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)

    "Detroit is perhaps as close as one can get to the soul of American Islam."

    Yep. the hits just keep on coming for this city.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Reality

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-driven acts of 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 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  2. jon

    would rather just do this:

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  3. G R Cook

    Bottom line: the vast, vast, number of terrorist events are committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. True, peaceful Muslims outnumber Islamic terrorists. However, until Islam cleans its own house, how do we protect ourselves and others in the world? A healthy dose of skepticism toward Islam and Muslims in general is warranted.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Elsa

      They will never clean their own house. They can't. It's their whole religion that is the problem.
      Would you expect Christians to clean their own house? They can't. It's their whole religion that is the problem, too.
      Jews will never clean their own house for they suffer from "racial paranoia" thinking they are a separate race of people who are also the only members of their religion. They must fight against their racist views, but how likely is that?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  4. Ahmad

    Ofcourse, we live in a world of gross misinformation and pure ignorance. CNN is doing a great job in shining a ray of light on a topic that is greatly misused in America to score cheap political points.
    American Muslims are an integral part of what makes this nation so great.
    Every great American ideal can be traced in some way to a great Islamic principle, just as it can be traced to the great teachings of Jesus and Moses.
    America is a home to me, because I am a better human being when I am in America, and hope you will be the same.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  5. TheTruth

    CNN sympathize with these crazy maniacs as much as you want, but know this US will soon follow Europe's fate. There will be increase in terrorism and religion based crime and we can say bye bye to the freedom of speech.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  6. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, and it all began on 9/11. Before 9/11 we Westerners were sooo peaceful with Islam and arabs in general...
    ...except for the past entire century of us supporting repressive tyrants there (Saddam, the Sha, Mubarrak, the Saudi royal family, etc.)
    ...or our imperialism before that
    ...or the crusades
    ...but ultimately we can all blame it first on the Romans and Greeks, which were the first major invasion by our Western culture of arabic lands.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  7. Weaselcake

    Ah, yes. A clear indication of Americas inevitable social demise. Stay class USA, stay classy.

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

    Most christians don't read their Bible.Most christiansknow what their pastors tell them on Sundays. Most priests don't tell what Bible asks them to tell. So here you go: Bible is considered by all christians as source of love. In reality Quranic laws are Biblical lwas too particularly old testament. If christians don't believe in ol testament they should take it out. Otherwise Sheria law is Biblical law seriously. If pastor Terry Jones does not like Sheria law he should also tell us openly what christians should do about Old Testament.

    To all others
    9/11 has not be made convincingly the work of muslims.

    Some jews knew about 9/11 and stayed home.

    Sheria law does not force others to follow.

    America plays nice because of oil in muslim countries.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Sanjosemike

      Gragn Ahmed said:

      "9/11 has not be made convincingly the work of muslims."

      sanjosemike responds: That is a lie and you know it. 9/11 is conclusively the work of Muslims.

      Some jews knew about 9/11 and stayed home.

      sanjosemike responds: That is a lie and you know it. How dare you spew that garbage. On the other hand, I also admit that Muslims were also murdered by fellow Muslims on 9/11. I wonder how Allah will approve that? My guess is that he will not. But then again, Allah is a figment of your imagination.

      Sheria law does not force others to follow.

      Sanjosemike responds: Hadith proves otherwise. You think that Americans are stupid and don't know about the Commentaries of Quran. Guess what, Americans are not as stupid as you think we are.

      America plays nice because of oil in muslim countries.

      Sanjosemike responds: On this I agree totally with you. I am not proud of that, but you speak the truth here.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  9. Sanjosemike

    America does not have to "apologize" to Muslims for its existence, or desire to remain in "Western Tradition." "Western Tradition" is the conglomeration of arts, science, freedom (especially for females), jurisprudence and even yes, Christianity and atheism. Our cultural birthright started with the ancient Greeks and extends into a reality that Islam apparently cannot accept. We are what we are. We do NOT have to change that for YOU.

