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June 11th, 2010
03:59 AM ET

My Take: New portrait of Muslim America shows community on edge

Editor's Note: Frankie Martin is Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University's School of International Service and is a contributor to the new book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.

By Frankie Martin, Special to CNN

As I got off the plane in St. Louis in September 2008, I didn’t realize I was beginning a journey that would change my life.

On that day, I–along with several researchers working with Professor Akbar Ahmed, American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies–began a grueling project aimed at studying America’s Muslim population and its relationship to American identity. Now, nearly two years, 75 cities and 100 mosques later, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, will be published by the Brookings Institution Press this month.

In addition to providing unprecedented insight into America’s Muslim community, it also led me to look at my own country, the United States, in a different way.

I had taken Professor Ahmed’s class on improving relations between Islam and the West as an underclassman shortly after the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and had traveled across the Muslim world with him for the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, listening to Muslim voices in countries including Jordan, Pakistan, and India.

On that trip, during which Muslims in eight countries cited “American negative perceptions of Islam” as the greatest threat to the Muslim world, I was ready for anything and eager to learn. After all, I had spent the second half of my life living and traveling widely around the world, from Kenya to China, and studying foreign lands in my international relations courses.

America was a different matter. This, I thought, was a country that I knew. Yet although I lived in the Baltimore suburbs until I was a teenager and went to college in Washington, DC, like many Americans I was familiar with only a few states, and had never experienced entire regions like the South.

Assisting a world-renowned anthropologist on a De Tocqueville-esque quest would change this. Like that earlier foreign traveler, Professor Ahmed saw his endeavor as a tribute to a nation that had welcomed him so warmly in crafting a study which would examine both the strengths of America and the parts that could be strengthened.

Within a few hours on our first day—which took us to Somali refugees in a St. Louis housing project—I realized I was experiencing something unique. Though I’m a Christian, I was seeing the country through Muslim eyes, including those of my professor.

But this was only part of the story. In order to see how Muslims were fitting into America—and what it meant to fit in—we would need to talk to Americans from all backgrounds and religions. Assisting us would be data from the roughly two thousand surveys we distributed in the field as well as countless conversations on our travels.

Over the next long months, we saw the ravages of inner city Detroit and the mansions of Palm Beach, Florida; the serene, impoverished Hopi Indian reservation in Arizona and a Silicon Valley “hackers conference” with scientists talking of settlements on the Moon and Mars. We spoke at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, spent an afternoon with Mennonites in Texas, were welcomed by the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City, and visited coal miners in the West Virginia wilderness.

The diversity of people and beliefs was striking and inspiring. And, for the first time, I saw the fall colors in New England, the Grand Canyon, and a Hawaiian sunset.

We found the Muslim community to be hospitable and patriotic, as they often said that America was the best place to be a Muslim because of religious freedom. But the community is on edge, divided and facing a leadership crisis—contributing to the “homegrown terrorist” phenomenon—and reeling from post-9/11 hatred and prejudice.

I was shocked to see the challenges American Muslims are facing, from kids beaten up and called terrorists at school to people incarcerated without charge and subjected to inhuman treatment and mosques being firebombed. A Muslim community that feels accepted as true Americans and is encouraged to enter the mainstream will be the best defense against homegrown terrorism.

Witnessing the challenges facing the Muslim community led me to ask a question I never had before: what does it mean to be American? Although we met Americans who had a different idea of the country (one official at a Church of Christ chapter in Austin named “pluralism” as the greatest threat to America and the Founding Fathers as the source of this threat) for me, the team, and my professor, being American means embracing the ideals of the Founding Fathers, which include pluralism, rule of law, and civil liberties.

Today, feelings against Islam are running high, with a prominent radio host recently expressing his hope that the proposed New York mosque near Ground Zero would be blown up. Every week seems to bring a new controversy, from the high emotions of the mosque debate to last month’s discussion about the current Miss USA, a Lebanese immigrant, who was slammed as a Hezbollah agent because her surname was said to be shared by people linked to the organization.

In this environment, I was inspired during countless hours of research into American history to see how clear the Founding Fathers were on the subject of Islam in America. Thomas Jefferson learned Arabic using his Quran and hosted the first presidential iftaar during Ramadan, John Adams named Prophet Muhammad as one of the world’s “sober inquirers after truth” alongside Socrates and Confucius, and Benjamin Franklin, who cited the Prophet as a model of compassion, wrote of his hope that the head cleric of Istanbul would preach Islam to Americans from a Philadelphia pulpit, so passionate was his belief in religious freedom.

Today, America faces a crisis of identity. One focal point at the core of the debate is Islam, which some Americans see as a monolithic threat seeking the takeover of the country. They are fearful and suspicious of the Muslims in their midst. For many of these citizens, being a good American—and, for some, a good Christian—means opposing and fighting Islam.

My journey has led me to conclude the opposite. Being a good American means welcoming Muslims as the Founding Fathers did and following their guidelines on matters of law and security as laid out in the Constitution. As for Christianity, the attitude of the Founding Fathers was shaped by Christian thinkers like John Locke, who declared that the true Christian’s duty was to “practice charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians.”

Giving us hope for the future was data from our surveys, which showed that over ninety percent of Americans would vote for a Muslim for public office, and the similarly high percentage of people who are open to Muslims living in and being a part of this nation.

Some, however, inserted “if” clauses, indicating they believed Muslims could be American only if they followed narrowly defined rules, such as ceasing to identify as “Muslim” in favor of an exclusive “American” identity. The Founding Fathers set no such qualifications for “Americanness.”

Discovering America over the past few years has made me appreciate the inclusive vision of the Founding Fathers. Having traveled abroad, I know that their ideals also inspire people around the world, especially in Muslim countries. I can now say I am American with an awareness and pride I never had before.

With all of the challenges facing the country, perhaps the most important thing we can do as Americans is to consider who we really are. For me, being American means assuming and implementing the Founding Fathers’ vision of tolerance and religious freedom. The rediscovery of that vision has reaffirmed my belief in the promise of America.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frankie Martin.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (826 Responses)
  1. John

    Islamic state of Iran executes children for committing adultery. The Afghanistan Islamic Taliban recently executed a seven year old for spying. Need I say more.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  2. linda

    Over and over poor little me. poor little me.
    Try this get over it. Deal with it the same way every other nationality and faith has had to do in this country.
    The muslin world has to contain it's own to be reepected in this country or anywhere else in the world.This isn't just a problem in america. it's all over.
    I am a christian we have also suffered that doesn't stop me never will

    June 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • michael Quinn

      What kind of suffering you had? They are Doctors, Engineers and Holding good postions and part of the society. They are not crying for your help. They only want us to stop painting a bad picture of Islam. So Please keep your sympthy with you...

      June 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  3. Aruna

    This whole article is B.S...America is the best liberal country in the world..I am neither chris/muslim or jew...If u r from other than muslim religion& go try to live in Middle east..u will know how hard it is to live there...

    June 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • Gary

      Aruna are you Shri Lankin by chance....Buddist....I agree whole hartly on your post..

      June 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • sam

      actully, i was raised here and moved to a muslim country with no problems. you people don't know what your talking about, if you can name 5 muslims you have meet that say," we want to take over the usa and make shari law national" then you can talk, entil then shut up, bc you don't know what your talking about at all!!

      June 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Getreal

      one of the primary tenets of Islam is about world domination and eliminaton/subregation of infidels at any cost. I know of no other religon that espouses these principles.

