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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. Joamiq

    You don't hear Muslims telling you that because it's not in the Qur'an. I don't understand why you people are making this stuff up. If you think it is in the Qur'an, please give me a citation.

    June 12, 2010 at 4:01 am |
  2. Sarah

    The vast majority of people who kill people in the United States are not Muslim. Therefore, fear of Muslims is irrational.

    June 12, 2010 at 2:59 am |
    • Jon

      This is a completely vapid statement. It's like saying more people are killed in car accidents than by accidental gunfire, so we shouldn't be cautious of accidental gunfire.

      Take a logic class.

      June 12, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  3. theresa

    I want to tell the Muslim readers and posters in this discussion that I am very sorry for the hatred that some posters have directed to all Muslims. Terrorists frighten me. Some of the anti-Muslim posts frighten me just as much – maybe more.

    Jesus would never have used the violent language I read above.

    Your hatred will only perpetuate violence and atrocity.

    June 12, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  4. Nikolaj Znae ale Nieskazhe

    Just a quick note, 12000 Christians from Iraq are going to receive refugee status to move to Canada, why? Because nice Muslims are persecuting them, killing them, burning their houses and so on. If we do not open our eyes soon this things are going to start to happen here in America, not only against Christian but against all unfaithful, as they call all the others. Too bad but this is a reality. If they hate the west and the way we live why they came to America?

    June 12, 2010 at 2:25 am |
    • ABC

      American government bombed Iraqi people as they did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed thousands.
      Can we blame christianity or christians or american people?

      June 12, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  5. Karl Friedenhoff

    There is only one way to get to God, is through Jesus.... For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    June 12, 2010 at 2:17 am |
  6. Bubba

    You should take your own advice moron.

    June 12, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  7. Bubba

    What gives you the right to tell anyone to get out of the USA? Unless your ancestors are native Indians why don't you go back to where you or your family immigrated from? I'd venture to guess many Muslims have been in the US longer than you and have contributed to this country more than you have.

    How did they become your enemies pray tell? Is it because the US invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims? Is it because the US blindly supports Israel in any conflict with Islamic states? Maybe it's because the US in Afganistan killing Muslims? Or the fact they are threatening to go after Iran? Did it ever occur to you that might be the US's foreign policy and not Americans that they don't like? They don't hate Americans or your way of life otherwise they would never come here in the first place. If they are your enemy is because you say so and that's your problem.

    Do you even know who Allah is? Has any Muslim come to your house and told you to convert or die? I've never heard so many ignorant people take pleasure in inciting hate against Muslims when they have no idea what they're talking about. And don't bother citing examples of things that bother you about Islam unless you can prove it reflects mainstream Muslim and not tribal customs.

    Go read a little before you make such rediculous (racist) comments.

    June 12, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  8. OhWakeUp

    Muslims. Stink. May PEAS be upon you.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  9. MH

    "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. "
    "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will."-yoda

    June 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • jonathan hanemann

      Idiot.

      June 12, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • justpretendihaveacoolname2

      Amen brother

      June 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • theresa

      Thanks. I admire that.

      June 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  10. 0711

    Acts of terror should never be condoned. The majority of Muslims are moderate and also were repulsed by 9/11, and the global Jihad movement has never been a popular movement in the Muslim world. However, as Americans we tend to overlook the harm that we have perpetrated against the Muslims since the fall of imperialism (the Shah of Iran, Iraq, etc.) We at some point need to reevaluate our foreign policy and address how our role in the Middle East is negatively impacting an entire region. While I believe that our troops are heroes, our policy makers are not.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • jonathan hanemann

      First off – it goes without saying that acts of terror should never be condoned. Anyone with an ounce of moral sense would know that. I'd be scared to live on the same street with anyone who had to think about it for more than two seconds. So – thanks for stating the obvious.

      Again, I find it hard to believe the majority of Muslims are 'moderate' when all I hear from the Muslim world is a great SILENCE about terrorist acts. I also find it hard to believe that most Muslims are moderate when things like female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and honor killings are so widespread in the Muslim world community,. How exactly do you define 'moderate?' Does 'moderate' mean a person who doesn't blow people up? Does 'moderate' mean a person who doesn't condone terrorism, but doesn't mind terrorism too much as long as it results in the spread of Islam? I've never actually heard a definition of what 'moderate' means when applied to Muslims. Maybe you can help me. A 'moderate' Christian or Jew is basically a person who follows their religion, goes to work, and tries not to bother anyone. There's an example for you.

      I find the whole 'moderate' thing a hard sell when one of the most translated and popular books in the Muslim world is the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." And BTW – that book is sold openly in many Muslim shops in England. I know, because I've been to the shops and SEEN IT FOR MYSELF. So much for 'moderate.' Try that crap in America, and you'll find your shop burned to the ground.

