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. Don't you hate facts

    ...Yet Islam is still one of the fastest growing religions....

    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • See the light

      Because they breed like pigs.
      But the good news is, when they reach adulthood, many of them would leave Islam, at least secretly for they would be killed.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  2. Brian

    Just a quick note to all Muslims. This is ONE country that you don't get. I don't care how much you bow down and pray to Allah. Not even with Obama as your spokesman.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Sadim

      Then look behind you Brian. Your country is being sold behind your back. The people who own this country are not above letting it go in the name of massive wealth.
      The uber-wealthy will do anything for more money. Anything. Treason is nothing to them. Religion is nothing to them.
      All they want is money and power. If the House of Saud wants to attack us again, these people will step aside and let it happen without a qualm. Why? Because they worship money and power.
      Enlightened self-interest is an alien concept to these people. They have no empathy for your patriotism.
      I see no hope of anything good happening, yet good things happen anyway, so you don't have to listen to my doom and gloom. Just don't be too surprised when we all get the shaft. Don't say nobody warned you. Just bend over and take it.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  3. sfs

    I do agree with several comments here that Muslims should rethink their existence in America ... with all the hate spewing around. This was not the case even after 9/11 so why its happening now begs answers??? As far as the terrorism question goes it was the work of some lunatic individuals and had nothing to do with millions devout or namesake Muslims in America and around the world. However, the event after that turned out to be using this tragedy in all sorts of ways from Iraq war to blaming all the Muslims. The pretext of this latest hate is one or two mosques that some Muslim communities want to build in this vast country. It seems this is not acceptable to the many. May be this is all we can expect in the name religion freedom...

    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  4. Don't you hate facts

    It's apparent that most of these negative misinformed comments are left by White Americans (who have the least cultural tolerance, yet are the most opinionated). How can you be so opinionated when your forefathers were terrorists? That's right. You have and are benefiting from their past crimes; lynching, stealing, burning, raping, lying, beating, whipping, degrading, enslaving...Your history has placed you as the economic world power. IRONY

    March 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Chamborde

      Watch out for those white males–they will do the country in. Better to put your faith in these loving and forgiving Muslim. Puhleese . . .

      March 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  5. gking407

    "You never hear about all the threats against mosques" . That is the statement of a victim, and a person who does not see the bigger picture.

    To all muslims everywhere: We see the violence and do not hear you speak against it. Silence is acceptance, which is why you are feared. Which is why you are suspected of doing bad things. Until you control your own violence, do not expect the world to accept you so warmly and unconditionally.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  6. Brian

    I get tired of hearing about the poor Muslims. The fact is that the Muslims in America do nothing to denounce the so called "radical" Muslims causing the problems. If they are indeed the majority then this violence and radicalism should have been stopped. Deep down however, I believe that they enjoy it.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    They have ruined Dearborn, and are now setting their sites on so many other cites..It's true they keep to themselves, they are Not interested in being AMERICAN... Sure they stay to themselves, and try doing business with them if you are not of their "faith"...they arent interested. And then when you do meet them in a business, they speak their language, and You know they are talking about you. There are good and bad in every religion, Yes I know. However, They scorn their children if they become to Westernized, SO why be here????

    March 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Midas

      For the money, silly!
      It's ALL about the money!

      March 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  8. bill

    It is 1 of the true ironies of our time.

    The scarf is supposed to draw attention AWAY from the woman, but in America the scarf draws attention TO the woman

    March 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  9. Roelof

    “While the Islamic world is rising up against dictatorship, dishonesty, deception and corruption "

    First of all Islam is dictatorship. When muslims rise up against dictatorship, they should stop believing in Islam. Dishonesty? Taqqiya lying in the quran. Deception? Like plagiate from Greek science like Galen and call it Allah's word? Corruption?? Well let's take a look at that. "transparancy international" http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

    Islamic countries are most corrupt.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Hillary

      There is even corroborating evidence from the State Dept cables given to Wikileaks of the truly disgusting level of corruption in all countries, but it is worst in Muslim countries.
      Diplomats have had trouble learning the ins and outs of Muslim-oriented corruption. Greed is too mild a word for what they do.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  10. gking407

    It seems like Muslims have a leadership problem. Where is their spokesmen for peace? Hiding in silence, because they would not dare speak out and be seen as a traitor, hypocrite, infidel, western sympathizer, etc.

