August 12th, 2010
04:18 PM ET

United States of Islamophobia?

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and legal fellow for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington.

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

Almost everybody has heard about the protests against the mosque and Islamic center planned to be built about two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan. But most people are still unaware that these anti-Muslim political campaigns are spreading throughout our beloved country as a new wave of Islamophobia hits.

Read the full commentary

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Fundamentalism • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. TheRationale

    Islam today is just 15th century Christianity with 21th century weapons and media.

    August 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  2. Cait

    I understand that many Americans might have a problem with the Islamic faith, which is not right. I personally have no problems with the religion of Islam in principle. What I also think isn't right is this one-sidedness with being PC. The fact that Obama backed this Islamic center being built shows how apathetic he is to the 9/11 survivors. He preaches that we must be "tolerant and respectful to all people", but yet he goes out of his way to show disrespect to those who really might be offended by this deal, the people that lost their families in that tragedy. I think the Islamic Center should have considered this as well, if they want to be seen as the peaceful and respectful people they claim to be. They couldn't have picked another property further away? All everyone is worried about is protecting their pride, not their faith.

    August 14, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  3. John E.Hopkinson

    Prothero said: "Shortly after the city's Landmark Preservation Commission

    unanimously voted not to grant landmark status to the site of a

    planned Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero,

    Bloomberg stood in front of the Statue of Liberty and in the midst of a

    rainbow of religious leaders and said what should not have needed

    to be said concerning this bitter controversy. "

    Well, Prothero, there are other opinions in play here,
    And for this current article, Islamophobia, it appears that most of the population is not "Islamophobic", but concerned about how to reconcile Islam's actions with the democratic principles on which Western Civilization is founded.

    You can gain a lot from reading these submissions.


    I'm so cross on the situation. Being a family of 9/11 makes me so

    biased that my everyday morals get in the way. Sure, I may blame

    those who twist the muslim religion into something it may not appear

    to be, but I know it's not right. I think people should just realize that

    it's not about the ppl or anything, it's the thought that it's so close to

    home and still so soon. This is hurting and worrying we who lost

    loved ones. Opening it on 9/11 is like... a slap to our faces. Why pick

    that day? It just doesn't seem right. Call me racist, but if you were in

    my shoes, perhaps you would understand.

    Bloomberg did a good neutral move though. He reminded us what

    NY truly is about. I wish something like this could bring us together.

    ALL religions. Use the building to host all who want to pray. People

    shouldn't forget that 9/11 shocked the world and brought us together

    for a moment in time. They should use that building for the same

    thing except for good. As I said.

    To the other families suffering the loss of a loved one, the building

    doesn't take away the memories of those that were lost. We can

    honor them just the same. By acting against this building... I guess it

    would make us no better than those that caused us such pain.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse | Reply


    I'm sorry for your loss and I hope that time will eventually heal,

    although the scars of loss will always remain, but I'm sure will make

    you and your family stronger. I'm an American and a Muslim and I'm

    proud of what my country stands for. The freedom of religion is one

    of our basic principles set forth by our founding fathers. But, I have to

    agree with most of the those who are writing on the wall: The idea to

    build the community center near Ground Zero is a bad idea. I think it

    would be better served to build it in an area that will serve the

    impovershed community at large. Lower Manhattan is full of

    investment bankers and lawyers; a community center will not help

    anyone there.

    But I do wish people were a little more like you Mellanie with your

    sentiments. It's sad that people are jumping on Islam and do not

    understand it's true nature. I'm sorry, but reading the translation of

    the Quran will not help anyone understand it. Taking phrases out of

    context does not help. Saying that Muslims have to kill the infadel

    doesn't go anywhere. The truth of the matter is, those who say Islam

    is a religion of violence and hatred actually believe in what al-Qaeda

    says. Basically they are giving al-Qaeda complete credence in their

    behavior. al-Qaeda is to Islam as what Hitler was to Christianity. And

    believe me, when you do research on Hitler, you will learn that he

    held very strong "Christian" viewpoints.

    That being said, I think American Muslims all have to stand together

    and say that we will not tolerate terrorism anywhere and in any

    name. Being here in the US, in Israel, in Russia or any part of the

    world. If someone starts condoning them, we shut them up. That is

    what we need to do and unfortunately, we've been doing a bad job

    of it.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |



    This was my reaction to Bloomberg's speech. Mellanie says the


    I suppose I should save my e-mail as I can see that you think you

    are 'right' about the ground zero/mosque issue. You are right about

    the importance of freedom of religion/freedom of commerce,

    unfortunately you are showing a suprising lack of insight into what

    we are talking about here. Whether the developers are moderate or

    not the building, if built, will be taken by Jihadist Muslims as proof of

    God's support and a sign of certain victory. God will have blinded the

    Americans and built a monument to Islamic dominance right before

    their eyes, miraculously in the very spot of their Victory. Praise to

    Allah. This will be the rallying call that will bring new, encouraged

    radicals to a new level of inspired violence. And, really, who could

    argue. This is not a question of tolerance or zoning, this is a

    question of National Security.

    I am all for Muslims reaching out to explain the nature of their faith. I

    think victory over terrorism must come with a Muslim offensive to

    regain separation between great faith and lunacy. Let's help this.

