Muslim Americans on edge
March 27th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

In key American Muslim enclave, alienation is growing

Editor’s note: The original version of this story omitted the fact that the attorney for Roger Stockham, who was charged with making terrorist threats against a Dearborn mosque, says his client is a Muslim convert.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Madison Heights, Michigan (CNN) - Dawud Walid asked the worshipers for a show of hands: How many had heard about the Muslim radicalization hearings in Washington earlier that day?

About half of the 50 or so Muslims in the banquet hall-turned-mosque indicated that they had.

So Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter, briefed the other half about the hearing, calling it an “unfortunate first in American history.”

Then he went further, warning about what he said were a handful of growing threats to American Muslims.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11, we are seeing unprecedented acts of Islamophobia,” Walid told the worshipers at the American Islamic Community Center, 10 miles north of Detroit.

“After 9/11, it was coming from a few right-wingers,” he said. “But now, in 2011, we’re seeing it from Congress.”

Walid went on to tell the congregation that a dozen states - from Georgia to Missouri to New Mexico - are considering bans on Sharia, or Islamic law, and warned that such bans could lead to prohibitions on women wearing the hijab, or headscarf, and even on Muslims worshiping Allah.

“Praying five times a day is Sharia,” he said. “Do you go to jail for that?”

As one of the largest and oldest Muslim enclaves in the nation - and, with its century-old ties to Ford Motor Co., one that’s intimately bound up in the modern American story - the metro Detroit community is perhaps as close as one can get to the soul of American Islam.

At a time when the country is wrestling with its views on Islam, the faith causes relatively little friction in the largely Arab cocoon of southeast Michigan.

But narratives playing out in the national media, from the radicalization hearings spearheaded by New York Republican Rep. Peter King to the wave of proposed Sharia bans to anticipation of the September 11 anniversary, have left many Muslims here feeling ostracized in their own country.

The community is growing more defensive in the face of what many here say is a national climate of suspicion reminiscent of the period immediately after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In response to what he called “a spike in anti-Muslim bigotry,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, is holding a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Tuesday on “measures to protect the rights of American Muslims.”

Witnesses will include Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick - the former archbishop of Washington - and the top civil rights officials from the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

On this Thursday night, however, worshipers at the American Islamic Community Center echoed the embattled tone of the guest speaker from Center for American-Islamic Relations.

Hadir Ghazala, a 49-year-old Iraqi immigrant in a black-and-white polka-dot hijab, said she’d been turned down for jobs at local salons because she refused to remove her headscarf.

Mohammed Elzhemni, 39, bemoaned what he called a growing national stereotype of Muslims as terrorists.

“These people raise their families and work hard,” he said, gesturing to a cluster of small children chasing each other across the mosque’s faux marble floor. “I’m a manager at GM and work to make the country better. This is the true face of Islam.”

At a time when King and others are alleging that radical American Muslims pose an under-acknowledged threat to national security, a popular refrain among Detroit-area Muslims is that they’re the ones under attack.

The sentiment is especially acute at the Islamic Center of America, which calls itself the nation’s largest mosque.

This year, police said they thwarted an explosives attack on the house of worship in Dearborn, just west of Detroit city limits. In January, police arrested a man in the center’s parking lot in a car they said was packed with fireworks.

Police said the suspect, Roger Stockham, drove to Dearborn from California. He faces two felony charges carrying maximum sentences of up to 20 years.

The arrest provoked state and local law enforcement agencies to urge the 70,000-square-foot mosque to bolster security and develop a new emergency response plan.

“We’ve never had an incident like that, where we were targeted by someone who wanted to do us harm based on who we are,” said Kassem Allie, the center’s executive administrator.

To Allie, the incident is evidence that some Americans are being radicalized against Islam, turning the allegation of growing Muslim radicalization on its head.

“The suspect was apparently radicalized quite some time ago,” Allie said. “And there are other instances of radicalization that are of great concern to us.

“I have no problem addressing Islamic radicalization,” he said, monitoring the mosque's security cameras from a computer screen in his ground-floor office. “But there should be an acknowledgment that other communities have the same problem.”