      My issue is that this is a core belief. And yes I have been to the middle east many many times.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  4. GodIsForImbeciles

    Exactly.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  5. GodIsForImbeciles

    What a bald-faced, utterly transparent piece of fly-ridden apologetics from someone whose position is funded by the Saudis. Frankie Martin should just change his name to Kahlid Al-Amer and drop the pretense. And as for why American Muslims feel under pressure...GEE, I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY ANYONE WOULDN'T JUST WANT TO CUDDLE A MUSLIM....NOT!

    June 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  6. no mulim lover

    Good keep them on edge untill they bscome normal people not terrorist sympathisers

    June 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Bo

    This reads like a 9th grade high school essay, filled with lazy, infantile generalizations.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Michael

      Wow, this has got to be the best assessment of this article. Thank you, Bo, I could not have put it better myself.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  8. wildman

    wow. i've heard some unadulterate horse manure from muslim apologists but this has to take the cake. and this paragrapgh: I was shocked to see the challenges American Muslims are facing, from kids beaten up and called terrorists at school to people incarcerated without charge and subjected to inhuman treatment and mosques being firebombed. A Muslim community that feels accepted as true Americans and is encouraged to enter the mainstream will be the best defense against homegrown terrorism. it's basically lies. muslims have killed, mained and attacked more americans in the untied states than americans have attacked these cretinous vermin that is poisoning this country. throw them out. period.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • davec

      Wildman, your kidding right? "We" have killed nearly 700,000 Iraqis. We have killed many, many more Muslims than Muslims have killed Americans.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • Dave

      Racism is not a valid reply. I'm saddened that so many of you are so filled with hate. There are serious problems being discussed here, and valid points on all sides, but pure hatred and racism will not solve anything. What we need is an actual discourse, not angry ranting.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • wildman

      just a small point: all, yes, i am a racists when it comes to islam, though that is a somewhat tortured confabulation...but i said have killed more americans in the united states than the reverse...i am well aware of what happens overseas...they can't kill enough of them to suit me.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • EasyGoing

      Crashing planes into buildings filled with innocent people will have the effect of hatred pointed your way. islam is nothing but a euphemism for non-tolerance. America needs to be alert at all times for islamic people wanting to do harm.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • G-canada

      What about muslims killing muslims? or doesn't this fit is your stats.

      June 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      to davec: put down the vodka before you post on the Internet. 700,000 Iraqis killed by Americans? That's utterly unfounded, however delightful it seems. If we actually killed 700,000 Iraqis, that's almost three quarters of a million ragheads our security forces don't have to worry about. Stop teasing us with unsupported delusions of spectacular achievement!

      June 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  9. lou

    Frankie, from one Christian to another, we are to pray for and love our fellow man, but our faith will not last very long under a Islamic sharia America, which unfortunately a few of these imams here a preaching.
    The sword has a powerful effect of conversion to infidels or unbelievers.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  10. K

    all religions are a bunch of crap, Christians 700 years ago were what the Muslims are today

    But the Muslims are still in that "Kill in the name of Allah" Brainwashed Religious phase

    Sadly I have a feeling things will get alot worse before the Muslims become less aggressive

    June 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • Joesph

      Hey K
      Study your history The Cursades were becuase of 100 years of muslims on the war path!
      "When people talk as if the Crusades were nothing more than an aggressive raid against Islam, they seem to forget in the strangest way that Islam itself was only an aggressive raid against the old and ordered civilization in these parts. I do not say it in mere hostility to the religion of Mahomet; I am fully conscious of many values and virtues in it; but certainly it was Islam that was the invasion and Christendom that was the thing invaded."
      G K Chesterton

      June 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • OK_Overknowledge

      YOU should study your history Joseph! Study your history about Crusades, about the torture the Jewish people were in during Christian Rule. The Roman Catholic Church stated that to war against the "Infidels" was an act of Christian penance. If a believer was killed during a crusade, he would bypass purgatory, and be taken directly to heaven. Christians’ were forced to go to war for the sake of the Pope! WOW, SEEMS like history repeats itself...just with a different religion and a different Religious leaders “So called” Islamic Imams! Learn about how the Jews and Muslims were treated when the Christians overtook Jerusalem during the Crusades! Learn about Salauddin, Learn about King Richard.

      Learn about the Golden Age of Jewish Culture in Spain, which lasted from around 700 AD to 1492. An Era where Jewish cuslture was at its prime in the AD era. An era where Muslims and Jews and Christians co-existed as peacefully as possible and accomplished GREAT things in Art, Science, you name it! This era came to an end during the Age of Christian Spain when the Edict of Expulsion was issued by the Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. During this era, ALL Jews and Muslims were forced to convert or die!
      The Jews were NOT persecuted in the hands of Muslims for over a thousand years. Lets reflect this to now: Many people living today have witnessed and even were part sort of acts of intolerance The Nazi regime and the massacre of Jews happened in the lives of most grandparents or parents, the Segregation and cruelty against Blacks in America happened in our lives and our parents, now: the Terrorist acts by so-called Muslims happening now! Its like guys! You all got along fine! What the heck went wrong?!?!
      Now in this Era, So called Muslims are promoting evil in the world by hurting the innocent distorting the words by Quoting Hadiths Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim which were written 200 yrs AFTER Mohammad and the revelation of the Quran.
      If anyone believes that one Religion tops another is wrongfully mistaken. It is not the teachings of Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, Confucius, or any other pious person that causes such evil and hatred, it is you that creates this because humans, as you can see from this forum and throughout history LOVE to hate! Read the Bible, read the Quran, read the Tanak ( the Old Testament which includes the Torah) all in their entirety. Read the Baghavad Gita, Teachings of Confucious! After you created a solid foundation, then consider hating another person....it will not happen because in order for these religions to have reached such vasteness....evil was abolished. ALSO: People would then focus on the similarities rather than the differences.
      Now I get why people are so evil, pople are just lazy to learn the reality of things but instead only require a glimpse to make a hasteful and potentially deadly decision : But no onese will go study the roots of anything.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • PAUL

      it is extremely dangerous to bring any more into the country, we want a system same as the netherlands are viying for, no more islamics, they were cheering the terrorists on, until they realize that they are looseing and all of a sudden now they are the most peacefull people on the earth, a decision has to be made, bring in more in the near future will plunge this country into civil war, then what about your family , you are going to end the same as afghanistan and iraq, forget this guy and his so called research,

      June 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  11. Woodrow

    If the Moslem religion is so peaceful why do Moslems kill innocent people around the World Daily under the name of Allah ?
    Why don't you peaceful Moslems Speak out against these tragedies around the world. We do not hear you denouncing this kind of hate against innocent people. You keep quiet on these issues as if you condone these tragedies. From what I see Moslems are creating Hate and death all around the World. If you disagree please tell me why ?
    As far as charities goes I think that is a petty complaint compared to what you should be doing or saying in light of all other tragedies under the name of Allah......

    June 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  12. Carl

    arelene,

    True, radicals of many religions have perioidcially "hijacked" the fundamental beliefs and tenets and turned them into weapons. Christiantiy conducted Crusades the "liberate" the "Holy Land" and secure the Holy Grail (which was probably jsut pottery). Romans conducted the slaughter of Christians to placate their gods. The Egyptian Pharoahs threw the Hebrews out of Egypt believeing them to be sources of the various natural plagues that beset them.

