home
RSS
U.S. outreach to American Muslims may not curb Afghan violence
February 27th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

U.S. outreach to American Muslims may not curb Afghan violence

By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN)– After a weekend that saw continued deadly violence in Afghanistan triggered by what the U.S. says was the inadvertent burning of Qurans, an American Muslim group says outreach here is unlikely to help over there.

On Friday, a ranking Pentagon official visited a prominent mosque in the outside Washington and apologized for last week's incident, which involved copies of the Quran and other religious tracts that had been
kept at a U.S. detention facility in Bagram.

"On behalf of Secretary Panetta, and the Department of Defense, I offer my sincere regret for the incident at Bagram Air Base," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy.

But an Islamic activist group Monday suggested that the U.S. is preaching to the wrong choir if officials hope they can reach those in Afghanistan who have been perpetrating the violence.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told CNN "it's not like we can call people in Afghanistan and say 'okay, stop it now.'"

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

CAIR, among the largest Muslim activist organizations in the U.S., believes the violent Afghan reaction to the burning of the Quran is symbolic of greater frustration at the continued presence of foreign
troops.

On Monday, a suicide bombing at a military airfield that the Taliban said was in retaliation for the Quran burning reportedly left 9 dead and 12 wounded.

Hooper said "It'll take leaving Afghanistan, letting the Afghan people figure out their own problems," to resolve friction between the local community and foreign troops.

But the mosque's cleric, Imam Mohamed Magid, said the Prophet Muhammad, speaking through the Quran, prohibits violence and a lack of respect for human life.

He told worshipers on Friday that they must "live by the book" in peace and avoid violent reactions like those seen among fellow Muslims in Afghanistan.

Imam Mohamed Magid speaks to reporters after Friday prayers.

After the prayer service, Magid told reporters that "violence that we have seen taking place in Afghanistan is unacceptable, from Islamic perspective, and that's why we will continue this conversation with Muslim colleagues in Afghanistan."

Magid said it was unprecedented to have a ranking American military official address the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society, which he said is one of the largest Islamic congregations in the U.S.

Lavoy used the occasion to publicly accept blame for the incident.

"Our military neglected, out of ignorance, long-established correct procedures for handling religious materials," said Lavoy, "even as we were fighting to help the Afghan people secure and govern their
country, we as the military did not meet our obligations to the Muslim community."

Lavoy was accompanied by a uniformed U.S. Army chaplain who tried to emphasize the military's remorse over the incident.

"I stand before you this afternoon looking at this as another teaching moment, as another opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my colleagues in ministry, to find ways and opportunities to come
closer together in better understanding how to make this world that we live in a more peaceful place," said Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, who is Muslim and who also delivered remarks in Arabic.

Many of the worshipers responded to him in Arabic with affirmation.

Various U.S. officials have sent emails of regret to Islamic groups across the country, according to CAIR, but Hooper, the group's spokesman, downplayed the influence the outreach may have over events in
Afghanistan.

The people there, Hooper maintains, will remain provoked by "the mind-boggling actions of people who've been in the country a decade and still don't understand the cultural and religious sensitivities."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Belief • Church and state • Islam • Quran

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Forget about the book for a moment, what about mass murder, gross violation of human rights, illegal invasion, occupation and pillage.. is the USA allowed to do that?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Speaking about atheists harassment reaching Muslims door step... It is said to be ok but Muslims are required not to retaliate in violence otherwise they are the criminal one's ...! That is because the consti-tution and amendments of the US said so....!?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  2. kareem

    Muslim will never burn the bible because we love Jesus and the virgin Mary (peace be up one them ) beside if anyone insult Jesus or Moses in middle east people will have the same reaction. This is never happened in the history some garbage people disrespect god words and god prophets this is disgusting Americans need to learn how to respect other human being

    February 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • SarahEdmunds

      People have been disrespecting other religions in worse ways than this and you know what the people of those other religions do? They put on their big boy pants and get over it. They don't go nuts in the streets for days while their society comes to a standstill and kill people. If the US went insane like this anytime Christianity, Catholicism or any of the major US religions was insulted, our country would never get anything accomplished and still be in the dark ages........so maybe these nations that apparently haven't evolved to the point of being able to tolerate an insult like the rest of us have had to should take a lesson and use their energy to better their own country instead of using any insult as an excuse to violence.......grow up already and get over yourselves, everyone else has had to.

      February 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sarrah
      So you say it is ok for an atheist to harass a believer for his beliefs and not ok for a believer to harass an atheist for his infidelity...!?