      As far as America's role. MANY radical Imams and Mullahs have stated openly that the spread of Islam has nothing to do with America's policies in the foreign sphere. They don't hate us for what we do; they hate us for who we ARE. I know this, because I've HEARD THEM SAY IT.

      I will NOT fall into the Blame-America role that you suggest, my friend. AGAIN – I have chosen my side. Choose yours – or someone else will choose it for you.

      June 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      0711...You are a naive, apologetic fool. Islam is what it is not matter what our policies are in the middle east. And what it is is an intolerant, brainwashing collection of verses mostly taken from the bible by a man who claimed to have ridden a winged horse to the temple mount where he was instructed by God to build a mosque. A man who seemed normal most of the time, but who dispatched enemies mercilessly by beheadding them, without remorse, in the name of God. In other words, a psychopath. And you want to apologize for our policies? Fool.

      June 12, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  11. esker

    The Islamic religion is 700 years older should've been 700 years younger.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  12. TheOtherPart

    I have spent approximately forty five minutes reading this article and everyones reaction to this. A little about myself before I go on. I am the son of a White christian Woman and an Egyptian Moslem father. I am an All American type guy who played football in highschool, wrestled in college, did silly things with friends when I was young. I was introduced to both sides and given a choice.... I chose neither and stuck with the science pathway. Since I havent heard an athiests point of view I am here to at least give one whether it is looked upon as ignorant, outlandish or what-haveyou. Basic facts of Islam are not what extremists believe. They have been brainwashed since childhood by other extremists and so forth and so forth. When 9/11 happened my father knew the consequences. He lost a business because of racism in the south towards anyone of Middle Eastern or North African heritage[North Carolina] Muslims DO speak out against this kind of maddness that america and any other country endues from MUlsim Extremists. It was a good point that the media CHOOSES to follow the negative doings of these extremists rather than a Muslim community in Louisiana in which my uncle lives that has meetings to discuss assimilation into american society and to speak out against the radical ways and perversion of the Quran by others. It is quite simple. A muslim taking a life in the name of God just speaks louder than forty muslims trying to figure out how to save their reputation as good people. As an extreme minority in this county Muslims are cornered. I GUARANTEE you any woman in traditional mulsim clothing will get awkward looks like there is something wrong with her. They may not be harsh looks but how is one to feel after that? America sends mixed signals and this problems is far far from over. On the other side of the ball, Muslims have to make a stand now. All of the media fueled evidence shows BadMuslim BadMuslim BadMuslim. So it would seem to be proper timing to go against that and begin to speak out to the media in offense to this. If you do not believe meida is STILL about ratings, then truth. Please take the bag off of your heads and realize what is going on. This is America the great. Land of OPPORTUNITY. Christians have a right to feel a way towards Muslims. Ever since the Crusades they have been at each others throats. NEITHER side can preach that they are clean of crime or sin. Millions have been slaughtered in the name of GOD and ALLAH [by the way whom which is the same if you think about it] I just beg of anyone preaching against islam to take another look and encounter the American Muslim. Good article.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • jonathan hanemann

      I truly applaud any Muslim in America who works toward assimilation and speaks out against radical Islam. But understandably, an Islamic based terrorist act speaks MUCH louder than a few people chatting in a room somewhere.

      The answer to what many 'moderate' Muslims consider anti-Muslim sentiment is not whining on the part of moderate Muslims. The solution lies in moderate Muslims repudiating, LOUDLY AND CLEARLY, and on a NATIONAL LEVEL, EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF FUNDAMENTALIST AND RADICAL ISLAM. That means going on TV. That means speaking to thousands of MUSLIMS, NOT lecturing non-Muslims about 'tolerance.' Americans are plenty tolerant toward people who don't try to blow them up or subjugate them. We don't need help in that area.

      Moderate Muslims in America must fight TOOTH AND NAIL against the encroachment of fundamentalist Islam within their own communities. They MUST go toe-to-toe and fight it out with radical imams and mullahs. They MUST REFUSE to cower in front of religious 'authorities.' They MUST storm into the radical mosques and duke it out. Take the fight where it needs to be taken. Don't stand there and shadow box amongst yourselves.

      In short, Muslims in America need to become more AMERICAN.

      Do it for yourselves, OR WE'LL DO IT FOR YOU. Don't preach to the choir, brother. Clean your own side of the street.

