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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. shocked

    I am so shocked at the amount of ignorance many people are still suffering from. I'd think that Islamophobia is on the decrease. But alas, people still don't know even the most basic principles of Islam. You can tell by the absurdity of the comments posted here. I think it is best to first truly inform yourself about the faith before assuming you KNOW what it is all about. May God have mercy on us all.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • bethe123

      Not at all. We understand Islam. That is why we object to it.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  2. Terry P

    The Muslims want to change America into their own image. I don't want them near me, period. As far as I'm concerned, ALL immigration should be terminated from Muslim countries.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • lissy

      Then move to another country. They have every right to be here as you do.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • bethe123

      Agreed Terry P.

      One only has to look at Europe to see an example of Islamisation

      March 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  3. Richard

    This is not "their own country." Their countries are in the middle east, north Africa etc... The USA is for "ourselves and our posterity" aka. The founding people of USA their descendants and kinsmen. That does not include Middle Easterners.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfB_F936bU8&w=640&h=360]

    March 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • telsaid

      it was not your country either, it's for the native Americans. We should ask them what they think?!

      March 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • john

      telsaid, your point only highlights the importance of protecting existing culture. No one can do anything about Native Americans now. But we can keep Muslims from colonizing the West and setting everything back 300 years.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  4. I would like to know why

    Everyone has the name Mohammad?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  5. I would like to know

    Why there are no women in the photo. Could someone please explain to us why this is so?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • morty62

      In Islam the women are segregated and not allowed to worship with the men. Very un-American and backward.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the answer to your question is MODESTY

      modesty is hard to explain to you because it no longer exists in your culture, but it is an old virtue which is one of the cornerstones of Islamic religion. Women are taught to be modest (as are men). Showing pictures of women to strangers is considered imodest as strangers (men) are known to ogle women and lu st after them.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  6. I would like to know

    Could someone of the Islam religion tell us why there are no women worshiping in the photo?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • The Dude

      Because the religion of peace (Islam) thinks women are dirty 2nd class citizens who need to be shoved in a room with their bodies covered so they don't make muslim men think about sin.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the answer to your question is MODESTY

      modesty is hard to explain because it no longer exists in your culture, but it is an old virtue which is one of the cornerstones of Islamic religion. Women are taught to be modest (as are men). Showing pictures of women to strangers is considered imodest as strangers (men) are known to ogle women and lu st after them.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  7. Learn the truth!

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

    March 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  8. stonedwhitetrash

    I have African Americans living behind me . A gay couple to my left, a Mexican extended family across the street. So why not a muslim family living to my right,. Just as long as they are not calling for prayer five times a day.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • lissy

      I'm a Christian and what you just described is what I LOVE about living in the US!

      March 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • morty62

      That's the point. When their numbers increase you will have a prayer call blaring out all the time. Look at what's happening in England and Europe. The Muslims stay in their own communities and have no desire to adopt the customs of the countries they live in. The more they are the more demands they make. It's never enough. You give a finger and they take your whole arm.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      its not true, Muslims are not interested in adopting ONLY THE FOLLOWING CUSTOMS of yours.

      – Boozing
      – Fornicating
      – Weapons Peddling
      – World War Mongering
      – Adultering and Nudding
      – Banking Fraud and White Collar Crime

      everything else is good, but what other CULTURE do you have left for Muslims to partake in???

      March 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  9. Becca

    How many of your people posting on this know your Bible's at least Revelation. The anti christ will be Islam. At first he will seem so wonderful....until he rebuilds the temple and shows his real self! If you don't take the mark of the beast which will be a microchip you will not be able to buy or sell, and you refuse to worship him as God, he will behead you. And if you take the microchip God says you will be eternally lost. These are not my words but the word of Jesus Christ himself.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • lissy

      Where EXACTLY in Revelation does it EXACTLY say the anti-chirst will be Muslim? Chapter and verse, please. Because your Bible seems to be QUITE different from the one I know so well.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • lissy

      Oh, and Jesus didn't write Revelation.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      christianity is more likely to be anti-christ. because Jesus was a jew who believed in strict monotheism and Christianity teaches that God came in the shape of a man and "died for our sins" which is a concept that does not exist in the judaic religion.

      weapons peddling, war mongering, boozing, fornicating, divorcing, gluttony, gambling, usury, which are the nations in the world that EXCEL at these vices?? christian nations!! and you are calling muslims anti-christ?? ha ha ha ha haha

      March 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  10. angered and annoyed by the biased press

    "It's not easy living in this country when you're a suspect." – Lebanese businessman

    Is this owner aware that Christians in Lebanon, who make up nearly half of the population, cannot even rebuild their churches due to discriminatory red tape? This is more than a stare – there are real cases of Islamic discrimination against non-Muslims in their original countries of origin. Why does the press have a double standard?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  11. NO WOMEN IN PHOTO WHY??