    The principal difference I see in the radical Islamists is the willingness to slaughter innocent bystanders of their own faith along with the so-called infidels who do not accept Islam. I can't find anything in Christian teaching calling for non-believers to be killed, even the Inquisition would burn heretics at the stake. The Christian Church of the iddle ages more often coerced under threat of excommunication and eternal damnation. Jews would ostracize or completely ignore non-Jews and sometimes stone offenders of their own laws. None of these seem particularly directed at outsiders

    We harbor fear of Islam's followers because they have not as a group spoken out loudly against the misuse of their religious principles. Islam does not seem to have any central authority that can be cited as the official repository of Islamic doctrine, leaving them with rule by local imams or the most charismatic teacher.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Jason

    "Where is the outrage from the moderate Muslims during these key moments"

    Muslims in Middle Eastern countries (and I've been there) ask me the same thing: they ask... where's the outrage when the devoutly Christian George W Bush (who came into power on the backs of the Evangelicals) bombed a country to the stone age for WMD's that did not exist, killing over 100,000 innocent Muslims as "collateral damage" in the process? Unfortunately, when such arguments are presented, I'm left speechless. We view ourselves as spreading freedom and democracy – they view us as Crusaders bent on killing as many Muslims as we possibly can.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • sc

      Jason,

      To answer your question; there was complete outrage and demonstration against those attacks. The political balance of our Congress shifted as a direct result. People took to the streets, municipalities penned, although useless, edicts denouncing the war. I saw, and see, none of this in the Muslim community. Just wagon circles and outward finger pointing. Terms such as racists, profilers, hate mongers, and etc. hurled. We ousted many that supported GWB. We elected to the Oval Office the only dissenting vote in the Senate for war, BHO. Americans showed on many fronts how they felt and feel about unnecessary lives lost. I don't see any end to the "martyrs" and I don't see any end to blaming. This article was written by a person with a pre-conceived notion of muslim discontent and mistrust. The class he took details it.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Biznooch

      There was outrage when Bush bombed Irad back to the stoneage, there were many protests and we used the ballot to show our displeasure with the politicans. However the muslims are always silent, sitting on their hands or covering their mouths in silent support for the killing of innocent people around the world. Muslims have lost the trust not only of Americans but many in the west and I doubt they can ever get it back.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Concerned

      "Muslims in Middle Eastern countries (and I've been there) ask me the same thing: they ask... where's the outrage when the devoutly Christian George W Bush (who came into power on the backs of the Evangelicals) bombed a country to the stone age for WMD's that did not exist, killing over 100,000 innocent Muslims as "collateral damage" in the process? Unfortunately, when such arguments are presented, I'm left speechless. We view ourselves as spreading freedom and democracy – they view us as Crusaders bent on killing as many Muslims as we possibly can."

      There is a key difference here Jason. When we invaded we did it because we believed that there were WMDs that could wipe out millions of people. We did not go in because Jesus told us to or for any other religious reason. If it had been a fundamentalist Christian group that held a nuke we would have done the same thing. We did not do it in the name of our God we did it in the name of humanity.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Darth Vader

      "they view us as Crusaders bent on killing as many Muslims as we possibly can."

      They must all be monumentally stupid then. If we wanted to kill as many muslims as we can, we have "tools" at our disposal that make that job very easy. Frankly, I do not trust anyone who believes in mythical beings, be they christian, muslim or jew.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Zolid

      @Concerned
      So, you went to Iraq in the name of humanity?! What a balderdash! You went to Iraq in the name of oil and with the encouragement of the Pro-Israel lobbies like AIPEC. [Jim Moran, Democratic Congressman: “(AIPEC had been) pushing the (Iraq War) from the beginning." His comments appeared in the Tikkun magazine].

      June 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      WMDs that didn't exist? Really?

      1. Fifty 18-wheel trucks loaded to the ceiling with canisters of nerve gas, hidden somewhere in Iraq, roughly equates to an individual pack of cigarettes hidden somewhere in Los Angeles. A paltry few of our service personnel were even looking for them. Beyond the fact that any WMDs could have been smuggled out to another country or simply remain unfound as yet does not surprise me in the least.

      2. What on Earth makes you think that if WMDs were found, the public would be told? Read Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, von Clauswitz or Miyamoto Musashi on how warfare is conducted. Rule #1 is secrecy. You don't broadcast to your enemy that you have uncovered his secret stash of weapons.

      Go back to your playpen and keep pretending you have a clue what's going on in this world.

      June 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  14. digger

    Every ethnic and religious minority in this country has been subjected to some form of inhuman treatment at one time or another. The ability for new Amercans to overcomie that treatment is the essence of this nation.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Matt

    You wrote...."I was shocked to see the challenges American Muslims are facing, from kids beaten up and called terrorists at school to people incarcerated without charge and subjected to inhuman treatment and mosques being firebombed. " That is B.S. Total B.S. You want to be shocked......go research you're little project in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan. Take a look at those societies. Islam is a total crock. Go do a little Christian and Jewish research in those countries, then come tell me how bad they got it here.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Sallaj

      so kids aren't being beaten up and people wrongly incarcerated?

      June 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Dave

      Yes, but that doesn't negate the author's point. Shouldn't America strive to be better, and not simply say, "well, they're worse sometimes, and in some places, so whatever we do is ok". Anger is not the way out of this problem.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • michael Quinn

      Did you ever visit Pakistan, Iran or Saudia Arabia? Do not look at the media eyes. Media in US is spreading the hate. Do you really know the definition of true and real CHRISTIAN? After the Cold war we have to find a foe and we are very much sucessful in finding an enemy which is Islam? You need to improve your history by reserching yourself not by listing to media only... You can find good and bad people in any religion. We should not blame a Religion because we do not have the true knowledge....about that particular religion. How come a Christian Preist or a Jewish Rabbi know more than about islam than their own Scholars and Vice Versa. Religion is always been a reason for Wars will be, so do not lose your breath on judging other people and religions... If people in America show the same sentiments like peolpe in Middle East than what is the difference between them and US. Just think about it....

      June 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  16. Denise

    I wish you go to muslim countries where Christians were being cruelly persecuted, and see if they will allow you to investigate. Case in point, 200 chrisitan churches destroyed in malaysia by muslims last year.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Xugos

      That's not a theological problem. In many countries, such as Pakistan, Christians are treated better than even muslim-minorities such as the persecuted Ahmadiyya sect. Iran is another example of this.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • davec

      Denise, so what is the point you are trying to make? That since 'they' persecute we should also?

