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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. Sherri

    Americans should fear Islam. Islam has madeit very clear that their intent IS to take over America and make the entire world Islamic. I have heard them say it many times. Muslims do not want to assimilate. They want to bring their barbaric customs to their new customs. (honor killings are an epidemic in Amsterdam). We never had suicide bombers before Muslims. We never had people flying planes into buildings, making bomb threats or bombing plans etc before Muslims did it. Thay hate western culture. So they need to leave the western hemisphere. Watch the movie The Third Jihad and hear what they want and plan for U.S. In their own words. We have MUCH to fear from them. They have a history of taking over entire countries and forcing the people to become Muslim. That is what they will do here eventually.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • theresa

      You are losing a war of nerves with extremists – which is like allowing a four-year-old to rob a bank with a cap gun.

      They committed atrocity.

      However, they are not remotely powerful enough to impose Sharia law on the United States. Millions of Americans would sacrifice their lives to prevent that.

      They know that. So what they will do is try to make us afraid, to provoke us to do something ugly and unfair. They would just love for us to martyr a few Muslims in this country. They are like Jim Jones, or David Koresh; they WANT to be martyred. It's a kind of victory.

      It's time for some stiff upper lip.

      June 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  2. Red Bambakadis

    OK, what's the common denominator among the following locations:
    Kashmir/India, Russian Caucasus, Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines, Irian Jaya/Indonesia, North/Central Nigeria, Kosovo, Lebanon, Uighur province of China, Eritrea/Ethiopia, ...... you have Islamo-Fascist movements fighting non-Muslims. I didn't even mention Israel/Palestine, I think the West is naive and wrong to assume that the conflict between Islam and the rest of the world (not only the West) would be solved with the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    Wake up, Western world! And, by the way, add half the large cities in Western Europe to the above list within a decade or two. Better arm yourselves.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • theresa

      This is the kind of paranoia that led otherwise decent German citizens to participate in genocide.

      Any real problems that arise from the meeting of cultures can be dealt with using existing laws. Nobody is going to make honor killings legal. Nobody is going to allow Sharia law to become the law of the land. The Glory of the United States is that the character of the American people would not allow that to happen. This is a huge country, filled with patriots committed to fighting for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We are not in any danger of having our liberties overthrown.

      What we are in danger of is of allowing our fear to instruct us to take away the liberties we DO have by refusing them to groups of people; if you are going to restrict any law-abiding citizen from full participation in our community life, you have taken away the liberties of all.

      June 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • sanethinker

      We are not paranoia here, they will ask for separate sharia court to deal with just their population. That is the beginning of long drawn battle to thrust their faith and belief. Imagine a mosque near ground zero? It will be a red rag to all jihadi minded Muslim to settle legally or otherwise. Pakistan is currently a red rag with training camp in N/South Waziristan etc. The kalash people who were peaceful animist were converted to islam 110 years ago, their land was deliberately called Kafiristan (land of kafrs) now renamed to nooristan (land of light). Our soldiers are dying due to these most vicious among Talibans.

      June 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Kermit Roosevelt

      Theresa: nope, he's right. Vigilant civilized people need to arm themselves against Muslims. The final Crusade is coming.

      June 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Check the minority population in land of the pure "Pakistan" (35% before 1947 and currently less than 2%). So shall we put them in list of extinction???

      June 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Lets us now talk about other sect in Islam, Ahmedi (one of them is a noble laureate) are most peaceful and secular among Muslims. I would befriend and cherish friendship with an Ahmedi. As per Pakistani c o n s t i t u t i o n they are m i n o r i t y since (in 1973 govt passed a law to that effect). They were hounded accused, persecuted and recently 120 of them killed in Lahore mosque attack.

      One of the militant was caught, did you know the motivation of attack???

      June 14, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
    • sanethinker

      The mullah has convinced these youths that Ahmedi drew prophet pictures. Can it be any stupid than that??? Wake up, before we behave like dodo.

      June 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Sorry, my mistake in above post. Ahmedi were proclaimed kafirs aka infidels in 1973 by law, under pressure from mullahs. They are barred from even cl@iming themselves as Muslim and certainly c@nnot call their mosque as such....

