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. Eleanor

    I am not making fun of the poor of Islam. Allow me to suggest that if the Islamic poor overseas do not want to be poor they should practice birth control. You cannot have a top heavy young population and expect there to be jobs for your children. God gave everybody a brain and those who choose to use their brain usually succeed. There are more reasons for the Islamic poor overseas than just the despots ruling the country. It is in large part because religion has too much of a hold on the lives of those born into that faith. When I turn on the TV to see a bunch of young men jumping up and down in the mid east and shooting guns into the air as if they have been given a new toy and are 10 years old, I can have no faith in these people. When a news reporter asks a young man in Libya why he is against Gaddafi and he answers that he thought Gaddafi is Jewish it shows his ignorance and also his willingness to kill Jews. We are intolerant? Ha! I'm not making fun of the guy. I'm saying he is stupid and ignorant and a gun in his hands is dangerous.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  2. Chaz

    Burn a bible, I will pray for you. Burn a koran, and a Muslim will kill you.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • bethe123

      Not literally true...but it does capture some of the differences between Islam and all other religions.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  3. DianG

    Troubling is not only that recent terrorist attacks have been committed by mostly Muslim groups, also troubling is the silence of most Muslim leaders and imams on the topic. I would be reassured if I heard Muslim leaders in my community decry the terrorism and violence committed in the name of Islam. I want to see newspaper stories headline "LOCAL IMAM CRITICIZES TERRORIST ATTACK IN BRITAN: CALLS IT ANTI-ISLAM."

    March 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • szee

      Sorry. Such a statement is not news-worthy, and hence will not be published.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  4. Eleanor

    I most look forward to watching the program on TV tonight but do believe that prior to watching it I already know the thrust of the program. It will show that we Americans who are not Muslim are therefore intolerant when Muslims want to build a mosque. Ah, allow me to suggest that prior to 9/11 and their new status of the so-called "oppressed" minority in our country, they didn't look to build so many mosques. What is the purpose of this new spate of building? When a Muslim army doctor kills a bunch of decent non-Muslim soldiers in a waiting room, do I have a right to be wary of Muslims? I think so. Is American Muslim loyalty first to America and second to their religion? If so let them yell out loudly against Hamas and Hezbollah. Let them say they deplore the never ending rockets going into Israel. Let them cry for a peace treaty in the mid east that works. Let them shout out that naming squares and parks for suicide bombers who kill innocent Israeli children is nothing but sheer murder by barbarians of the innocent. Let Muslim Americans show they are really American. Let us not hear about Sharia law in the U.S. All of us have religions we were born into. But all of us follow U.S law.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  5. Ahmad

    I am an arab american living in southeast michigan. I attend these places. I was born here and love this country. If I was ever called to fight for America then I would. Being a muslim does not equal being a terrorist. For all of you out there making up lies and saying muslims are evil, actually read the koran and see what it says. you dont have to be a muslim to understand that it preaches tolerance and kindness. These radicals give muslims a terrible name because they say they follow islam, bull!
    Is it not always a few that cause problems for many? I am a muslim and proud to be one, I am an American and proud to be one. I am a Human, and proud to be one.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • bethe123

      It is the religion of Islam, not the people, that is evil. Think I am lying?..if CNN does not censor my posts, we can discuss THAT.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm |


      See the above post at 3:13pm

      March 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • bethe123

      It seems when ever I give a post longer than a few words, it dies the death of moderation.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  6. JWH

    CNN Manufactured news again, First it was the gaes, now Muslims.

    BTW, Muslim American is an oxy moran of enmity. Similar to Christian Taliban.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  7. Guest

    But how is it that "the religion of peace" has entire nations ready to take out other religions, countries and will launch into "jihad" in the name of the koran? I have nothing personal against muslims, nor christians, nor jews etc............but I do understand the stance against muslim in this country. Religion stirs the passion of murder.And it appears that while many of the muslims in the US do preach peace.......there are plenty of others willing to commit murder in their gods name. Is it a muslim belief or not? those killilng in his name say it is.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Master Race

    White race is clearly the Master race and religions of color should leave this country. Amen. Including Muslins.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Ranchdude

    Nice to see CNN is removing comments, so much for freedom of speech.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Repentigny

    This is NOT their country. They only came here to further advance their agenda, and everyone knows what that is. So LEAVE if you're not happy here. You are NOT wanted here.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • x

      Unbelievable! Most of the people mentioned in the article were born in Michigan, not that it matters, a citizen is a citizen.

      March 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Repentigny wrote: "This is NOT their country."

      Possibly true... perhaps we should give the entire country back to the people from whom it was stolen, the Native Americans...

