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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. Khalid Khan

    "Jihad is not a holy war, wheres that in the worship?
    Murdering is not Islam! And you are not observant
    And you are not a muslim"-Lupe Fiasco

    March 27, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Sagebrush Shorty.

      Appropriate surname.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Khalid Khan

      Wow you have a problem with my last name. I have been born in this country and have lived here for 19 years. Do you think I hate America? Do you think I dont respect all other religions? I do love this country and respect all other religions. Not every muslim is a terrorist, only a small group are. 25 % in the world are muslims, and if they were all terrorists, this world would be chaos. So think before you open your big mouth

      March 27, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth, god isn't real

      Welcome to America.

      Islam is the most violent religion, and more terrorism can be attributed to Islam than any other religion.

      All religions are fake, as I said above, you follow and believe something that isn't real.

      You are a less evolved and more primitive human being for doing so.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • justthere

      @Khalid,
      Let us not argue about the kuranic meaning of Jihad.
      When the moslem masses chant Jihad TODAY, They do mean Holy War. When they speak of the West in terms of Cruisaders and Infidels, there is no ambiguity in what THEY mean. Unfortunately, the voices of reason in the moslem world are few weak and far between. One can only hope that the latest intervention of the West in Lybia will change that. I doubt it will, though.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Elsa

      @Khalid Khan – the world IS in chaos! The problem is all religions do not say truthful things. And most are violent according to each person's willingness to follow violent teachings.
      Seek only honest facts. Most of religion does not make any sense.
      Your faith can be used with the greatest of ease to commit violence and other horrible acts upon innocent people.
      And your religion also says false things about what is good and bad and declares people guilty who are not guilty of anything but breaking your religious rules.
      Rules that make no sense and are obvious fabrications are not good things to use when you also believe there is a super-being who is telling you to do these things without any proof such a being exists.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  2. Sagebrush Shorty.

    Show me a Muslim who claims to be tolerant of other religions and I'll show you a liar.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      we ve already seen George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair on TV, so there is nothing for you to show us!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Sagebrush Shorty.

      @ (B)iraq Hussein Osama....... Thanks for helping me prove my point.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Marcus

      http://www.unionoffaiths.com

      March 27, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • El Kababa

      So if a Muslim tells you that he respects the rights of other religions you know that he is lying.
      If a Muslim tells you that he does not respect the rights of other religions, you know that he is telling the truth.

      You are a true Conservative. If truth contradicts Conservative dogma, then Conservatives all say that truth is false.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Reb

      LMAO! Well said. I would love to see ALL religions become a thing of the past, let reason rule.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  3. Woody Bailey

    (B)iraq, please not the first sentence in my second post. Also, check out John 18:36 where Jesus says his kingdom is not of this world. And El Kababa, I am not saying I am one of the true Christians while excluding others. If you study Church history you find that the early church saw a suffering Christ who conqured men's heart from the inside, later the church, after Constantine's "vision", saw a conquering Christ who subjugated men's souls through rules and regulations. Sadly, we still have too many of those regulations

    March 27, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  4. sindi1369

    true immigrants to America are assimilated into society. muslims do not assimilate

    March 27, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Marcus

      Ya, all those dot heads need to get out if they want to worship all those Hiindu idols. We is all Christian up in here.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth, god isn't real

      Other religions, at this time, are not as violent as islam is right now, your religion has proven to be more primitive and violent than any other religion. Convert to islam or you are an infidel and deserve to die.

      All religion is all fake anyway, we should just do away with it.

      Do some research on how religion and "gods" came to be, and why they were created in the first place, or stay ignorant, your choice.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • samson

      at least they learn to speak the language the land when in public....I'll grant 'em that.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  5. thepianist

    My heart is breaking for the woman who has been featured on the news that told of Ghadafi's thugs repeatedly beating and raping her. Muslim men regard women as CHATTEL. The Muslims do not denounce publicly the cruelty of their own. Mosques and/or Muslims should have no place in the United States.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth, god isn't real

      I saw videos of that, they dragged her away in a car to shut her up.