    Did you notice that there are no women praying in the photo? Women do not have the same rights as men in the Muslim religion. Since this is a photo of them worshiping in the US, wouldn't you expect to see women? NO, because women are not treated the same with the muslims.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • lissy

      And Christian women are really treated the same? ALL Christian women? REALLY? I'm a Christian woman and see much repression of women in Christianity.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • john

      Give it up, Lissy. Your obvious reaching is only hurting your cause.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • lissy

      What IS my cause, John? Clear thinking? Reason? Love? Jeez.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  12. Lora

    Did you notice that there are no women praying in the photo? Women do not have the same rights as men in the Muslim religion. Since this is a photo of them worshiping in the US, wouldn't you expect to see women? NO, because women are not treated the same with the muslims.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • john

      Absolutely. Read some Irshad Manji. Men and women are segregated.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      In America, where men and women apparently come from monkeys, women are not treated the same as men!! They have monthly periods and if they have se x, they become pregnant and burdened with babies. Men on the other hand have no such limitations. When your monkey descended men start bearing the same burden of child birth as your monkey descended women, then you can come and lecture us on EQUAL RIGHTS!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  13. beth

    Islam is a cult when you think about how much it dictates how Muslims must live their lives. Women should NOT wear head scarfs/hijabs whatever they are called. This only creates more intolerance. Keep the garb for worship time and then throw a pair of jeans and t-shirt on. I dont carry my prayer book with me or dangle a rosary around my neck to flaunt my religion. I thought religion was personal? Like I said islam/muslims is a big CULT. You cant call this a religion. The laws surpass the threshold for such. Muslim/Islam = CULT.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      CORRECTION:

      Islam is about GOOD. It teaches you good manners, family values, and lawful and unlawful behavior and how to live a good life and how to fight evil with good. Islam, as a cult, is far far more deep than many religions. so your definitions of cult and religion make no difference. a piece of gold is a piece of gold, call it a "gold necklace" or a "bar of gold". Gold is gold.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  14. wolfeer

    Well there you go... "They" have us attacking our own and can just sit back and watch and laugh.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  15. beth

    islamophobia is getting old. why cant Muslims understand the fact that we cant tell the good muslims from terrorist ones. We all know what religion Al-qeuda and jihad, etc belong to, Muslim/islam. The bad ones are jealous of the western's culture and freedom yet infiltrate into the USA enjoying all the freedom they oppose while planning out their next attack. Are we expected to distinguish the good muslims from the bad ones. This is not our fault. Muslims need to respect our feelings and furthermore, UNDERSTAND why we feel this way. They are very insensitive.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • lissy

      Why can Christians understand the fact that we cant tell the good ones from the bad ones who kill people?

      March 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • The Dude

      Christians were violent hundreds of years ago, but ISLAM is still violent. U might get one Christian who kills an abortion doctor once a year. Muslims bow people up weekly if not daily.

      Truth hurts, doesn't it?

      March 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • lissy

      Dude, I AM a Christian and I see many Christians that are on their way to being violent because they cannot be tolerant of people who are different than they are.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Joshua

    Thanks to Allah we don't have many in Boston.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      Thanks to Allah you will soon. Once you stop reproducing out of your selfish behavior, Muslim families will move in and replace you. 200 years from now, you and your barren "girfriends" will be long dead and rotted in your graves. only today's muslim children will be around to replace you in Boston.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Smite Me

      Yup. "Idiocracy"!

      It *could* happen.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  17. How can the Koran know Iron atomic weight and number

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUA0EGTGFtg&w=640&h=360]

    March 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Sam

      HA HA HA... KORANIC MIRACLES ARE FOR IGNORANT DUMMIES THAT THEY ARE... EVERYBODY CAN NOW LAUGH

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwjxN8aNkiQ&w=640&h=360]

      March 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Magic

      How can...,

      Don't answer any emails from deposed Nigerian princes.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • How can the Koran know Iron atomic weight and number

      Sam I watched your video. It only proves the same. People like you deny the truth mentioned in the testaments that God sent down to his messengers (old, new and final). The beginning of the verse where you say why it was not mentioned highlights exactly that. Apparently the author of your version also took his freedom to insert after and provide his own translation about iron but even with that his argument shows ignorance and desperation.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Magic

      Do a simple search for Koran Science / Miracles debunked.... pffft.

      Same for Bible Science / Miracles.

      The facts they claim, if they hold even a shred of truth, are merely observable aspects of nature.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  18. ahmed

    If the majority of muslims are soooooo peace loving, then where is the widespread criticism of the violent acts committed be extremists? ..................................................................................................................................
    Hmmmm! I've always been taught that actions speak louder than words!

