesday visit to Michigan.
Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America, said in an email that he met with Obama at Macomb Community College. A mosque spokesman, Eide Alawan, confirmed that the meeting took place. During the meeting, the two discussed the Presidential election, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq war, according to Qazwini.
At the end of the meeting, Qazwini said he gave Obama a copy of new book, “American Crescent,” and invited Obama to visit his center.
The meeting with Obama came about after Qazwini had asked David Bonior, the former U.S. Rep. from Michigan, if he could meet with Obama during his visit. Qazwini was not selected to be part of a group of 20 people who met with Obama, but Qazwini later got a private meeting with Obama, Alawan said.
“They gave him an opportunity for a one-on-one,” Alawan said.
Obama was also in Macomb County for campaign stops at the college and a Chrysler auto plant.
Born in Iraq into a long line of Shi’ite clerics, Qazwini and his family left for Iran to escape persecution under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He later moved to the U.S. and become head of the Dearborn mosque, one of the largest Shi’ite Muslim centers in the U.S.
Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials.