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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. bigsdiddy

    Yeah all you loose people! lololol

    you crack me up michael quinn!

    June 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  2. ABBEY ROAD

    SHUT UP! IGNORANCE IS THE FUEL YOU HAVENT STOLE FROM FOREIGN LANDS THATS FUELING YOUR COMMENTS.

    June 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  3. Lee Oates

    Extremely well written and meaningful. Most American Native Indians or black people have experienced the ugler side of America but have never given up gaining equality and full citizenship, have never given up on the dream of what America could be. Because of that America is great and getting better with time, as far as tolerance goes. We are going through a national period of readjustment and this time its the muslims who are slowly gaining respect and equality.

    June 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  4. Abu Ali

    1. If you base your opinions of a people/religion/country on headlines, you are a moron. Opinions should
    2. The American public needs to know that those who commit these criminal/terrorist acts are hidden from the Muslim community the same way they are hidden from your community - we see what you see.
    3. Muslim scholars have always been speaking out against extremists - but this does not bring ratings and is not covered. They kicked OBL out of SA in 1991.
    4. Whenever an incident like Times Square hits the news, most get an uneasy knot in their stomach and hope it doesn't involve someone claiming to be or identified as a Muslim.

    June 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      Thank you, brother, for having the courage to fight back verbally. Most American muslims are so meek and silent. We have to fight back against the lies.

      June 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  5. Chaughnar

    Hi,
    I'm living in the suburbs of Paris, France.
    I can witness firsthand what it means to welcome Muslims in my country : it looks exactly like a zombie movie except that it's not a movie.
    We were very close to a civil war 5 years ago and eventually we will have to fight for our most basic freedom.
    Don't let ANYONE fool you : political Islam in western countries is taking advantage of civil rights in order to abolish them someday.
    Fight for your rights

    June 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • Joamiq

      Unfortunately, your country is practically abolishing civil liberties altogether in the name of fighting Islam. France is on the edge of fascism.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Chaughnar

      @Joamiq

      Well, i'd rather talk about civil liberties in countries like, let's say, morocco or pakistan : there's not much to abolish there.

      What a joke...

      June 13, 2010 at 5:31 am |
  6. Scott

    The public face of Islam in America is quite different from the one that is held in private in their own communities and mosques. Publicly, they espouse peace and tolerance. "We are a religion of peace", they say. Really? Yet privately, they cling stubbornly to the beliefs of the Quran and Shia law and wish "privately" to impose their beliefs on others. If you are a "non-believer" then you are less than human and you deserve to die. They want to do exactly what the Quran teaches them to do. Looking at what is going on the the Middle East should tell you exactly their motives.

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

    June 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  7. girlinnorcal

    Wow, its unbelievable how much hate is on this page. None of you preaching about your christian faith or whatever you claim have obviously looked in a history book. Its almost laughable at how IGNORANT American society has become. It makes sad, as an american, to see so much hate. I have muslim friends they are nothing like those idiots who claim Islam as a religion and completely distort it.

    And another thing, the Koran cant be translated into english and have the same meaning....the words gain a different connotation. Plus the western way of thinking is so distorted there is no way to get anything across. Christians and Muslims and Jews and Buddhists all have their own crazies. So stop being to medieval and educate yourselves...no wonder this country so messed up, people refuse to enlighten themselves, its much easier not to pick up a book and READ

    June 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • Nick

      FINALLY SOMEONE WITH SOME BRAINS. GOD BLESS YOU.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Some of us HAVE enlightened ourselves.

      Islam BEFORE Muhammed was an advanced group. But then Muhammed flew to the temple mount on the back of a winged horse while have conversations with God and "converted" people everywhere to Islam without ever shedding any blood. The people just welcomed him into their worlds and rolled over.

      Riiiiiiiiight.

      "kill the unbelievers"; "smite the unbelivers across their necks"; "fight in the cause of Allah"; "the prophet does not burden himself with prisoners until a people are subdued"; "destroy them utterly"; "it is for the Prophet alone to have access to nieces, daughters, slave girls, widows...not for the believers at large"

      I don't see anything that could not be transalted to Arabic, hence not from Arabic to English. Furthermore, MY Qu'ran was translated and first printed in 1934, then printed repeatedly over the years until my 2002 version. Uhm, don't you think the bugs have been worked out of the transaltions???

      There are in fact a lot of nice, peace loving Muslims, but they are expendable pawns for the Muslim leadership. They are cannon fodder.

      Islam is an intolerant, brainwashing, terrorisitic cult that should not be recognized in any country as a legitimate religion.

      And, I am neither Christian or Jew, so you can't blame them for my post.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      Alhamdulillah, I am so glad that my religion, Islam, protects me from hate. In the Qur'an God says (paraphrased), I made you into different ethnic groups so that you could come to know one another. God also says (paraphrased again) that He could have made all of us into Muslims but He chose not to, and He presumably has His reasons. NOWHERE in the Qur'an does it say that Muslims are supposed to hate non-Muslims. We ARE supposed to fight back IF, and only if, they try to kill or oppress us, or treat us unjustly–that right is not only in the Qur'an, it's part of international law! But the Qur'an is what really matters because it is God's word.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • SS

      OMG, someone with a brain. *thanks allah*

      June 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  8. Richard

    I am a Middle Eastern myself and let me tell ALL AMERICANS the FACT. America is not a melting pot for muslims. They will show the likeness of assimilation but never be a part of it.

    If the Muslims in the US really, really thought and believed in religious freedom why haven't they to this day, done ANYTHING to bring religious freedom to Christians living in Islamic countries. Christians have no freedom in, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Emirates, Syria, Iraq, Iran and the list goes on an on.

    Let the Muslims go back to their countries and continue their assimilation there.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Yaser

      Richard. I have been to Syria so i cant speak for any other Muslim country but i have to dis-agree with the comment you made about no freedom for Christians. I visited a community in Damascus called "Bab Tuma" where it is prodominantly Christians living in peace, doing what they want when they want just like any other citizen of Syria. This is something i witnessed first hand.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • Joamiq

      I'm not doing anything in any Muslim countries because I was born HERE. I have nowhere to go back to. I am AMERICAN.

      And if you really think Christians have no freedom in places like Iran and the UAE, you really are clueless. Iran, for example, may have a madman for a political mouthpiece/leader, but its people are actually quite liberal and cultured.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      For Christians, "religious freedom" is a code-word for the "right" to try to get Muslims to convert to paganism–oops, I mean "Christianity"–including gullible children (without their parents' knowledge). Christians tend to be wealthier than Muslims in Indonesia, and they use that wealth to entice children to convert to paganism/Christianity. That's why we tend to keep Christians on a short leash, when we are able to do so. We just don't want our children to become pagans/Christians. Christianity, you see, is the most aggressive proselytizing religion the world has ever seen. As soon as their fire-breathing, frothing, foaming missionaries start to leave us alone, the leash will come off, believe me.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Scott

    "birdhouse" (above) reinforced my point exactly.

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

    June 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  10. Ligaya

    Islam is founded by a pedophile and a mass murderer. Thats says a lot about Islam. Its in their Koran. read about it!!!!

    June 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Nick

      YOUR DAD FOUNDED IT?

      June 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Ligaya

      NICK go somewhere else . Your senseless comment is giving you away. It tells what person you are. Read the Koran before you comment. If you dont know anyhting about the topic just shut up. Dont reveal your ignorance. Go back to fifth grade. Sorry but I wont stoop down to your level. My comment is based on facts and Im expecting an intellectual discourse.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Nick

      YOUR THE FOOL. YOU READ THE KORAN. IN FACT I THINK YOU SHOULD READ KORAN FOR DUMMIES. NO REALLY READ IT. IT WILL GIVE YOU AN INSIGHT THAT WILL ENLIGHTEN YOU IN A SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND FORMAT ESPECIALLY GEARED TOWARDS DUMMIES.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • Ligaya

      NICK, sorry to offend you and make you upset. For your information, (I'm sure this is the first time you hear about it) Islam was founded by Muhammad in 666 AD. Now what is your basis that my dad founded Islam? Is Muhamamd my father? Am I a Muslim? Do you know what you are talking about? If I were your teacher in fifth garde you got an F minus. Sorry to say I might be a fool for truth sake but YOU ARE A RETARDED AMOEBA!!!

      June 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • Ligaya

      NICK, sorry I used the word AMOEBA PROBABLY YOU DONT KNOW what Is it. Look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia or google it. OOPPs sorry you dont have them.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Nick

      YOU'RE EVEN DUMBER THAN I THOUGHT. FIRST OFF EVEN CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS KNOW WHAT YEAR ISLAM WAS FOUNDED. SECOND I NEVER KNEW AN F MINUS EXISTED. YOU MUST HAVE RECEIVED SEVERAL OF THEM. I GUESS THATS BETTER THAN A G MINUS. IDIOT.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Nick

      LIGAYA PERHAPS YOU SHOULD CHECK SOME UNBIASED SOURCES. I'M SURE YOU WILL REALIZE THE TRUTH.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be the peace, blessings and mercy of God) never murdered a single person in his life. He did have some people executed (and they richly deserved it), but even that he did very reluctantly and only when God's word made it clear that he had no choice. He also never, ever mistreated any children; he was very kind to children and he absolutely was not a pedophile. No one is sure about Aisha's age when the Prophet married her; yes, a few hadiths say she was very young, but other hadiths say she was much older, and hadiths are not 100% reliable anyway (look up the difference between hadiths and Qur'an–hadiths are not God's word, and were collected >200 years after the Prophet's death). I will defend the Prophet's honor with my life, if necessary, and will do so gladly.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Scott

    Both Christianity and Islam have a history of violence against "non-believers" and against one another. The difference however, is that Christianity evolved over time (for the most part) and became more civilized as a result. Islam still espouses violence as a means to convert others to their religion and lives in the "Dark Ages". Christianity uses television ministries, missionaries, and education to garner converts.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Nick

      CHRISTIANITY HAS EVOLVED ALRIGHT. THEY NOW ACCEPT GAYS. ALCOHOL IS PART OF THE CHURCH RITUAL AND WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO RUN AROUND PRACTICALLY NAKED. ALL OF THESE WERE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN BY GOD AND CHRISTIANITY. ADAPTED YOU SAY....MORE LIKE CHANGED FOR CONVENIENCE. I'M SURE GOD WILL HAVE A FEW WORDS FOR THOSE WHO ADAPTED HIS WORD.

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

      100% agree. Muslims still called Christians crusaders because their mindset is still in the middle ages.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • Yaser

      Really Scott? When was the last time you had a gun pointed at you and the person asked you to convert? All these comments made about Islam just shows the lack of knowledge about Islam and the domination of the false mis-directions of the mass media. Unfortunately, we all have fault for this Muslims and non-Muslims....

      June 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • Joamiq

      This is hogwash. Has a Muslim ever threatened you with violence if you didn't convert to Islam? Yeah, didn't think so.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  12. Nick

    THE CHANCES OF DYING AT THE HANDS OF A NON-MUSLIM ARE 150,000 TIMES GREATER. THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIM TO HAVE READ THE KORAN (QURAN) OR HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE MUSLIM OR SUPPOSEDLY THINK THAT AT ALL MOSQUES THEY PREACH HATRED YOU ARE FOOLISH. THERE ARE OVER ONE BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. OVER ONE BILLION !! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CANT COUNT THAT HIGH THATS 1 IN EVERY SIX PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. IF EVEN 1 HUNDRETH OF ONE PERCENT OF THEM WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD. WAKE UP AMERICA; THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE HATED IS BECAUSE WE ARE THE INSTIGATORS.WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS. WHY ARE WE NOT BLOWING UP NORTH KOREA FOR WHAT THEY DID? WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MUSLIM. IF A MUSLIM COUNTRY DID THAT WE WOULD HAVE DROPPED AN ATOM BOMB ON THEM BY NOW. WAKE UP AMERICA AND MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  13. Paul

    cnn censors kicked off my comment about where to go to get the truth about this death cult! jihadwatch(dot)org and thereligionofpeace(dot)com....also read 'Muslim Mafia' you will be scared for the future of your country.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Nick

      WHATEVER PAUL. THAT SITE IS FULL OF BULL. JUST ANOTHER ANTI MUSLIM SITE FILLING YOU UP WITH NONSENSE. NOTHING ON THERE IS TRUE. LIKE I SAID BEFORE.YOUR CHANCES OF DYING AT THE HANDS OF A NON-MUSLIM ARE 150,000 TIMES GREATER. THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIM TO HAVE READ THE KORAN( QURAN) OR HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE MUSLIM OR SUPPOSEDLY THINK THAT AT ALL MOSQUES THEY PREACH HATRED YOU ARE FOOLISH. THERE ARE OVER ONE BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. OVER ONE BILLION !! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CANT COUNT THAT HIGH THATS 1 IN EVERY SIX PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. IF EVEN 1 HUNDRETH OF ONE PERCENT OF THEM WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD. WAKE UP AMERICA; THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE HATED IS BECAUSE WE ARE THE INSTIGATORS.WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS. WHY ARE WEE NOT BLOWING UP NORTH KOREA FOR WHAT THEY DID? WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MUSLIM. IF A MUSLIM COUNTRY DID THAT WE WOULD HAVE DROPPED AN ATOM BOMB ON THEM BY NOW. WAKE UP AMERICA AND MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  14. Nick

    YOUR CHANCES OF DYING AT THE HANDS OF A NON-MUSLIM ARE 150,000 TIMES GREATER. THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIM TO HAVE READ THE KORAN( QURAN) OR HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE MUSLIM OR SUPPOSEDLY THINK THAT AT ALL MOSQUES THEY PREACH HATRED YOU ARE FOOLISH. THERE ARE OVER ONE BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. OVER ONE BILLION !! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CANT COUNT THAT HIGH THATS 1 IN EVERY SIX PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. IF EVEN 1 HUNDRETH OF ONE PERCENT OF THEM WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD. WAKE UP AMERICA; THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE HATED IS BECAUSE WE ARE THE INSTIGATORS.WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS. WHY ARE WEE NOT BLOWING UP NORTH KOREA FOR WHAT THEY DID? WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MUSLIM. IF A MUSLIM COUNTRY DID THAT WE WOULD HAVE DROPPED AN ATOM BOMB ON THEM BY NOW. WAKE UP AMERICA AND MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  15. Canis pitbullus

    When you intentionally take out two buildings and cause serious damage to a government installation, killing 3000 people, your group tends to lose some credibility. Just saying.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
    • Contrarian

      But you don't lose credibility when you invade parts of the world that didn't ask you to invade them, and impose your own rules, right? Try reading world history, and take note of the invasions. Also, take note of some of the biggest death toll numbers, I wonder who's responsible for those. I don't need to spout them out, they're a matter of public record.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Yaser

      I am a Muslim, and i agree with your statement. However who said Islam or Muslims adopted this action as their own? We as Muslims denounce it. Look up the history of Usama Bin Laden and his so called group. He was AN AMERICAN OPERATIVE way back when they faught the soviets with weapons provided by the US government. Bin Laden has done harm to Islam and Muslims, not good. Islam rejects the idea of terrorism and what happened to the twin towers killing innocent people was an act of terrorism.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      The Wahhabi muslims are the violent ones. If you are against them I don't really blame you. But don't try to link them to the rest of us, the normal muslims. There are more than a BILLION of us, and these attacks have nothing to do with the vast majority of us. If you're going to blame me for 9/11, then I'll blame YOU for Iraq, since Bush was the democratically-elected ethnic-cleanser-in-chief of this country.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  16. pathguy

    i'm curious what the author of this article, Frankie Martin, would say if his family or close friend is kidnapped and killed by the radical muslims.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • Yaser

