“Peace is the goal and the ideal we wish to achieve by and for the people around us.”
Victor Ghalib Begg was so tired of seeing negative media portrayals of Muslims in America during the 1980s and 1990s that he took out an $8,000 newspaper ad in Detroit’s two daily newspapers to educate Metro Detroiters and others about the religion of Islam.
Since then, Begg, a businessman and well-known community activist, has been on the front lines of teaching non-Muslims about his faith. For more than 20 years, Begg also has worked with local interfaith organizations to build bridges between people of different religions.
“We Muslims have a responsibility to define us,” says Begg, who co-founded the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan in the late 1980s.
Begg faced fierce opposition from the community in the early 1990s when he decided to build a mosque near his Oakland County home.
“We worked with them and worked things out. In the end, neighbors ended up helping us,” says Begg, who is past chairman and co-founder of the Muslim Unity Center mosque on Square Lake Road in Bloomfield Hills. The name of the mosque, built in 1993, signifies the unity and diversity of the Muslim community.
Born in Hyderabad, India, Begg came to the United States in 1969 to study business at the University of Detroit, where he received a master’s degree in business administration. Eleven years later, he opened Naked Furniture stores in Metro Detroit.