A Michigan conference called to discuss a possible "honor killing" and women in Islam has triggered an uproar from local Muslims and civil rights groups who say it's an excuse to bash Islam. The "Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killings" in Dearborn—home to a thriving American Muslim community—was immediately countered with a "Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate" town hall meeting in Detroit, notes MSNBC. Both meetings took place yesterday. Mokdad, 20, was killed last year by her Muslim stepdad, according to police. Though initially reported as a suspected honor killing, investigators now believe Mokdad was killed because she was about to tell police her stepfather was sexually abusing her, according to the Detroit Free Press. "The evidence shows the motive really was not a cultural issue," said a lead investigator. "It's about power, control, and rape."
The honor killing conference immediately raised suspicions because it was organized by Pam Geller, critic of Islam and nationally known foe of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque. Geller insists Mokdad's death was an honor killing, and one more example of "stealth enforcement" of Islamic shariah law. Geller's group Stop the Islamization of America has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Organizers of the rival meeting said in a statement it's time for "our community to take a stand, along with those who value America's commitment to diversity and freedom of religion." Said a female speaker at the town hall meeting: "As a Muslim woman, I stand with pride in my faith."