      Religion is primitive, as are most people from the middle east, mostly due to the lack of good education, and prevalence of 3rd world countries.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  6. Ovid Goode

    I think most Americans agree that Muslims have a right to their religion, but I think the trouble starts when they start asking for special privileges. Like the math teacher who is suing a school district because they wouldn't allow her to take 3 weeks off during the school year to visit Mecca. Give me a break. Everybody else is supposed to be inconvenienced–during the district's peak testing time–so she can take off 3 weeks to practice her religion? If you want to be an American, then be an American and stop asking for special treatment.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Marcus

      What Muslims are asking for, is not different than what other people of other religions are asking for. However, you have been brainwashed by Nazis of the right. BTW visiting Mecca is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENT. So, it's not like Christmas that is every year etc. People try to make that trip once in their whole lifetime before they die. So, being an American means developmentally disabled people should not ask for special treatment and they are not Americans? That is true of Nazis...they pick on the minorities, old, women, retarded, etc. Wow, I can see clearly now.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • thepianist

      i don't think Muslims should live in the United States. no, that religion is too backward and so are its followers.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • KK

      Then why do Christians get two weeks off to celebrate Christmas and a week off to celebrate Easter as well? This country allows you to celebrate your religion with time off but a muslim woman cant express her freedom of religion by taking to take 3 weeks off to travel to Mecca as part of her following her religion?

      March 27, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  7. jrj

    They are all evil terrorists. Send them back to wherever the #### they came from and get them out of the US of A!

    March 27, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Marcus

      I agree, let's get all those Italian Mafia, German Nazis, Irish Terrorists, and others out of here! 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • samson

      Too bad the Native Americans did not do/say that to Europeans. If you look at how Europeans destroyed the "indians"(native Americans is annoying to keep typing time and again..)way of life.....maybe history should consider the people of the "Go west" movement terrorists??

      March 27, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Becca

      I wish

      March 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • hm

      fu

      March 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  8. Marcus

    Muslims are just like any other American, in fact they were the first people in America. Most African-Americans were from Muslim African nations. Also, there were European Muslims who came with Christopher Columbus. This country was founded by Freemasons who believe that Islam is part of the Abrahamic faiths. There is a statue of Muhammad in Washington DC. You can't be more American than a Muslim. This country is for people of every race and religion. It is not just for White Christians.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • justthere

      @Marcus,
      Nice anecdotal point – but not accurate.
      The Western Africa areas that black slaves were brought from were not really moslem at the time of slavery They were still mostly practicing tribal paganism.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Professor

      May I kindly suggest that you take a history (and, perhaps an English) class? Your posts reflect your passion and emotion; however, passion and emotion do not equal knowledge and correct information.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • justthere

      @Marcus,
      Did you ever ask yourself why would Christopher Columbus sail West to reach the Indies? The reason is really quite simple. before the Moslem Ottoman empire took Constantinople (1453), the Eastwards road from Europe to India and China was open. It traveled thought the Mediterranean and the Arabian desert or through the steppes. But the Ottoman closed the road. They were waging a holy war against the infidels that was even more important to them than trade. They were on their way to take Budapest and then Vienna. This spelled the end of the Italian cities trading power (Genoa, Venice,...) and the raise of the Spanish and Portuguese, who both had openings to the Atlantic. The Spanish chose to go west, the Portuguese preferred to look for path around Africa. The rest is history. But the point is – Christopher Columbus discovered America BECAUSE of Moslem's warring intentions towards the west... That is the extent of their help in his venture... 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Becca

      Boulderdash, you were NOT the first people in America

      March 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Dave

    I think Muslims in the USA should be al least as comfortable to practice their religion openly as Christains in Cairo, Bagdad and Tehran

    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • petemg

      they do have the right to practice their religion here. It is just that they dictate to us on how we have to change to accommodate them. We are all human.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  10. Kuwait

    Muslim,

    1/ While not all Muslim is a terrorist.... but the majority of world terrors are caused by Muslim

    2/ Prove to the world that Islam is a peaceful (not hatred, revenge, killing) religion ... via your kind act to mankind

    March 27, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Marcus

      Bro, I got some proof for you... http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com

      March 27, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Sagebrush Shorty.