Indeed, a common complaint around Dearborn, the epicenter of southeast Michigan’s Muslim community, is that the only time religion is mentioned in a crime story is when the suspect is Muslim.

“When Timothy McVeigh did his bombing, we didn’t investigate or blame Christianity,” said Al Machy, 32, referring to the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City that left 168 dead.

Machy works behind the counter at the Golden Bakery on Warren Avenue, a miles-long Dearborn strip lined with halal butchers, hookah bars, Lebanese restaurants and locally owned groceries with names like Baghdad Market and Sahara West. Signs for most businesses are in Arabic.

“Every day, there are hundreds of rapes and murders, and they never put the words 'Christian' or 'Jewish' in the story,” said Machy, an Iraqi refugee who arrived in the U.S. after the Gulf War.

Unlike most such crimes, in which religion doesn’t appear to be an issue, recent instances of homegrown terrorism - such as 2009’s Fort Hood shooting and last year’s failed Times Square bomb plot - were allegedly carried out in the name of Islam.

But many Muslims around Dearborn say those cases garner inordinate news attention while recent attacks against Muslim Americans, including the defacing and burning of mosques, are largely neglected.

According to the Justice Department, there were 107 anti-Muslim hate-crime incidents in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, compared with 28 such incidents in 2000.

After a sharp spike in 2001, when there were 481 anti-Muslim hate crime incidents, there have since been fewer than 200 such incidents annually, though there were generally fewer than 50 in the years before 2001.

Muslim advocacy groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, say they have seen a more recent uptick in anti-Muslim threats and violence.

Officials at the Islamic Center of America, which draws about 1,200 worshipers for Friday prayers, say local law enforcement encouraged them to take a low-key public stance on the January explosives arrest. Authorities wanted to avoid inspiring copycat attacks or reprisals, mosque officials said.

The mosque issued a news release after the suspect’s arrest but limited its interviews with the media. Chuck Alawan, 80, a founding board member of the mosque, has some regrets about the mosque keeping relatively quiet about the incident.

“You never hear about all the threats against mosques,” Alawan said in the thick Midwestern accent of a lifelong Michigan resident.

“I was born in this country, and I have never felt persecuted,” he said. “But it’s getting close to that.”

As Alawan spoke, a surveyor from the Michigan Department of Transportation was setting up equipment on the mosque’s lawn as part of a “vulnerability study” after the January incident.

Last week, the Islamic Center of America learned that the Florida pastor who triggered an international firestorm last year by threatening to burn the Quran would take part in an April protest at the mosque.

The protest against "Sharia and Jihad" is scheduled for Good Friday, two days before Easter.

"It is necessary that we set very clear lines for Muslims that are here in America,” Terry Jones, the Florida pastor, said in a statement Wednesday announcing his plans to protest at the Dearborn mosque. "If they desire to change our Constitution, in other words to institute Sharia, then these Muslims are no longer welcome in our country."

Officials at the Islamic Center of America are still deciding how to respond, though they are leaning toward a Good Friday counter-event that would bring together religious leaders of different backgrounds to encourage tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

"For us to try to fight fire with fire like in this case - to fight hate with hate - is really unproductive and actually destructive," said Allie, the mosque's executive administrator. "Under different circumstances, we'd welcome a dialogue with Terry Jones or other detractors, but it's got to be civilized."

Developments like the mosque protest have some local law enforcement officials sympathizing with growing Muslim anxiety.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad is among them. He estimates that he has received 10,000 anti-Muslim “hate e-mails,” some calling him a “Taliban police chief” or alleging that he’s persecuting Christians.

The senders assume he’s Muslim because of his last name, Haddad says, even though he’s a Christian of Lebanese descent.

Like Alawan and Haddad, many Arab-Americans in the area trace their local roots back generations. The first big wave of Middle Easterners arrived in southeast Michigan around 1910 to man Henry Ford’s automobile plants in Highland Park and Dearborn.

Those immigrants were mostly Christians from the area that is now Lebanon but was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

“Ford seemed to think that that this particular segment of the empire was industrious and productive and a good source of cheap labor,” said Saeed Khan, a lecturer in Islamic history, politics and culture at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Khan said Ford also favored immigrants from that region because, unlike some other groups, they tended to be light-skinned.

After the defeated Ottoman Empire was carved up at the end of World War I, Christians were given favored status in the newly created Lebanon, provoking more Muslims to exit the region. Some wound up in new Arab strongholds like metro Detroit.

“Especially after Henry Ford announced the $5 workday, (immigrants) would get off the train in Detroit looking for work, and police would pick them up and take them to Ford’s Rouge plant to apply,” Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly said, referring to a huge Dearborn manufacturing facility that opened in the 1920s.

Today, southeast Michigan’s Muslim population is estimated at nearly half a million, Khan said. Though there are larger Muslim populations in New York and Southern California, there are few places in the country with such a heavy concentration of Muslims.

“Once Henry Ford established that community, it had a pull effect and became an epicenter of Arab life,” Khan said. “It was influenced by employment opportunities and the availability of resources like mosques and schools.”

Though Dearborn retains its Lebanese flavor, the area’s Muslim community includes many immigrants from India, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, along with a growing Eastern European contingent and many African-Americans.

The historic Muslim presence here helps explain why local allegations of Islamophobia are pretty rare - and why Haddad, the police chief, suspects that most of his anti-Muslim e-mail is from outsiders.

Zeinab Dbouk-Chaayto, a recent immigrant from Lebanon, says that she was the only woman donning a hijab when she took classes recently at Madonna University, a Catholic school in Livonia, just west of Dearborn, but that no one gave her any trouble.

The school’s conservative culture jibed with her Muslim values. “There’s no partying and no alcohol,” she said, adding that administrators in a school office where she worked even threw her a baby shower and a birthday party.

Local law enforcement officials, for their part, say they strengthened ties to greater Detroit’s Muslim leadership after September 11, launching a program called Bridges to create an ongoing dialogue between those leaders and the FBI, state and local law enforcement, and other government agencies.

“Sometimes, there’s a relative who feels that someone in the family might be doing things that probably aren’t in the long-term best interest of the country, and they want to bring that forward,” said O’Reilly, the Dearborn mayor, explaining the program.

“But they don’t want to be responsible for throwing a family member in jail,” he said. “There’s a delicacy to that, so they have a dialogue about where people can bring this stuff forward.”

Haddad, the Dearborn police chief, said the Bridges program helped create a parents’ task force to combat gang activity in the city’s Yemeni community. That move contributed to an 11% drop in crime in the heavily Yemeni South End neighborhood last year, he said.

At the same time, many Muslims around Dearborn are convinced that they are under government surveillance, exacerbating feelings of alienation.

Sitting with friends at the Islamic Center of America, Alawan says, they often joke that law enforcement has the mosque’s phones tapped and its rooms bugged.

“The agencies will deny it,” he said. “But we know they’re doing it.”

The suspicion was given credence after FBI agents killed a Muslim cleric in an October 2009 raid in Dearborn.

The charges against the imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah - which included mail fraud and the illegal possession and sale of firearms - were based on information from three confidential FBI informants who’d infiltrated Abdullah’s mosque.

The case raised the specter of government spies in other Dearborn area mosques and prompted a 2010 letter of protest from Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

“People of all faiths should be free to worship without undue fear that the person in the next pew is a government agent,” Conyers wrote, invoking the FBI’s wiretapping of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a regrettable precedent for such surveillance.

Many Muslims around Dearborn find it ironic that what they see as a growing suspicion of Muslims in America comes at a time when much of the Arab world, from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, is rising up against despotic leaders and demanding more U.S.-style freedoms.

“While the Islamic world is rising up against dictatorship, dishonesty, deception and corruption … America should show solidarity with people who are looking for dignity and democracy,” Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi told hundreds of worshipers at recent Friday prayers at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, a mosque situated across the street from Henry Ford Community College.

“That’s not the right time to bring another wave of Islamophobia and ignorance,” he said, blasting the King hearings of the previous day. “It is so dangerous to provoke people who are ready to commit hate crimes with this kind of wrong information.”

Elahi wasn’t referring to the danger of inciting Muslim radicals to commit terrorism against the United States. The threat, in his eyes, is that Americans will be provoked to terrorize Muslims.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Michigan • Muslim

soundoff (3,082 Responses)
  1. Paul

    I am a Christian, but here is what bothers me about this report... According to the latest available crime stats, 10 percent of religious hate crimes are towards Muslims... 70 percent towards Jews. Yet, Jews only out number Muslims by 2-1. Over the last 20 years the number of Muslims in this country has increased by 800,000. The number Jews has decreased by 500,000. Now you tell me who has it worse? One faith is being driving out, another is being driven in.... Get your focus right CNN!!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Where do your stats come from? And everyone should know that the majority influence in politics and media is from jews, so to those stating that muslim employees of cnn forced this article or those of you making other ignorant comments should realize this.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Sad

      A large reason for the reduction of the Jewish population is because they are moving to Israel and taking land from the Palestinian Muslims. Millions of Jews have moved to Israel, taken land, displaced Palestinians, oppressed them and stolen from them. I see commercials on quite often asking for money to help move more Jews to Israel. So don't put the reduction of the Jewish population in the USA as being a negative in regards to the rising Muslim population and say the coverage of this is unfair.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • MoreSnow

      @Sad, your conjecture is reckless and dangerous. The boundaries of the Israeli map solidified decades ago. It's impossible for anyone to take land from anyone else there because the country is ruled by a legal system very like America's which protects land owners. And few American Jews want to emigrate to a war zone when they have peace and prosperity here at home. The reason for the reduction in Jewish numbers is due to assimilation into American culture and abandonment of ancient traditions in favor of a modern secular lifestyle.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  2. Dino

    Head scarves or bread on the table? People need to set their religions aside for a minute and implement logic on the basis of reality. The Muslim woman may want to wear a head scarf as dictated by her beliefs but the reality is that the woman might find work and be able to feed her children if she left the scarf at home. This is a country based on capitalism. As far as most businesses are concerned, what attracts customers to a business is more important than an employees religious practices.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Dino I respect your comments, but muslims understand that it is God that provides for mankind. Just as the birds go out everyday and find their sustenance by His leave, so do all humans and these women are cognizant of this and want to please God by adhering to His rules on modesty.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • dennis

      I just want to know why in every muslim country, Christians must follow the law and order of that country. Wen the muslim gets to America, he expects to do his "thing" and thinks nothing of disrespecting our country. haJd

      March 27, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Pedro

      Very good point.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • charlieblu

      Agree. I grew up in California, and I experienced much contempt from Muslin males, any time I would walk into any store where they work or where owners. They would never take the money I was handing over to them; directly from my hand (never), the man would tap the counter, make a grunt noise and forced me to put the money on the table and he would pick it up from there.
      They would never answer my questions directly, but, would point to things and never talk to me. I finally stop going into the stores and would go way out of my way; to get a gallon of milk or some small item, that I need it. I felt, disrespected, like I was not worth anything in their eyes. Listen, I'm not the type of person to get intimidated by other people, I'm a strong woman and take no nonsense from anyone.
      I really know very little about their beliefs, but I'm paying more attention and sadly, I do not feel comfortable around them. Now this is way before 9/11. Always have been the type of person to respect others personal beliefs.
      However, why should I a female in this country, who is not a Muslin, be subjected to this kind of treatment in the U.S.A.???
      This past December, I was in S.F. for the holiday's and once again I experienced the same thing, after walking into a deli, for a quick bite to eat. I really do not know any Muslims personally, But, the one's I come across, have not treated me with any respect. This is America, not Iran or Saudi Arabia, I demand that they respect me, Regardless, of what they beliefs are.
      I will continue to keep an open mind in regards to this group. I know is not fair to generalize a group of people, for the sins of a few.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Another Larry

      dennis: I want to know why you believe this nonsense. Muslims who come here are no more guilty of this than any other immigrant. So far I haven't called a company and gotten a message saying to press 1 for English or 2 for Arabic.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  3. Skeptisch

    Muslime haben eigenständige Gemeinden, wo sie zu suchen. Die grundlegenden Lehren ihrer Religion sind so trennend, dass sie nicht untereinander einigen, "wer kann aus dem Brunnen trinken." Amerikaner, in der Regel, wie die Französisch und Englisch Deutschen und wird auch nicht auf eine Sache sie zu sagen haben Vertrauen man sei "friedlich".

    March 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  4. james

    Just history repeating its self. No human can stop it. If we are ignorant we will try and stop history from repeating its self. Then we will only become what we fight against. History has already happen. It is just replaying its self. Man comes from a little snake (sperm) and will grow into a dragon eventually. Religion is only a means of camouflage in which the snake/dragon clothes its self. Mankind can not represent the light beings (truth). They are not permitted to enter into that kingdom with their DNA snake mind intact. All words of mankind are packaged with viruses lurking about too control the agenda of the dark beings. Muslim, Christians, Jews are all on the same team that seeks to infiltrate the spiritual eternal mind created by light. Beware of words.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  5. Dave

    Have to admit.. Looking at the pictures... gives me the chills... Just makes me think that they are planning to blow something up... It takes a couple to ruin it for everybody/

    March 27, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  6. Name*Chedar

    Unfortunately, some of the violent act by the Muslim still shows up in the US. i.e, beheading the wife by the owner of a radio station who is Muslim. The honor killing is not an american value that most American believe in. This are some of the issue the Muslim faith in the US needs to answer. When you live in a host country where the faith is predominantly Christian, you have to adapt the legal part and not integrate the Muslim way of dealing with another human being much like your family and your neighbor. This i belief is what scares the majority of the Americans. So if you plan to live here, try to adopt to this country by doing away the violence imposed in the Sharia law.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  7. Brian Macker

    CNN is actually guilty of what it is accusing the "Islamaphobes" of. This article is all about irrational fears of non-Muslims like the fear that we are going to force them to stop worshipping Allah (meaning God). Let's call it infidelphobia. When in fact there are actual problems with Islam that have to be fixed. They can worship a unicorn for all I care. The problem with Islam is that they teach that the Qur'an is infallible, and that the life of Muhammad was perfect and should be emulated. The Qur'an, unlike other holy books, contains explicit defamations and incitements to violence against living people,[ and even Muslims who do not follow the rules]. Muhammad's life was that of a violent slaver / war lord. It is not at all surprising that someone who believes the Quran is infallible and has actually read it will behave violently, and oppress non-Muslims. After all the book says we are all evil, and to various degrees depending on what religion we belong to need to be persecuted, suppressed, and even exterminated.

    A religion that has such features is always going to generate splinter sects, and individuals, who see peaceful Muslims as traitors to the Qur'an, and Mohammad. In the Quran it is Allah who wills that Muslims must fight Jihad war whether they like it or not, and calls those who don't hypocrites. It's a religion of paranoia too in that the Qur'an rants on and on about hypocrites (meaning individuals who say they are Muslims but are not true Muslims). So it more than instructs violence, it also goads Muslims into following the violent portions by questioning the faith of any Muslim who acts peacefully. This questioning isn't something tacked on afterwords but is central to the religion.

    These and many other issues with Islam mean that it is always going to be spawning violence. The religion is vile.

    It is because of these features that Islam is a danger to non-Muslims.

    I think the right to practice religion ends where it endangers others. Just like you cannot store dynamite on your property right next door to your neighbors house, you should not be able to endanger your neighbor by spreading the belief that they are evil and deserve to die based on pure bigotry. Free speech does not allow for lying about your neighbor to ruin their reputation, and it also does not allow for inciting violence.

    Make no mistake, the Quran is full of such defamations, and they are tied to incitement to violence. Since both incitement to violence, and defamation are already illegal it is clear that teaching that the Qur'an is infallible is in fact a crime. It is at least negligence to do so if you haven't read the whole thing, and if you are explicitly teaching the bad parts, like those video of the Imans calling for the murder of infidels, it is a crime with malice.

    One way around these problems for Muslims is to teach that the Qur'an is infallible, and that many aspects of Muhammads life were in-fact less than exemplary. If they only taught Mohammads early message, and for example taught that the devil took his brain over when he became violent (or something like that) then their might be some hope. Clearly they should NOT be allowed to teach the violent portions.

    Furthermore, since these explosive parts are in the Qur'an and the Muslims are teaching that their religion is true, they need to take extra percautions to make sure that no Muslim reads it on their own and thinks "Hey they missed this part where we are supposed to kill infidels". They need to explicitly warn that those portions are poorly written and can to bad behavior, and should be ignored.

    This is analogous to the storage of dynamite. We know it is dangerous because it has caused explosions in the past when not stored properly. Not only must the dynamite not be stored next to ones neighbor but there need to be extra precautions like the training of those handling it, and their certification by others who are placed in danger. In addition, there need to be inspections by non-interested parties to make sure that the dynamite is being stored properly, and even potentially mandatory licensing by the community for those who have had accidents using the material.

    An Imam, Mosque, or organization whose follower has murdered others while shouting "Allah Akbar" or who has blown hims self up, needs to be monitored, made to follow certain procedures, and even licensed to continue on the basis of whether they follow good practices with such a dangerous thing as teaching that the Qur'an is true, and that Mohammad was good.

    I have a copy of the Qur'an. I teach about it, and what I teach is that it is a false religion, in total. Therefore even though I tell the violent things Mohammad did, I am not inciting violence by doing so. The Qur'an in and of itself, and the facts about Mohammad in and of themselves, are not the problem. The problem is teaching that the Qur'an is infallible and that Mohammad's life is perfect. This is true even if Islam were to teach that Mohammad lead a perfect peaceful life. Why? Because that is false and non-believers are bound to tell the truth, and then the Muslim gets insulted and wants to exact the many revenges spelled out in the Qur'an for those who "spread mischief".

    So I don't know if it is even possible to reform Islam properly. However, that is not my problem. I have a rignt not to be endangered by others, and spreading lies about me, and advocating my murder, are a violation of those rights. That is where Islam crosses the line.

    I also have a right to have my government examine any religion with a continuing track record of violence, or any other crimes. We investigate churches deeply when they are used of individual tax evasion, and I see no reason not to investigate them when they cause other crimes like 9/11.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Another Larry

      All religions are fairy tales, narratives people chose to believe because they like them better than the alternative.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  8. Jack

    Muslim paranoia is alive and well in Detroit.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  9. Mick

    Hey CNN, why don't you have any articles ridiculing Islam and questing its autheniticity and the validity of its prophet – like you continually do to Christianity?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  10. Nonya

    The very core of Islam is based on violence. While they claim they are a religion of peace, they leave out the rest of the statement "for now". Their belief in the utopian reign of justice and peace only comes after the Mahdi arrives. What follows his coming? The annihilation of all Jews, and all religions other than Islam. While the people interviewed complain of other religions not being singled out in relation to crimes, they fail to mention that the criminals religions have nothing to do with the crimes. The "biased" reports on muslim crimes are on crimes that are committed in the name of Islam! Why is the America so afraid to simply confront these truths? They have no problem pointing out all of ththings they see wrong in other religions.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  11. Michigander

    Hello, I am from Michigan and I just want everyone to know that there is no sharia law, mandatory burqas, or bombing of out state capital or monuments. Just a lot of mid eastern restaurants and the occasional burqa, hijab and white over robes. You people screaming "HIDDEN SHARIA" don't know jack.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  12. Mick

    Hey CNN, Why don't you conduct an honest poll of the Muslims and see where they stand on the death penalty for adultery and converting from Islam to another religion, and beating women and children. Also on the issues of whether terrorism is acceptable and how much they love the USA. Then we'll see what your beloved Muslims are all about.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • a2b3

      ok Mick for the last time, a Muslim is telling with utmost honesty. We hate adulters but we don't go to an extent to kill them? Secondly, WE HATE TERRORISM AND CONDEMN IT!

      March 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • a2b3

      one more thing... beating women and children... where did you get this from?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  13. JR

    None of this would be happening if it weren't for the exportation of violence. The sad truth is, when people in a third world country blow each other up, the west shakes it's head sadly and then goes about it's business. The problem came when the west and the third world, intersected through Islamic fundamentalist violence. Blowing up embassies, the USS Cole and then finally, 9/11. The US at the time was minding it's own business, a sleepy summer of news preoccupied with shark attacks in Florida and the disappearance of Chandra Levy....Then we got September 11th.

    It woke a lot of people up. I for one, started doing things like reading the Koran and trying to figure out on my own, just what in the heck was going on, and where all of this fire was coming from. What was 'their' problem with the west?

    Truth is, if you accept the Islamic faith's idea of the law of abrogation, where the last thing that Mohammed said about something was the final word, and then ask, what are those final words, and then act them out literally? Then you're looking at the behavior of fundamentalists. Then it makes sense why they're blowing up infidels.

    I'm a conservative, a pacifist in my own life, and very much a tolerant human being that belives in a person's right to live their own lives in peace, as long as they're not stepping on the toes of other people, regardless of whether or not I agree with them, their beliefs or lifestyle.

    ..but then comes the idea of the exportation of violence across the world. You can't swing a dead cat without running into another example of some fundamentalist somewhere, blowing or shooting something up. Killing someone for some reason or another, all of it backed up by their scripture. To ignore this is to ignore the elephant in the living room. To pretend that it's all just the random criminal acts of a few stray crazy people is to be deaf to the words of the perpetrators themselves.

    There are various forms of Islam across the planet. Some folks believe in the above, while many many others don't believe in beling violent at all and just want to live their lives like everyone else. The problem is, not many of the latter stand up to the former, because they either agree in theory but not practice, in ideology, not behavior...or they disagree completely, but are scared just like everyone else is to stand up to the violent ones and say knock it off, because that has a tendency to get people dead. You can't even draw a cartoon without some axe wielding guy trying to kill you.

    But it's real. It's happening. And to pretend that it isn't is really just delusional. It matters not what happened during the Crusades nor the Inquisition, that was hundreds of years ago. That's ancient history. The story of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is happening NOW.

    Most people do not want to treat all of Islam like terrorists, but that is also ignored. Say one word about the violent ones and somehow you're a bigot or a 'phobe'. Works well to silence those who denounce the violent ones, eh? Well, it's not bigoted to say 'you're a killer' if someone literally blows someone else up. It's not a phobia to have fear of something that might actually happen, only about fear of something that never happens.

    Violence happens in Islam that is literally acceptable to PORTIONS of that society. It's okay in some realms to cut off the hands and feet of thieves, to hang gay people, to stone adulterers, and to strap bombs to your chest and blow yourself and others up.

    If people don't talk about it, then it is allowed to run unabated. It's only the free discussion of feelings and ideas as to how to deal with it, and to make plans to deal with it, that will ever change anything.

    We all have a right to freely practice our religions (if we have any, i don't), and to speak our minds about what we are thinking. However, our audience also has a right to react to what we think and do. I have no issue with Muslims who want to live in peace and just live their lives. I don't care if they cover their women in a sheet, but I feel sorry for their women not being treated as fully human. But if one takes that on freely, then rock on.

    I do care when violence is exported to our shores. I do care when certain societal behaviors in Islamic countries are being promoted and tolerated. Sorry, don't want Sharia in family courts in the US, there is one law here and that aint' it. You want to live under that structure, there are dozens of Islamic countries on the planet to choose from. And I'm not going to not talk about the elephant in the living room. If it makes those who are peaceful uncomfortable, well welcome to the US of A where the first amendment is paramount, where people are free, and you don't have a right not to not be offended. If I condemn the actions of one of the fundamentalists, and it offends a peaceful Muslim, why is that so? Truth is, those folks made the religion look bad and that's jjust a given. Just like pedophile priests make Catholics look bad. It boils down to, religious people, police thyself...Don't look at outsiders and condemn them for looking down their nose at you. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, am I protecting the wrong thing? Stop protecting those aspects of your religion that are morally wrong.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • AJ JONES

      }8? )

