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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. nocommonse

    I think Americans would be more comfortable if Islamic groups denounced the extremists more.

    Despite the MANY acts of violence committed by people practicing Islam, in the past couple years I've only seen ONE Islamic group come out right away and denounce it with strong language.

    I'm sure others have too, but they're not doing enough to distance themselves from the terrorists that are the reason Americans are uncomfortable.

    Then we have the radicals in the U.S., who have links to known terrorist groups. (for example, one of the board members of the planned New York City mosque complex) I don't see this Muslim group addressing them.

    Their game is quietly ignore/support the radicals, and play victim if they're questioned. I congratulate Rep. Peter King for FINALLY bringing light to this matter. Its time for political correctness to take a backseat.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Frogman

    Very interesting article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. It was about the Muslim American Cleric Yasir Qadhi. I was really surprised that the Times would carry a story like this. It ran completely against their usual policy of defending islam no matter what and should raise some serious doubts about islam in the mind of any thoughtful American. One point that is made clear in the article is that for many muslims their feeling of alienation from America stems from their inner conflict over wether their first loyalty should be to islam or to America. Many believe that they are muslims first and that their loyalty should be with their fellow muslims. Even if their fellow muslims are killing Americans. I can't imagine a member of any other religious group that would believe that they must put their religion before America even if that means that they must kill other Americans.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  3. fady Lebanese

    come one CNN just i wish that one day i read something about the Muslim prosecute the christian in the Muslim world. give us a break.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Akbarrr

    It is no coincidence that every country in the world, whereever there is terrorism there is one religion responsible for this, it is Islam! Be it the US, Israel, India, Chechnya, Phillipines, Indonasia, etc. And look at the Middle East there is no democracy there is any of it's countries. The dictators being overthrown will be replaced by terrorist governments similar to Ira, Pakistan, and Afghanisthan (Taliban).
    The Koran preeaches violence against non-Muslims, and discrimination of women. This book was written by barbarians in the middle ages and it's followers stills wear by the book, so how can "muslims" here who claim they follow the "Koran" and consider themself as "Muslim" not beleive in the basic tenets of Islam??? Or maybe they are just lying to wanna be able to live here!
    There is no such thing as a non radical Muslim, if you are "Muslim" and read the "Koran" you are radical! Becase the religion itself is radical!
    Islam is like a virus infecting the entire world! Christian missnaries travel all around the world to convert people, but atlteast they are peaceful, not Islam!
    If your leg is infected by a virus you need to cut it off, or your entire body will eventually be infected and you will die, similarly if a country has "non radical Muslims" just wait a while, they will grow and then show their true colors!
    Sience has proved that ALL religions are fabricated fair tales made up by people who were not very bright thousands of years ago as a means of controlling other people! We need toa ccept reality and move on...

    March 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  5. What?

    Don't buy into the "WHINING" of Muslims. What they did to Europe they will 100% guarantee do that here. We cannot let them grow in numbers. They are ALREADY starting trouble WAY AHEAD of schedule. When those numbers grow they will seek to expand their influence and slowly eat away at American society. There is nothing wrong with Islam – in Islamic countries. They do not allow multiculturalism in their countries yet they seek, not only to practice in America, but to PUSH this BS on us. DON'T BUY INTO IT.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • sick to my stomach

      What exactly did muslims do to europe? quit your hate mongering and prejudice.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      EXCELLENT! Those who don't study history are destined to repeat it. Don't buy into the 'we don't mean to do subvert the government' bs. Just look at Europe. Only the propagators of the 'great lie' think we're foolish enough to to believe them.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      sick to my stomach – 60 + Shariah courts in the United Kingdom, to start. That's changing the demographic and cultural landscape of a once proud European country, driving it back to 8th century precedent.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  6. merri702

    Islam / Koran foments aggression , intolerance, and domination of other beliefs until there is only ISLAM. You don't need much more than that to clamp down on this disgusting ideology. Just imagine if all these people were suddenly free of the grip of Islam , changed their names, forgot islam altogether, and behaved like normal people. You'd rid the area of so much toxicity, and fear.
    ISLAM is the root cause of much of the turmoil, abuse in the world.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  7. Greg

    It's really sad that not only is the news vile, but the comments are always more vile.