      February 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  3. kareem

    maybe Americans should learn to respect human being if you know that evil act will lead to violence and people will get offended why would you do it? Americans got serious issues look the kid from high school they bully and disrespect him then he start shooting people

    February 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pL0M5ST8jY&w=640&h=360]

    February 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  5. noureldine abdulekrem

    am really so crying whan i writing my comment but in mattre of fact no comment above allah words i just wanna say am so happy to write this word even i can t get suitable words to apperciate you may allah blessin u all

    February 28, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  6. Muneef

    No Muslim can tell another Muslim not to react to insults on the Quran...first burned in America and now in Afghanistan..! Any other doing or saying otherwise is either a hypocrite or a bribed one or is under pressure...so no one will accept their remarks or fatwas about that...at least not from any one's living in the west..
    So can just leave the western Muslims out of it they can not be much of a help for you in the east...because the poor things became neither westerners nor easterners,they are just lost in between..

    February 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Observer

      I'd like to recommend a more Buddhist approach. Less attachment to things like books and honor. Surely God does not need those things.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Reality

      One more time:

      Google "Muslims bible burning" to get all said references about Muslims burning the bible but note that once the "bowers" of Islam like Muneef see how they have been conned by their imams and ayatollahs for the last 1400 years, they too will burn their copies of the koran i.e. the angel Gabriel never existed so there is no way that the warmongering, womanizing, and hallucinating Mohammed got any koranic passages from some god. Tis the great angelic con game. Joseph Smith was the latest to pull it off with his "angelic" Moroni. The significant stupidity and gullibility of it all!!!!!

      And ditto when the "pew peasants" of Christianity finally realize the con that has been pulled on them as they too will burn their bibles. I have not burned my copy but have relegated it to the mostly fictional section of my reference library.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • bigot

      Well Muneef...maybe every time we see a bunch of muslims burning an american flag or a bible we should just drop an H-Bomb on them as retaliation. Muslims cry more than any group of religious nutjobs.

      February 28, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Muneef

      Burning of flags is a political thing but burning of Holy Books such as Torah or Bibles is not an act of a Muslims to do such a wrong thing since our Quran tells us to respect elder holy books because it is (confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.)  
      Detail of which can be read at verses 44 to 48 at 
      http://quran.com/5

      February 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      Although just wonder what might happen to the world if you decided to burn the Saudi Arabian Flag...!

      February 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Muneef

      By the way the Saudi Arabia Flag contains the following words might you not know;

      "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Saudi_Arabia

      February 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Reality

      We just burned the Saudi flag at flagburningworld.com/. Ahhh, that felt good!!! As did burning the Iranian flag !!! To burn Yemen's flag another hot spot of Islamic backwardness, move the bar at the bottom of the web page to the right.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  7. Salero 21

    Another Grandiose example; like if we need another! Of Government bureaucracy, pomposity and feet dragging. Just to appear that something real or worthy is being done. Another attempt at justifying their jobs and time/mileage spenditures.

    BL is gone, the Taliban almost gone, so the saying goes from the DoD et al. Then; if all of the aforementioned is true; Why stubbornly insist in remaining in the freakish country?

    February 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  8. Judy in MO

    These Muslims are disgusting and have to go! Id sooner embrace a gay person or a woman who had an abortion over one of these hounds!

    February 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Your reference to gay people and women who have had an abortion kind of makes it sound like you are one of the "Christian" masses that blindly follow your "Church". Let me ask you this question: Would Jesus have said something like you just did?

      February 28, 2012 at 5:56 am |
    • bigot

      so basically you say you do not embrace gays or muslims or people who have abortions, which makes you a bigot. Let me guess...Christian?

      February 28, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • ayse

      iam amerian muslim and iam proud of being american to be muslim.. and if you find me to be wrong then that your opioion but the only thing is disgusting is you by the way you think and speak , by your ignorance and not educated yourself to know what islamic aka muslim religion is about? before judging someone, educated yourself, how would like someone to judge you for being american or being christain or jewish etc or have no faith in god.. how would you like to judge by the color of your skin or where you come from? trust me you would not like it at all judy.. america is post to be about freedom, and have the right to practice your own religion, and have equal rights man or woman,black white, tan green etc, and the same with religion.. but honest what i see is alot of racist people and have no clue what there talk about just want to make a point, but your point is silly and childlish and uneducated.. and immature, and irresponsiable, instead of teach people how to hate and raise the children with hate, how about teach the children how to love and care for eachother be kind to eachother etc the religion have nothings to do with the people behavior that is the people fault for there own actions, it called take responisablities for you are doing wrong and stop blame other people religion beliefs and them for what others have done, please do me a favor and educated yourself before speaking and this to everyone who have closed ignorace minded

      February 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  9. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      That was very mature of you.