    Silence is not good enough, they have to realize this. Speak out against the violence that seems to go along with your religion and it will be seen for what it is: the acts of a violent minority and not acts that speak for the majority.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  11. Cronus

    CNN and O'Biren in their political correctness don't see the point that most Americans see. Muslims have been part of this nation for a long time and their religion was never an issue because Muslims in the past appreciated this country for what it is. What has happened now is that the current generation of Muslim immigrants are importing their baggage from their old countries. They are not assimilating and they are imposing their religion on us. They ask for recognition and rights while suppressing freedom of religion in their own countries by forcing non-Muslims to abide by Muslim laws. You cannot have a dialogue about Muslims rights and alienation here unless we also discuss their own intolerance, their own violence and mistreatment of religious minorities in their own countries and cultures.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Chamborde

      O'Brien goes from one politically correct topic to the next. But that is what CNN does. Incredible how naive she is and what will she and CNN have to say once teh country deteriorates beyond repair–and that is where we are headed.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  12. Diana Nielsen

    Based soley on how they treat women, I am scared enough of Muslims....on top of that, ah, well, 9/11, shoe bomber, ny times square bomber.......I do not welcome muslims in any way, unless they come out and forcibly speak out against the extremes in their religion, which they have not.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  13. Christopher

    I am from Houston and I see Muslims all the time, I have never anyone abuse them or hurl slurs at them.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  14. proud infidel

    Islam is my enemy.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Ben

      All religions are my enemy. Islam is going to be the first one to be eradicated. The others will fall in their turn.
      It is the most likely scenario. Unless we all get wiped out by a massive asteroid strike or something.
      Then everyone gets to realize that their god hates them even though they've had proof of that for centuries.
      Or maybe they would come to their senses.
      Nah, religious people hardly ever do that.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  15. cinge

    If American Muslims have nothing to hide then they would not feel threatened by the hearings that are meant to keep Americans safe. I mean, does anyone truly think that there are no islamic sleeper cells here in the us? radical islam clearly states that they are working toward world domination and want to eliminate the state of israel, kill every last jew on earth. it is also a known fact that there are greoups of radical muslims that will attack americans. we would be stupid not to have a plan to prevent terrorism against our people. our moderate muslim citizens should feel the same way. finding fault with the hearings is suspect, in my opinion. they should be working with the US to keep america safe. and btw i am a liberal democrat. i actively work for human rights and tolerance and have absolutely nothing against muslims- but i am not stupid enough to believe there are not terrorist cells here in america. so as long as the leaders of the muslim communities here don't come out and condemn terrorism in the name of islam, i am wary. they really need to do that.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  16. Catherine1111

    The thing that is getting at me about the muslims is how they are having a bloodless war with the world. What I mean by this is that they are "Re-Populating" countries. Just go to Europe. I now see more Muslims than I do europeans. Why? Because I believe that are trying to repopulate the world. That is why they all have no less then 6 kids each. And America is next.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Worked for the Catholics...

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  17. The One True Steve

    Anyone who wants to identify themselves as muslim, needs to identify what sect and sub-sect of Islam they follow. For example; Sunni-Hanafi or shafii or Maliki or Hanbali , Shia-Twelver or ismailism, Sufi-qadiri or bektashi or chishti, Amadiyya-original group or Lahore ... You get the idea. There are over 150 different sects of Islam. Mohammad said there can be only one, the rest are going to hell. Of all the groups the Amadiyyas appear to be the only peaceful group. However because they believe that there was another prophet (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) after Mohammad ... They are considered apostate and must die.

    So in a nutshell you can see Islam is a mess (like all religions). They are working very hard at killing each other off. If they can't tolerate each other ... What does that mean for the rest of us?

    In the end if Muslims want to integrate into a secular society they have to answer one question ... Is the Koran the unquestionable word of Allah or can it be edited. Other religions have edited their holy books.

    If it CAN be edited then no problem they can be like the cafeteria catholics and pick out the good stuff and forget the rest.

    If it CANNOT be edited then there is no hope, because it's based on the way things were 1400 years ago and it just can't work in a modern secular society.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  18. jasim

    honestly after reading so many hateful remarks about Islam and Muslims, i am confident to say that no matter what these ignorant people do they cannot harm us Muslims, because as a MUSLIM i believe my ALLAH is responsible for my safety. Not the government, not my community just my creator. Which is why i don't worry and no Muslim should, about growing insecurities because at the end of the day God's justice always prevails.

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

      See, you refer to yourself as a muslim, not as an American.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • proto-human

      Then killing Muslims must be the will of Allah and you will be glad when you are killed by your fellow human beings for being Muslim. Why not throw yourself off a cliff? Because you are afraid of meeting Allah.

      Don't worry, there is no such thing as Allah. You were given false teachings. The universe shows no influences by anyone.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Ben

      God's justice NEVER prevails, which is another proof that no gods exist.
      You are like a child lost in a desert. You ask Allah for help but nothing happens and you die.
      Grow up and think for yourself. If Allah exists, then he gave you a brain for some reason.
      Why don't you use it as best you can and realize that there is no proof that Allah exists.
      Instead of proof that you want, your Allah has given us proof that your Q'uran is filled with lies and madness.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • kyle

      jasim i would feel the same way. the hate these people show is unreal and sick. cass your just an idiot. flat out. people wake up! the world is changing this is not america in the 1950's anymore. and he called himself a Muslim he never said he wasn't american. not every muslim is violent, its extremism that your thinking of just like the extreme Christians in your town

      March 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  19. It'sTheTruth...