    But really this Mosque is simply beyond foolishness.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply


    This is a fantastic article. I saw a link to this article on religion blogs at CNN. What a wonderful compilation of direct quotes from concerned Muslims.
    The article i was referring to was this one: : Politics.onthefly.blogspot.com

    If Muslims themselves are comcerned about the rank provocation and supremacist symbolism here, then think about the millions of Americans who are not Muslims who feel the same way.

    In spite of all this outpouring of public anger to this Mosque, the "secular" leaders and media elite of CNN keep bending over backwards to post fawning articles om Islam and how wonderful if we were all praising Islam for what they have done for us.

    Newsflash to CNN editors of this blog: don't try to appease the intolerance within Islam by constantly getting Imams and Islamists to talk about Islam. How aboeut getting some reformers who are fighting the retrograde influence of Islam to write for this blog in order to balance the coverage?

    August 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply


    The article i was referring to was this one:


    Building mosques in extended locations is often perceived as a symbol of conquest. And it honestly doesn't matter the motives of the builders. The reality is that the 9/11 attacks were religiously motivated. We should not make ourselves the laughingstock of the world by allowing this rank symbolism to be established in this sacred ground. The people who died there deserve better.

    In a May 18th article, an American Arab Muslim author elucidates this approach and symbolism regarding the Ground Zero Mosque approach in the online daily Elaph: "The name chosen for the mosque is confrontational and provocative. The first Cordoba mosque was built in that Spanish city in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Christian Spain. For both Arabs and Muslims, the history of their conquests remains as a symbol of their past glory, and power. They have no thoughts of remorse or shame, when they recall those heinous crimes that accompanied the colonization of Spain!

    “Nowadays, some Muslims in America dream of repeating that ugly history of Islamic imperialism. In fact, I submit that the very choice of “Cordoba” as the name for the projected mosque was not an innocent one. On the contrary, it indicated a longing for the resumption of Islamic futuhat (conquests) throughout the world." (In Arabic: http://www.elaph.com/Web/opinion/2010/5/562230.html)

    August 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    @ SR:
    That is a nice bit of research, and needs to be followed up with Shaleel and others. But that is not likely. I don't recall any long term or conclusive discussion forthcoming from "Commentaries" and "blogs". Indeed The NYTimes has recently stopped permitting "Comment" on any but the most benign of its stories. Actually, those contributors who pee all over CNN for whatever reason should note that CNN is one of the few news sources to wade into the Muslim/Islam storms.
    And in keeping with the tenor of your researched article, consider this:
    Cordoba is very stubbornly advancing the cause of the "mosque" causing even Jewish observers to holler "intolerance" at objectors. (They are no doubt fearful of being cast as the instigators in any case where Jewish people are vocal in opposition to Islamic encroachment – imagine the intensity of the response, e.g. Zakaria)
    But Cordoba was a keen observer of the economic chaos and disruption caused by the Atttack On The Twin Towers. And as the "American Arab Muslim" in your article points out, the location is confrontational and intentionally so.
    it is entirely possible that Cordoba is setting the scene for an almost certain attack on their new site (it has been suggesated in commentaries in other articles). Imagine the chaos and financial disruption, a repeat of 9/11, if police, riots squads, fire engines, exploding bombs............hey!
    Objections to the location are poorly thought out, especially by the Mayor (who I believe is subject to the fears to which I alluded above).
    The objection should be almost entirely based on the evidence provided, that the opposition is such that the location will jeopardise future quiet enjoyment of the area by existing businesses and residents.
    This is so simple, and of course the simple answer are the most difficult to accept.

    These are Commentaries from a previous article re Mayor Bloomberg:, and a submission by Sharjeel Kashmir

    August 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  4. SR

    The author of this article looks like a modern man but he mouths the words of an Imam/mullah from 1000 yrs ago! Islam is peaceful. Islam is tolerant. Blah. Blah. Blah. We need actions, not words. We need thse guys to lecture all Islamic countries, not America. It is not us who are killing infidels.

    Those who don't believe me, Google the video "3 things you need to know about Islam" and read up on Taqquiya. The "Moderates" in Islam are just wolves in sheep's clothing. People like Fareed and others who have never spoken up against any issue (when the US invaded Iraq or when Pakistan exports global terror), suddenly are all huffed up and puffed up when a little insensitiveness on Islam's part is brought up by highly tolerant Americans.
    According to these Moderates, it is America that must show it's tolerant. Not Islam.
    Nice Taqqiya, guys. Keep it up and we will all end up not trusting a single Muslim ever in our lifetime.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Gary

    Islamaphobia??? I think U.S.A. just isnt interested in the practice of torture,blowing up buildings full of civilians,stoning of women and all the other atrocities that are prevalent in all muslim countries like Syria,Lebonon,Palestine,Iraq,Bahrain,Iran,Egypt to name a few....

    August 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • truthywood

      But American criminals are interested in killing millions of innocent people around world , those Nazis are interested in country of Israel which are built of graves of Palestinians , which are stolen from Palestinians. You murderers are never going to change, from start you people are murdering around world, from Alexander to those Europeans who killed Red Indians and those Europeans who murdered millions of blacks , you murderers always accused your victims and demonized in same way as you are demonizing Musllims right now.

      August 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
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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.