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March 7th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Muslims anxious, active ahead of radicalization hearings

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”, airs Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. E.T.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Every day this week, American Muslim activists are working overtime to prepare for congressional hearings on "the radicalization of American Muslims" that open Thursday.

Sunday saw Muslim demonstrators gather in New York's rain-drenched Times Square to protest the hearings, standing with celebrities like Russell Simmons and other non-Muslims who held signs declaring "I am Muslim, too."

On Monday, representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations - a national Muslim advocacy group - met will sympathetic Capitol Hill staffers to discuss communications strategy and grassroots organizing to counter Islamophia.

On Tuesday, a coalition of major Muslim, interfaith and civil rights groups will announce a new campaign and website to push back against politicians and others they say are trafficking in anti-Muslim rhetoric.

And that's before the hearings even begin.

“The community is anxious, uncertain and even fearful in terms of what this could become in this environment,” says Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University who has met with Capitol Hill aides in advance of the hearings.

“There is a generalized sense of Islamophobia floating around, and the hearings are not doing anything to assuage Muslim fears.”

Days before the first in what Rep. Peter King, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, has said will be a series of hearings on American Muslim radicalization, many Muslims are deeply nervous at the specter of being demonized from such a highly visible platform as Capitol Hill. The hearings may stretch out for more than a year.

But King’s hearings also have galvanized American Muslims, perhaps as never before, in an attempt to counter what they call a rising tide of Islamophobia, to lobby Washington about their concerns and to help shape the national narrative about their community.

The efforts come a little more than six months after many Muslims were blindsided by a wave of national opposition to a proposed Islamic cultural center near New York’s ground zero last summer.

“There was this sense after last summer’s events of needing to be more proactive in stemming this activity that stokes anti-Muslim hate,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy group.

“That’s why, as soon as we heard Rep. King say he planned to hold these hearings, we started coming forward to express our concerns,” Khera said.

In February, Muslim Advocates spearheaded a letter to congressional leaders objecting to the hearings. It was signed by more than 50 organizations, including civil rights groups that had not previously been involved with the American Muslim community.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim advocacy group, used its annual lobbying day last month to visit 90 congressional offices to “start offering facts about American Muslims and their role in helping prevent attacks on our nation,” said Corey Saylor, the group’s national legislative director.

Two other groups the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Arab American Institute held a briefing, “Islamophobia: A Challenge to American Pluralism,” for Capitol Hill staffers last Wednesday.

The King hearings are also spurring mosques around the country to get more political.

“Muslim Americans make vital contributions every day,” said Hadi Nael, director of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley in California, whose congregation is calling and writing Congress to voice opposition to the King hearings.

“They love this country just as every American does and should not be placed under suspicion of terrorism because of their religious beliefs or ethnic background,” he said. “King’s hearings would do just that.”

Muslims and non-Muslims demonstrated in New York

Many Muslim activists said that recent remarks from King, a New York Republican, including his support for a theory that 80% of American mosques are controlled by radical imams, are evidence that he intends to target the American Muslim community broadly with his hearings, rather than focus on Islamic radicals.

“Let’s not fall into the same ugly patterns that were prevalent in earlier years in America, when Jews were suspected of aiding communism and Catholics were suspected of supporting fascism,” said Eboo Patel, a leading Muslim activist, summing up his opposition to the hearings.

“Let’s not repeat that history by blaming all Muslims for the extremist actions of a range of people in this country.”

A White House official appeared at a Muslim community center Sunday to speak about the need to prevent violent extremism, saying U.S. Muslims are part of the solution.

"The bottom line is this when it comes to preventing violent extremism and terrorism in the United States, Muslim Americans are not part of the problem, you're part of the solution," said Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser to President Obama. "Of course, the most effective voices against al Qaeda's warped worldview and interpretation of Islam are other Muslims."

McDonough also said, "We must resolve that, in our determination to protect the nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few. In the United States of America, we don't practice guilt by association."