      March 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  11. Tired and Ashamed

    Born and raised here, I have always from my earliest memory known how ignorant and ultimately stupid people are. Americans hate, always have and always will. As a group, though, we can only focus our attention on one group at a time. Whoever is the target of the moment has to stand up and defend themselves; otherwise, the hate gets written into laws that are even harder to deal with. I have ancestors who, by law, couldn't own land, get an education, vote, travel, and all kinds of other stupid things. If you are the target, only you can make it stop because the stupid cannot control themselves.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  12. Chris

    I feel for the Muslims in America that are hard-working law abiding citizens. However, I also feel for the non-Muslims in the Middle East that are persecuted and discriminated against and often killed for not being Muslim.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  13. marc aresteanu

    All the religions of the world practiced by Whites should come together and work against religions of color including Islam. Only then can the problems of the Western cultures be solved. White is definitely the best race and it should be treat as such.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Beth

      Hahaha! You are quite hilarious Marc, you should be a comedian!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Nadia

      Well so Mr.Master Race in your opinion whites and their religion is the best and islam is a religion of color then you must be hating Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Noah etc since they are men of color. You are dumb freak

      March 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • marc aresteanu

      The post above isn't mine. Read my posts above this one.
      Ironically, whoever is using my name to post racist nonsense brings up a good point.
      Many apologists for Islam seem to have white-guilt. They inadvertently make a false connection...Islam=Arab, so anyone who insults Islam(a religion) is insulting people based on their race(Arab). For anyone who knows their biology, genetic differences among the so-called "races" is insignificant. Races are labels we put that aren't very useful to discriminate by.
      Religions however are very useful. They are by definition dogmatic ideals. When these ideas have enough sway over people's lives(as they do in Islam now or in Christianity til recently), they can be considered political movements. I don't see how we can ignore these mass delusions.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    Another broken forum, with posts & replies flung all over the place - nearly useless.

    Please fix it, CNN.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • bethe123

      Broken, and heavily censored.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

      If you mean the "awaiting moderation" message... that can be overcome, although it is a very stupid automatic word filter:

      CNN posting tips for new visitors – GNU public license – feel free to copy for your very own
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  15. ado123

    Baptist blow up abortion clinics. In my book they are as retarded as the muslims.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • cnn134

      yes there is difference between christianity and Islam, christianity does not ask fellpowers to kill others or force what is called God's law on earth , talking about bombing doctors, few incidents that was condemned by all churches and had less that 10 victims that was done by people who can not even consider christians as the 6th commandement states Do not kill, can not condemen christianity, where killing in islam is the norm , according to islaam you need to enter those countries fight them, win, and they eaither convert to islam, or be killed no other option, that is islam commit adultery you be stoned, steal and had your hand cut , i pity my muslim friends for wasting their lives away from jesus who I am sure love all of us.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Guest

      In mine as well

      March 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  16. Mark Bernadiner

    It is good that so many Christians are expressing their hate against Muslims. It is time to declare the superiority of our White race against all religions and people of color. Right after American Muslims are expelled from USA and the west, we should all work towards raising this hate against Indians, Asians and expel from our countries.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Yes, you sure sound like a superior being... When are you running for elected office?

      March 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Guest

      Please dont EVER reproduce!

      March 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  17. Hafiz

    I am a muslim but I don't want sharia law. I want to practice my religion without any fear. Muslims should respect the american laws because they are part of this society. I understand that there are extremist (extremist in all religion like the pastor in Florida) out there and we all as an American should reject them. We all should live peacefully and in harmony under one umbrella USA. May Allah bless all of us the Americans.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • dee carter

      "extremist in all religion like the pastor in florida", there the muslims go again, as soon as someone says something to them about the flaws in their religion, they point their finger and say "well christians do this" hhelllooooo u are not a muslim, unless you believe in the quran, and follow its violent teachings. May the Church of the flying spaghetti monster save your soul

      March 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Beth

      Well said Hafiz!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Guest

      Wait a minute Dee, isnt that like saying you arent a christian if you dont believe every word of the bible? That is kind of hypocritical? how many wives is your husband allowed? how many slaves? times change and peoples understanding changes and grows as well.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Hafiz states that even as a Muslim, he "does not want Shariah Law." He had better be careful about "voicing" his opposition to it and other Islamic cornerstones. He must especially be careful about voicing ANY positivie comments about Israel in his community. Those comments could be considered blasphemy, and the penalty for that in Islam is death. In the Muslim community, people have been murdered for less.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  18. Sharia law?

    If Muslim women have to cover themselves up to prevent temptation to the men, shouldn't the men have to also cover themselves up to prevent temptation for the women? Why does it seem that the road of religion is always a one way street that favors males? I am sure that this question will be answered with some random religious scripture from 1,000 years ago instead of any rational thought given answer. It will be something like "And Allagh said unto Mohammed "Thine are the protectors and must let your Paul Wall Grill shine through. Nay thine grill, Nay Nay thine grill."

