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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. What a joke

    If it's all the same to you folks, I'll stick with the God of the Holy Bible! He helped make the United States of America the greatest nation in the history of all mankind. Unfortunetly we turned our back on him and have to feel his wrath for it. Hopefully, we can humble ourse;ves soon and get back on his good side. But I think there are just too many Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor's in place for this to happen.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  2. jan

    Many pregnant muslim women come to the US (especially the Detroit area) to have their kids, paid for by the US government. They now are a parent of a US citizen, and get all the benefits of the Federal and State government.
    I would never knowingly patronize a business ( any kind) owned by a muslim, just like I will NOT patronize and business owned by Mexicans. These two ethnic peoples are destroying the fabric of America, and until we eliminate the 'free ride' to foreigners who are born here of illegal parentage.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • A Muslim

      Oh don't single out Muslims for that. Many hispanics do the same thing and aren't they predominately Christian? Many people from Eastern Europe and Asia do it as well and they are a variety of religions. Don't single out the Muslims for something almost every group out there does because it is a huge loophole in our immigration law.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • BN

      The "fabric of America" IS people coming here for a better life how do you think we all got here? Unless your native american your family came looking for a better life, and we have plenty of lazy natural born americans taking advantage of welfare and other social systems its not just the hispanics who are generally thought of as hard workers thats why they do jobs we wont like roofing and harvesting.

      Oh and before you jump to the "he must be a liberal" conclusion, I am a born and bred republican not a fan of liberal hippies but less of a fan to people who spread fear.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  3. Raymond

    As a person born and raised in Detroit, and lived here most of my life, I'd have to say most Christians here have absolutely no problems with the Muslims here and vice versa. As a group they're as decent a people as any other, and they have the same issues that all religious groups tend to have. They're just people trying to get along in this world, and I don't understand why people just won't leave them alone. Furthermore, last year I took a course on interreligious dialogue, and I learned a lot about Judaism and Islam that I hadn't previously known (along with a few other religions). For instance, I had known that Islam was related to Christianity and Judaism, but I didn't realize that it was traced back to another of Abraham's sons, nor that during its rise in the 6th or 7th century, it was actually protective of Jews and Christians... Ironic that we now treat them so badly...

    March 27, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • keys

      you will not have a problem with them until they have sizeable numbers..just wait and see how they spread hatred afterwards..

      March 27, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  4. humberto

    Don't trust the FBI, they too are corrupt.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • America up for grabs

      Unlike in Mexico where there is no corruption lol

      March 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  5. matte

    I wouldn't call these hearings a "first" in american history. Unfortunate that they have to happen yes, but hardly unprecedented. When this nation has what it considers a threat, we tend to react (or over react in some cases). Congress had many hearings of these sorts during equal rights movements in the 60's. Target groups that fought for civil rights were discussed ad nausea in congress. Having the discussion doesn't spark phobias. The discussions are happening because the phobia exists, and the nation needs a place to vet it out. Is there a general conspiracy to impose islamic values and laws on america? Not likely...most muslims want to practice their faith without retribution from the guy next door. Are there groups or people within that community that would want to do this...likely. And its important we are all aware of this possibility so our new and older muslim americans can work to marginalize these people and these aspirations. To me its no different than the extreme christian that would impose bible teachings on the people and use it to reform our laws. There's enough diversity that its unlikely even christians would stand for it. Just allow these people integrate as they feel inclined and practice their religion in a means that best works with our existing laws.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  6. garp

    It's not that I don't like muslims, I get along with many, but I find it interesting that the muslim population will not report extremism and even supports it. This by relation makes them untrustworthy. If the muslims can't or won't turn in the violent faction, then they are as guilty as the ones who are. If you want trust, prove that you can be trusted. Point out the radicals and don't let them blend in. If we can't tell the difference than whats going to happen will be similar to what Hitler did with jewish people. Cleansing of a religon. It will happen.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • A Muslim

      We do report extremism. Thanks.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  7. Joel Franco

    http://prooftheendisnear.blogspot.com/ – Check it out please!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Bryan

      and?????