      Also the same mullahs were the ones who stub b o r n l y o p p o s e d p a r t i t i o n of sub-continent. Do not be surprised, the reason they give, the wanted the whole of India in their hand and nothing less. What do you call such an ideology???

      June 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  3. programmergirl

    "Silence is Approval" IF there were actually peaceful Muslims and they were in fact the majority, it seems they would be speaking out loud and clear in protest at the terrorist activities of their fellow Muslims. But we never hear from this so-called "Silent Majority". I believe it is because ALL Muslims support the terrorists activities and are just waiting for the day when they become the majority. If that were ever to happen here in America, we can kiss our religious freedoms good-bye because there would no longer be any freedom – we'd all be forced to convert to Islam or die. As for myself, as a Christian, I would DIE

    June 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • theresa

      They are speaking out. You have to know where to listen. You generally won't hear it on the evening news; it isn't considered newsworthy.

      June 14, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  4. Dante

    Polls in America consistently conclude that Muslims are not welcome in the USA. They have extremely high "negative" indicators in these polls....and what it interesting is that the negative numbers cut across all racial and political boundries. Anyone who is a student of the field of Statistics and Polling-Science, can tell you that it is extremely rare to find an issue that has such a universal conclusion among so many different groups. I'm not stating an opinion; these are facts that have been, in Statistics lingo..."validated" time and again by numerous long-standing, reputable polling organizations.

    June 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  5. theresa

    Ethnocentrism doesn't start from outside; it comes from within. It comes from assuming you – or your kind – are the center of the universe, and you are the standard by which other beings are to be judged.

    Ethnocentrism is a loss to all parties involved.

    June 14, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • sanethinker

      People have choice weather to live in burqa or grow beard, there lies the thin line when it comes to social life where people need to respect each other and not force others to respect their point of view. People of Muslim faith not only assert themselves but expect government to eventually implement sharial law (check slogan in Britain and France). Build mosque near ground zero. If history is an indicator a mullah trained by Deobandi/Salafi or Wahabi will implement his own version. These extremist will will using thuggish power and convert them into mini Arab center. Eventually they spread with hawal money using petro $$$. This model has too often repeated in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan (less than 1500 madrassa now has 10 times more, this count might be conservative estimate), Afghanistan, Bangladesh etc.

      This must stop, we need to dissociate from dependency of oil, that may be the key.

      June 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Bryan

    I don't trust any muslim. The sooner we get rid of them, the better. Round up all the illegals, no matter where from and send them back to where they came from. Then this country will be safe, well as soon as we vote this idiot prez out of office.

    June 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • theresa

      Could you please present evidence and argument for your suggestions, rather than inflamed passion?

      June 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  7. jrhawaii

    The son of the "nice" muslim family down the street will be the one to blow up your children's school. They lie, cheat, abuse, and kill with no regrets all permitted by the holy Koran they are forced to memorize. I will never trust them since I am always the infidel in their minds no matter how large their smile may appear. Muslims have never left the 12th century.

    June 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  8. bellestarrr

    I think American Muslims can just get off the edge and go home to the countries where Islam is practiced with all its wacky laws abuses of women, gays, small children, etc...this country was founded on Judeo Christian principles and although we welcome everyone it is a christian country mainly....When you have a group of people in your country..whose countrymen have sworn to destroy it.....you cannot help having hard feelings...in their country if the situation was reversed they would be persecuted and driven out...we just put up with it.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • theresa

      What about the Muslims whose country is the United States, those born here?

      June 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  9. Jack

    One more thing. The Islamic bible the Koran forbids separation of church and state. Islamic regimes are allowed to force non-muslims to convert or discriminate against them by taxing them out of existence. Their is plenty of historic evidence to support both practices.

    No informed Christian in their right mind would or should vote for a muslim as long as he held the dictates of the Koran above his oath of office. We swear on the bible but a muslim can lie unless it violates Sharia, Islamic law. So it would be doubtful that their oath of office would be honorable and biding.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  10. Jack

    The scary thing is that if you read history Islam has a long history of bloody overthrows of other people's government. They have killed at least 270 million people, 80 million Hindus alone. And forced 100's of millions to accept a rather strange religion against their will. Whenever you get hopeful that at least some of them will move into the 21st century as tolerant and willing to grant freedom of religion to others, muslims commit some new outrage against themselves, Hindus, Christians, or Jews.

    So you have to wonder is it the middle east culture or is it the religion. So you go on-line and read the Quran or Koran and you get shocked to your very soul. Mohammad was not a nice guy: murder, theft, pedophilia, lying are all justified in that book.
    And why? Because Mohammad engages in all of those vices.

    And since this extremely unethical undercurrent underlies the Koran and the children are taught to memorize this book from youth only the wisest and most honorable can rise above it. And the first clue that tells you an individual can not is that he or she blames the west or someone else for their situation.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  11. Agnostic

    Frankie Martin is such a sop. He has soaked up all of the Muslim KoolAid. He has been duped and expects the rest of America to be fooled also. He is part of the Islamic propaganda machine that wants us all to believe that Islam is benign and not a threat to our way of life. That is somewhat true until they begin to represent a sizable percentage of a community. Look at what has happened in Dearborn, Mi, and in major areas in Europe. Sharia is then pushed onto society and they become aggressive in forcing their will on all. Islam is not just a religion, but also a political movement and a way of life that is incompatible with alternative beliefs. It does not allow for freedom of conscience, a Western concept. Frankie Martin should go and investigate how minority religious communities are treated in Muslim majority countries. Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, etc., are persecuted and not allowed to freely or openly to practice their religious beliefs. That is what Islam has in store for America. I do not feel sorry for them at all. In individual, human terms, we can sympathize with personal stories of Muslims in America, but the bottom line is we cannot afford to allow this theology to gain a foothold. It would eventually be as disastrous as having the Nazis running the country. They must be opposed and not allowed to immigrate to the USA. Hey, Frankie, I bet you got an "A" in that course. Right?

    June 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  12. A Khan

    Since communisms fall, the world politics has shifted. The political problems in the world stage successfully led this situation we all are facing today. In the hiden political agenda, capturing a very very few individuals in the name of a specific religion and estabslishing a destruction process for our humanity is completely unjustified. Is this a correct way of demonize a great religion? It is a mistake to continue like this. Please concentrate on Islam's main principle, the Tawhid, oneness of Allah and life of his last messenger. Anyone who understand these well, can't complain against this religion and do harm to our humanity.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • Gary

      As an agnostic who despises communism I agree with your point of world instabilty. However I am appauled @ the silence of the "moderate" or "logical thinking" muslims while bombs go off in Isreal,Pakastan,Afganistan,Malyasia,Iran,Iraq,and all countries where muslims are present. I dont see the religion as beautiful at all. I see it as suppressing especially of women. muslims and muslim countries have contributed so little to technology,medicine,and all aspects of humanity.

      June 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  13. family guy

    Unknown

    What about Canadian Muslims?

    they are murderers as well , there are 18 muslims in jail ( toronto canada ) they pleaded guilty to trying to kill canadians and blow up 4 buildings ...in canada we gave the muslims freedom in return they try to murder canadians ..
    an iranian last week was arrested tring to bring 50cal sniper rifles and ammo into canada from the usa.
    islam has no shame ..why do we let them into our countries

    June 14, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  14. 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 2:41 pm |
  15. frank

    Remember one simple phrase.....Not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslim. Islam is not a religion. It is a vicious cult that straps bombs to children and then sends them into marketplaces to kill innocents. These are evil people who offer one choice. JOIN THEM OR DIE If these animals are allowed to build one of their holes at ground zero, all of America should be ashamed and great afraid.

    June 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  16. Noble9

    What the U.S.A. needs is an all-Muslim military unit that American Muslims can take pride in. It would be bonus points if foreign imams labeled them traitors to Islam.

    As far as I can tell, Muslims don't have much sense of community themselves. Christians at least sponsor building homeless shelters, take in refugees, have food drives and other charity activities. What do Muslims contribute to the world? They don't help anyone but themselves. Maybe I'm wrong, in which case they need to have better public relations to let everyone know what they're actually doing.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Qwert

    Religion is an ancient form of role playing games mixed with some moral norms, laws and fun stories. Religion is fun.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  18. Noble9

    It's not just Muslims that have problems in Bible Belt communities. Try being an atheist or a Wiccan. Christians are among the most intolerant people I've ever met.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • HeReigns

      Try being Wiccan in a country under Sharia law.....

      June 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • chuckster

      I understand and agree with you but, when was the last time a Christian shot or beheaded someone in the name of Christanity???? These things happen every day in these countries and in the name of Allah and Islam.

      June 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • theresa

      Are you aware of gay people being killed in our predominantly Christian culture?

      June 14, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • Paul

      ...and yet your continued existence as an atheist or Wiccan in the Bible Belt disproves your point. Do you see the irony?

      June 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Noble9

      No Paul, I don't see the irony. What point are you talking about? I said Christians are the most intolerant I've met, not most intolerant in the world.

      June 16, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • Paul

      Let me spell it out for you then...Try subscribing to the wrong religion or no religion at all in some of these dank hell holes of Islam across the middle east. You will be running and screaming to the nearest American embassy, trying ever so hard to get back to that awful and intolerant Bible Belt.

      June 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  19. QMAX1234

    @ MK, In Islam you can't change it, thats the problem.

    Allah says in the Quran:

    You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and who remembers Allah much. S. 33:21

    It's a commandment of Allah for Muslims to follow Muhammad's example as the best in hopes of seeing Allah in heaven. As you can see this doesn't change in Islam like we in the west view change. This is the example that both Allah and Muhammad gave. Even in the Sahih hadiths, the most authentic traditions about the life of Muhammad, we find that Muslims were even encouraged to lie and deceive in order to kill, courtesy of Muhammad himself:

    Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
    Allah's Apostle said, “Who is willing TO KILL Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes,” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” The Prophet said, “You may say it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369)

    Kab hurt Muhammad by not believing in him as a prophet. Hence, he hurt Muhammad's feelings. Now you know why Muslims become so violent when you say things against Islam and Muhammad. They are following Muhammad's example. You won't see this on CNN or politically correct American TV.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • chuckster

      Qmax 1234, well I quess you solved that issue. It must be the Quran with these types of Phrases. Looks like the Muzlim Community needs to amend the Quran or leave it as is and be at WAR with the World. If this occurs I see the Muzlims Losing horribly. The world perception of Islam and the Muzlims is very low and not good at all. So the deception and the lies about the Quran need to stop, the Quran does say things about killing of Infidels and such. So Muzlims fix your Quran or face the possibility of WAR and even extinction.

      June 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • HeReigns

      Chuckster,
      I don't see amending the Qur'an as a viable possibility. That would be like someone saying they don't like the Bible, and gee we should just eliminate a chunk of it. Oh wait, people say that all the time.lol. But true believers wouldn't let that happen.

      We are not supposed to pick and choose from these Holy Books. One possible solution is to study each book and come to a decision as to which one to accept, and which one to reject.

      June 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • theresa

      Hmm . . . let's see, this passage is from the Christian Bible (my third attempt to post it). Those who suggest we worship another God are to be killed, and if one of us suggests to another city that they worship another God, ALL of the "target" city is to be killed – a kind of purification.

      Yes, I know that some Christians believe that these kinds of commandments were overruled by Jesus' rule of love – but not all! The anti-gay stuff is likewise in the Old Testament. There are plenty of Christians who hold the Old Testament infallible.

      If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

      12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, [a] both its people and its livestock.

      June 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  20. chuckster

    I understand the "Feelings" that American Muzlims have but, lets take a look at the history of American Muzlims in "Action".
    1. Major Hassan in the U.S. Army kills 13 people and wounds many more. This was not only an officer but a PH.D in his field. So how does an American Muzlim with this type of credentials decides to kill his own Brothers and Sisters in Arms?? Is there something being interpreted incorrectly with the Quran??? 2. When the Gulf War first started there were several instances of American Muzlims in the service that fragged other Americans with grenades during the conflict. 3. When 911 happened there were rallies all over the world of Muzlims CHEERING the destruction of the twin towers and how Allah hit back at the "American Satan". I am sorry but, I don't see enough action from the Muzlim Community to fix this problem of extremism or confusion on the interpretation of the Quran to stop this crazyness. 4. I personally have seen what other Muzlims are also doing in England and throughout Europe staging their rallies and displaying signs saying behead the infidels and nasty other things that do not look good for the Muzlim Community. I can defintely see how people in the world cannot trust the Muzlim Community after things like this occur. I think that the Muzlim Community needs to fix this problem since Extremism has really given Muzlims a huge Black Eye.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:55 am |
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About this blog

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