      @ Kuwait. As to number2, don't hold your breath.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • truthfull

      i agree to all you muslims out there if you want to show us that islam is a peacefull religion show an act of kindness to the world begin by your own countries
      1- allow for churches to be built freely there
      2- stop percecution and killing of christian minorities
      3- and stop hating the USA while you live in this great country
      for the sake of your children and our children
      proove it to the whole world if you are reallya peacefull religion by your actions please

      March 27, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      @ Kuwait

      majority of world terrors are not caused by Muslims, your statement is TOTALLY INCORRECT

      – World War One <<< MAJOR TERROR
      – World War Two <<< MAJOR TERROR
      – JEWISH HOLOCAUST << MAJOR MAJOR TERROR
      – COMMUNIST PURGES << MAJOR MAJOR TERROR
      – ILLEGAL INVASION OF IRAQ << MAJOR TERROR
      – PALESTINIAN APARTHEID << MAJOR TERROR
      – SOUTH AFRICA APARTHEID << MAJOR TERROR

      none caused by Muslims. Infact Muslims cause only minor terrors!

      March 27, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • justthere

      @(B)iraq, you are just showing your own bias by bundling together major wars, terrorism and palestinian "apartheid". The facts are that virtually all major frictions in the past 20 years are between a moslem party and someone else (or, actually, another moslem party). Most of them started unrelated and without the help of the big and little Satans (US and Israel). Just listing a few of those; In Thailand, in the Philippines, Timor, India-Pakistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, Bosnia, Ethiopia-Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Niger, West Sahara, Yemen, Kuwait... The list is endless. There are other conflicts, but most have found resolutions. As to Palestinian Apartheid – There is no apartheid in Palestine. There is a political war between palestinians in Gaza and Cisjordan and Israel . Most will say there is an unlawful and ugly occupation. Some will say it is a religious war – possibly on both sides, now. But "Apartheid" is just a teaser word to grab attention. And certainly the situation there cannot be compared to the rest of your list.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  11. Goss

    Too many xenophobe bigots in the United States....sad but true. BTW, Lebanese food is awesome.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:51 am |
  12. Americansharp

    Did you notice: Detroit loses 25% population? and then this article today about the Muslims ??? Gee you think ?? I am a Michigan resident, a businessman, a veteran and a patriot, and I have had it with them. WE, my business and my family have stopped doing business with them; from gasoline stations to bubble gum.

    Have you read the Koran? We bought one. They wish to teach, enslave or behead us. You think that is peaceful? They are just waiting while we have a fingers up our noses and don't send them packing.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  13. Sagebrush Shorty.

    Detroit and Islam deserve each other. Your tax dollars provide primary support for both, either through welfare or political correctness. I lived in Detroit for many years and have no sympathy for either the city and it's crooked administration or the poor,picked on Muslims. Both groups brought it on themselves.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  14. stonedwhitetrash

    There is no place for so called "SHARIA LAW" in a freedom loving country. Just take a close look at Sharia law countries all have one thing in common NO FREEDOM.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Marcus

      You don't even know what Shariah is! Kosher Laws are Jewish Shariah. If you ban one, then they all get banned.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      notice another commonality about sharia law countries,
      A) no freedom
      B) billions and billions of dollars in imports of weapons systems from Europe and America

      March 27, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Elsa

      @(b)iraq
      Many Muslim countries get their weapons from Russia, China, North Korea, and NATO countries who need to keep their defense industries working.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Jason

      Marcus: If Jews eat an unkosher meal, they are not stoned or beaten or beheaded. When their neighbor does not embrace a kosher lifestyle, Jews do not call for war against them.

      It is not that fact that Muslims have laws that separates them, it is the way those laws are enforced, and the fact that spreading their beliefs by violence is a part of the basic fabric of that religion.