A White House source said McDonough's speech was not meant as a "prebuttal" to King's hearings, while a spokesman said the administration is finalizing its strategy to help stop violent extremism.

King called for the hearings on Muslim radicalization after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in November's elections. He declined calls from some Democrats to broaden sessions to focus on extremists of all types, including neo-Nazis, radical environmentalists and anti-tax groups.

“Al Qaeda is actively attempting to recruit individuals living within the Muslim American community to commit acts of terror,” King wrote in a letter last month to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, who had suggested that King broaden the hearings’ scope.

“Pursuant to our mandate, the committee will continue to examine the threat of Islamic radicalization, and I will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States,” King’s letter continued.

King told CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley on Sunday that "something from within" the Muslim community is a "threat" to America and needs to be explored.

He compared the goal of the hearings to investigating the Mafia within the Italian community or going after the Russian mob in "the Russian community in Brighton Beach and Coney Island."

"We're talking about al Qaeda," King said. "There's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there, and that's where the threat is coming from at this time."

King has yet to release a full witness list for this week’s hearing, exacerbating Muslim anxiety. The sole witness whose name King has released is Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona doctor who is Muslim but who has criticized his religion.

King has also invited Rep Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota the first Muslim elected to Congress to testify.

Ellison also appeared on "State of the Union" on Sunday, saying, "I challenge the basic premise of the hearings."

"We should deal with radicalization and violent radicalization, but ... singling out one community is the wrong thing to do," he said.

Democrats have invited Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, who has praised Muslim leaders for building relationships with law enforcement authorities, to testify.

A recent survey showed that 56% of Americans support the upcoming hearings, compared with 29% who think they’re a bad idea.

The February survey, conducted by Public Opinion Research and the Religion News Service, found that seven in 10 Americans think Congress should refrain from singling out Muslims and should investigate all religious extremism.

Not all Muslims object to the hearings. American University's Ahmed says that many first-generation American Muslims, feeling rejected both by their parents' culture and by their American peers, are at risk of being radicalized.

"There's a new generation of Muslim Americans who are born here or have grown up here and are no longer fully accepted as Egyptians or Pakistanis, as their parents are," he says. "But America is also rejecting them, day and night Islam is being demonized… they’re suspended between two cultures.”

"Whey you are 18, that can push you into a dangerous situation," Ahmed says. "You can go online and some idiot in the Middle East can push you in a dangerous direction. It has little to do with theology and a lot to do with anthropology."

Other American Muslims interpret King’s hearings as the culmination of years of growing domestic suspicions of their community, dating back to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“For the last 10 years, there has been a movement of intolerance against Muslim Americans, but it hasn’t been above the surface,” says Patel, who leads the Interfaith Youth Corps.

“It’s now clear, from everything from the discussion around the Cordoba House (one name for the proposed New York Islamic center) to the way King has framed the hearings that there is an anti-Muslim sentiment in America that is reminiscent of anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism,” he said.

“But I’d rather it be out in the open like it is now,” Patel continued.

According to the Justice Department, there were 107 anti-Muslim hate-crime incidents in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, up from 28 such incidents in 2000.

With the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the horizon and some likely contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination talking up the threat of Islamic law, or sharia, taking hold in the United States, many Muslims said they fear the worst is to come.

But many are also feeling that their community is finally preparing itself to take on those challenges.

“This is a very American thing, congressional hearings,” said Ahmed of this week’s King session. “Let’s present the complexity and sophistication of Islam so Americans understand it better. It’s a teaching moment.”

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Bonney Kapp and Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Islam • Politics

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  7. larish

    What does a terrorist's religion have to with that person being a terrorist???????????Let the mosque be built because now you are making governments like Iran think that the west is in a fight with Islam!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  8. chris

    lets look at this rationaly please. this isnt about hate or racism, people only say that because it is easy to say. i said i didnt like obama because i disagreed with his policies, but i was still called racsist. does that make sense??!! . Mr. King may not have all the facts, but the purpose of these hearings is to get facts right? muslims are in general good people. the terrorists give the rest of the muslims a bad name.

