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Police close investigation into pressure cooker that distrupted Muslim conference at Adoba Hotel

Posted by on May. 31, 2013 at 6:11 PM
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DEARBORN —   The investigation into the pressure cooker discovered in a second floor restroom at the Adoba Hotel has been closed. The pressure cooker contained food remnants and is believed to have been left by a guest who used it to transport food to an event at the hotel. It is unknown whether the pot was left in the restroom inadvertently or as a prank by a third party. 

"It appears that the appliance had been used initially for the purpose for which it had been manufactured. We do not know the intent of the person who decided to leave it in the restroom, but all proper precautions were taken to ensure the safety of hotel guests and first responders," Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said. 

The Dearborn Police Department's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team responded to the Adoba Hotel at about 12 a.m. on May 27, after a female guest reported the discovery of a pressure cooker in a second floor restroom.  

The incident occurred on the heels of a three-day conference that was scheduled and organized by the Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA) this weekend. This was the group’s 11th annual convention. The event, titled Conference of Ali, attracted attendees from different states and countries, including several from Toronto, Ontario. The Adoba Hotel is previously known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  

Dearborn Police determined that the pressure cooker had not been converted into any type of explosive device. Several floors of the hotel were evacuated as a precautionary measure at the direction of hotel management.  No injuries of any sort were reported.

 The pressure cooker was discovered at 9:45 p.m., and participants of the conference, who were staying at the Hotel, along with other guests, were forced to evacuate their rooms shortly after.  They were able to return at approximately 1 a.m. 

Muslims outside the Adoba Hotel after being evacuated. Many recited prayers until they were allowed to go back in.
While waiting outside, conference attendees recited prayers and poems in Urdu, according to a source. Speaking to The Arab American News by phone, a woman who didn't want to be identified said that the Shia conference was diverse, and included Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis. "From what I heard it was very dramatic for participants," the source said.

UMAA thanked the Adoba Hotel staff, the private security firm and the Dearborn Police Department for their prompt response and dedicated work in dealing with the situation. Further, UMAA thanked all the attendees and volunteers for their cooperation and calm demeanor.

The UMAA Convention is one of the largest Shia Muslim gatherings in the United States and drew a crowd of more than 3,000 attendees this year. 

UMAA President, Dr. Ehtesham Abidi explained that, “The UMAA Conference is dedicated to the understanding of how Muslims can better themselves economically, socially and politically. Furthermore, those who attend the convention understand the vital importance of reaffirming our identity as Americans and as Muslims.” 

Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations Michigan, explained that it was odd for someone to leave an empty pressure cooker in a women's bathroom and doubts that it was one of the conference participants.

  Rather, he points out that it may have been somebody trying to play a prank, or intimidate the Muslim community.


"It would not surprise me at all if somebody put it there deliberately to cause trouble," Walid said. 

Many Conference participants say that they are upset such a spiritual event ended in this way.

Speakers at the Conference were top experts in their fields, including Professor Juan Cole, the nation’s top expert on the Middle East; Dr. Hassan Abbas, of the National Defense Institute; Osama Siblani, publisher, The Arab American News; Judge David Turfe, Chief Judge for the 20th District Court in Michigan and even Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly. Other prominent speakers included education expert Nicole Correri and Kenyon University’s Dr. Vernon Schubel. 

In a ground breaking show of unity with other Muslims, UMAA held a signing of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Intrafaith Code of Honor, wherein leaders of the Shia and Sunni communities pledged their devotion to preventing the rise of sectarianism in the American Muslim community. 

 Internationally acclaimed poets Nouri Sardar, Ali Fadhil and Bahrain’s Abathar Halawaji also performed at the UMAA Convention, delighting and entertaining the thousands of attendees at the convention’s celebration of the birth of Imam Ali, successor to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Walid says that since the attacks on 9/11 more than a decade ago, the complaints CAIR-MI has received, regarding discrimination and hate crimes towards American Muslims have only escalated.

 Walid says that recent events involving the cooking devices may have a chilling effect on Muslim Americans, with many people in the community being discouraged from using them. 

"I hope people in the community are not discouraged from buying, or using them to make any type of dish," Walid said.
by on May. 31, 2013 at 6:11 PM
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