    Trying to have ANY kind of discussion here is immediately over run by close minded speech. I'm not even saying that only pro-Muslim or anti-Muslim are close minded. BOTH SIDES ARE. There's no discussion here. No points debated. Just angry people stepping up, screaming a doctrine, then leaving.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  8. KittyCat

    Not everyone in America is against Muslims, just like not everyone in the Middle East against foreigners. Race and religion seem to always play a part. It is sad that the women in this clip could not get a job without removing her hijab; however, maybe I would have a hard time getting a job in Iran because I am blonde. People have to look at both sides. How a person, a foreigner, would be treated in their country.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Dc mortimer

    What do they expect after 9-11 a big party every year in celebration of this great event .

    March 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • sick to my stomach

      Mortimer, these evil posts are reminiscent of nazi germany....it's awful that you are advocating and participating in perpetuating these lies and islamaphobia.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • LKJ

      I don't know any Muslim who celebrated 9/11. It was a horrific event. And it was worse for us Muslims because some were forced into hiding out of fear. I taught at an Islamic school then and the school had to close for the rest of the week because of bomb threats. I also didn't leave the house for weeks unless I was accompanied by my two older sons. If 19 stupid men perpetrated that attack, don't hate every single one of us because of them.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      "Islamic school"

      I am sorry for the threats that you have experienced. Perhaps it varies by city and state.

      I feel compelled to ask, does your "Islamic school" teach Islamic law? If it does, then I'm glad it was shut down. Sorry, but I do not believe in teaching alternate forms of law in the United States. It is just another degree of separation between religions and peoples.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  10. humberto

    post are stll missing for ju collection.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  11. Flooby

    It sure looks to me that CNN is promoting this bullsh!t religion

    March 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      "It sure looks to me that CNN is promoting this bullsh!t religion"

      It's no more bulsht than any other religion. CNN is simply trying to highlight the level of tolerance in this country.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  12. jamesr1976

    This is not happening for no reason. Muslims present a real threat to us and our way of life. What are we supposed to do, sit back and wait for the suicide bombers to attack us, sharia law to become a part of our law, lose every right we have trying to protect ourselves from radicals? Cnn would have you think that we are the most intolerent people in the world, which is exactly oposite of the truth. Pleople have always been free here to worship as they please. Live and let live. But that is not the Muslim way, and we must not pretend that it is.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Tess

      I highly doubt my 70 year old muslim grandmother is going to bomb you. There are over 1.3 billion muslims world wide and a 99% practice in peace. What you are saying is stereotypical and is only true of extremist groups.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • LKJ

      Stop listening to the bigots and start talking with real Muslims. You may have already met some. I have a son working at Sam's Club and another working at McDonald's. You wouldn't know they were Muslims to look at them. And after they have served you, you would probably walk away thinking what polite young men they are. That's how I raised them. Real Muslims don't go around killing and lying. Real Muslims are kind and gentle and well-mannered. But you'll never know that just by watching the TV news.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  13. Stop the Ignorance

    Yes, you can quote the Koran to make Islam look like a violent religion. But you know what? You can also quote the Old Testament (and even sections of the New) to make Christianity look equally horrid and violent. What you really should look at is how Islam is practiced by its mainstream TODAY, which is the standard you are using for your assumptions about Christianity. Just as radical Christian groups do not represent the Christian majority, Hamas and terrorist organizations do not represent Muslim Americans. To date, the threat from devout Muslims in the USA is almost entirely in your imagination.

    Yes, I know, it's easier to be hateful and ignorant than to try to understand your fellow human being.... Just don't get too self-righteous with your head buried in the sand.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      'how islam is practiced today?' Subterfuge, treasonous, rebellious, attempting to overthrow the government and financial system, did I miss any?

      Just because it's said with a smile or whispered in corners doesn't stop it from being a lie! WAKE UP and see the TRUTH!

      March 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • fady Lebanese

      well, just quote one verse in the new testament that support violence? the quoran is full of verses that support killing in the name of Allah, or u have to kill the people who does not believe in GOd, or u have to support ur brother in islam whether they r good or bad. as arab christian we know that Prophet Mouhamad get married to a 9 years old girl what do u call that? what about Jihad which is U kill ur self in the name of allah. then u go to heaven and u ll get all the virgin waiting for u? what do u call that? only the extremist muslim follow the true Islam. if u want be a muslim u should be an extremist .