      June 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Guest

      "Iran is another example of this."
      So what you are saying is that the shinning example of Muslim equality is a totalitarian theocracy that persecutes any one who speaks against islamic law and its supreme leader. It is true that back during the Ottoman empire minority religions were treated well, but wake up to the 21st century. There is no place for tolerance in the modern islamic states, that's not an opinion that is a fact. I am not saying that all muslims are intolerant people, in fact I've never had a bad individual expirience with someone who believes in Islam, but this does not detract from the fact that nearly every single governement controlled by islam show no love of liberty, freedom, and justice. Talk to any religious minorites fleeing from Iran and you'll get the real picture.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • Ligaya

      Davec, No its not what Denise is trying to pint out, I beleive so. Just like what Pope Benedict XVI told the visiting king of Saudi Arabia to Vatican, "We hope you can also be as generous to us Christians in Muslim countries as we Christian to Muslims." Maening the Pope hopes that the king and other Muslim countries will allow Christian minorities in their country to worship freely and build their churches without any repurcussion.Becasue right now its the opposite is what is happening in all Muslim countries.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Karim Azeb

      "Ligaya" – the fact that you quoted the Pope, the same pope who refuses to take action against those priests who molested children and who acted to help cover it up, shows your a brain washed christian. Clearly you have visited any muslim countries because you don't know anything of the "persecution" that goes on their. Thats not to say that some of the more strict muslim countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia) don't oppress christians but lets not be so naive as to fall into the trap of "christian persecution.' Because lets face facts, throughout history and today, Christianity is the least oppressed religion but also the one who has practiced the most oppression. So no more of this christian innocence crap. Muslims countries aren't doing anything nearly as bad to their christian minorities as Hitler did to the jews, Americans did to blacks, and what happened to the muslims in Bosnia, all scenarios where the US sat idly by and let it all happen. Oh an also what the Christians did to the Muslims AND Jews during the Crusades.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • Jon

      Xugos, to what news sources do you attribute that idocy. You are dead wrong, amigo.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • joseph

      and mosques are being attacked here by christians. all over the country.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Dennis Pence

      Karim Azeb,

      Point in question. Is a Christian free to worship in Saudi Arabia? Answer – NO. My brother was a dentist to the Royal Family and spent 16 years there. As the personal dentist to the king for the last several years, he was finally permitted to have a copy of the Bible on his laptop, but had to keep it in his residence. I do not fear Islam or Muslims, I know that God will settle all of this. I am amazed that people want to talk about the "number" of Muslims in the world, like "more is better". The Bible plainly teaches Christians that "straight is the gate and narrow is the way" to the kingdomof heaven. "Few" will enter in. Catholics should also be concerned as well as many other Christians. The Bible also tells us that "many will say to Him. Lord, Lord, – didn't we cast out demons and heal the sick in your name?" His answer – Depart from Me – I never knew you". If you don't have a relationship with God (a personal relationship) and accept His Son – I would be very concerned about the life hereafter.

      June 13, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  17. arlene J Pearlman

    Alan wrote that "Islamic militants have hijacked--" (see his comment), Agreed. But will you agree that militants in Christianity and Judaism have done the same thing? Each group has, to its own detriment and diminishment , combined religion with politics. It is a toxic mix. Those who stand on the side-lines, of each of these 3 faiths, is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.
    We ALL need to speak out and stand up to the fundamenalists – wherever they are in our country.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Tim

      actually i don't agree. to bundle islam with other religions, using it as a poster child against faith, is downright illogical. modern Christianity has done so much for the community, the poor, lost and weak around the world. open up your eyes!

      June 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Prince

      Tim: Modern Christians help poor in other countries to convert them. Muslims are doing the same thing by force which Christians are doing in the name of help. If you don't believe me, educate yourself.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Ever hear the vile hate coming from the 700 club? They dress it up nice, but it is there.

      June 14, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  18. Alan Robbins

    I, as well as most Americans would love nothing more than to live in peace with all faiths. Unfortunately, some Islamic militants have hijacked their faith and twisted it into a hateful, violence-inspiring tool of political change. The problem arises when Muslims worldwide fail to decry the slaughter their brethren commit in the name of their religion; against Americans or any other nation. When Americans hear about murders over a satirical cartoon/essay or violent demonstrations over a book, then we become concerned. Where is the outrage from the moderate Muslims during these key moments. Where is the shouting, angry protests and fundraising when Americans are blown up overseas or Muslims are slaughtered wholesale in Iraq and Afghanistan. This lack of disgust/protest sows distrust

    June 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • SDJ

      Where is the outcry from moderate muslims, all of you ask? It's in their blood. Radical, twisted terrorists have killed more Muslims than followers of any other faith. Why don't Muslims fight, you say? They are, but you just refuse to see it.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • mitchyj

      Alan Robbins nailed it. While the majority of Muslims, I'm sure are good people, why haven't they and their imans shown more public outrage. You're either against the terrorists or with them. Which is it?

      June 11, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • Ligaya

      SDJ

      Moderate Muslims is a myth. There is no such thing as moderate Muslims.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tsunami

      Man there is a lot of islam bashing on this site. I am an american muslim woman so please allow me to speak up as one of the (many) peaceful muslims. Many of us do speak out against violent muslims who are giving the religion a bad name. The media doesn't give a lot of coverage to this, but they give extensive coverage to the minority of muslims who are extremists. Which can be found in any religion.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ebs NE

      I have to agree with the viewpoints that express concerns about so called moderate Muslims not decrying the extremists enough. Americans don't want to discriminate but we don't want to be fools either, when we know there is an undeniable threat from Muslim Americans, albeit it a very small number. The best solution would be those moderate Muslims fighting to loudly and fiercely fight the seeds of extremism in their own communities. It would help build wider trust and also keep all Americans safer. Of course some Muslim Americans already do this but far more keep quiet and therefore seemingly complacent with the more extremist views. At the same time, non-Muslim Americans have to stand up against injustices to their fellow Americans who are Muslims. We are guilty of many injustices to Muslims as well and we need to ackowledge this as well to begin to build greater trust.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • sfa

      I am not sure if anyone should care about moderate Muslim or not. What everybody should be scared of is Modern Muslim, modern muslims like Osama bin Laden and Taliban. If they believed in original Quranic Islam and it's spirit like their forefathers did, instead of skewed upside down version introduced quite recently by Abu Ala Maududi which was further criminalized by his followers like Syed Qutb (mentor of Osama), we wouldn't have any problems that we have today. Islam in it's core is religion of peace. It brought peace to war ridden Arab peninsula at it's time. The only wars that were ordained by God were against direct deniers of message of God, as it has been ordained to rejectors of Noah and other prophets (sometimes by natural disaster and sometime by swords of believers, if the are in position and have power to implement it). This law deactivates itself as the generation of prophet dies. It would be a blunder and total negligence from way of all monotheistic religions to generalize these very specific law many generations later.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • CrystalClear

      I think the problem is that people refuse to see the outrage and disgust and condemnation that moderate Muslims DO express about the outrages that go on. People won't open a newspaper if all they covered was singing kumbaya, they'd rather open a newspaper that has lots of violence. The peaceful Muslims are there in greater numbers than the few extremists, just some people refuse to open their eyes and look around and see them. I once attended a lecture by a Muslim speaker; he was going to be interviewed on a major late night show, but then they decided not to interview him. Inside sources told him it was because he wasn't "controversial enough". Only controversy gets covered. It's just the way it works, unfortunately.

      June 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • John F

      Muslims in America are very well aware of the fanatical hatred that is directed towards them here in their own country. Just read the comments attached to any CNN story regarding Islam. The prejudice is withering. Please remember that Muslims are just regular, ordinary people. They have families and jobs, they watch baseball games and have picnics, they try to keep up with their mortgages, they attend their kid's graduations, they worry about social influences on their children regarding drugs, sex, and the like. If they were to stand up to defend the principles and teaching of Islam, what do you think would happen? They and their children would become magnets for the hate and abuse of the angry, biased masses. Is that what you (an ordinary citizen just like them) would do?
      We cannot blame the victims of hate for being targets of an uninformed and angry mob.

      June 14, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  19. Bobby

    So what about the radical brainwashing and Teaching hate to Muslims here in the United States.

    Muslims Get involved turn them in.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Brain

      What about the radical brainwashing and teaching hate that christians like Pat Robertson do?