    April 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  9. villager

    Anybody notice the area code on the sign in front of the building site? Thats a west coast area code?

    March 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Ali

      What is that suppose to mean. We are all part of ONE nation. What planet are you orbiting around? If you teach hate, you are getting NOWHERE!! Seek deep within your sole and really educate yourself on the subject before passing on judgement.

      March 28, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  10. danny

    the crusades, how many muslims did christians kill then?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  11. Muneef

    Do you know why exactly Muslims are hated for? It is for Reading & Reciting the Quran & follow its Religion of Islam which should have to take in to faith & Belief in the words of the following verses;    

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth is His. All are subservient unto Him. (116) The Originator of the heavens and the earth! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. (117) And those who have no knowledge say: Why doth not Allah speak unto us, or some sign come unto us? Even thus, as they now speak, spake those (who were) before them. Their hearts are all alike. We have made clear the revelations for people who are sure. (118) Lo! We have sent thee (O Muhammad) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And thou wilt not be asked about the owners of hell-fire. (119) And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah (Himself) is Guidance. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, then wouldst thou have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper. (120) Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers. (121) O Children of Israel! Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you and how I preferred you to (all) creatures. (122) And guard (yourselves) against a day when no soul will in aught avail another, nor will compensation be accepted from it, nor will intercession be of use to it; nor will they be helped. (123).

    An-Nisa sura 04:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    O mankind! The messenger hath come unto you with the Truth from your Lord. Therefor believe; (it is) better for you. But if ye disbelieve, still, lo! unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. Allah is ever Knower, Wise. (170) O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (171).

    Al-Maeda sura 05:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. (72) They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. (73) Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (74) The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away! (75) Say: Serve ye in place of Allah that which possesseth for you neither hurt nor use? Allah it is Who is the Hearer, the Knower. (76) Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from a plain road. (77).

    Al-Tawba sura 09:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger nor, acknowledge the Religion of Truth from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. (29) The Jews call Uzayr a son of Allah and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (30) They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; Yet they were commanded to worship but one Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to him: (far is He) from having the parents they associate (with him). (31) Fain would they extinguish Allah's light with their mouths but Allah will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the unbelievers may detest (it). (32) It is He who hath sent His Messenger with Guidance and Religion of Truth to proclaim it over all religion, even though the pagans may detest (it). (33).

    Yunus sura 10:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And thou (Muhammad) art not occupied with any business and thou recitest not a Lecture from this (Scripture), and ye (mankind) perform no act, but We are Witness of you when ye are engaged therein. And not an atom's weight in the earth or in the sky escapeth your Lord, nor what is less than that or greater than that, but it is (written) in a clear Book. (61) Lo! verily the friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve? (62) Those who believe and keep their duty (to Allah). (63) Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter – There is no changing the Words of Allah – that is the Supreme Triumph. (64) And let not their speech grieve thee (O Muhammad). Lo! power belongeth wholly to Allah. He is the Hearer, the Knower. (65) Beware ! To Allah belongeth whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth Those who follow aught instead of Allah follow not (His) partners. They follow only a conjecture, and they do but guess. (66) He it is Who hath appointed for you the night that ye should rest therein and the day giving sight. Lo! herein verily are portents for a folk that heed. (67) They say: Allah hath taken (unto Him) a son – Glorified be He! He hath no needs! His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Ye have no warrant for this. Tell ye concerning Allah that which ye know not? (68) Say: Verily those who invent a lie concerning Allah will not succeed. (69) This world's portion (will be theirs), then unto Us is their return. Then We make them taste a dreadful doom because they used to disbelieve. (70).

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Say (unto mankind): Cry unto Allah, or cry unto the Beneficent, unto whichsoever ye cry (it is the same). His are the most beautiful names. And thou (Muhammad), be not loud-voiced in thy worship nor yet silent therein, but follow a way between. (110) And say: Praise be to Allah, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend through dependence. And magnify Him with all magnificence. (111).