    March 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • GoHomeifyouCantmeld

      Have you seen the muslim men. There is no temptation.

      March 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • cnn134

      guys did you see the church that was bombed again today in labanon, and the Christian man that they cut his ear in Egypt by sharia, that what is called shariah law, just few examples

      March 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  19. marc aresteanu

    Apologists for Islam disgust me. Sharia Law is completely the opposite of everything we deem valuable and moral. This is the largest cult of hate and ignorance we'll ever see and we have to respect these masogynistic, infantile, counterfactual, illogical, demeening, racist, evil ideas. Western cultures has blossomed in spite of the catholic church. It's about time we realize the only values worth laying claim to are secular values and belief in the supernatural is the worst idea anyone's ever had.

    Islam IS the biggest fixable problem the world has. Stop hiding behind your white-guilt and be honest about you see around you. There is no radicals and moderates. There's muslims who follow Islam. Some more than others, but Islam is one cult with one book with one set of Sharia laws. Unfortunately for ignorant apologists, its the extremists who are the more devout pious muslims. Secular values eroded Christian ideals, but its sharia's values which are now eroding secular values.

    Stand up for human values for goodness sake.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Beth

      Wow, you are quite wrong! Have you every tried to to get know a muslim on a personal level. Probably not. You are likely too busy spreading hate and bigotry. Guess what there are Christian terrorist as well; only differnce is they kill doctors at churches!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • GoHomeifyouCantmeld

      Ya beth I will just walk into Dear Born and strike up a conversation about Jesus over a cup of coffee. GET REAL

      March 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • zippy

      BETH you are a moron, get educated our get out....................

      March 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • marc aresteanu

      Comparing one vile idea(islam) dogma with another(christianity) doesn't excuse the former. I'm an atheist. I don't care for any form of mass delusion, be it pseudo-sciences or any creator stories. These ideas persist because they're good at spreading themselves(the ideas). Yes, I'm a bigot. I discriminate ideas that lead to people's rights and freedoms being stripped from them. I come from a christian backround, so I know all about it, hence my atheism. I also have many muslim friends and they're well aware of my disapproval of their beliefs. I also have friends who've "disgraced" their families for leaving their religions(aka getting an education and deciding that intellectual honesty is more important than saving-face in front of bigots and racists).

      There's one thing all muslims have in common. The Koran is the WORD OF GOD. So maybe, you should read the Koran before judging my "intolerance". I'm opposed to any divisive ideas. Islam, and most importantly the way it is generally practiced amongst its members, is the most divisive of ideas because fundamentalism is, at least in public, still the voice of GOD.

      Here's a job for you apologists...try finding a positive verse in the koran that doesn't end with "except the infidel".

      March 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  20. GoHomeifyouCantmeld

    I do not consider any of the Camel jockys to be my countrymen.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • x

      And americans, muslim or otherwise, shouldn't consider you a countryman.

      March 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • GoHomeifyouCantmeld

      I have never know and have no desire to know any muslims. My world is quite complete with out the crap the bring to the table.
      Mr/MS X what gives you such moral authority to tell me different what do you base your purity on.

      March 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • joe

      quran does not say to kill any retarded ignorants it specified only once to kill a group of murderes that continuosly killed people and thats when it says kill the infidels u dont no wat ur talkin about so stop postin comments

      March 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • zippy

      We dont want you here, take your evil religion and go back to the sand dunes. quit burning our flag, quit killing our citizins, quit asking for and expecting special rights. how about you covert or get out. this is a Christian country, not a muslum/islamic country. dig into history and find the truth about your evil prophet mohamad!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Tahlil

      “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”
      – Jerry Falwell
      “Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America”
      – Jerry Falwell
      “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country” – Jerry Falwell
      “The public education movement has also been an anti-Christian movement… We can change education in America if you put Christian principles in and Christian pedagogy in. In three years, you would totally revolutionize education in America.” – Pat Robertson
      “We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, “We’ve had enough,” we are going to take over.” – Pat Robertson
      “We at the Christian Coalition are raising an army who cares. We are training people to be effective — to be elected to school boards, to city councils, to state legislatures, and to key positions in political parties…. By the end of this decade, if we work and give and organize and train, THE CHRISTIAN COALITION WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN AMERICA” – Pat Robertson
      “Yes, religion and politics do mix. America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” – Beverly LaHaye
      “There should be absolutely no ‘Separation of Church and State’ in America.” – David Barton
      “Behind this judicial wall of separation there is a tyranny of lies that will fall… I say to you, my friends, let it fall!” – Fob James
      “The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship.” – Gary North
      “I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” – George Bush Sr
      “When science and the Bible differ, science has obviously misinterpreted its data.” – Henry Morris
      It could go on and on.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:36 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.