      March 27, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  8. An American

    If Muslims don't like our laws and way of life and RESPECT other religions then just GO HOME. We are a country of FREEDOMS.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • malek

      Look it this idiot he is talking against freedom and then claim to be a freedom fighter. Man the psychos on CNN are way too many.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Elsa

      malek – there is no talk against freedom in that post. You are lying.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  9. Bryan

    History has proven that the muslim following are devious and tyrannical people. Don't be fooled by their treachery. If you think that we (anything but muslim) are not at war with muslims, you are blind, deaf and dumb. What do you think these American muslims will do when the time comes to choose between their American country or Islam???? We will have a very real problem on our own home front. It's been the stealthiest American ground invasion of all time and its happening right in front of our own eyes. Wake up people.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Jane

      Bryan, they are coming right to your door!!! Omg they are demaning that you be open-minded!!! Hide!!!! Why not seal yourself in reeaaallly tight and wait until it is safe to come out? Could take many years to purge the nation of this scary boogeyman so don't come out until the sane people tell you to.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Bryan

      Oh Jane, maybe you should go to and live in a Muslim country, where you have to hide your face, accept beatings by your husband, get stoned if you happen to cheat on him, have your daughter murdered legally by your husband because she wants to marry a non Muslim. If that's the kind of country you want to live in then let me know, I will pay for your one-way ticket.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • America up for grabs

      Liberal americans are so open minded that their brains have fallen out.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • A Muslim

      Oh Bryan, why don't you go live in a Muslim country and have your eyes opened and see how full of it you are. Go live in Jordan for a month and see that it is much like America except the language is different and the dress is different.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • she

      You and GW are exactly right in your assesments about the situation. I believe the offended Muslims need to return home where they can practice their brand of religion amongst sympathizers.

      America has been abused enough, whether verbally, or physically throughout our brief history. And still we stand and shine as the only example of real democracy in the world. I hope and pray with all my heart that all Americans stand together and repell the insidious attempt of radical Muslims to infiltrate and take over our country, inch by inch.

      Americans, do your due dilifence, research and discover where the Muslim communities have developed here in our country, and educate yourselves to their real belief system, values and agenda for being here. I promise, you won't like what you learn.

      Knowledge is power.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Bryan

      A Muslim, I don't need to go to Jordan or any other Islamic country, I have read the Quran, and see on the news how these people operate, I watched the twin towers fall in the name of Islam, I watched journalist beheaded, I have seen woman stoned to death, I have seen Islamic leaders call for the destruction of other nations.......need I go on, you're an idiot, and your mesmerizing Islamic Jedi mind trick will not work on me.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  10. Jane

    Yeah, and while we're at it, lets round up all the Catholics and send them back to Rome. They were involved in the crusades and cannot be trusted. Send the Christians back too.. They believe in the same God and will start something eventually - like a ridiculous crusade against other Americans practicing their freedom to believe as they choose. Hypocrites!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • America up for grabs

      Christians don't chop your head off when you make fun of their religion as many around the world do all the time. Personally I believe all religions belong in the dust bin, the sooner the better.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  11. mike

    Muslims are always crying about "equal treatment" and "Islamaphobia." I encourage you to take a look at the Islamic world and see how "equal" they treat non-Muslims. It's an article of their faith that if a person does not accept Allah as the one true God and accept Mohammed as the one and only prophet then you are a second class citizen.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  12. GW

    Just returned from a trip to the Middle East. All you have to do is to visit Jordan to understand that imposing their religion on you and me is the least of their worries. At 4:00 a.m. their screeching loud speakers from mosques all over Amman sent out their call to pray broadcast so loudly you can't sleep in a hotel... and it continues until 6:00 a.m. on and off. It is very clear to see when you are there the control that Islam would like to impose on America and all countries and society in general, especially this Western culture. They are very clear that It is their mission to dominate the world, and especially America and the "West". They are clear over there that we are their enemies, and that they WILL conquer us (not if, but when). They will say whatever they need to say to massage the media, and those who want total tolerance for them here in America, including our government. We have to maintain our way of life and block their entrance here at every turn, no matter how politically incorrect that sounds. They must know that America isn't for their taking, even though we will allow them to worship their Alla freely, (which, by the way, is not our Christian Jesus, or God) build their mosques, and wear their clothing. Do the research. Read. Visit their countries. Then come home freightened and acutely aware of the game... and ignore the media and be vigilant and pray. America is in trouble if we allow another inch of freedom to Islam. But as Christians (or whatever), and as American's who fought dearly for our freedom, we have to love the people. But they must love America enough to not impose their way of life on us. They came here. We aren't going there. They can go home if they want that way so badly. Head out... the airlines fly there many times daily. Read "Son of Hammas"..... NYT's best seller. It is eye opening. Thanks,

