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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. Chuck

    Not really... Its called faith and experience.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  2. GAIL

    WOW I AM A BORN AMERICAN AND I AM ASHAMED FOR THESE PEOPLE.....I THOUGHT GLENN BECK WAS IGNORANT BUT THESE PEOPLE HAVE HOM BEAT BY A LONG WAY,, THEY ARE IGNORANT AND HAVE NO CLUE THIS IS THE LAND OF THE FREE.... THEY ARE NO BETTER THEN THE RADICALS THAT THAT CAUSED 911 HATE IS HATE THEY ARE FULL OF DON'T QUOTE THE BIBLE IF YOU DON'T LIVE BY CLEARLY YOU DON'T .......I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I KNOW ALLAH IS ARABIC FOR THE HOLY ONE JUST LIKE GOD IS ENGLISH FOR THE HOLY ONE YOU JUST DON'T HAVE A CLUE SO BE QUITE UNTIL YOU DO

    March 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  3. Gary Dubois

    IF the Muslims denounce Israels right to live in peace in the middle east, In Israel. Why should we embrace them living here, while they deny another group, the Jews from living peacefully without the Ji Had of their Muslim Clergy leadership. We as Christians rose up against Tammy Fays husband when he broke laws. We also rose up against the pope and Catholic leadership that broke laws. Why can we not ask of them to state their Pledge of Allegance to the rights of all people to worship their god as they so chose.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  4. Frederica

    Muslims will recover America's normality.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  5. TiredofH8tred

    Terrorists are responsible for 9/11 not MUSLIMS in AMERICA! The people of Tennessee who I have seen opposed to the Mosque there, are ignorant of this religion. I am a Christian and am embarrassed by the hatred I see from these awful hateful people calling themselves Christians. FEAR has taken over and these people are no longer thinking clearly. Christians insulting and threatening people of any other religion is disgusting and at the very least the farthest from what Jesus would find acceptable. Now there are people all over the world who will think all Christians are mean hateful people. SHAME ON ALL HATEFUL PEOPLE!!!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  6. What?

    Whatever Muslims do in Europe they will do here. Do not buy into the sympathy cr ap. They are a CANCER in every country they inhabit. We need a MUSLIM FREE zone.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Perpetuating hate....shameful!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  7. muldoon

    People came to America for religous freedom.
    I wonder if some of these people against the mosque in Tennessee would have stood up to the KKK.
    I'm surprised that some of these folks don't remember the fight for civil rights in Tennessee.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Comparison of the battle for civil rights with Islamisation of America is quite a stretch.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Stood up to the KKK??? They probably WERE the KKK!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  8. Carlos

    I am a Mexican Atheist. IF! I moved into their neighborhood, I wonder what kind of reception I would get? IF! I tried to date one of their daughters, I wonder how many shotguns I would have pointed at my head?

    The United States of America is the most radically fanatical Christian nation on earth. What is to be expected, not only for Muslims but for any other religion or non believers?

    If radical Jews or radical American Christians tried to establish neighborhoods, synagogues or churches in Mecca, how welcomed would they be?

    Freedom of religion in America is a fallacy. Have you ever known of a political or business leader not profess to be a Christian?

    March 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      "Have you ever known of a political or business leader not profess to be a Christian?"

      Joe Lieberman... He was able to sell his religiosity even though it wasn't Christian... good trick in this country... And please, for your own safety, don't try to date any "real American" girls from the Bible Belt...

      March 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Of course not Carlos.....they would have never been elected and never will be. Funny how all of the "radical CHRISTIANS" also hate our BLACK president!! they don't HATE though. YEAH RIGHT!!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  9. Chuck

    God doesn't kill people. People kill people. Dont hate. You can either choose Jesus or Muhammad. Whoever chooose depends on where you will spend eternity, and if granted total deliverance. Also you may have to work really hard... Muhamad kills.... He had over 70k people killed because they chose to go back on their faith. How about that fact? Its historical son....Somebody start spitting some Quran scripture, or better yet explain it to me from front to back. Really just the "landmarks" if you will, and also the facts that support it.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      If we want to talk about historical atrocities we can find them from every religion. Let's talk about real Muslims in America today and their contributions to our communities and how hate breeds hate, so Chuck, stop breeding hate.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  10. Loyal W.