    Al-Kahf sura 18:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave, and hath not placed therein any crookedness, (1) (But hath made it) straight, to give warning of stern punishment from Him, and to bring unto the believers who do good works the news that theirs will be a fair reward, (2) Wherein they will abide for ever; (3) And to warn those who say: Allah hath chosen a son, (4) (A thing) whereof they have no knowledge, nor (had) their fathers, Dreadful is the word that cometh out of their mouths. They speak naught but a lie. (5) Yet it may be, if they believe not in this statement, that thou (Muhammad) wilt torment thy soul with grief over their footsteps. (6) Lo! We have placed all that is in the earth as an ornament thereof that We may try them: which of them is best in conduct. (7) And lo! We shall make all that is therein a barren mound. (8).

    Maryam sura 19:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. (88) Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing (89) Whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruins, (90) That ye ascribe unto the Beneficent a son, (91) When it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should choose a son. (92) There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (93) Verily He knoweth them and numbereth them with (right) numbering. (94) And each one of them will come unto Him on the Day of Resurrection, alone. (95) Lo! those who believe and do good works, the Beneficent will appoint for them love. (96) And We make (this Scripture) easy in thy tongue, (O Muhammad) only that thou mayst bear good tidings therewith unto those who ward off (evil), and warn therewith the froward folk. (97) And how many a generation before them have We destroyed! Canst thou (Muhammad) see a single man of them, or hear from them the slightest sound? (98).

    Al-Anbiya sura 21:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in play. (16) If We had wished to find a pastime, We could have found it in Our presence – if We ever did. (17) Nay, but We hurl the true against the false, and it doth break its head and lo! it vanisheth. And yours will be woe for that which ye ascribe (unto Him). (18) Unto Him belongeth whosoever is in the heavens and the earth. And those who dwell in His presence are not too proud to worship Him, nor do they weary; (19) They glorify (Him) night and day; they flag not. (20) Or have they chosen Gods from the earth who raise the dead? (21) If there were therein Gods beside Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) had been disordered. Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, from all that they ascribe (unto Him). (22) He will not be questioned as to that which He doeth, but they will be questioned. (23) Or have they chosen other gods beside Him? say: Bring your proof (of their godhead). This is the Reminder of those with me and those before me, but most of them know not the Truth and so they are averse. (24) And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no God save Me (Allah), so worship Me. (25) And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but (those whom they call sons) are honoured slaves; (26) They speak not until He hath spoken, and they act by His command. (27) He knoweth what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot intercede except for him whom He accepteth, and they quake for awe of Him. (28).

    Al-Furqan sura 25: 
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to the people. (1) He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. (2) Yet they choose beside Him other gods who create naught but are themselves created, and possess not hurt nor profit for themselves, and possess not death nor life, nor power to raise the dead. (3) Those who disbelieve say: This is naught but a lie that he hath invented, and other folk have helped him with it, so that they have produced a slander and a lie. (4) And they say: Fables of the men of old which he hath had written down so that they are dictated to him morn and evening. (5) Say (unto them, O Muhammad): He who knoweth the secret of the heavens and the earth hath revealed it. Lo! He ever is Forgiving, Merciful. (6).

    As-Saaffat 37:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Now ask them (O Muhammad): Hath thy Lord daughters whereas they have sons? (149) Or created We the angels females while they were present? (150) Lo! it is of their falsehood that they say: (151) Allah hath begotten. Allah! verily they tell a lie. (152) (And again of their falsehood): He hath preferred daughters to sons. (153) What aileth you? How judge ye? (154) Will ye not then reflect? (155) Or have ye a clear warrant? (156) Then produce your writ, if ye are truthful. (157) And they imagine kinship between him and the jinn, whereas the jinn know well that they will be brought before (Him). (158) Glorified be Allah from that which they attribute (unto Him), (159).