      Like it or not, Islam is seen by many Americans in the same light as the KKK or any other radical, hate driven group. They may be tolerated, by law, but they cannot be respected or admired by a society with any conscience.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  15. GoHomeifyouCantmeld

    Look how the call it THIER TOWN> This is American it is NOT their town. Their town is in IRAN.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Marcus

      Bro, your town sounds like it's in Nazi Germany or Israel...take your pick.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      @ GoHomeifyouCantmeld

      thats exactly what the native indians also told you! Go Home if you Cant meld
      now you want us Muslims to follow advice you yourself did not listen to!

      March 27, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • GatorBait

      um....Iran is a country not a town

      March 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  16. GoHomeifyouCantmeld

    Look at these Muslims they are not here to become part of our societies fabric. There are here to rip holes in it. You dont see them mixing with the rest of us just demanding that we change to be like them. This is typical of to days illegal ungrateful immigrant.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Marcus

      Oh ya, like all those Mafia Italians, IRA Irish, Nazi Germans, etc. immigrants?

      March 27, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • fairplay

      I understand your point BUT then U.S. should not be talking about human rights, freedom of speech and all that baloney. If U.S. government is honest enough and says "we are a white christain nations and all aspects of our society would be judged in light of christian faith or white norms" after that everything it does to muslims would be justified but just stop this hypocrisy. Look closely, U.S. is just as hypocritical as any other muslim or any other country.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  17. Wake Up

    I thought Saudi money had a 17% stake in Fox News.....maybe it also bought into CNN with the brainwashing attempts made in this past week.

    Liberal media and minds have to get with the program and realize that jihad in both a stealth manner and a violent one are what we in the Western world are up against and the more it is ignored, the more empowered the terrorists become. Its not some rumor made up by right wing conspirators,, these Islamists make it clear anytime a mic is in front of them from Karachi to London and disgustingly enough, Washington .D.C.

    Im personally against discrimination of any group but when people actually tell you there ultimate agenda and it is met with a "well they're just exercising they're freedom of speech"....well is that 'freedom' a good thing when its your way of life and your actual life itself they want removed from the planet?

    We got millions and millions of peace loving Muslims and some were brave enough to speak against the extremists at the Radicalization hearings that mainstream media showed absolutely nothing of because they didnt want to offend anyone,, what a joke. Broadcasting actual Muslims speaking out against blatant hatred and intolerance being taught in the mosques would have been a great thing for the public to witness seeing that their silence on terrorism often makes them co-conspirators in so many peoples minds....but to broadcast something like that would actually mean admitting there was a real problem with radicalization and the truth is poison itself to liberals and liberal media.

    And to the sympathizers that always point out civilian casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan and consider that the same thing as Muslim mobs torturing and killing Christians and even other sects of Muslims abroad,, there is no similarities between pre-planned acts of violence for false charges such as blasphemy and casualties of an actual war. More civilians were slaughtered in both countries by the coward insurgents who launch attacks from schools, mosques and residential neighborhoods instead of facing the bull head on like real soldiers than the unfortunate instances in which we kill civilians, thats just fact. How many people dies in sectarian violence alone in Iraq between 2004-2007?

    We have our bad apples for sure but the difference is we make sure to prosecute ours, not celebrate them.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Marcus

      You are a loon who hates Muslims. Stealth Jihad! LOL what a farce, you and your Islamophobes need to go back to Nazi Germany where you came from. Let's take a look and see what they are up to: http://www.loonwatch.com

      March 27, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Elsa

      Sounds like you hit a nerve there. Marcus is sputtering, I think. Infiltration is how defenses become worthless.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  18. El Kababa

    If a cosmic virus infected all humans and wiped out all memory of all religions, the world would be a much, much better place to live in.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Greg

      Yes it would. Religion just divides people and creates a reason for warring on one another.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Reb

      LOL HOW I wish that would happen! Then if we could get rid of partisan politics, there would be PEACE ON EARTH! 😉