    CNN, I watch you a lot and am very disapointed in your one sidedness to this story. I noticted the screen had lines in it when you interviewd those opposed to them building and the piture was clear when you interviewed the Muslims. Have you forgot what happened on 911? Do you not know how muslims in other countries treat gays, christians, and wemon? Why don't you focus on that? We are much more tolerant of them here then they are on us over there. I had to walk away from this program because it was so one sided. They have no right to complain about how they are treated when they lead by poor example all over the world. Remember over 3000 ppl lost their lives on 911. And how many of them spoke out against it? None that I recall. Shame on you CNN for you not being more focused on the abuses that Islamic countries have done on wemon caught in adultry, gays, christians etc.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      What countries are we talking about? Muslims in America cannot be compared to Muslims oppressed by a culture that is not educating them. IGNORANCE running rampant in AMERICA is shameful!!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  11. Abby

    I certainly wouldn't want that many Muslims in my hometown. I feel they are pulling this stunt in many, many towns. They eventually have enough people to become elected officials then have control of the area. Scarey. Why don't they go back where they came from. They've already taken over England and the Vampire has crossed the threshold here.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Betty

      You are so right suddenly they want to build mosques here? And they cannot understand why we don't like it, while we are at war our people fighting and dying as a result of there religion? They think we are stupid.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      What stunt Abby? A place to worship?? Your post is prejudice and mean.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  12. Philip Margolis

    This is a question of people who do not want others in their community who they know want them dead. Besides, why would anybody want to live someplace where they knew they weren't wanted? When Western soldiers are killed anywhere in the world they dance in the street. Why do they call us "infidels"? Because they believe it, that's why. If this trend continues there will be nothing but trouble, and I will support it.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Muslims in America want Americans DEAD? Is that the vomit you are spewing Philip?? IGNORANCE!!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  13. Max

    Nice hack job, CNN. I figured you would try to make the entire community look like a bunch of toothless hillbillies, and I wasn't disappointed. And you wonder why I watch Fox News...

    March 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      "And you wonder why I watch Fox News."

      Possibly because you wish to be with hillbillies who have had better dental care? The story was about intolerance in the U.S... I'd say they found some... just as there has always been against anyone who didn't conform to the "norm" (white, anglo-saxon, protestant... or a slave of one...)

      March 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Let me guess Max, You don't see FOX News as one sided? Laughable. You watch Fox News because it shares your views....period.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  14. Hiroshi

    Christians are so hypocritcal, aren't they?

    March 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Betty

      There is a war going on with our young men in harms way fighting there people, this war relates to Islam and has stemmed from Islam what do you not understand about that? Suddenly they want to build mosques here? Remember 911. Why do you think we have not been attacked again?

      March 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Don

      Hiroshi, I suppose you don't know one hypicritical Muslim?

      March 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Don... I doubt you really know ANY Muslims!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  15. Doug Allard

    Poor little moslems.
    1, 2, 3 everyone feel sorry for them.
    give me a break CNN

    March 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      I feel sorry for you Doug. It must be sad to be so disconnected to the human race.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Ayah

      You need to learn how to spell Muslim right sir. Also for the record, we do not need your pity. This is a highlight of what is happening right now. You think it is sad? haha.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  16. jack

    CNN will not pass an opportunity to demonize Christians and present them as bigots. Watching this propaganda is disgusting!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Carlos

      Christians and Muslims are no different, sir. Biggots. Your God against theirs. Their God against yours. Your Gods against everyone whom does not believe.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  17. Gary Dubois