      June 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  13. Tom

    Another thing that comes to mind is that culture and religion are two separate things but become mixed and intertwined. Muslims from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi, Iran and Iraq all have their interpretation and belief of enforcing Islamic law. Unfortunately, the crazies like the vile villagers in Iran that stoned Soraya to death in the 80s paints all of Islam with that brush. Instead of a bunch of evil creep in a town that did horrible things – it's a whole mentality of those who embrace Islam.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • jonathan hanemann

      I'm going to have to disagree with you, Tom. I believe that there is enough deep-seated hatred of Western culture in the Radical Left to cause them to forget all about women's rights, etc. Think about it; how many western feminist groups do you hear raising a ruckus about Islam's treatment of women? NONE. When's the last time Amnesty International campaigned to stop the brutality of Sharia Law? NEVER. The list goes on and on. MY point is that the left, and particularly the Radical Left, HATES AMERICA. It's main goal is to replace America with some ill-conceived Utopia, and if they can't get that, they'll take just about anything else. You should read David Horowitz on the subject.

      Culture and religion are not at all separate. Depending on the depth of belief, religion greatly informs culture, both on an individual and aggregate level. It's ridiculous and utterly a-historical to say that culture and religion are separate. In countless instances – even when segments of 'culture' criticize religion – the two are are deeply intertwined. We would have two thirds less art and literature in the world if culture and religion had nothing to do with one another. When is the last time you visited a museum?

      As far as the small group of 'crazies'; until I start to see Muslim websites campaign against Sharia law IN FULL (not just parts of it); until I see thousand person Muslim gatherings in Central Park to protest terrorism; until I see Imams and Mullahs denounce or at least criticize fundamentalist Islam in a definite manner ON NETWORK TELEVISION, I'll assume that most Muslims, though not terrorists, share the SAME GOALS as Muslim terrorists – which is the spread Islamic hegemony.

      The pragmatic side of me says that if a person is not clearly on my side, they must be on the other side. Yes, it IS that black and white. And I have thought deeply on the matter, with the television off and everything.

      June 11, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  14. jonathan hanemann

    The primary goal of Islam is to spread Islamic hegemony, Period. To believe otherwise is laughably naive.

    Muslims will push bit by bit to usher in sharia law wherever they live. And wherever people refuse to cave in, they'll react with violence. This is how Muslims operate. Or perhaps because this is America, they'll react with lawsuits . . .

    Muslims all over the world are being taught how to use civil rights as a Trojan horse to implement Sharia in the west. They'll demand special and unequal treatment, and if we refuse, they'll call us 'racists.' It's happening in Europe already. In parts of England, mullahs are demanding that majority Muslim neighborhoods be exempt from British law and ruled by Sharia. In some of these towns, imams are demanding that even non-Muslim women wear head-scarves. Freedom isn't usually given away overnight. It's handed over piece by piece.

    Soon enough, here in America, a Muslim man will be dragged into court for beating his wife half to death. In court, he'll claim that under Sharia law, he has a right to 'discipline' his wife as he sees fit. If the judge denies this argument and throws him in jail where he belongs, and angry Muslim mob will riot at the courthouse. If the judge is a liberal idiot and caves in, depending on the town, an angry mob of non-Muslims will drag him out of his office and tar and feather him. (Especially if it happens in the south or southwest.) Either way, it's not going to end well. Wherever Islam goes, trouble follows.

    The worst of it is that there are plenty of homegrown America-hating radical leftists who are more than willing to destroy the America we love and replace with just about anything – as long as it's not America. Tenured radicals who hold hands and chant with Hamas supporters in NYC, weak-kneed cultural relativists, plain old anti-Semites . . . they are our enemies as much as the people who would use freedom to steal freedom from others.

    I've chosen my side. Have you chosen yours?:

    June 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tom

      Jon,

      I understadn where you are coming from and we should be watchful but your belief assumes that the US government and the godless liberals who have a lot of control would care about upholding someone's religious belief. Due to many Muslims having a poor view of women and children, the US government (and even the libs) will not uphold sharia law.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
    • Joamiq

      I am a Muslim and an American, and the only hegemony I want to preserve is that of America, the land of my birth, where it is my fundamental right to practice my religion, even if many people commenting here would have me thrown out. I have no interest in spreading Sharia law to the US. I think many Sharia principles are great, but people should be free to choose their own laws. I am happy to shout this from the highest of rooftops, but it seems Sisyphean when you seem to have formed your own ideas about what I am and what I want without ever having met me.

      June 12, 2010 at 4:08 am |
    • Jon

      Joamiq:

      The fact that you like some aspects of Sharia law should exclude you from American citizenship outright. If you like parts of it, you won't mind if it's ever imposed here. Therefore, you are my enemy.

      June 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • Chaughnar

      @jonathan hanemann

      I agree 100% with you.

      Just think about that : what's the percentage of non muslims in muslim countries now compared to what it was 80 years ago ?