      June 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • meanders123

      Nice touch there, Brain. Are you referring to his comments about God smiting the Haitians with the earthquake because they allegedly swore a pact with the devil a couple hundred years ago?

      June 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Joe

      What about the Crusades was that not Christians killing the Muslims, and how about collateral damage is that not killing innocent people, and most of the time they don’t take the blame which makes people mad and want to seek revenge. Anyways most Muslims now a days are not real Muslims they have become just as lost as the Christians and Jews leaving their religion, GOD and Prophet behind for the things in this temporary world. Which I don't understand, this life is short we all know we have to die one day but we work harder for this life which maybe will last for a 100 years if we are lucky then the afterlife which will last for eternity. Its like GOD saying I will give you 1 day in this earth to do whatever you want but if u don’t do the things I ask you to do there will be major consequences and a lot of suffering or u do what he wants and the rest of the eternity do whatever u want with no consequences or pain and suffering. Sounds pretty strait forward and simple to me.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • bluenote

      @ Joe: That's funny, because it sounds like total fiction to me.

      June 13, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Nite Shayde

      Joe, you need to go back and look at your history books (and I don't mean the ones with the pretty pictures) regarding the Crusades. They were very much there to kill "heretics and non-believers" and to secure the Holy Land for Christendom. That included wiping out the Persians and the Moors who were fighting for the same exact thing under the Muslim Crescent Moon. Try again.

      Christian history is rife with violence done in the name of God. The crusades, the Inquisitions, "witch hunts", at al. The Bible calls for the death of non-believers:

      Deuteronomy 17, Exodus 22:19 & 20, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 13:7-19, Jeremiah 48:10, Deuteronomy 18:20, Mark 6:11, 2 John 1:10 (shunning of non-Christians), Romans 16:17, 1 John 2:22,

      Yes, Christianity is so peaceful and accepting of others. I love cherry picking Christians. Funny how everyone wonders why I think any religion is for sheep and lemmings who can't think for themselves.

      June 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • bluenote

      @ Joe, again: Perhaps you've heard of the Trail of Tears? Maybe the Spanish Inquisition? Are you aware of what the Christians did to Mexico? And yes, the Crusades. These are just four of literally hundreds of events (parties?) that Christians threw to surprise Non-Christians through the ages. Your religion of Peace and Love came with a HEFTY pricetag, ie "Believe what we tell you to believe, or die where you stand". Christianity has proven itself to be, in it's two thousand year existence, a most UN-peaceful, hate-filled, and violently controlled religion. If there is truly a Jesus in the sky, I can assure you that he's absolutely disgusted with the behavior of his followers, who have decided to do whatever they want in His name, whether or not He would approve. If there really is a Hell, I'm sure it's filled with these Christians, and waiting patiently for more. Lucky for me, I don't believe any of that crap.

      June 14, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Ric

      We do speak against those like Pat Robertson Brain, ..Without fear of being beheaded.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The extremism of the religion, makes all non-Muslims very concerned about having Muslims in our midst. We have now experienced many, many instances, of where Muslims who seemed like nice people.......really were not. It is an uneasy situation.

    June 11, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Xugos

      And I can agree with your weariness, which is why I try to open up and keep healthy relationships with my neighbors as a muslim.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Prometheus

      yes, and Islam is a political movement with a goal of Theocracy even more than it is a religion. We Americans don't like Islam cause it has no conception of Separation of Church and State, only Sharia religious law instead of 100% secular law like the U.S. and other western democracies...Islam badly needs a reformation

      June 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • MM

      Rick brings up an interesting point, as inaccurate and misguided as it is. Has anyone ever stepped outside the media's forced-down-our-throats perspective of the threat from "Islam", to look at the actual facts? On average, about 15,000 Americans die annually from homicide (US Bureau of Justice). If you take the last 10 years, that's 150,000 homicides. What percentage of these deaths are due to Muslims (granted it is at least 2% accounting for 9/11)? What percentage are due to drunk drivers? Isn't alcohol prohibited in Islam? The facts and stats will easily show that you have a much greater chance of dying at the hands of a non-Muslim.

      Instead of buying into false hype and sensationalism, as an American, I believe it is our responsibility to learn the truth about Islam. The principles and ideals of Islam are far from "extreme". Islam teaches humility, moderation, and devotion to God.

      Unfortunately, there are deviants in this world that falsely carry the flag of Islam. I'm not saying that we don't continue to work to put an end to terrorism. What I am saying is that there are a much greater number of non-muslim deviants that live amongst us.

      So open your eyes and ears before you put an undeserved label on Islam.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • Dawn

      Sorry MM, but you've been given the 'special' kool-aid. It's ok, I thought the same way until I actually looked into it and didn't just go from what people tell me.
      Go read the Quran. They're all about peace and humility and such... unless you don't believe in their religion, and then it's ALL fiery doom, and fighting the devils who don't believe in their religion.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • tedon

      Welcoming Muslims is exactly what the Europeans did, and now they are paying a high price – their nations are hyjacked by angry mob abusing the locals and their welfare systems.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Eye Salve

      I agree with Rick, mitchyj, Ligaya among others. Also the writers view is clearly slanted stating, "who cited the Prophet" demonstrating that he is in fact a Muslim himself. If Islamic religion is a religion of peace they sure don't prove it by their actions. They want to convert the world to Islam, have Islamic states without personal freedom and if you dont agree then you dont have a right to breathe the good air of the earth and they prove that time and time again.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • LCS

      extremism in any way is bad. christians are not all good people either...hello westboro baptist church. tim mcvey was not muslim, but he blew up a building and killed hundreds of people including kids.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • MM

      Dawn – Thanks for proving my point and ignoring my first paragraph. I'm sure you did an awesome and impartial job of looking into it.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Leo

      And yet I find myself similarly concerned about the extremism of various Christian sects. Why should I feel safe with them in my midst? They're hateful, intolerant, judgmental, and sometimes violent against those with different beliefs. Many Christians are indeed charitable and compassionate, but there are enough of the bad apples... so why should I feel safe with so many Christians around? They could turn out to be gay-bashers, Muslim-haters, anti-Semites, or Pagan-haters! The ones prancing around as Catholic priests might be pedophiles!

      Seriously, stop pointing fingers at Islam. Christianity is just as guilty.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • NM

      Where are the so-called moderate, peaceful Muslims when their children are being married to 45 year old pedophiles and then beaten into submission. I think it's sick. If any sort of Sharia Law is allowed here, like it has been in Europe, we are all at fault. To be an American is to act like an American, not be in America and act like a Muslim.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • VG

      Issue here being that you really can't tell who a Muslim is. I for one am a Puerto Rican, Half Irish, 18th generation american, son of a vietnam veteran, grandson of a WWII veteran, and former United States Marine Drill Instructor and I don't need to be validated by any of you to prove my patriotism. I am also a proud Muslim and challenge anyone to prove to me that just by being a Muslim I am automatically anti American. I have four daughters and you have no idea how I choose to raise them just because you know what religion I follow. Atheists can choose not to believe, and I do not chastise them. Christians who follow the whole bible beleive that it is shameful for women to speak in church (1 corinthians) and yet I do not accuse them of crimes against women. And I refuse to be lumped in with some idiots who cliam to be Muslims just becuase some of you say that we are all the same.

      I will follow the letter of Islam with or without the "Muslims". Whre are your stereotypes getting you with me?

