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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. Magic

    "My god is better than your god... off with your head!"

    Read some ancient Egyptian history... about when there was a great dispute over Amon and Aten (both sun gods, btw) and the death and destruction caused by those fools. Allen Drury's "A God Against the Gods" is a good historical novel about it.

    Will we never learn?!

    March 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  2. merri702

    We cannot take this vile insanity ISLAM anymore and This surge in Islamism has got to be met HEAD-ON.
    I call for, and would pitch in for a RENOUNCE ISLAM movement that will help all women trapped within Islam, to change their names, and start new non-Islamic lives. One condition is aso that they not marry any Muslim men.. This would be a humanitarian move to get these women out of abusive oppressive ideologies, and send a message that women will not be subjected to this inhumane treatment in the West.
    What say women? If there ever was a reason for you to march for freedoms for all women, this is one.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  3. igsource

    What's the point in fighting all theses wars when they are just going to takeover here in the US anyway?

    March 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  4. rbt H

    I am tired of Muslims complaining that they are persecuted in this country! The fact is, any anti-Muslim sentiment in the USA is the direct result of Muslims ATTACKING us!
    I realize most Muslims in the US that are not responsible for these attacks, and are just as horrified by them as we are. However, they can hardly expect us to have a positive view of religion when members of their religion–in the name of their religion–are trying to KILL us! (If this is not a real threat, please explain why we need TSA!)
    Every time I go to the airport and face the indignity of TSA searches... It's because the are MUSLIMS out there who passionately believe that their religion instructs them to murder every one of us... and because of that my civil rights are violated in my own country.
    If Muslims want us to have a better opinion of their religion, let THEM cleanse their religion of these radical elements!
    Muslims know how to protest things that really offend them. When a cartoonist drew a picture of Mohammad, Muslims all over the world rose up in rage to protest this offense against their religion. I'm still waiting to see Muslims all over the world rise up in that kind of rage to protest what Islamists are doing in the name of their religion. When we see that, our public opinion of Islam will begin to change.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  5. Upperhand

    Wesley Clark, makes a shocking confession confirming the imperialist designs of the corporate-financier oligarchy. Before Bush was even put into office in 2000, the plan to seize the Middle East was already well underway, with 9/11 the opening act. It has more to do with global domination than simply “oil.”

    Youtube: Wes Clark – America's Foreign Policy "Coup"

    March 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Disgusted

    Where was CNN last June when 4 Christians were arrested for answering questions about Christianity at a Islamic festival in Dearborn Michigan? Again let me re-iterate, they were answering questions about Christianity. That would mean, someone would have to approach them and ASK a question. This type of arrest is like arresting someone for handing out pro gun control material at a gun show.

    The next day, the same group was escorted away from the festival for distributing Christian based material to people OUTSIDE of the festival. Where was CNN for this?

    March 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Richard

      the four christians were not answering questions, they were asking questions at a table. the Muslims at the table simply wanted them to turn of their cameras–which they had the right to ask. the youtube video exists...go check it out. The four Christians didn't realize they were at a private permitted event. It was not public and the security had every right to ask anyone to leave.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  7. Unknown

    Listen I am non-religious and I am tired of people shoving Jesus down my throat the same way I would be tired of people shoving Mohamed down my throat. I have read passages from both the Bible and Quran and I was thinking both times, "what the f@#k were the authors thinking." But I am aware that these Christians and Muslims are around and are not going away, so I have to learn to work with them and try and find a solution, that's what I think we should all be doing, is finding a solution instead of playing the blame game.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  8. MARIVS

    WHY IS CNN ALWAYS PUSHING THE SUBJECT OF ISLAM? IS CNN BECOMING PRO-ISLAM?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Richard

      Are they supposed to be pro-Christian? They have a faith section. Your hatred probably just makes you notice the Islam stories more. Viva hate!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  9. Upperhand

    Let's pretend the Islamofacists are not at war with us!

    March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  10. Garrick Harris

    Islam is the only true evil in the world today. We in America need to wake up before these people like the rats they are infect our country. Allah was a wife beating child molester devil. We need to close all their houses of terror "Mosques" and eradicate this evil from our Christian shores. As their book of the devil says "Terrorize Them" we need to end this and end it soon. Let them and their dog mothers go back and live in the barbaric uncivilized world they came from.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  11. Amy

    I lived in Dearborn for 11 years and its the Muslims who discriminate against Christians. They have vandalized our churches, won't serve you in their stores and restaraunts and send their 12 year old daughters back to the old country to be forced to marry 40 year old men. They haven't assimilated and shove their outdated "Oh we're still be persecuted just like in the crusades" beliefs down everyone's throats. Send them back to their sand pits because they don't know how to act.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Richard

      I lived in Dearborn all my life. Never denied service regardless of the location of the Muslim shop/restaurant. Deep in East Dearborn, they happily serve me.

      Some here are simply lying. Most the restaurants are Chirstian owned...you idiots can't tell a Lebanese Christian Arab, from a Muslim.

      The problem with the Detroit area, and why I left, is the hatred and downright ignorance. And it starts with my fellow white people.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Richard

      also haven't heard of a single church being vandalized in the area by Muslims...i have heard of Mosques being vandalised. I doubt Amy ever lived in Dearborn.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  12. Khadijah

    Hmm, I wonder when stupid, hateful, red neck talk becomes prosecutable under Federal Hate Crimes Law? I know that we have the first amendment, but some of this is just way over the top. Some of these guys will get the darwin award, perhaps.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • bethe123

      If stupid was illegal, you would be enjoying a life sentence.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  13. Sam

    More from Pat on dangers of Islam :

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

    March 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • bethe123

      Pat Condel......so much clarity about the evils of Islam. Well done.

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

    You always hate when someone desperately tries to show that their holy book is the truth from God. You come across that once and while in your life but this one is different (I am not religious by the way). It's one heck of a series of scientific coincidences to be ignored or dismissed

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

    March 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Sam

      HA HA HA... KORANIC MIRACLES ARE FOR IGNORANT DUMMIES... LET EVERYBODY LAUGH TOGETHER

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jzOcRbfM5I&w=640&h=360]

      March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • How can the Koran know Iron atomic weight and number

      I watched your video Sam and it only proves the point. Actually I am laughing at you because either you didn't watch the clip or you are too dumb. The beginning of the verse talks how stubborn humans can be and how even with clear signs like this one they still deny the truth.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Sam

      This Koranic miracle video is so lame!!! And you call this a clear sign?? – even after watching the response. How unbelievable!!! Everybody with a little sense can judge who is dumb. Maybe this will help (hopefully.. but I won't be surprised if you don't get it)

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3KoWsNK3ww&w=640&h=360]

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • How can the Koran know Iron atomic weight and number

      I watched this other video and I gotta admit it presents a far more better argument than the earlier one however the author fell victim to his own projections and let his own bias take the best out of him. He completely ignored that the verse not only has the atomic weight but also atomic number couple that with the name of chapter and the fact that this chapter is exactly at the center of the Koran and that the weight of the word Iron (each letter in the word has a weight) also matches the atomic weight and number in definit and indefinite forms respectively the odds become one in trillion or more (no exagoration when you multiply it all). So until the three musketeers book is renamed iron, and that sentence that he persented in chapter 57 is the 26 sentence, and that book chapters become 114 rather than 67 and the hebrew weight for the word iron also matches 57 and 26 in indefinite and definite forms your pal is just seeing a cow in the sky. He has no example of course. Now that being said, it's absurd to say that Muslims pray to God because of this verse. That shows tremendous ignorance. Did Christians pray to God because Jesus walked on water? All what is said here is it's a sign among many others but only to those who are willing to surrender to the truth.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  15. Sam

    A good advice for the US from Britan :

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhN6CG1zCRc&w=640&h=360]

    March 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Khadijah

      Sorry, my UK friend, the 72 virgins is not in the Qur'an, and is infact a tribal urban legend. giggle. I wonder what Madrassa you attended to gain such depth in knowlege about Islam? These vocal people you are talking about, well they are an extreme embarassment to true Muslims, just like Glen Beck is not a true politician.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • bethe123

      Pat Condell tells it like it is. Nice post.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Sam

      @Khadijah
      Granted number of virgins are not in the Quran but in the Hadiths – just like you can not find Shahada not in Quran but in Hadiths. The Qur'an promises men voluptuous virgins (with swollen breasts) but does not specify their exact number
      Hadiths specify the exact number as 72. Read 56:36 and 78:33 in the Quran. Search for "wikiislam 72 virgins".

      You can run away from the truth but can't hide. Can you?

      March 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  16. DebG

    When someone compares the old KKK with Islamic terrorists, I get really annoyed. Yes, the KKK were worthless terrorists, but they were American, not recent immigrants. Muslims enter the US and other western countries and want to change us, and they also want to practice their backward customs that rob women of their freedoms, which the west is know for. Already in Michigan Muslims are complaining about women and men not using the same swimming pools, but this is America, and we don't let men discriminate against women. Muslims are the one immigrant class that is throwing us backwards. Muslims are always complaining about discrimination, but you chose to come to America knowing what we stand for. The reasons Americans dislike Muslims so much is that they really are not integrating into our society, instead we are made to accommodate you because you (and other immigrant groups) cry discrimination, and political correctness makes our politicians and left-leaning nut jobs appease you. Please don't let the door hit you in the butt when you leave. Muslims come here because Muslim countries suck, and instead of appreciating your good fortune, you complain. Naff off!