      June 13, 2010 at 5:48 am |
  15. Tom

    I think most people forget sometimes (including myself) that Islam has many variants and denominations just like many other religions. I belive there are many peaceful, loving and forgiving Muslims in the world but unfortunately there are many that believe in war, retribution and oppression and we need to protect ourselves from that kind of people regardless of what they call themselves.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      They all recite and memorize the same bluebook for developing terrorists, written by a murdering psyco. If you had been taught from age of 7 by your parents, religious leaders, school teachers that the world is flat, you would believe it an fight anyone who disagreed. Same thing with the Qu'ran. The danger is that it is a 4th century mindset with access to 21st century weapons, not bows and arrows and swords with very limited killing power. Think about how scary that is.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  16. BanMuslimsfromAmerica

    This country is threatened by M & Ms Mexicans and Muslims run them all out of the country.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Joamiq

      I have a better idea: let's run all the racists out of the country.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • Bubba

      Good news dummy -pretty soon those people will form a majority in the US and people like you will be screwed. Why don't you just pack up and leave to a place where everybody looks like you and is just as smart as you? Good riddance.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  17. Bob Bichen

    Most white people absolutely hate skinheads and supremecy nuts, as they reflect badly on our race. Yet muslums, most of whom are moderate and hardworking, seem to keep quiet when it comes to radicals. Do not blame others for painting Islam with the extremist brush when you refuse to stand up and speak out against such atrocities. Islam is associated with violence yet violence seems to be embraced by only a small percentage of muslums. Speak out in your mosques and communities against the radicals and the violent. Stand up for what is right and you will earn the respect of your neighbors, regardless of their color or religion.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Joamiq

      I absolutely stand up and speak out against extremists. On 6th Avenue in NYC, where I go for my weekly Friday prayers, the sermons are constantly about nothing but what we as Muslims need to do to treat all human beings better. Frankly, I'm quite certain that we speak out against "Muslim" extremists far more than you do against skinheads and white supremacists. And you know what? I don't think you need to speak out against them, because I don't hold you as an individual responsible for their actions at all. You have nothing to do with them. Why is there an expectation that I, a mid-20s Muslim born and raised in America, should have to speak out against all these crazy people from halfway around the world that I have no connection with? I hate that they are trying to steal my religion from me (the religion that teaches me to do everything in my power to make better the lives of everyone around me, regardless of faith), and my soul aches with every innocent life they take, but I can only speak out so much. All I want to do is live and go to school and work like a normal American! Is that so hard to understand?

      June 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  18. Joamiq

    Sadly, I don't think any of you have ever even met the millions of Muslims who were born and brought up here in the US and are every bit as American and patriotic as you are. I was born in Kansas, I live and die for the Mets and the Knicks (yeah, more dying than living lately, sadly), and there's nothing I love more than watching the 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall in our great nation's capital. I am a Muslim, and I am an American, and I am damn proud of both. We American Muslims do express our pain and anger when people kill in the name of our religion, but a) you apparently don't hear us, and b) why should *I* have to apologize for what other crazy people do? I don't demand apologies from you for Timothy McVeigh, or every time some crazy Christian blows up an abortion clinic. Just come meet us. Talk to us. We don't bite! I live and work and play in the same community as you, and all I want is to live my life without you hating me. I don't hate you. If I see you on the street, I'll give you a smile and a nod – and it'll be genuine. Won't you be my neighbor?

    June 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  19. Bob

    In the 20th century, there were Jewish terrorists, read about it. I don't see everyone hating the Jewish religion for that. And even sadder to say, the terrorist prevailed in their goal, creating Israel. Terrorist played a strong part to its creation, not the only reason, but a big reason.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  20. Frank Rizzo

    There should be a bias in the media and in America against Islam and Muslims in general.
    Look, here's the bottom line: There are millions of good Muslims. There are millions of good Hindus, millions of good Christians, and millions of good atheists even.

    But the only one that has millions of death-to-America, death-to-Israel, death-to-the-west is ISLAM.
    Let's not ignore the facts. Let's not ignore the bodybags, the suicide bombs, the hijackings, etc.

    Only one religion is a threat to all others. It's not Hinduism or Christianity or Buddism.

    The problem (one of many) is that most peaceful Muslims are cowards and defensive.
    Instead of STOPPING THE RADICAL ONES, who are distorting their so-called peaceful religion, they just ger defensive.
    Instead of fighting and killing THEM, they flee like cowards to countries who already have died for freedom of society.

    I admire the brave few who stay in Iraq and Afghanistan and stand up to the radical Al-Qaeda loving Muslims.

    June 11, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • Bob

      Frank, its true that some do say those things about west and Israel etc. But what you just said is going to their level. You would probably make a good Taliban militant, from what i heard they do, same sense of thinking. They blame someone on the problems and fight to prove that that person/group is the problem, exactly the same thing your doing. Its shameful to see someone like you in this country living in this soil.

      June 11, 2010 at 10:00 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.