    March 27, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Bryan

      GW, very good comment. I would like to hear more from you. Its scary but what you say is so true. Not sure how we can connect without revealing email addresses to the public.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • America up for grabs

      Why are liberals and democrats in bed with Islam?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Quit your lying and racism. You've never been to a muslim country. I have and their call to prayers is a beautiful sound AND their people some of the nicest, warmest and most accepting people in the whole world. Tell truth for a change and quit spewing hate.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • keys

      you dont even have to go to a muslim country...go to any country where muslims are a sizeable minority and you will see how they are always fighting with other communities to impose their laws..take india, thailand, phillipines,france,spain..whats happeing to europeis what will happen to america..open the gates for hispanics..we need them to counter the muslims' population growth rate

      March 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • A Muslim

      You greatly exaggerate as I have been to Jordan and spent weeks there. The call to prayer occurs and then 15 minutes later there is another call. That is the only time it happens between 4 and 6 am. So rather than 2 hours of it, you have at the most, 20 minutes of it. After being there for a week, I started not even getting woken up by it. It is something you get used to.

      People are very open and kind over there if you are polite too. At least 1/4 of the women in Jordan do not wear the scarf. There are many Christian churches. One was right across the street from where I stayed and on Sunday, their bells went off at all hours of the day and were quite loud but no one complained. Christians and Jews were fully able to practice their religion and no standard of dress was imposed upon anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, over there (with the exception of school requirements but we have that in the USA! Look at BYU that has dress codes for its University!) However you must realize that if you go to another country where a religion is recognized as a national religion and it influences government and legislation, that you will see many influences. Isn't that only common sense?

      So why don't you stop spreading fear and lies and negative propoganda. I am a Muslim living in America, born and raised, converted from Christianity and it makes me no less American. I love my country even more because I can practice the religion I choose. I have no conflicts with democracy and my religion.

      Allah is not Jesus, that is true. Allah is the same god as God in Judaism and in Christianity.

      We are not interested in pushing Islam on others, we just want to practice our religion in peace. Muslims do not do the evangelical preaching and pushing the Koran, blocking your way as you walk to ask if you have accepted their religion as Christians do. While I was a Christian, I was blocked by a group of people literally shoving Bibles in my face, asking if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior... who is pushing whose religion down peoples throats now?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • BN

      You think that Muslims are pushing their religion on everyone? What do you call all the christian missionaries or the other christian orders like mormons, jesuits and others? Now you have other narrow minded idiots following your word like scripture, they evidently can't form their own opinions. And before you ask I am a white, republican 31 year old born in America, I just dislike fearmonggers

      March 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  13. joe

    it seems like cnn is a little biased as well by putting numerous articles on islamic opression inamerica in the last two weeks alone. and for having such a strong biased when reporting news about palestinian attacks on Israelis

    March 27, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  14. David

    France is around 10% muslim now, and its really crippling their country. If you arn't muslim..then you shall be put to death. Not the nicest religion.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • keys

      THis is what Muslims do – when they are in minority they complain but once they are majority its their way or highway. India has 20% muslim population and we have a separate civil law(sharia) that governs muslims...so different laws for different communities...that is what they will demand when they have enough numbers..Islam is not a religioin – its politics!! US should ban sharia and if hey wanna stay here they can else they can move to any country which practices sharia

      March 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • malek

      really David thats news to me, I havent even heard this news on fox , do you have your own news station broadcasting live from gator trailor park