    Indians have to live on reservations because they are not allowed to be a part of our Government. But, We will allow the Muslims to live and have the same rights we do. I do not agree with hate mongors. I want to hear from their Muslim clergy that they have no hate for Israel. That as Americans they support the Jewish state. Do that and show the American people a willingness you are willing to live and co-exist and make that your agenda. You may change some minds.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  18. frank

    The death toll from the deep-fried "food" of America's Bible Belt dwarfs anything the most devious Al Qaeda evildoers can come up with. Stop looking for goblins in the shadows and look in the mirror, you chicken fried steak eating dummies!!!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • TiredofH8tred

      Right on Frank!!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  19. Karin los angeles

    same hate that was used against Jews – and people still have hate towards others. We are all humans....and their are bad apples among all of us. Those "Christians" are not what Jesus pictured, for sure. They are intolerant haters. They will have no salvation if they stay that way.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  20. Denise

    I can't understand how these people can call themselves Christians yet show so much hatred from a religion they don't understand and don't care to understand. I guess that is why I decided that Christianity was not for me. I am proud to say I worship the Goddess and I accept anybody of any religion as a friend and neighbor.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Denise

      That is supposed to be *for* a religion they do not understand and don't care to understand.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Betty

      I think they know very well why people dont want them their! Remember 911? There is a war going on, still. It is Islam that is the reason for what it says in the Koran! You know that. Why do you act like all this does not matter? Really they are not convincing me about anything- do they think we stupid?

      March 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • tj

      Denise, please consider that you need to save you money until you at least see a good video of your Goddess.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Bob S

      My lord, how many of you have even read the Koran that most of you are sure is just a nice little bible of someone else's religion? Find out before you blow off your baloney if it tells Muslims to kill anyone who either does not convert to their creed or who dares leave it. READ, fool. Or have fun with the consequences of your stupidity. PC may indeed kill you.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Lamar

      Hatred is like a cancer and it does nothing but destroy.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Shawn

      If mosques are haven for terrorist then churches are a haven for pedophiles priests. The american are ok with peoples building churches who priest molest kids.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Betty

      Oh we understand no we are not stupid and we do not forget 911. Funny now they want moques built in our country!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Bob S

      Interesting, looking over the comments on this site: No Muslims explaining why the concerns are unjustified....Best I have gotten from my inquiries and conversations are assurances that the Muslims I spoke with don't support what their religion tells them to do with the rest of us. Not very comforting!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • rs1201

      and of course you're a complete moron.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Hillz

      Could not have said it better myself. Ignorance perpetuates hatred and violence. Too bad so many American's seem to think ignorance is bliss!

      March 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Jeff

      More CNN propoganda.................... Lets feel sorry for the Muslims because what has happened on 9/11, really? Maybe if these people would take care of these radical Muslims in their own Country Americans would have this discontent for them. I have more sympathy for them maybe if they would take care of their own buisness in their country, but they don't

      March 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Courtney w

      These people say that they are christian , but if you are a christian aren't you suppose to love your neighbor ? There isn't a fine print underneath the commandment that says "unless another religion". If we are all Americans then we have the right to practice any religion , so get over it .

      March 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Ayah

      I am watching this right now and I am in horror of what I am hearing. How ignorant are some people in this world? Of those who do not understand my religion, Islam, do not judge it on some actions of others. It is a beautiful religion where we pray for God, our creator, and just like many religions, we need a place of worship.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • hamza

      all i saw are prejudicies and ton of stupid people who simply hate islam.but america is a little more than stupid prejudists.they cannot do anything.their arguments are ridicoulous.it just shows fascism bred in baptist churches.the most ridicoulous is the fat black man who is defending te same hatred that his own race was exposed to by fathers and grandfathers of these white supremacists from tennessee.the guy that argues in the court is the most miserable.let me finish this post-this is 100% fascism.thank you cnn for showing some american christians the way they really are-haters.and some are criminals and arsonists who need to be found and locked for a long time.i am inviting all normal people to support american laws and isolate these biggots.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Demi

      Hey Denise, care to elaborate on this goddess you now worship?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.