      June 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
    • meanders123

      Timothy McVeigh probably seemed like a nice guy, too. Way to judge the group by the actions of the few. If I were to do that here in Texas, I'd be condemning all the Christians based on the committee that uses its fundamentalists beliefs to force BS science and history on our public schoolchildren.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • Karima

      Coming together in the USA is wonderful, a beautiful thing. I enjoy learning from alll cultures and learning the differences between Christianity and Muslim beliefs, however in this country we have "free religion" Try go over to their country and going to church. This is nearly impossible...or you will be harrassed for your beliefs. Please do more research on the religions before judging. Although Mohamed tried to copy the bible (the people of the book) the meaning has been changed and the two religions are not the same. As christians, WE DO NOT say out loud...in the name of Jesus Christ(difference allah akbar), and then push a button to blow people up. We are not killers, and we do not punish or hurt people because of our religious beliefs. As Christians, we "welcome love and we welcome togetherness, and we welcome GOD's LOVE. Have you ever read the Quran? Get a quran translation and you will see what "appears' to be a lot ofsimilarities but totally different teachings and meanings. As Christians, the book of life is exactly what it means, the book of life and we have all the tools of life and love in our book. The bible is one big love story...GOD's love story for his children, and hurting each other no matter what religion or color you are, are against everything that GOD does not want us to do. He wants us to get along and love each other, marry each other and respect each other. Division is not what GOD whats or expects of us. It is our responsibility to share GOD'S LOVE to others. In the bible are all kinds of experiences that we all can learn from. War events, love events, learning from the prophets and their experiences and the list goes on and on. But if you really have done your research and homework in the bible first, please read REVELATION 22:18-19, and you will know for sure what is true and not true. This life is a test, and we must make sure that not matter what that WE LOVE EACH OTHER, the quran speaks differently about non-muslims. Its ok to embrace other cultures and beliefs, its christians rule to love our enemy. But GOD also said don't be no fool and the devil can be deceiving.

      June 11, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Arthur robins

      There ar NOT two sides to this story! There are NOT two sides to Islam. Christ, Christianity, The BIBLE teach people to love their enemy, as hard as that is. Christians may sometimes fail at this, but THAT IS THE TEACHING. MOSLEMS ARE TAUGHT TO KILL THEIR ENEMY! BEHEAD THEM, DESTROY THEM. That is the Koran, and that is their teaching. A Moslem who does not do this is a bad Moslem according to Mohammed's teachings! EXTREME Christians and Moslems are NOT THE SAME

      June 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • CrystalClear

      Rick, you say you've met countless numbers of Muslims who seemed nice but were not. Well, you haven't met me :).

      June 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Yaser

      This was a great article. Being a Muslim myself, i agree with you Rick. There are many "Muslims" who may turn out to be not so good people after all. But isnt that a trend in all religions? I mean no one is perfect. Lets not judge an entire religion based dumb actions of a few. I honestly feel that when this topic is discussed through mainstream media that there is a bias against Islam and Muslims. Some extreme and some borderline. It is in the foundation of Islam to ackowledge and believe in Jesus and Christianity also and Judiasm and Moses. We are not considered Muslims if we dont not believe in these other religions. I love the USA. I was born and raised here on the north side of Chicago, idolizing Michael Jordan and the Bulls as i was growing up. I wont abandon these memories at any price and will not abandon my religion and the respect for other religions at any price as well.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Zolid

      @Arthur robins,
      You are badly mistaken! We Muslims are NOT taught to kill. Extremism is present in all ideologies/religions, and yes they are all the SAME. It is the political turmoil that breeds extremism. Overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful people. Furthermore, terrorism is NOT caused by religion, it is caused by political problems. Sometimes ignorant and hateful people fail to understand this and demonize a great religion.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • Getreal

      Muslims in america should be on edge , after all they have hung back never condemning the bad things their associates have done.  Their silence says a lot about them and no wonder Americans have a bad impression of Muslims and their position

      June 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
    • esker

      All religions are extreme. Judaism was an annihilating force against those against it. Christianity only rose due to Constantine and the fact that the Greco-Roman priests would not condone his need for war. He had an epiphany and Christianity became lawful, and he won his war so suddenly Christianity left the countryside and entered the mainstream because its priests aligned themselves with power. The Islamic religion is 700 years older and while based on the New and Old Testament affirms their guy is the real guy, as did Christianity to Judaism. Thus, it is no surprise to find extremism in this religion. To suggest Islam is somehow different from the norm is silly. To suggest that one prophet knows all is culturally indicative of one's upbringing. If the only thing you know or are allowed to read is the Koran, the Bible, then it sure is the word on all things, because it is.

      June 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • raajaa

      they were christians who killed 4million jew people...for being a jewish...as muslim we believe islam religion can only spread in a peacely manner...such such as traveling across the world to preach to non muslim to make them understand what islam religion is , that is the only right way of life...and also that practicing in ISLAM is the only way u can be safe from the hell fire...after death..how ever if u see the religion dabates that takes place between muslim and non mulsims...maney non muslim converts to ISLAM after the debate ends...wich reflecting the rightiesness of islam religion...when non of the muslims converts to christian or any any other religion....EXMAPLE swez convervative politician who campained for banning musques and succeeded in 2008...recited QUR'AN and to debate againest ISLAM...converts to islam....as he said " islam gives me the answers of many importent questions to the live...and believe or not he is now building the biggest musques in EUROPIAN countries, he is also campaigning to restore musque mura's, that he ones compaigned to bane.

      June 12, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • tia

      I can say the same about Jewish people or Catholic because i have a little boy.

      June 12, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • kckaaos

      It is truly amazing how many people think everyone who is not a Jew, Muslim, buhdist etc is a Christian.

      Here's some enlightenment.

      Timothy McVey – Not a Christian
      Adolf Hitler – Not a Christian
      Members of Westbro – Not Christians

      Christians would never do the things these people did/do.

      June 12, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • kckaaos

      @ esker

      Islam is NOT older than Christianity. Mohammad, the founder of Islam, was born in 570. Christianity was founded in ...Well 0

      As for the rest of your rant...Show us a link. Otherwise it s made up too.

      June 12, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Gary

      Muslim is not a violent religion, extremist manipulate the words of the Kuran to fit their needs. Not all muslims are of Arab origin either, there are plenty of white and black Muslims in America. I would rather live next to a person that practices the Muslim religion, rather than one of those creeps (American Protestants, from Kansas) who go around the country protesting at military funerals for those who died in Iraq or Afghanistan. This is America, free speach, free religion.....Or maybe people forgot.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      Seems like you are relying on the media. How many Muslims do you actually know?

      June 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • vl

      Pakisthan had about 22% hindus when it separated from India.Now there are only about 2% and they live in fear all the time.Force is the norm in Islamic culture and their history.It is hard to trust.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • WPalmer

      "many many instances"? Out of the billion or so Muslims in this world? How is it "Many"

      Certainly, one terrorist attack is too much, but to have this mass hysterical xenophobia against Muslims is just crazy. Americans and even many European are losing their minds.

      I'm an American who lives in Europe. I have been foolish to think that people can actually differentiate between those that are extremist and those that are just normal people like their American or European counterparts.

      June 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Michael M.

      Some of these respones make me completely ashamed to be an American. So many seem like all they do is listen to the hype and doom of "Infotainment" provided by major news corps to garner viewer rates.

      The facts are really quite simple. Islam is a very, very big religion, with over a billion followers. Many of these followers aren't even located in the Middle East, but spread throughout the world. They lead peaceful, perfectly happy lives with everyone around them and you'd never know they were Muslim unless you asked them point blank.