      March 27, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Another Larry

      How much have you cared about American meddling in the affairs of Muslim nations for the past 60 years?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Is this the website where we go to unload prejudice and stuff? It is?! AWESOME!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      hahaha nice! 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  15. AJ JONES

    RON PAUL IN 2012 !!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  16. Zubair

    All of this hate and lies against Islam is only making the sincere non-Muslims convert to Islam and the Muslims into stronger believers. Thank you hate mongers! Why do non-Muslims curse and swear so much? If you want a civilized dialogue, then bring it on. Muslims love dialogues and debates.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • JanetF

      Yes, Muslims like to solve their disputes with dialogs and debates, if by dialog and debates, you mean beheading, stoning, blowing up people.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  17. Name*Luis Aponte

    This country has been and always will be a nation of bogots and I'm ashamed to be associated with my own anglo race.Not enough of us take the stand to tell it like it is and just say STOP WITH OUR " OURS IS THE GREAT RACE MENTALITY"

    March 27, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  18. norcalmojo

    13 pics and not one hotty.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • a2b3

      oops! you were looking for hotties on a wrong website 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  19. stevehartke

    Muslims need to get out of the country.

    The bible is not the word of god. Religion is not the word of god. There is no god. We need less religionists in this country, not more– deport them now, from Britian, Scandinavia and the USA. They have plenty of countries of their own. Let them go there until they no longer profess a belief in a fairy tale.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Mike

      I agree, wholeheartedly. Why do they come here when they hate what America stands for and our freedoms? I know why, because they want this to be a Muslim state and enforce their barbaric Sharia B.S. on us. I will NEVER conform to the Politcally Correct rhetoric that bends over backwards to make what these people believe seem okay. Every time I see a woman wearing that garb they force them to wear it sickens me.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • a2b3

      And you leave our OIL and natural resources alone 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Another Larry

      @Mike: "Why do they come here when they hate what America stands for and our freedoms? I know why, because they want this to be a Muslim state and enforce their barbaric Sharia B.S. on us."

      What a bunch of ignorant nonsense.

      "Every time I see a woman wearing that garb they force them to wear it sickens me."

      That's your problem, not theirs. I find your kind of ignorant bigotry sickening.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Mike

      @ Another Larry: YOUR the ignorant one. Muslims take their holy book LITERALLY. You and all of your politically correct cohorts can call me or anyone else who isn't a Muslim apologist a bigot or ignorant. Keep talking. There are plenty of us here in our country of birth who do not buy into the "Islam is a religion of peace" idiocy. I have chosen to inform myself and don't blindly follow any iditoic belief system that dictates that non believers must be killed (and don't tell me the Koran does not condone that), as well as the subjigation oaf women in that society. It is MY problem when other people's push their barbaric beliefs on me and everyone else. Where are MY rights as a non believer of any religion. They come here under the guise of religious freedom then we all have to bend over backwards to cater to their beliefs. My granddaugters will not be forced to cover their bodies and be treated as one step up from an animal, I can promise you that.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • AH17

      @Mike- Your rights have not been taken away. You are still allowed to go outside and protest Muslims coming into this nation. Instead of posting on CNN, go outside and yell "Muslims are trash". I bet people will join you.

      Who cares if your granddaughters will not wear hijabs? Not me. Stop posting that kind of stuff. It's not your problem. This is America, a free nation. Muslims get to wear hijabs in America. We do not have to go to another country to do so.

      Just because some people have taken Islam to the extreme does not mean that all Muslims are bad. Only .01% of Muslims are probably terrorists. Stop stereotyping and saying that all Muslims believe that violence is the way to go.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Mic4life

    Revelation Chapter 17 indicates that during the last days, the people and political nation will hate religion. The empire of religion is referred to as Babylon the Great and harlot. The great tribulation (Matthew Chapter 24) starts with the fall of Babylon the Great, or the empire of false religions. Consider this prophesy when thinking about how it is in our hearts to mistrust and dislike religion or particular faiths. Referencing Revelation...

    Revelation 17:12 “And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. 13 These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast. 14 These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him [will do so].”

    15 And he says to me: “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. 17 For God put [it] into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out [their] one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
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About this blog

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