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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. masterfull1453

    i cant wait for the day that CNN learns how radical and racist Islam is ?
    but than what for? half of the employees there either Muslim or right wing socialist Leninist? good luck CNN you managed to make a racist and a polygamist and satanic religion like Islam look good, in your wonderful cozy political correct ways. never ceases to amaze CNN keep the political correctness alive peace morons

    March 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  2. SpecialKinNJ

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

    And that, of course, is a question that's answered as it is being asked.
    But, it's not exactly anti-Sharia to note, as did a widely known character
    in a Shakespearean drama:" My words go up, my thoughts remain below."

    And someone in an earlier post suggested that this CNN piece was
    more propaganda than reporting–as if CNN had a (recent) reputation
    for objectivity in its approach to the news business.

    The really startling, and enlightening event would be one
    clearly objective CNN (e.g., Wolf) account of Obama's behavior in office.

    (There's a story about the good-wife who didn't know her husband
    had a drinking problem until one night he came home sober).

    This reader was prompted to comment on this story about Soledad's 8:00
    feature, by a Google alert to items including the term, "mosque", and
    has no doubt that the footage she has put together will reflect her
    views quite well.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  3. Chris

    As a practicing Christian the way I view Islam and Muslims in America is how Muslim dominated countries treat Christians in their countries. Christians in America do not treat Muslims the way Christians are treated in their power bases. Religion does matter and the strength of Christianity is shown in the tolerance we show versus the recent violence shown to Christians by Muslims.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  4. SconnieGuz

    These muslims are like mindless zombies....get the phuck out of this country you freaks

    March 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  5. Hussain

    What new idea did Muhammed introduce ? Was he looking for monothesim, it was here already, salvation, forgiveness of sins, love? None of these, he was looking for submission and subjugation. As a result, we have the unhappy history of the most intolerant belief system on earth, ant the distinct possibility of a neo dark age.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  6. Coptic

    I lived with Muslims all my life in Egypt and I speak their language. I can tell you that they will do to America what they done to Egypt as Egypt was all Christian one day and we opened our arms to them. This is what Prophet is telling them, when you are weak in a country then play like a lamb then attack when you are at strength. Just watch them getting into politics, congress and media then forget about America the way we know it now.
    God is witness on what I say and time will prove my words to you unless all Americans wake up and prohibit the cult of Islam.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  7. Hussain

    There can’t be a moderate Islam just as there is no such thing as healthy disease or sensible insanity

    March 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  8. Coptic

    I lived with Muslims all my life in Egypt and I speak their language. I can tell you that they will do to America what they done to Egypt as Egypt was all Christian one day and we opened our arms to them. This is what Prophit is telling them, when you are weak in a country then play like a lamb then attack when you are atstrength. Just watch them getting ito politics, congress and media then forget about America the way we know it now.

    God is witness on what I say and time will prove my words to you unless all Americans wake up and prohibit the cult of Islam.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • osean

      are you serious? your making it seem like muslims have control over the whole u.s. muslims arent jews buddy. the whole world knows who runs the u.s. and makes decisions. you just dislike muslims because you probably wanted to get with a chick from that area.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  9. cass

    muslims act through violence and threat, constantly expecting this country to become islam compliant and wanting to pass sharia law so they can act with impunity.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  10. JD

    wow hate crimes against muslims represeint less than 10% of religious hate crimes in the US according the FBI (Jews have everyone beat by far with over 60%) and yet they complain the most in a country that has welcomed them in and given them a better life. Oh and about that little bombing incedent it was carried out by a Muslim convert who wanted to kill people of the other Muslim sect making it inntrareligious violence not islamophobia.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  11. Ellen

    I find it interesting that so many states want to outlaw Sharia, yet the Supreme Court has the 10 Commandments carved in stone! Seems like a double standard to me!

    March 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Definitely a double standard. Really they should make it a triple by putting a visible tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster there. http://www.venganza.org/

      March 27, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  12. morris2196

    I believe that some of the hostility toward Muslims in America is because of the racist and anti-America rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  13. Sammy

    The problem that I see with muslims is their religion. I feel many of them don't have an allegiance to this country, but to their religion first and foremost. It's that .... religion that is the problem. I can't understand the fanaticism for that religion and that is why I can't and won't trust any religious freaks and fanatics. 

