March 9th, 2011
12:43 PM ET

Opinion: Mosques are a positive force in America

Editor's note: Karam Dana, Ph.D. is a Dubai Initiative Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a faculty member at Tufts University, where he teaches courses on Middle East history and politics. Matt A. Barreto, Ph.D. is associate professor of political science and director of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity & Race at the University of Washington, Seattle. Together, they are the co-principal investigators of the MAPOS study of American Muslims.

In 2004, Rep. Peter King stated that 80% to 85% of mosques in America were controlled by Islamic fundamentalists and amounted to "an enemy living amongst us." In 2007 he said, "Unfortunately we have too many mosques in this country" and called for FBI surveillance and infiltration of mosques because that's where terrorists were being "homegrown."

Just a month ago he repeated the claim that over 80% of mosques are controlled by radical imams. Now, he is holding a congressional hearing to expose the radical elements of Islam in America.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • Opinion

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. John Doe

    I am going to burn all mosques like i burned the jews in the holocaust.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  2. John Doe


    March 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Al-Noor sura 24:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    They worship in houses which Allah has bidden to be exalted and His name to be remembered therein; they hallow Him therein in mornings and evenings- (36) Men whom neither trafficking nor bargaining diverteth from the remembrance of Allah and the establishment of the prayer and the giving of the poor-rate, fearing a Day whereon upset will be the hearts and sights. (37) That Allah may recompense them the best for that which they worked and may increase unto them of His grace, and Allah provideth for whomsoever He will without measure. (38) And those who disbelieve–their works are like a mirage in a desert which the thirsty deemeth to be water, until when he cometh thereto he findeth not aught, and findeth Allahs with himself, and He payeth him his account in full; and Allah is swift at reckoning. (39) Or, like the darknesses in a sea deep; there covereth it a wave from above it, a wave from above it, above which is a cloud: darknesses one above anot her: when he putteth out his hand well-nigh he seeth it not. And upto whomsoever Allah shall not appoint a light, his shall be no light. (40).

    March 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • John Doe


      March 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  4. Muneef


    March 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  5. Muneef

    An-Nisa sura 04:
    Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities, and how they say of those (idolaters) who disbelieve: "These are more rightly guided than those who believe"? (51).

    March 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  6. Iqbal khan

    911 was an inside Job....


    March 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      "Job"....that comes before Psalms 🙂

      March 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    And who doth greater wrong than he who forbiddeth the approach to the sanctuaries of Allah lest His name should be mentioned therein, and striveth for their ruin. As for such, it was never meant that they should enter them except in fear. Theirs in the world is ignominy and theirs in the Hereafter is an awful doom. (114) Unto Allah belong the East and the West, and whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's Countenance. Lo! Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (115).

    Al-Tawba sura 09:
    It is not for the idolaters to tend Allah's sanctuaries, bearing witness against themselves of disbelief. As for such, their works are vain and in the Fire they will abide. (17) He only shall tend Allah's sanctuaries who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due and feareth none save Allah. For such (only) is it possible that they can be of the rightly guided. (18).

    March 10, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  8. T-party

    @ Justina I actually do agree with soup kitchens,salvation army,habitat for humanity are faith based organizations. Many judeo-christians have been very giving and charitable in American history. ....I am agnostic which usually means honest

    March 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • T-party

      but saying secular,atheists,agnostics do nothing is actually very false. Many philanthropists are individuals who give out of the goodness of their hearts. Not being associated with a "non believing organization" means nothing. I could draw up a very long list of givers including myself who are not religious.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Justina

      T-party, then why do you post around the most stupid kind of poems everywhere? That tells a lot about typical secular people. Or is it by a fake T-party?
      No, atheists are far behind in charity. You guys have no reason to be good to humanity. Outside of the concept of God, goodness and evil lose all meanings. Any human can think manual elimination of mass humans can be good which is hellish evil in God's sight. Be logical and give your life to Jesus – the only way for anyone to be good.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • NL

      I actually feel like using much stronger, more colorful words here, but your opinion of atheists lacking any humanitarian sense only reflects the depth of your ignorant bigotry.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • David