    If Muslims are unwilling or unable to accept that "Western Tradition" is America, then it's time for them to leave. This is not racism. This is reality. We have a right to be what we are; and we have a duty to defend that. sanjosemike

    March 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Limbaugh is a liberal

      Actually, it is racist. Most of these people are AMERICAN muslims, and many of them were even BORN here. Why should they leave from a country that is theirs also? Are you so narrow-minded that you think there is only ONE way to live in America, YOUR way? America has become the great nation it is because of the tremendous diversity of the people making it up. For instance, today we have plenty of Irish Americans, or Italian Americans. Both of these groups were discriminated against when they first arrived and tried to integrate American society. And yet these days we celebrate people of Irish and Italian heritage, including their different lifestyles and cultures WHICH THEY DIDN'T GIVE UP! Eventually we accepted the fact that THEY TOO WERE AMERICANS! They didn't just 'leave.'

      March 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Sanjosemike

      Limbaugh is a liberal says: "My comments are racist."

      sanjosemike responds: All of the examples you gave of "cultural diversity" have one thing in common: They do NOT require that America change to accommodate their beliefs. They are not at war against our culture. They compliment our culture.

      Islam on the other hand is at war with our very culture and tradition, and they are willing to die to force us to change.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  10. Adrian GMV

    Vance, really? Christianity is the worst one of all? And how do you propose we get rid of it? Christianity certainly has it's ugly sides but there is no doubt that Christians do far more to help the worlds poor and those who truly follow the words of Jesus strive to make the world a better place through service and giving. You are barking up the wrong tree.

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

      Most religions promote hate in those who need an outlet. It gives them justification for actual violence and is used as an excuse for every sort of crime in the world.
      Christians cannot control themselves. Neither can Jews or Muslims. Their reliance upon their religion makes their moral abilities very weak as a result. They do not think about why killing might be wrong, they just let their religion tell them what to do.

      When their decision-making is based on religious precepts, they make bad decisions that do not work in the real world.
      When is it right to kill another human being? A religion often commands murder but is sometimes defended by murder as well.
      This means that religions should not have freedom of expression, since this is often used as an excuse to turn a blind eye.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  11. Mike


    March 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  12. Charlie

    They're "on edge" Well I'm REAL sorry we can't accommodate you. Get real CNN.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  13. Bryan

    Why is it that when you visit a Muslim country you have to go to this class and learn all the things you can't do, like look at woman, or wear certain clothes, or look at certain magazines and movies...but when they come here we are supposed to accept their religion as law over our own countries sovereign law.....doesn't sound like a very tolerant religion to me.....

    March 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • D. Davis

      So very true!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  14. Mohammad

    I wish that the west can reach the civility of Islam the undeniable and true religion of the one and only GOD. Compare the dead sea scrolls to current day bible scripts and you will see how Christians decided to make Jesus (a great servant of God) as God. Notice that most haters now think of Al Qaeda as Islam thanks to Fox news and the barrage of Islamophobic media. When Muslims took over Jerusalem they didn't massacre Christians – like the crusaders did to Muslims and Jews – but instead allowed Jews and Christians to pray and build worship houses not in the proximity of where the massacre took place but on the same places (talking about ground zero mosque).

    March 27, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • D. Davis

      Wait so thats why the Muslims are still living in peace in Isreal? Is that why Muslims are living in peace in the Middle East without any turmoil (even amongst themselves)? Get your facts straight, Islam isnt so civilized especially if they have to convert people to their religion or treat them as infidels(and that is in the quran), or they have to behead their wives or stone their wives because they defided their husband, or they have to burn Christan homes down because of saying something negative about the quran.

      Oh my you are so intellegent.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  15. William Whipple

    The best cure for their alienation would be the de-bunking of the myth that muslims did 9-11.

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

      I am always amazed that not more has happend.we bring these things on ourself. There we have wars with almost every arab state kill thousands women and children and steal their oil and than wonder why things happen

      March 27, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  16. Mike

    I would not hire a lady with head scarf either. She should have stayed in Iraq and got bombed by some suicide bomber. USA IS A MELTING POT BLEND IN.....