      If he's not biased, he would say/feel the same as if they were kidnapped and/or killed by a radical Christian. I think that makes sense... Dont slap a label on the religion, slap a label on the action and dont judge a majority based on actions of a few idiots. With all due respect to the author.

      June 11, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • Sophia

      lol @ pathguy. That's like saying there exist no pedophiles, rapists, murders, kidnappers, terrorist in any other religion. And we all know there is an abundance of those and you know, they're not all Muslim!

      June 15, 2010 at 5:57 am |
  17. mr280zxt

    You are a disgusting racist pig.....You don't deserve to live in this country...Mindless comments by brainless individual....Shame shame shame

    June 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  18. Nick

    MM IS EXACTLY RIGHT. YOUR CHANCES OF DYING AT THE HANDS OF A NON-MUSLIM ARE 150,000 TIMES GREATER. THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIM TO HAVE READ THE KORAN( QURAN) OR HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE MUSLIM OR SUPPOSEDLY THINK THAT AT ALL MOSQUES THEY PREACH HATRED YOU ARE FOOLISH. THERE ARE OVER ONE BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. OVER ONE BILLION !! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CANT COUNT THAT HIGH THATS 1 IN EVERY SIX PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. IF EVEN 1 HUNDRETH OF ONE PERCENT OF THEM WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD. WAKE UP AMERICA; THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE HATED IS BECAUSE WE ARE THE INSTIGATORS.WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS. WHY ARE WEE NOT BLOWING UP NORTH KOREA FOR WHAT THEY DID? WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MUSLIM. IF A MUSLIM COUNTRY DID THAT WE WOULD HAVE DROPPED AN ATOM BOMB ON THEM BY NOW. WAKE UP AMERICA AND MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • pathguy

      north korea has not attacked us and is not trying to make us believe in their religion. they have not beheaded any american

      June 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Paul

      Go away "Nick". No one believes you are an American. You are clearly a pro-death cult troll. Your language skills are a poor disguise for your true agenda. "We" are not the aggressors. the U.S. and it's Judeo-Christian values are the greatest source of good the world has ever seen. Go back to Syria...

      June 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
    • MeganColorado

      Nick, you "need to wake up"...read the Koran. 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 11:51 am |
  19. Ando R

    This piece is not only poorly written, its just boring... it was more like a "What did you do this summer?" essay your teacher makes you write. As far as views on the matter, as long as any citizen is lawful as a US cit, I really don't think about the religion. Go Hawks!

    June 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Yaser

      LOL, im a Muslim born and raised in Chicago, excited about the hawks winning. lol. Im sorry that this type of conversation is needed. I dont care what religion other ppl choose, just leave me alone to practice what i choose and i'll do the same for you. Right now i choose to practice celebration the hawks victory.........lol......Any objections??? Or is that too extreme for ya???

      June 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  20. BIG J

    STOP! Look at yourselves. RELIGION is making you people fight!!! Can't you SEE THAT? CHILL. Defending a religion is sensless. I don't care what your religion is, it's stupid. You blindly follow your religion regardless of where it takes you. I don't care if your muslim, christian, jew, purple or green. If you want to join the team and help you will get respect you and trust you and we'll both benefit. Don't judge or be bitter. Be kind. Trust people. Respect people. Help people. Respect the environment and STOP FOLLOWING. That's what religion is SUPPOSE to be about. But over time it has mutated into this weird .... thing. Just use your common sense. Think about it.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:30 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.