      Ahhh back to Justina, so somehow you know that I as an atheist have "no reason" to be good to humanity ? Talk about judgmental, and lets not forget your request to "be logical", thats worth a laugh out loud coming from you>

      March 25, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  9. T-party

    As an agnostic I kind of welcome Islam and any other new religion to America. The more scattered and diverse the religious landscape in America the less effective,and significant any of them really are

    March 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Justina

      The pattern is: When the central powers collapse, there will be ugliest regional wars everywhere on American soil, and you will be rescued by Christians again because atheists will be only happy for reducing human population.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • T-party

      @ Justina, I am not an atheist, but thanks for the reply!

      March 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • NL

      Unless you happen to believe in every god that humanity has ever worshipped than we are all atheists. It's just a matter of degree in how 'pure' your atheism is. Believing in a single god makes you about a 99.99% pure atheist and, if you really think about it, you reject all those other gods for the exact same reasons we reject them, and yours as well. So, welcome to the club! 😉

      March 10, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • David

      Thanks for the update Justina, I missed the atheists agenda meeting last week regarding our plan when the collapse occurs..

      March 25, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  10. secular heathen

    I don't think any house of worship is positive. Maybe more homeless shelters or soup kitchens, but I think we have enough churches, mosques, temples, synagogues etc... Religion is poison for the mind.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Justina

      Most shelters and soup kitchens are operated by Christian churches all over the world while atheists do nothing. Secular heathens need reality checks.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If you don't stand for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that died for ALL our sins to defeat death (satan), you stand for nothing and your soul will perish.

      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:6

      March 11, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Smite Me


      You know what you can do with your version of an evil god who demands and accepts human sacrifice to appease its wrath.

      That went out with the superst.ition of tossing virgins into volcanoes to calm the angry gods. Get real.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  11. Richard the Lionheart

    Whatever the twaddle may be, mosques in America are not a "positive" thing. Not buying it. Talk to the hand.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  12. HeavenSent

    Those who believe (in the Quran). And those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, and who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (S.2, A.62; see also 5:69).

    Here (in 2:62) the Quran declares a reward for those who believe the Jewish Scriptures, and confirms the truth therein.

    But why do they come to thee for decision, when they have (their own) Torah before them?- Therein is the (plain) command of Allah: (S.5, A.43).

    The Torah is the first 5 books of the Old Testament, and it is claimed to be the "command of Allah."

    And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Torah that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light. And confirmation of the Torah that had come before him: (S.5, A.46).

    So the Torah (the law), the Jewish Scriptures, and the gospel of Jesus are all truth from Allah according to the Quran, and the Quran simply claims to confirm these prior Scriptures.

    Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference (sic) between one and another of them:" (S.2, A.136; bold added, see also 9:111, "In Truth, through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran:").

    To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, (S.5, A.48).

    Allah! There is no god but He,- the living, the Self-Subsisting, the Supporter of all. It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Torah (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus). (S.3, A.2-3).

    They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it": (S.46, A.30).

    The Quran claims to "confirm" the Bible (Torah, Jewish Scriptures, and gospel of Jesus) and makes no distinction between the Bible and the Quran (S.2, A.136). Yet, the typical Muslim view is that there is a distinction, in that, the Quran has been preserved pure, and the Bible has not.

    The Muslim position has always been that the Jewish (and Christian) scriptures as they stand cannot be traced direct (sic) to Moses or Jesus, but are later compilations. (footnote #67 for S.2, A.52, p. 21-22).

    In this both the Muslim's and the Quran's hypocrisy is revealed. Their own Quran tells them that the Jewish Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus are true, yet they discard this Quranic teaching with the excuse that the Jewish Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus has been supposedly lost through time. In other words, according to them, Allah did not keep his word. He did not preserve his revelation. Yet, Allah claims that the Quran is pure and he will preserve this revelation.


    March 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Muneef

      Read chapter 5: verses 41 to 50 if you wish...

      A sample verse is this one;

      Al-Maeda sura 05:
      And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (48).