      The extremists are very few. Far fewer than 1% of Muslims, and yet the blanket statements here would make any decent person cringe.

      Blind hatred. Hatred founded on a lack of experience or understanding of fellow humans is the worst any person can possibly be, and no nationality or religion will make it otherwise. Osama has blind hatred for Americans – he cannot see that amongst the corporate swindlers and bought politicians are decent folk living their lives in a good way. To retain a blind hatred towards Muslims makes you no better than those you hate, it brings you much closer to being them.

      I see Muslims walking peacefully every single day. They ride my bus, go to my classes, shop at my stores, and laugh at my jokes. I do not fear them. I do not fear them any ounce more than I fear other human beings because I understand that they are no different from me. Their biology is the same as mine. My DNA has mixed with theirs however many generations back, and at some point, we were brother and sister.

      The distorted concept of superiority based upon nationality or religion is what's to fear. It's the coward's call to arms because it's much easier to hate believe the words other people tell you than to form thoughts of your own. It's easier to fight someone else's battles because they told you to than to sit down with your supposed "enemy" and find common ground.

      In short, it's easier to let someone have power over you and relieve yourself of responsibility, than to retain your independence and forge ahead according to your own understanding of the world. Blind hatred – like some of what's been written here – is not the work of a man determined to rid the world of evil. It's not the work of a person who sets out to save lives. Blind hatred is the work of a coward.

      June 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • bluenote

      The issue seems to be more with religion in general. Islam is not the peaceful, loving religion that some would have you believe. But neither is Christianity. Religion in general is nothing but a power play. Back when the planet was disrupted, and countries could not communicate easily with each other... Back when the world was 'flat' and it rained because God said it should rain, and people walked on water, religion was a very powerful tool. But now we have the internet, and we know about explosions in Kandahaar before the smoke even clears. We are a planet of people so well-informed that the need for religion is becoming smaller and smaller every day. I do not believe in ANY religion, nor do I respect the dogmas of any given religion. Christianity, the 'peaceful' religion, has enslaved, killed and tortured countless millions in its' quest to become as big as it now is. Islam is doing the exact same thing that Christianity ddi so many years ago... Unfortunately, so many of its' followers are not up to speed in the tech world, so they feel the need to preach with explosives and suicide. Oh well, more stupid sheep being led to slaughter. If you want REAL peace in your life, reject ALL religion for the sham that it clearly is. Religion is the easiest way for those in power to keep a rope around your neck, insure their income, and have you do their bidding. Wake up, it's all fake.

      June 13, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • FYi

      There have been 16,000 terror attacks in the name of Islam since Sept, 11th 2001. Just in the month of May 2010 there were 180 people killed and 1600 critically injured in terror attacks in the name of Islam all over the world, not to mention the several failed terror attempts.

      Islamic terror is not an isolated problem. It's NOT a handful of "crazies" or psycho's. It is an entire culture that makes up 20% of the population of the world. About 1.4 billion people. All those people read the same book and follow the same beliefs.

      The Qur'an teaches intolerance and hate. It teaches that Christians and Jews and anyone else that is a non-Muslim is an enemy, and infidel. It teaches to be friendly to the face of their enemy while hating them in your heart and to undermine them any time you can. It teaches that when you face a strong enemy that it's ok to become part of their society while you wait for your chance to gain power or advantage then to strike out against them.

      Sure Muslims will tell you Islam is a religion of peace. They absolutely believe it because they have been brainwashed and convinced by the Qur'an and those who teach them.The Qur'an clearly states there will be peace...once all of the infidels have been killed or converted and that is whats going on in our world right now. One of the ways the Qur'an states to spead Islam is by terrorizing the infidels so they feel compelled to convert. Ring a bell?

      Peace? How can Islam spread peace when even the most devout followers can't even have peace among themselves in their own countries?

      Even discussing Islam in a public forum risks our lives. Does that make sense? A peaceful religion that is so afraid of scrutiny they will kill anyone that discusses their holy book or questions or even mentions Mohammed? How peaceful is it when a cartoonist who draws a depiction of Mohammed is threatened to be killed or a volunteer teacher who took her time and passion to teach to Africa only to have to fly home on a military flight heavily protected by armed guards because her African students named a Teddy Bear Mohammed and she had 1/2 the Islamic world after her head for that!?

      The more I read from the Quran and the more I hear about the daily attacks on innocent people and the threats and acts of violence against others...the more I am convinced that Islam is a dangerous religion of evil and violence that thrives on fera and ignorance. Look around at the daily violence and the people commiting it. They are all mentally or emotionally disturbed and is it any coincidence they follow Islam too?

      If you disagree, prove it to me. Tell me the last time and Islamic country has offered peace to a non-islamic country. Perhaps you can tell us the last time an Islamic country has offered aid to a non-islamic country during a time of tragedy. Did Iran send money to help the people in Chile after the massive earth quake?

      When the planes hit the world trade towers did the Muslim world decry the tragedy or did they quietly rejoice. Most openly rejoiced in the streets shouting "Down with America!!, Down with the Infidels!" They had struck at the heart of their enemy, us. They hurt us. They hurt the world. Now they want a Mosque at the site to mark their triumph. Disgusting.

      They used the freedom, tolerance and acceptance of America to become educated and to plan their attack against the U.S., their biggest enemy. They took advantage of our way of life to kill thousands of our people and their whole Muslim world rejoiced and laughed and cheered. That's peaceful? No. Were those packed streets in the middle east full of the handful of psychos that were responsible?

      I am all about tolerance and acceptance until it is used against us to take advantage and to hurt others. We have to stop catering to the Muslim world. We have to stop playing games. We can no longer allow them to dictate our rules to us. We have to stop making excuses for them and allowing them to take advantage and to burrow themselves into our culture and our society in an attempt to ruin in and transform it into their version of a peaceful Nation. An Islamic Nation.

      If you are looking to belong to a peaceful religion, get more information about Buddism. You never hear about Buddists attacking or killing people in the name of Buddism because it doesn't happen. It goes against the entire principle of that religion: to respect all life. Islam is inherently flawed and can never be a religion of peace beacuse their holy book teaches violence and intolerance.

      June 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • pango

      Islam is the only religion in the entire universe that encourages and rewards killing, especially of Non-islamic people. And the idiot bush used to say religion of peace! Face the truth, they will not stop until all infidels are subjugated or even better, exterminated! Feed the the crocodile and hope it eats you last!

      June 14, 2010 at 2:52 am |
    • illinois49

      I remember travelling to London, England in the mid-1990s and was disturbed by so many Muslim women wearing the burga. I have lived all over the USA, including NYC, DC and near Chicago. Before 911, i NEVER noticed any woman wearing a Burga or completely covered. Now even in Champaign, I see them quite frequently. It is as if they are throwing 911 in our face and daring us to say something to them. They need to be aware that their home country would not be as opening to women wearing Western wear. If they want to be accepted as Americans and not looked at as terrorists, maybe they should stop wearing clothing that reminds us that women in the Muslim world are second-class citizens or women who can become terrorists.

      June 14, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • godismahulla

      reading all ur comment gives me an idea of muslim genocide....