    March 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • lissy

      Hmm... where is the widespread condemnation from Christians for those "Christians" who kill abortion doctors or kill others? Where is it against "churches" such as Westboro?

      March 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • john

      Um, I'm an atheist, but it's obvious that most Christians denounce abortion clinic bombings, and there's a reason the "Phelpses are known the "the most hated family in America."

      March 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  19. canu

    Would someone of the muslim Faith please explain to me what the wording for Sharia Law is and what it means?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Mohammad shaheer

      The law which was established by Mohammad (peace be upon him), and if you could do some research, read the comments of historians on that law, and how can it change the world if implemented "CORRECTLY"

      March 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • john

      Define "correctly."

      March 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • sassypants

      Mohammed – Thank God the majority of people in the US are not interested in your change.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Salemm

      One of the of the lows of Sharia is Apostasy low "Had Alrada" which means leaving or giving up one's religious faith.
      The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death.
      The Apostasy Law in Islam is an anti-conversion law, which contradicts Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
      For more information about Sharia Check
      http://www.freedom2worship.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=13&lang=en

      March 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      there is no wording in sharia law per se.
      scholars agree that sharia law is implemented when the RULERS of the country agree to do so be that they are Muslim Rulers or the general public demands them to do so. In addition, sharia law is the law of the land when there is an Islamic Caliphate, which has not been the case since 1923 when Turkey, the last Islamic caliphate, chose to become a secular nation-state. With most of the muslim world under colonial rule at the time, no other islamic nation was able to take over the banner of the islamic caliphate.

      sharia law cannot be implemented "piece meal" in small chunks, nor can sharia law be implemented without the central government's approval. Imams in Mosques and cave dwelling robin hood characters like Osama cannot be implementing sharia law. sharia law is for the police and the justice system of the society to implement.

      i am under the impression that there can be two sets of laws, sharia law for the muslims and secular law for non-muslims in a mixed society, but i do not have concrete evidence to back up this claim. but likely this would happen in a society with atleast 30% – 40% muslims for it to be practical. Meaning enough Muslims for the rulers to want to appease the Muslims in exchange for their votes etc.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      apostasy law is a SMALL part of sharia law. MOST of sharia law deals with CRIMINAL MATTERS like all other laws in all other lands. Killings, Murders, Theft, Marital issues, Business Law etc etc. Christian rightwingers and hatemongers try to peddle apostasy laws as if that is what sharia is all about. Sharia is much more comprehensive.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • angered and annoyed by the biased press

      Watch the Muslims rationalize executing people who leave their religion as per SHARIAH law says it all really!

      They are no more American than someone in Yemen or Afghanistan.

      We do not tolerate alternate legal systems here period....much less 8th century decrees by a religious mad man.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  20. Nathan

    What happened to 'when in rome, do as the romans do." If you don't want stared down in public, loose the headscarf. This is 2011, the time for oppressing your women is over and done with, and even if it was not, we don't want that crap in our country

    March 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • malek

      Nathan the only crap is you and people who share the same opinion as you, if this is not a country that welcomes freedoms then lets stop advertising freedom freedom freedom and go invade countries under this word, seems the only freedom you and people like you know is the freedom of drinking and being free of morals

      March 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jason

      malek, you have the freedom to practice your religion. I have the freedom to despise your religion, and if necessary, to let my disapproval be known. My tolerance for Islam extends far enough not to commit violence against Muslims for their religious beliefs and to not discriminate any more than the law allows. It does not necessitate me pretending that Islam is the same as all religious, or that Muslims believe essentially what I believe.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Curious

      Malek, losing a headscarf hardly makes one immoral. Get a grip

      March 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • cass

      malek, if you hate mericans so much, leave.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • lissy

      I'm a Christian, and I would like to know, how does a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf affect you? I mean REALLY. If you are threatened by the wearing of a headscarf, that's quite sad. I'm appalled at the religious intolerance of my fellow Christians.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • DIVERSITY = DEATH

      WAKE UP WHITE MAN !!!!!!!!!

      johndenugent.com
      stormfront.org
      wvwnews.net
      ramzpaul.com

      March 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Nathan wrote: "What happened to 'when in rome, do as the romans do." If you don't want stared down in public, loose the headscarf."

      Would you say the same for the ultra-religious Jews? What about Catholic nuns and priests? Why aren't we all forced to wear American Indian feathers? What could be more American than that?

      March 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      lissy wrote: " I would like to know, how does a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf affect you? "

      Personally it just reminds me of how many ignorant, gullible people there are out there... (and that goes for all religions... I don't discriminate...)

      March 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
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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.