      March 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • jaysunstar

      Let's not forget that Mohammed was a pedophile.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • sick to my stomach

      Fady, you are quite ignorant. Is a good muslim to you one who will be your drinking and wh0ring buddy? Open up your heart and quit spreading hate and lies please.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • LKJ

      I appreciate your comments. But unfortunately some people have made up their minds about Muslims and if they hear differently they accuse us Muslims of lying or pretending. It's a no-win situation. I converted to Islam over 30 years ago and I had no real problems until these last few years. How do you think my sons feel about being targeted for their faith? They were all born here and they are fully American in many ways. This is their country. They're not violent–I've taught them better than that–but they do get discouraged and, yes, sometimes frustrated. No matter what Muslims do, it is never right. We're assumed to be liars, murderers, whatever, and once someone is presumed guilty, innocence is not possible.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      LKJ – We have no problems whatsoever with peace loving Muslims in the United States who have embraced our country, but you cannot deny that there is a sizable minority of Muslims who remain insular, disdainful of Westerners. For instance there are several women in my small Florida city who insist on wearing a full black face veil. They clearly want nothing to do with our system of law or our culture. We must criticize. Too many Islamic countries continue to mistreat non-believers – and not with mean stares, as you have experienced, but with discrimination and murder. Just last year a Pakistani couple was burned to death for being Christian, another beaten to death for drinking from the so-called Muslim "cup" at a tea stand.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  14. Ethan

    Where's the Christian fundamentalist radicalization meetings? Granted, they don't blow people up like the stereotypical Muslim Extremist, but Fundamentalist Christians are equally good at spreading hate and ignorance.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • k3rm1t

      You might want to stop and remember the KKK professes to be good Christians and the acts of terrorism they have committed over the years. Every religion has its radicals. Catholics have the Spanish Inquisition and unfortunately I don't remember what the Buddhists had but Buddhist priests are still part of the Thai military today. I'm NOT a Muslim. I do work on military bases in Iraq. I like to remind people that although we hear a lot about Islamic extremists in the news right now EVERY religion has its violent extremists.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  15. JD

    look the the fbi's hate crime stats and youll see muslims make up less than 10% of religious hate crimes in the country. Oh and by the way the guy with fireworks in his car was a Muslim convert who hated the other Muslim sect not a non muslim islamophobe.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  16. Tommyn

    Every day I read and saw on the news and TV all bad things (not a single good one) about muslim. They did nothing good or being grateful to the countries US and Canada helping them a better life.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • sick to my stomach

      One example, muslims provided on multiple occasions the largest donation of meat to the chicago food depository...i know most news networks including cnn did not consider this news worthy because it might give a slightly positive spin on muslims..in other words, just the opposite of what many of the racists are adding to this chat stream....imho of course

      March 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      racism? Are you kidding? Now that readers are realizing they have the right and responsibility to speak out against such evv!l as islam, you're going to try to invoke the race card so you can claim unfair treatment? Good luck with that nonsense.

      I don't care if you're red, black, white, green or purple. Racism is an unfair advantage because of a race. Meaning all races should get equal treatment, neither advantage or disadvantage.

      muslims and other evv!l come in all races, shapes and forms.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • jaysunstar

      Sorry sick to my stomach, but CNN gives plenty of positive coverage to Muslims.There was a story just yesterday about a christian man who converted to Islam and the struggles he faces for doing so.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ron

      Well because you probably only listen to Fox and are brained washed.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  17. Steve6167

    Islam, Christian, Jewish. They all have one thing in common. They think there is a god. Always interesting to see how the faiths band together when the people who do not believe in God step forward. We sort of take the air out your balloons.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      What a foolish thing to say! Christians don't band together with muslims for anything. It's anti-God heathens who try to heard the religions together into a corner. In reality, you're just attacking ~everyone~ so it just seems like everyone is out to get you.

      Silly rabbit! When you get out of 3rd grade, you'll understand such things.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • mccccccccc

      MuslimsareEv!l, if you made it through 3rd grade you would have figured out that your religion is just as ridiculous as the Muslim religion.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      mccccc: Real intelligent response as a personal attack. Remember, anti-religion talk could be called hate-speech in today's political environment- at least that's what their trying to do to the churches. I, for one, support your right to be as foolish as you want.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  18. Phan

    "unprecedented acts of Islamophobia"... im pretty sure muslims hate everyone who doesnt believe i what they believe and live like they do.. why should anyone show them any respect when they only respect themselves.. they have been killing everyone for centuries.. has there ever been peace in the middle east? nope.. when they change i'll change..