    I live in the metro Detroit area. Here's the major problem with the Islamic/Arab population here – unlike all other emigrants who came to this great nation (Poles, Italians, Greeks, Irish, etc.), they refuse to ASSIMILATE. They stay amongst themselves, refuse to speak ENGLISH, raise their children as if they're still in their native homeland – take a look at the photos – stores signs in ARABIC. If you want to be accepted, ASSIMILATE just as my parents did over fifty years ago. I know many Christian Arabic second generation Americans who have ASSIMILATED, who accept and enjoy our great way of life in the USofA. Drop the religious BS and enjoy what greatness you have emigrated to – you owe it to your children and future generations.

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

      recognize that one of the American Values is still freedom of Religion

      March 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Duane W

      @- Yes we accept freedom of religion but I have to agree, don't try and make it into another country in your neighborhood. This is America, land of the free which means we should be able to read the official language which is english

      March 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • proud infidel

      Islam is the enemy of the west. Islam is my enemy.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • proud infidel

      Recognize that Islam is not a religion, but a cult of hate, death, destruction and terror. It is not from any God.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • tj

      One word: BORG (LIKE FROM STAR TREK)

      March 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • kyle

      all religion is a fairy tales based on morality. i am a 22 year old and seeing this piece on cnn really blows my mind. it makes me sad to be an american. whats up with all of the hate in the name of your faith. I was raised a christian and fell out of that as soon as i started thinking for myself. the problem with people in the bible belt is that they are christians, and not christ-like. the people of that town are so ignorant it really makes me sick. THE WORLD IS CHANGING PEOPLE!! and its the example of the people in this Tennessee town that sets the world back you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Kim Vun

      to: It'sTheTruth...
      Mr. Assimilation, you should go and learn how to spell basic words in English, immigrants starts with an "i" not an "e" go back to your country; you pathetic peasant

      March 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • funny_name

      Why are so many people worried about Muslims now? There were far fewer anti-Muslim attacks after 9/11 than there were in 2009 according to the article above. After the 9/11 attacks Bush famously described Islam as a religion of peace. It seems that for the past few years conservatives have made a sharp turn against the Muslim comunity. All of the sudden they started seeing Muslims as a threat. Why didn't they think so before 2008?

      Could it be that some Muslim threat suddenly materialized out of no where? It seems doubtful. A much more likely explanation is that politicians and pundits are spreading fear to a public that doesn't know much about Muslims. They are trying to make you afraid so they can distract and manipulate you. Why else would the GOP suddenly become Islamophobic after years of outreach under the Bush administration? Why else would they spread innuendo about President Obama possibly being a secret Muslim (despite the obvious contradiction that he drinks alcohol and eats pork)? Why else would national politicians get involved in a local NY City zoning debate over an Islamic Center?

      I don't understand why so many people eager to blindly follow the GOP's anti-Muslim platform after years of tolerance under Bush. I don't like being manipulated, but I have to wonder about others.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • kyle

      RELIGION SUCKS. its ALL man made. get over it people. do you still believe in santa clause

      March 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  20. Patapsco

    "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 suspect was apparently radicalized quite some time ago,” Allie said. “And there are other instances of radicalization that are of great concern to us."

    The writer of this story forgot to mention that The Islamic Center of America is SHIA and the attempted bomber STOCKHAM is a long-time covert to SUNNI Islam and targeted the mosque because he hated SHIA.


    March 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • SkepticOfIslamicWhitewash

      Dear Patapsco,

      Of course he "hated"! Hate is one essence of Islam. So is revenge. So is oppression. So is violence.

      Citizens of Detroit should not be afraid of most Muslims of course, but you should be extremely wary of Islam.

      Most Muslims separate themselves from the violent roots if Islam and may actually become happy and welcoming. It is a temporary freedom they share with the free population of the host, in this case Detroit. Unfortunately, neither host nor Muslim will share such freedom once the true roots of Islam declare war, however subversive, on Detroit.

      It is only a matter of time before a sub-set of Muslims quietly express their hatred for the host population, seek revenge against perceived persecution, then implement a political and media war to establish an independent enclave. They will work for special treatment, and to implement Sharia Law so they first can oppress Muslims, then oppress non-Muslims.

      From that enclave, they will attempt to spread to nearby areas.

      History is full of this behavior from Islam, starting with Mohamed. It is deeply embedded in the Koran, in the Life of Mohamed and in Sharia Law.

      Islam cannot escape this behavior. It cannot change the Koran, or the Life of Mohamed, or Sharia. Islam cannot change.

      I am sorry for them, and for Detroit.

      Skeptic of Islam

      March 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Kjcube


      ...I feel sorry for Detroit period; That place is a $hi-tho-le

      March 27, 2011 at 7:55 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.