      March 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  19. FactofLife

    Islam does violence in the name of Islam while being condoned by Islam and Muslims. It is a religion based on laws which requires followers obedience or face some sort of bodily punishment. Usually stoning. We don't see this in America as ofter (see honor killings) but only because of the swift application of the separation of church and state, western laws and our society's call for justice. One does not find this sort of separation in Islamic countries. In short – Islam is not compatible with western ideas of freedom.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Greg

      Good post.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Marcus

      Ignorance is not bliss... http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com

      March 27, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • umsu

      Shariah is for Muslims, it is Not imposed on non-muslims; Please know that. There is no compulsion in Islam but law abiding for those who accept willingly the faith. Read the whole Quran to understand the faith not partially.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Jack the Dog

      Umsu, You may want to review your history i.e. the Muslim conquest of Spain. Sharia law was imposed on the Spanish. They were also given the choice, convert or live like a slave.

      They underlying issue is perception. You may know that a majority of Muslims just want to go to work, spend time with family, eat and watch sports. I know that and it's not that different than what Christians, Jews, Hindus or Buddhists want. Question is – what are the Muslims going to do to change the perception? Turn on the local TV in DC and on the weekends you can watch a radical Muslim cleric talk about the great Satan. The Islamic community has to do things to show the rest of the world that they are no different and the radicals only represent a minority of the faith. Until that happens nothing will change.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Elsa

      FactofLife – good point. There are other influences besides religious ones. Money is a big one, too.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Dwight

      Good post. Well said.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • hm

      well jack, guess what. chris columbus was as cruel to the native americans.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  20. Woody Bailey

    (B)iraq, you make some very good points, but don't confuse Western civilization with biblical Christianity. There is so much Hellenistic influence in the visible church that it doesn't even resemble the fellowship that was born on the day of Pentecost. Also, I beleve the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Isa to you, is speaking to Muslims all over the world and many are becoming believers and followers of Jesus, often at great cost. So if what I am saying is right, you will never be able to stamp it out. If you are right, then I can also say, good riddance. But true Christianity doesn't rule by the "sword."

    March 27, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • El Kababa

      I noticed that you pointed out that 'true' Christianity doesn't rule by the sword. The problem is that those Christians who would rule by the sword would assure us all that it isYOU who are not a "true" Christian. Pretty soon, people like them and people like you are involved in a Holy War because each of you think the OTHER is a heretic.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      @ Wooden Bailey

      Christianity is a contradiction. You do not rule by the sword? But you do! You just pretend that the sword belongs to Caesar. Without Caesar, you are nothing. Muslims believe in JUST WAR. Which is more practical and less HYPOCRITICAL. It is very hypocritical, that when evil attacks you, you go begging Caesar for help as christians. Instead of taking up the sword to defend yourselves. We Muslims, thank God, do not have to deal with such theological hypocrisy.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Khadijah

      Actually, there are sects of Islam that practice Isa PBUH as The Christ. I am afraid that far too many Americans rely on the news media to educate them on Islam. It is the easy, lazy way to learn and often the information is slanted to sell copy and not seek the truth. If you want to know about Islam, as a Muslim. I was born in America, and am a veteran. Almost every Muslim I know loves America and came here to flee the bad life in other lands. It is however very true that Muslims need to police themselves, and that is totally difficult because it is totally forbidden that we should speak evil of another.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Amma Mac

      This is the 3rd day in a row that there has been a Muslim sympathetic story on the front page of CNN. That's fine, but wouldn't it be nice if you showed a story that a Muslim was converted to Christianity, or a story sympathetic to how the Christians in this country are being discriminated against. Of course if you did, you'd certainly be accused of "intolerance" toward other religions. I am so frustrated reading these stories day after day. Let's see a story of how the Christians next door are being treated in so-called Muslim countries. They are being slaughtered but we don't read much about that. When we see stories containing a Christian subject, they are usually along the lines of how they have fallen or designed to make us look stupid and foolish. Enough! Can we stick to the real news of the day?

      March 27, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Khadijah

      Could you explain this "Helenistic influence in Christianity"? I have not heard the term before, and perhaps this is the departure from the true path that I have heard spoken of.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • stonedwhitetrash

      a shadu la illaha illa allah!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:31 am |
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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.