    March 27, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  17. Cletus

    Perhaps because we are at war with Islam. Oh, you can give it a more palatable euphemism, but the fact is that Muslims are killing our soldiers, and all, ALL of the enemy we are fighting are Muslims. Islam does not belong in a nation that is founded on freedom. Look at how they treat their daughters and wives. They boast about their supposed high morality and piety, then sell their nine year old daughters to pedophiles like they were cattle at the market.

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

      Cletus that slack jawed yokel!!

      March 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  18. humberto

    Don't trust the FBI, they are cprrupt. as a matter of fact it was the FBI that made 911 possible .!.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Dave

      Allowing the sale of alcohol and the right to have a drivers license does not mean it is law enforcements fault when someone causes causes an accident driving while drunk.

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

      This is the most stupidest comment I have seen in my life.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  19. Aaron

    The woman refusing to take off the headscarf should realize that it freaks non-Muslims out when they see it. It's the same as hiring someone with tats on their neck and/or face, only hers can be rectified. If she were in Turkey (a Muslim nation), she'd be required by law not to wear the headscarf out in public.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Jim

      Aaron, your point about Turkey's law against the headscarf is pointless. This woman is in the U.S., and she has the right to wear it. People "freaking out" over it comes from ignorance and fear. Sadly, many Americans dont want to learn and/or hang on to fear much to strongly.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Ameer

      Wrongggg! Turkey considers itself a Muslim Nation. Go look up Turkey's history before trying to become the authority on that matter. And by the way, it longer does that. So not only you draw up blanks when you don't know the history but in fact you are not even up to date with the current news. And did you just compare head scarves with freaks with tattoos on necks? So, nuns freak you out? And, we should worry about what others think right, I mean that's why we have freedom in this country?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Elsa

      The problem isn't headscarves, it's the religion itself. Your Islamic religion is filled with hate. Only those who reject the hate act like decent people. But the religion remains filled with hate. Most religions are filled with hate – that's why they need to go.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Az Zaqqum

      I totally agree.
      Plus the Quran says women are to use the veil to cover their bosoms-not their hair.
      It has nothing to do with modesty, it's now a defiant, political statement.
      Dumping the 'selective; arabic words would be a good idea.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  20. james

    Honestly, normally I do not side with the "Islamophobia" accusations, but in this case I have to. US Muslim citizens honestly are a pretty good bunch and haven't caused many problems. The US Muslim citizens who have caused problems are mostly American-born converts (ie Nation of Islam), not immigrant communities. Dearborn for instance is a peaceful nice town with a low crime rate, not a terrorist haven.

    The situation in Europe is VERY different of course, and they actually do have lots of social problems involving their rapidly growing Islamic community. But in America, the Muslim community is relatively well-educated, peaceful, and non-violent, not to mention small in numbers....and the exceptions to the rule are mostly US-born converts who are not of Islamic descent and not from Muslim communities.

    I really think people who are complaining about the US Muslim community actually are xenophobic bigots, because they haven't actually been causing problems.

    If you want to complain about anything to do with immigration in the USA, complain about what's happening on your SOUTHERN BORDER WITH MEXICO. Now THAT is where the problem lies.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Misbah

      Thank you for that James. It is Very TRUE!

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

      Amen, James. It's nice to see some reason amongst hatemongering.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Dave

      You are not allowed to have multiple marriages although Mormons would like to change that rule, and try to bend the rule whenever possible. Some tribal religions also have their customs of selling 14 year old daughters as wives to older men. Religion can be arbitrary, these practices were made up at the whim of lunatics. If I start my own religion tomorrow will my rules be forced on the rest of society? Or are the only ones allowed to play the religion card the major religions of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam. Of course we would never allow a religion to dictate our laws especially if it were a religion that respected nature.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Dave

      If the people illegally immigrating from Mexico weren't Catholic there would be greater demand for border security. Since Catholicism is a dying religion in America. One way to keep your numbers up so you can control any Christian Politicians is by importing ignorant biased voters from 3rd world Christian communities. Why do you think that in California voters voted for a Democratic Governor and Lt Governor, yet voted against gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. These 3 are examples of what are favorable causes for Illegally Immigrating Catholic, Drug Cartel Controlled, Mexicans.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:29 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.