    March 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • OFIRONIT

      I LEARNED SOMTHING ABOUT ISLAM,IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE VIOLENCE ELEMENT FROM THE BOOK QURAN THERE IS NOTHING LEFT IN THE RELIGION.I CAN'T BELIVE CNN SOME EXPORT APPREARD ON THE VIDEO THEY GOING TO SHOW,I SAW ONLINE,SAYING THAT ISLAM IS NOT SHARIA LAW,I'M STARTING TO THING THAT THEY THINK WE ARE FOOLS AND UNEDUCATED AND STUPID.ARE THEY REALY PROMOTING THAT EVIL SHARIA HERE.
      OMG.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  14. Ken Tommeraasen

    This country was built on CHRISTIANITY! Not muslim beliefs!! Too many groups are pushing their own agenda and it is pushing this country down the brown highway. Get real America!! WAKE UP!!! If any belief or "religion" doesn't like what this country offers, then stay and change your own country, leave us "misguided" people to our own "pitiful" ways!!!

    March 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • osean

      who said muslims dont like what the u.s offers? and the u.s. was a secular society to begin with. this is about discrimination by a rep. of congress to get his fame. dont forget hes jewish so the snake will come out. lol

      March 27, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • OFIRONIT

      YAP YOU RIGHT,THEY CAME HERE WE DIDN'T GO THERE TO THEIR COUNTRY
      YOU WILL DEFENITLY CAN'T CHANGE A THING OR ASK ANYTHING IN THEIR COUNTRY TO PUSH YOUR VIEW OR STATE OF MIND BUT THEY SEE IT'S A FREE COUNTRY THEY SEE IT AS EASY PRAY .AND THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER.IF THEY FEEL ALONE IT IS BECOUSE THEY SAPORATE THEMSELVES FROM EVERYONE ,THEY DO NOT WANT TO INTIGRATE
      THEY WANT TO CONTROL.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • hamza

      this country does not belong to christians only.yuo can accept it or you can hang yourself.your choice.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Callah

      Our founding Fathers were Deists, not X-ians. This is not a "Christian Country" we are suppose to be a Nation of many faiths..that is what religious FREEDOM is suppose to be about.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      No, the country was not built on Christianity. Most of the founding fathers were Deists that believed that there was not a personal god.

      http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

      Feel free to live in your delusions though. Most of the rest of the modern world is moving on and is leaving you and your silly Chris-tianbeliefs behind.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Thanks Callah. We were posting same point at almost the same time.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      "dont forget hes jewish so the snake will come out" = anti-Semitic

      March 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  15. Peter the Great

    It's still only the right-wing nuts that are knee-jerk xenophobic. How else would you characterize Reprehensive Peter King? He thinks he can get some political traction among the drooling retards in his backward Long Island base. The very fact that people such as King are given so much media exposure show how weird, unusual and un-American these views are.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  16. Mun

    You think Shariyah law is bad? THen please do explain why Raymond Davis was taken out of Pakistan after killing 2 innocent people through the help of Shariyah Law by paying for the murder of these two innocent men. I don't think he would have been saved has he killed two people by paying their families for their murder. American Congress is fighting against Shariyah law however it is using it to protect its citizens in countries where Shariyah law is used. Interesting.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • OFIRONIT

      islam is sharia law,i don't think you know much about the political power they gain coz the constently
      acting as we the west owe them something,they want to turn this country to islamic state,as far as i can
      see nothing good for us in store.can't you see ?it is not about people wat to pray,it's about everything they stand for is against the west.read the quran.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • osean

      To Ofironit, do you realize we are the ones in their countries? They want to be left alone in their farms with their kids and do as they please. For example, if some big nation came to your hick farm and took your sister and pigs she was riding on, wouldn't you get mad?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Jeff B.

      And you know they were two innocent men because??????? Oh, they were muslim....so of course they were innocent by default. Even if they were a threat the fact that it was towards an infidel is justified.