      March 27, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • BN

      France cripples itself with all the strikes for shorter work weeks and such. Muslims don't make it any worse from that standpoint however I have heard that a lot take advantage of France's relaxed welfare system.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • RevolutionMary

      Are you retarded or just really really stupid? Why don't you pick up a history book and read about how Europeans and Americans have killed millions in the name of Christianity.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  15. MBFrazee

    WOW – Talk about being "holier than thou". Maybe you need to listen to your own preaching. And maybe pick up a Bible to read it rather than just criticizing it. You will be hunbled, which is a lesson you didn't learn at the University obviously!! This is a fact smart people know – not just educated ones.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  16. Jones

    muslims are trying to take over america like they're taking over CNN

    March 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • America up for grabs

      "No try only do" yoda

      March 27, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  17. Johnny C

    “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.....lol....welcome to the non muslim world!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  18. JR

    Aren't there more bias incidents against Blacks or Hispanics or Jews? Methinks the muslims doth protest too much.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Lets say that your comments are accurate...should muslims not speak out against these acts just because theyre not abused as much as other groups? Wheres your logic?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • hamza

      you are right about the number of crimes against blacksor jews.you need to sart addressing them,we muslims will support you.i know that in clayton,nc cops arrested 2 illegal mexican immigrants after they were robbed,instead of chasing robbers.that encouraged other criminals who started following and robbing illegal immigrants there on payday,because these immigrants couldn't call the cops.that is america and we all minorities need to unite and fight white supremacism(legal way).the journlists need to help us shed the light on crimes.sheriff's answer to these crimes in clayton,nc was "they breed like rabbits",they being mexicans.are we standing for such kind of society?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      sick to my stomach – there is no logic to a criminal act, but I think his point is that CNN and other media outlets over report the crimes against Muslims while underreporting the crimes against non-Muslim minorities, and the maltreatment of non-Muslims in the Middle East. Why is there a double standard? I suspect there are more lawsuits *alleging* discrimination against Muslims for spurious reasons (ex. no foot baths in a Somalian factory, no extra prayer rooms at Harvard, no segregated gym times, no 3 weeks off for hajj, etc) than there are for other groups.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  19. Jones

    Dearbornistan, Muslimigan

    March 27, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • malek

      stupid red neck, even turkimanistan or afghanistan is a million times better to live in than your redneck trailer parks

      March 27, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  20. Salam

    Muslims are always crying about their rights in the west, what about the right of other religious minorities in the Muslim and Arab world? Just have a look and see for yourself how Christians are being mascaraed in Iraq, Egypt or Afghanistan and you will understand better how they treat religious minorities in their homelands. The laws in Islamic countries is based on Sharia, or the Islamic religious law, and it is subjected to everybody, Muslim or non-Muslim. We need to live in societies that respect the freedom of religion no matter where and what kind of religion we are talking about.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Vance

      We need to do away with religion all together. Start with Christianity, the worst one of all.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • America up for grabs

      perhaps Islam can do for America what it has done for the middle east.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • ROCKWOOD

      I understand what you are saying and to some extent agree, but what are WE the great melting pot of the world supposed to do? It's very difficult for me to work on prejudice towards Muslims in the U.S. A lot is based on my own ignorance of the culture, and their religion. Although I believe in God, I cannot say that I'm a proponent of organized religions. Some Muslims say they are peaceful, some blatantly admit they are not, and some are not peaceful and we can't tell. I plan on watching the show....perhaps I will be enlightened somehow, one way or the other. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Ahmad

      The problem with your argument is that it assumes that Muslims are one person. If Muslims in Iraq kill Christians in Iraq, the Muslims of America cannot be held responsible, no more than the Christians of America should be held responsible for crimes committed by Christians in Nigeria for e.g.
      When we label crimes by the religion of the perpetrators we are doing a great injustice to ourselves first, because we are identifying the wrong enemy.
      The overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful and welcoming to minorities in their communities. Let us not use the deviant 1% to describe the remaining 99%.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Raja

      These are not just minorities even muslims themselves are facing same conditions there, that's why the situation is getting changed and the revolution is on their door steps.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • malek

      Islam would deffinetely help the US much more than christianity did

      March 27, 2011 at 10:59 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.