      June 14, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • John F

      Islam is not a religion of extremity. Islam is not an extremist political movement. Islam is not a terrorist religion.
      Among those who call themselves Muslims, Christians, and Jews there are extremists and political extremists and terrorists.
      Take a look at the history of your own religion. Just because Catholics in Spain burned Jews for being Jews, does this mean that all Christians supported this? Because Catholics in England were once hunted down and murdered by the state, does this mean that all Christians supported this?

      Lay off the prejudice, already! Out of the millions of crimes being committed each year in America, how many are committed by people who have some level of Christianity in their history? Do Muslims in America create more crime than people with a Jewish Background?

      The extremist religious policies of Iran have targeted my fellow religionists there for a century and a half. We are not allowed to marry there. We are denied an education. Government workers have been ordered to pay back every penny ever earned in salaries. We are accused of spying, of Zionism, of being enemies of God. We are not allowed to meet. We rot in jails because of baseless accusations. (How is a 70 year old illiterate villager a Zionist agent?) Our leadership has repeatedly been murdered – even teenage female sunday school teachers have been hung. The list goes on – and the principles of our faith are those of unity, equality, avoidance of politics, and obedience to government.

      I have ample reason to be angry at religious extremism, but I have absolutely no reason to be angry with Islam because it is not Islam that advocates injustice, hatred, intolerance, or violence. It is and always had been the misguided and narrow misinterpretation of scripture on the part of an unenlightened and powerful few that is the cause of such things.

      As we are reminded by an American professor of islamic studies in a recent Neda video byte, the traditional Arab reference to God is as the most compassionate, whereas extremists, such as those in Iran and Afghanistan, describe a god who is dark, brooding and vengeful – kind of like the way God was portrayed in Christianity over much of the past millennia.

      June 14, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • MeganColorado

      After 9/11 my husband and I actually got a copy of the Koran and read it—we were expecting to find scripture similar to the New Testament. We were wrong. What we read was VERY disturbing. If anyone believes that Islam is a peaceful religion, they need to read the Koran. People can complain about rotten Christians all they want, but nowhere in the New Testament will they find directives to kill those who do not believe as they do. One passage in the Koran says “do not be friends with the Christians and Jews, they are each other’s friend” and another “strike of the heads of the infidels—lie in wait to sneak up behind them.” And if this is a peaceful religion, how come there are passages in the Koran that tell their followers how to divide the booty they get from war. In addition, they are told only to be compromising with Jews and Christians when they are in the minority, but when they have the majority or are in a position of control, they are to be aggressively non-compromising. It is all in the Koran—the play book on how to deal with the infidels, and how to be a Muslim. So, basically what some Muslims would have us believe is that to be an extremist in the Islamic faith means to be reading the Koran and following the directives. Seriously, people can say whatever they want about what they BELIEVE Islam to be, or hope it to be, but everyone, including Muslims, should read the Koran. Then decide if it is even POSSIBLE to call oneself a Muslim and be a “moderate Muslim”—which means exactly what? That they believe that this book is from God only some of the time, and that only some of the verses are valid? Read the book, then decide what you believe Islam to be about.

      June 14, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • jjnc

      So when are you converting to Islam Mr.Martin?

      June 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • Philip

      Let the USA churches build there churches in Muslim couyntries. The Muslims would destroy American churches and any believers

      June 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Hasob

      The place of Islam in American Society is a tricky one. I know from experience that Islam is a very chauvinistic religion and will illogically and violently protect the interests it considers necessary for its expansion and perpetuation. The religion where it a majority religion is interwoven with feudalism and encourages indolence as a means of keeping the flock in line. The most wicked forms of this religion are still practiced today in Saudi, Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia etc.

      June 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • family guy

      im retired military (combat arms )i have no love for islam or the people who practice it . they kill and murder my fellow countrymen and cheer for our deaths ...muslims in american uniform are no longer trusted and have to be watched and are being watched .
      muslims kill their own woman and their children in honer killings have no respect for our way of life and want us change to suit them .
      i think we have done enough bowing to muslims and its time to stop their Immigration here , the first thing we have to do is save america and to do that we must first get rid of the 12th imam , called obama .

      June 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • Matt Krause

      I was unaware that Islam had a monopoly on violence towards unbelievers, until I read Dawn's first comment ("Go read the Quran. They're all about peace and humility and such... unless you don't believe in their religion, and then it's ALL fiery doom, and fighting the devils who don't believe in their religion.").

      I was reading the Bible to my grandmother yesterday, and I could have sworn it was filled with lots of peace and love for Christians, but plenty of violence and other unpleasantries for the unbelievers.

      Matt Krause

      June 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • JT

      Most of todays Muslims seem to be in the same place the Christians were in the days of the Spanish Inquisition however they now have access to weapons of mass destruction. What a combo!! There are extreme elements in most religions today but the majority of people are repulsed by this extremism and hopefully keep the nuts at bay. I don't see this repulsion by the majority of Muslims. Whenever another horror is pepetrated on the west one sees dancing and cheering in the streets of many Muslim nations. Bigoty against the west and Israel is accepted and encouraged by most of its leaders. It is time we realized that it will take centuries before there is any change in the thinking of most Muslims and be prepared for the worst.

      June 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • truthandtruthonly

      Hi Rick McDaniel.

      A very serious fundamental key challenge to true-Islam & its true-Muslims (which only to be expected, Professor Akbar Ahmed did not require frankie Martin to address: Just how Quran 9:29's author-controller (who, very obviously, is also the author-controller of the whole Quran and true-Islam) could ever be holy true Allah, and not gangster Satan.

      The simple question which no Muslim had ever dared to answer, let alone to truthfully answer: Only A) Holy true Allah or B) only bogus-allah evil gangster Satan wud license his followers to permit Jews and Christians who would reject him and his truths to continue to live on, rejecting him and his truths – and to not only be not killed by his followers, but also to be protected by his same followers from getting killed by the same followers – only and only if such Jews and Christians agree to live subdued under his followers, AND do make regular payments of the gangster extortion protection Jizyah money which he demands that such Jews and Christians pay, to his same gangster followers.

      Proved beyond any doubt, by Quran 9:29: The author-controller of Quran 9:29 and, therefore, the whole Quran and true-Islam can only be and is, warring against holy true Allah lying evil gangster Satan; the gangster extortion/protection money loving/demanding/extracting lying evil gangster author-controller of his lying evil gangster true-Islam and Quran.

      Therefore, the critical need to know that every however nice true-Muslim is still a follower under the control of warring against holy true Islam, lying evil gangster Satan – who desperately needs to steal, rob Jeruslalem from Jews and Christians; so as to give "credence" to his lying evil claim, that his lying evil gangster Islam is "the final religion from holy true Allah to the world".

      June 15, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • Willie12345

      Most American's want to have good relationships with their Muslim neighbors, but are fearful themselves. The amount of hate expressed towards the country by the Muslim world makes American's vulnerable. If the Muslim community would express support of the American people and help us overcome our difficulties, trust would be developed.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • WN

      For those of you who want to learn about Islam teachings:

      http://www.submission.org

      Also, Read the Quran. Preferably one that is NOT translated in Saudi Arabia since they add there own interpretations of what the verses mean between parantheses().

      June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Angie

      I understand your concerns but Christians have always been just as extreme. There are still wars going on between Catholics and protestants in Ireland...we validated slavery using the bible, we killed off entire native American tribes because of Christianity, the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition was all due to Christianity. It's not the religion that is extreme, it is certain people. I know Muslims from both Africa and the middle east and they are at war with each other because the Muslims in Africa do not agree with the Jihad...why is this?

      June 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
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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.