    March 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  17. Gary Davis

    if a muslim family moved in next door to me . that would be great . if any of my neighbors didn't like it I would tell them to move some place else . if I came upon someone trying to hurt my new neighbor . the person or persons would not want to feel my rath . I use the good justice of an eye for an eye . and I would absolutly defened my new neighbor and his or her family . because this is America the land of the free the home of the brave . so to all those who hold hate for someone different then themselves Pi ss off . feel fortunate that I am not your neighbor or witness you hurting anyone. I am tired of this religious christian crap of putting other peolple down . I shall stand with anyone who seeks freedom of religion or freedom to live were ever they want to . PEACE is what men and women died to protect . I stand with them and thank them every day so should us all

    March 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • JB

      What a bunch of crap! Sounds more like you are bashing Christians than protecting Muslims!

      March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Ahn

      You are a fair and just person. I am astounded by the number of people who are so narrow minded and racist. It is wonderful to hear the voice of reasoning talking. I think Anyone would be lucky to have you as a neighbor. Peace be with you.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Lacota

    I believe, a United States of America Law of Enforcement Rule should be established for not allowing people from other countries to enter ours. Back in the 1940s and 50s was the true Beautiful America, people Honored, appreciated and Respected this Great Country. Today, illegal people residing here, take over jobs, welfare, spit on and burn our Mighty FLAG! Because of Government decisions, My beautiful America has gone down the drain and our ForeFathers are rolling around in their graves. Very sad to see this and hope changes will soon be made. We need to take care of us.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The 40's and 50's?? I gather you're not African-American...

      March 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      Lacota, the only hope for your wish is for the extermination of PC.

      March 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Gary Davis

      when did you become the decider of man kind .? we are all human not just you . and back in the days you speak of . plenty of illegal humans came to our shores and became americans just like most of our ancesters, even american indians are from some other part of the world . no one is automatically an american of this part of the world all our ancesters came from different parts of the planet . many illegal humans have fought and died for all of our freedoms . you need to think instead of pointing fingers and using hate

      March 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  19. chuckmartel

    Muslims wonder why more people don't like them 10 years after 9/11. Maybe it is because every time you look in the news they are blowing people up or trying to blow people up. Exploding muslims kill other muslims every day in islamiland. The same cannot be said for the other religions. The almost constant wailing and rug praying probably doesn't help either and does not fit in with secular societies. The US is too stupid to just keep them out and let them kill each other in their own dark age cesspools. I truly hate them and wish them the worst. A bunch of head hunters from Borneo would assimilate better than these dak age fundamentalist vermin.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Gary Davis

      you need to read about the christian crusaedes idiot . talk about killing millions history says christianity was one of the worst ever in making everyone become one or you were killed
      but hey you keep believing .

      March 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      The crusades? They occurred 1000 years ago when everyone was fighting everyone else and did not target only muslims. They were also a response to hundreds of years of genocidal muslim expansion. I could go on. We both know how well you did in history 101 now. Crusades, what an idiot.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Ahmadh

      WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, , 50 million American Indians killed, millions of African slaves, colonial and imperial rule of Africa, India, South America. Should I go on. All of those were done by whom? Not Muslims and I didn't hear no pope complaining either. sorry brother but if we want to point fingers there a a whole lot of point to Christians.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      muslims knocking someone else over slavery?. muslims don't have wars? muslims throwing ww2 around when it was the muslims who wanted to join up with the nazi jewish extermination effort. the nazi's just didn't want a partnership with arabs so they had to settle for bosnian muslim ss units. how do you think the baath party was formed? Fine if you feel that way akmed as long as you stay out of this country. What an ignorant dark age primitive, Get out.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  20. johnqsmith

    If Cathloics started killing innocent people in the name of God, the Pope would condemn such and decree that the terrorists are damned to hell. Why are the muslim leaders not doing such? I think this is most peoples' problem with Islam – the de facto acceptance/support of terrorism. If you don't condone and actively stamp out terrorism, you in fact support it.

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

      We do condemn terrorism in all its forms, but no one wants to listen.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zRe0Nc8vH0&w=640&h=390]

      March 27, 2011 at 7:18 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.