      March 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Muneef

      (confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it) A watcher over it.....meaning what ever does not tally with what the Quran says is not of God...

      March 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  13. TheRationale

    I don't think it's a Muslim specific problem at all. Religions in general are not a positive force in America, much less the rest of the world. Yeah, Muslim extremists pose a more imminent danger than say, Westboro Baptist Church or the idiots who want ID taught in schools, but let's not let Islam feel like it's alone in its mess-making.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Justina

      Thus says an ignorant atheist.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Thus says an ignorant atheist.

      What is he ignorant of?

      March 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  14. seabeau

    I am a Christian ,like Jews and Muslims we are all People of the Book.(The Old Test.) and thus brothers in the Faith of the Great Creator.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Reality


      "New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument. "

      March 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Keith

      You must be a follower of Rick Warren. Muslims worship 'Allah'-a moon god. This is not the God of the Bible. You want an all inclusive one world religion? Join Saddleback.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Justina

      Seabeau, you must be an un-orthodox Muslim. Stop pretending.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • NL

      YHWH started as just the tribal god of a small population, and then he evolved into the being that everyone is sure about, but few can agree upon we have today. If Allah is a different god than the one in the Old Testament, than the trinity pantheon that Christians worship is also a different god(s) than the ancient Hebrews worshipped. If you want a good read on the evolution of God try Karen Armstrong's "A History of God."

      March 10, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • NL

      "The human idea of God has a history, since it has always meant something slightly different to each group of people who have used it at various points of time. The idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless in another. Indeed, the statement "I believe in God" has no objective meaning, as such, but like any other statement only means something in context, when proclaimed by a particular community. Consequently, there is no one unchanging idea contained in the word "God"; instead, the word contains a whole spectrum of meanings, some of which are contradictory or even mutally exclusive. Had the notion of God not had this flexibility, it would not have survived to become one of the great human ideas. When one conception of God has ceased to have meaning or relevance, it has been quietly discarded and replaced by a new theology. A fundamentalist would deny this, since fundamentalism is antihistorical: it believes that Abraham, Moses and the later prophets all experienced their God in exactly the same way as people do today. Yet if we look at our [three] religions, it becomes clear that there is no objective view of "God": each generation has to create the image of God that works for it."
      Karen Armstrong, A History of God

      March 10, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  15. GSA

    I like the so-called "facts" that King likes to spit out and when asked where his information is from he is quick to change the subject.
    @Reality – you are usually a lot more vigilante in asking someone where they get their information or questioning facts that ppl put out there but you don't seem to be doing the same with King's facts, a little bias are we?

    March 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Reality

      Muslim convert journalist Stephen Schwartz, and also an American Jewish Committee terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky, and also U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have all separately testified to a growing radical Islamist Wahhabi influence in U.S. mosques, financed by extremist groups. According to Barsky, 80% of U.S. mosques are so radicalized.

      The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      "A Pakistani immigrant who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison by a judge who said she hopes he spends time behind bars thinking "carefully about whether the Koran wants you to kill lots of people." NYT, 0ct 5, 2010

      Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      Two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      "August 9, 2010 Germany shuts 9/11 plotters' mosque in Hamburg

      Police raided the mosque on Monday and hunted for evidence of jihadist activities German police have shut down the Hamburg mosque where the 9/11 hijackers met before their suicide attacks on the US in 2001.

      Police said they believed the Taiba mosque was again being used as a meeting point for extremists.
      The cultural association that runs the mosque has also been banned.

      A German intelligence report last year said radical Muslims had travelled to military training camps in Uzbekistan after associating at the mosque.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Oh, I See.

      Hey, Reality... Thanks for being so "vigilante".

      March 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  16. Oh, I See.

    Look at Harvard and Tufts here and imagine that they're trying to sell you a used car... would you trust either of them? Laughable.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  17. Reality

    What needs to be repeated until Muslims own up to the problem and fix it:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon ? And what continues to drive Muslims to commit acts of global terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.–

    March 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Iqbal khan

      911 was an inside JOB, time to open new investigation.....

      March 10, 2011 at 4:38 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.