      February 28, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  10. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    Germany (1920-1940)
    – collapsed economy
    – highly industrialized
    – politicians blame jews for the economic ills
    – gas six million of them in custom built ovens

    USA (2010 – 2030)
    – collapsing economy
    – highly industrialized
    – republicans blame muslims for the economic ills
    – gas a few million of them in nuclear powered underground bunkers

    February 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Democrats blame rich people for America's ills. Does that mean they will kill millions of rich people?

      February 28, 2012 at 5:53 am |
  11. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    Befriending American Muslims is not going to make any difference. American Muslims are not too bothered about Quran Burnings. If you are an American Muslim, you know any publicity is Good publicity. As long as Islam, Quran, Mohammad are mentioned in the mainstream media, thats free publicity for Islam in America. And publicity leads to ===> curiosity and curiosity leads to ======> converts.

    Plus American Muslims are well-educated and they already know that in the future, they are going to become the jews of post world war one Germany. Once the economy tanks here in America, the politicians will be looking for scapegoats and Muslims will be the natural helpless OTHER to roast in custom-built gas chambers. While the masses watch and shrug their shoulders and move along (like everyday Germans of yore).

    February 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      BHO..as an atheist I am glad that my intelligence has remained intact despite the delusions and anti human pandering of religions. None of the current batch of gods appear to have any power..they need the braindead to force the issue..we are heading toward the zombie wars and it sounds like you are head of the line. If you were educated, rather than just fearful of your religion, you could see it. Good luck as you move to the abyss...

      February 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  12. hippypoet

    who cares if it doesn't now...the point is to create a friend on the other side, one friend then another and another and so on and so forth ect. ect. – thats the point of outreach – if anyone had the idea it was going to change anything instantly then that person is a complete moron!

    February 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  13. SPA Knight

    It appears to me that the Taliban and perhaps other followers that continue to be the problem in this country. The US military burn the Koran and they send a suicide bomber that kills 9 and wounds 12. Clearly there was a mistake in protocol with our troops but an apology should be adequate since no human life was taken.

    February 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • And, in fact...

      ...one approved way of disposing of a worn or otherwise unserviceable copy is by burning.

      I guess there must be a prescribed ceremony, though.

      The current Islamic year is 1433.

      February 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. Reality

    Google "Muslims bible burning" to get all said references about Muslims burning the bible but note that once the "bowers" of Islam see how they have been conned by their imams and ayatollahs for the last 1400 years, they too will burn their copies of the koran i.e. the angel Gabriel never existed so there is no way that the warmongering, womanizing, and hallucinating Mohammed got any koranic passages from some god. Tis the great angelic con game. Joe Smith was the latest to pull it off with his "angelic" Moroni. The significant stupidity and gullibility of it all!!!!!

    And ditto when the "pew peasants" of Christianity finally realize the con that has been pulled on them as they too will burn their bibles. I have not burned my copy but have relegated it to the mostly fictional section of my reference library.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  15. momoya

    There's not much of a way to help with god believers. They are about as looney as anyone can really be and still be outside the walls of an asylum. They believe in flying horses, magical body parts (soul), and fairies (angels).

    February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Godspeople

      There's not much of a way to help with atheists. They're just too full of bitterness, evil, hate and rage. They just need to be put down en masse.

      February 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • bigot

      "There's not much of a way to help with atheists. They're just too full of bitterness, evil, hate and rage. They just need to be put down en masse."

      LOL POT MEET KETTLE!!

      February 28, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  16. Godspeople

    There's not much of a way to help with muslims. They are about as looney as anyone can really be and still be outside the walls of an asylum.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      And Christian Evangelicals are working around the clock to follow in their footsteps.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Godspeople

      Wouldn't know. I'm not an "evangelical."

      February 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • bigot

      @godspeople: Yeah, you are a re...tard

      February 28, 2012 at 7:59 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Proven (no need to thank me)

      February 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      February 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • nope

      nope

      February 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  18. πολεμικός

    Apologies like this just make us seem weak and invite opposition. Apologize to the Afghan Muslims, but respond to violence in kind. That is honest and it shows strength.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Hera

    Duh I could have told them that. It was beyond foolish to apologize to American muslims.So-called "moderate" muslims have proven useless time and time again.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  20. Meir Weiss

    Reblogged this on Meir Weiss' Blog and commented:
    dduuuuuuuuuhhhhhh

    February 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
1 2
Advertisement
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.