    Az-Zumar sura 39:
    n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    If Allah had willed to choose a son, He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created. Be He glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute. (4).

    Al-Jinn sura 72:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me that a company of the Jinn gave ear, and they said: Lo! we have heard a marvellous Qur'an, (1) Which guideth unto righteousness, so we believe in it and we ascribe unto our Lord no partner. (2) And (we believe) that He – exalted be the glory of our Lord! – hath taken neither wife nor son, (3) And that the foolish one among us used to speak concerning Allah an atrocious lie. (4) And lo! we had supposed that humankind and jinn would not speak a lie concerning Allah – (5).

    #Among those above of idolators,pagans and non believers of God....what can you expect the followers of Islam of the Quran  would be treated by the majority ? 

    March 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • chris

      why did you put all of that in your post? no life if you have time for that

      April 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • DEE CARTER

      ummmm, Muneef, you can't use Surah's that are made up by a madmen to support your argument. Dupid. Just because you take quotes from a made up book, doesnt mean your argument means anything. I can take Hilters diary and quote from it, doesnt mean that he is correct, its just telling you what Hilter wrote at that time. Kepp waiting for, you know the Day of Judgement, and you know virgins, and you know your reward, and other absurd things that will never happen, other than you wasting your time. Now quick, go look up sp references in the Qu'ran that don't mean anything to me, since I know it's made up, and quick point out the flaws with Christians, who are just as deluded as you, and when all else fails,...stick your fingers in your ears, and screamm la-la-la-la at the top of your lungs Kr@zee for Christians and Muslims 101. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, remind people "What if you're wrong" and "you'll see (fist shaking)

      April 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  12. Upperhand

    The Five Deceptions of Islam:

    1.) "Islam is a religion of love."

    2.) "Islam is a religion of peace."

    3.) "Allah is just another name for God."

    4.) "We worship Jesus Christ like you do."

    5.) "Koran is the Divine Word of Allah."

    March 13, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • larish

      Awesome post!!!!!!!!!!!!By saying Allah instead of the translation God, others might think that Allah is another god.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  13. Upperhand

    “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it,” said Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

    March 13, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  14. Upperhand

    “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…” ~ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

    March 13, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  15. Upperhand

    Let's pretend the Islamofacists are not at war with America!

    March 13, 2011 at 3:05 am |
  16. Jackie

    Integrate how? I was born and raised in the USA. So was my parents and my grandparents. My ancestors were slaves. After slavery and as far as I know it, my family were Christians (ranging from baptist to Roman Catholic and everything else Christian). We are a large family. I was raised ROMAN CATHOLIC and can even run off bible verses like it is nothing. However, I decided to become Muslim.

    Before I became Muslim, NO ONE asked me what country I was from. It was always what STATE. After I became Muslim it was always WHAT COUNTRY or GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY, etc. NOTHING changed about me except a silly scarf. I continued to hang out with my Christian and Buddhist friends both male and female. Went out to movies, etc. Yet just by wearing a scarf on my head I was automatically place in the "oh she's a terrorists who hates America and don't want to integrate" category.

    Which makes me wonder...if I go outside with tiny shirts and a tank top on with a baseball cap, is that integrated enough for you all? Or maybe I need to drink alcohol, eat pork, sleep around with several different men, get on "girls gone wild", etc.
    Even my mom didn't know at first when I converted. Being a strict Roman Catholic woman, I knew she wouldn't take the news pretty well so I tried to figure out how to break it to her gently. Of course she figured it out when I refused to eat pork (that was the ONLY difference, nothing else).

    And as I predicted she didn't take it to well. "once a catholic always a catholic" she told me and 3 days after she became an atheist. Go figure.

    But that is besides the point. EVERYDAY I was yelled at and even insulted just for being a Muslim. In my heart I will always be an American first and proud citizen of Louisiana second, and a proud Muslim third. Yet I am treated as if I am a terrorist...Americans wonder why Muslims stick to their own community? You all keep pushing us away.

    March 11, 2011 at 5:00 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.