      How convenient islam is.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • hamza

      no muslims want sharria in america.if i wanted to live by sharria law i would move to saudi arabia.we want to get the christian haters off our backs.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  17. chuckmartel

    Crazy crazy islam. Some time ago, there was a news piece about a man in Pakistan sentenced to have a brick wall fall on him. Who was the judge, Wile E Coyote? The stoning sentences in muslim countries are really dark age stuff and have very sadistic enhancements for women. Every day it is one sick thing after another with this crowd. Great when more of them are imported into the US and we get to celebrate their diversity some more. In just the last 10 years, they already killed thousands in the US, hundreds in Europe, and continue to blow up other muslims on a daily basis in muslim land.
    I also see the PC libtards are still using the crusades, inquisition, etc. in order to justify importing more of the dark age belief system known as islam. Do these idiots know the crusades, etc ended hundreds to a thousand years ago? Do they know muslims and everyone else was at war with someone else back then? Do they know the crusades were a violent response to hundred of years of genocidal muslim expansion? There might have been a stupid attempt at a McVeigh analogy as well. These libtards must be the most stupid excuse for human life that ever existed.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Laney

      Sadly, people like you spread lies and misinformation and since Muslims are perceived and used as the "bad guys" right now, people who are slow like yourself will fall into that trap. Islam isn't backwards at all. If you read up on it you would know that. They have more rights for women then Christianity. Now the society is a little different. The U.S isn't a Christian Society its a secular pretty much, everyone follows their own path.

      In reference to what you said about the Crusades, Muslims actually were much better rulers then Catholics and that is written through every book you read, if you can that is. Life in a Muslim area was much better then a Christian area. So stop your hate and idiotic rants.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • hamza

      if you don't liv in pakistan,why would what they do bother you?or you are just trying to jusify what you are doing?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • chuckmartel

      lamey, you are an ingnorant uneducated imbecile too stupid for human status. If islami's are so enlightened, why are they pouring into the west instead of staying in their islami wastelands. You are well aware of your lack of education. History 101, physics 101, calculus 101 etc did not work out well for you. And hamzay, the pak thing was what the west calls a joke and Wile E Coyote is a cartoon character. Both you dark age types miss my general point as well..

      March 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  18. Jonathan

    This forum is divided into 2 camps: those who blame western culture, and those who acknowledge western culture's shortcomings but recognize it for the success that it is.

    I belong to the second camp. I oppose those in the first. Let the battle lines be drawn. Western culture will triumph.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Mike

      You are wrong. Western Culture WILL NOT triumph. Why? Because the Muslim religion is DOUBLING every 20 years!!! Do the MATH!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • hamza

      time is on muslims' side.america is having less and less advantage in front of the others.and others are more and more united against america.your pockets will suffer.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  19. Mick

    "Hadir Ghazala...said she’d been turned down for jobs at local salons because she refused to remove her headscarf."

    Waa waa. It's called a dress code. You can have a shot at the job, or you can wear the pillowcase...your choice.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • JD

      exactly she chose to live here and chose to where the hijab why should we change for her.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Guy

      I agree I have tattoos and have been turned down for jobs if I don't cover them.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • hamza

      why should she change for you?hijab doesn't make her uncapable to do the job.there will cme the time when you will beg for oil.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Guy

      @hamza you are missing the point here she is no different than anyone else here in the states why should she get special treatment? If you read my comment I was stating that I too get discriminated against so suck it up and move on.

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

      oh yeah hamza also this country has already started to move away from oil so we won't be begging for anything.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  20. kent

    how about if everybody gives up their phony religious beliefs and tries to live a good life. things sure would be different if i were the king.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Mike

      I AGREE!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Human condition

      And how do you propose you rid your kingdom of those who refuse to give up their beliefs my King..... Perhaps you will have them banished to the out lands and starve them to death or perhaps you will round them up and just summarily execute them. We're waiting with batting breath for your decision your Highness and remember you must make a decision.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Kent's loyal subject

      YES!!! THINGS WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER! ALL HAIL THE DIVINE KENT!! ALL WORSHIP THE DIVINE KENT!!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • ryanroehrig

      This is a contradictory statement. Your telling everyone to give up religious beliefs to live a good life. This is also living a religious belief as well. You are making the same argument as the people who are against Muslims. That if certain people are ruining religion that all religion should be placed under that one banner. Your argument is a fallacy.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:41 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.