    March 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Rick

      True and I have idea why people think bringing these people into our country is a good idea.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfB_F936bU8&w=480&h=390]

      March 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • sick to my stomach

      Phan, your 'pretty sure'? Have you ever met and talked to a muslim? Dont be a racist, open up your heart and mind and dont be a brain washed sheep.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Steve

      Ive met many muslims...killed many too. Last one I killed put explosives on their 7 yr old daughter and told her to run towards Americans...Oh ya I love muslims...when their dead.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • LKJ

      I'm a Muslim and I don't go around hating. I'm the only Muslim in my extended family (I converted many years ago) but I get along well with my mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews. I didn't teach my children to hate either, and they don't. Please stop believing everything you hear on TV and attend the next open house at your local mosque. You might be surprised.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Exactly

      Sick to my stomach, just because you know a few good muslims doesn't mean muslims in general behave as they do. If you want to see how real muslims behave, go to a muslim country and try to be a Christian or an Atheist there. You will face discrimiation everyday of your life and maybe even violence. They are the most intolerating people in the world.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Nelly13

      Did you read this article? This is a sound 'peace' of advice for all, "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.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  19. humberto

    If posts are missing its probably the jews.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Herschel Manischewitz

      We come out at night and steal posts. Not for monetary value but because we know you'll miss them.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Lea

      Bob

      If you have a problem with CAIR you should also have a problem with Fox News. Fox News is owned by the Saudi Royal Family which funds Hamas. Also, all Bin Laden is a blood relative of the Saudi Royal Family and all the 9/11 hijackers were in the U.S. legally with Saudi passports. As for " If you continue to ask for special exemptions regarding dress, prayer, food, financial practices, legal practices, vacation etc ... based on your religion then you don't belong in this country." You've just described most members of the GOP who want to enshrine the Ten Commandments into government buildings. Before all you Tea Baggers start crying "Sharia Law!" like Chicken Little, be sure you also agree in enforcement of the Separation of Church and State. If you think that kids must recite "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, then you're a hypocrite.

      BoB! Stop telling lies...Fox news is not ownd by the Saudi Family.

      Fox is owned byFox News was created by Rupert Murdoch; but, it is now owned by the Fox Entertainment Group.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  20. morty62

    I don't know why they keep giving positive coverage to CAIR, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The propaganda isn't working anymore CNN. CAIR is a pure propaganda front. People are waking up to the fact that mainstream mosques either tolerate or support Islamic supremacism. You don't have to advocate terrorism to act in a way that is completely counter to Western/U.S. values. If you believe that sharia law should one day be the law of the land in the U.S. then you don't belong in this country, citizen or no citizen. If you continue to ask for special exemptions regarding dress, prayer, food, financial practices, legal practices, vacation etc ... based on your religion then you don't belong in this country.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • LKJ

      Have you ever visited a mosque or talked with someone from CAIR. You might be surprised at how mundane Muslims' lives are. We work, pay our bills, raise our kids, and worship. The fact that we worship differently than the majority in this country shouldn't be a cause for concern.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • nocommonse

      LKJ, its not the ordinary that frightens people. Its the fact that there are terrorists who commit violence in Allah's name.

      If you want to be accepted, start denouncing the radicals. Have a community effort to root them out and isolate them. Practice what you preach.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bob

      If you have a problem with CAIR you should also have a problem with Fox News. Fox News is owned by the Saudi Royal Family which funds Hamas. Also, all Bin Laden is a blood relative of the Saudi Royal Family and all the 9/11 hijackers were in the U.S. legally with Saudi passports. As for " If you continue to ask for special exemptions regarding dress, prayer, food, financial practices, legal practices, vacation etc ... based on your religion then you don't belong in this country." You've just described most members of the GOP who want to enshrine the Ten Commandments into government buildings. Before all you Tea Baggers start crying "Sharia Law!" like Chicken Little, be sure you also agree in enforcement of the Separation of Church and State. If you think that kids must recite "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, then you're a hypocrite.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • @muslim

      Perfect. This is as simple as it gets Morty62. If muslims do not want do not want to assimilate then they must leave. I work for a US government agency and my muslim collegue leaves meetings, skips meetings, leaves training and prays 5 times a right at the work place by spreading a mat in his cubicle. This is very counter productive and irritating and I simply do not know how to accomodate something like this at work place. If I put a picture of Jesus, i am reprimanded immeidately and I am sure if I argue I will be fired...

      March 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
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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.