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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. David

    Obama said America is the greatest country, and all he wants to do is change it. Now we know what change means...

    March 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  2. till1and1are1

    The most important thing to keep in mind when considering these types of regulations are if they are indeed seperating church from state. Since I was a youth, I found this to be a positive trait of our nation that allowed for equal rights and cultural diversity to flourish. Yes america is a melting pot, full on individuals from many nations and from different descendants. Our differences may have spawned thousands of years ago, but the fact is I believe that when you are born in america or you come to this country, you make a decision to put these past greivances aside in order to be able to have time to discover our place on this earth, to make personal discoveries about ourselves, and search for ourselves to find what we believe in. If the legislation imposed threatens our freedom of speech and religious practice, then in no way should its adherence continue. But if it is created to further seperate church from state (use of religious doctrines within a judicial system) then it should in no way impede on our way of life. If it does not prevent open practice, shut down churches or mosques, or in anyway apply restrictions to the rights and privledges we all share as americans, then there is no reason to resort to civil distress. In order to ensure a true democracy, we must uphold the values that were put in place by men and women just like us, faulted, flawed, yet still attempting to better themselves as individuals and create an equal opportunity for us all to discover our lot in this world.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  3. james

    So much hate. Not to worry. The Latino flood will engulf and purify everyone.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  4. Mike

    Gee really txpeggysue, what about the hundreds of thousands of Germans Christians we bombed, no not just bombed, but incinerated to death in Europe during WWII. In fact, Christians have been killing other Christians, all in the name of Christ, for almost two thousands years!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  5. Mike

    "KK, first of all, Christians do not commit systematic murder on non-Christians or fellow Christians."

    Gee really txpeggysue, what about the hundreds of thousands of Germans Christians we bombed, no not just bombed, but incinerated to death in Europe during WWII. In fact, Christians have been killing other Christians, all in the name of Christ, for almost two thousands years!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  6. HarshReality

    >“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.”<<

    This fool of an imam encouraged his followers to believe this crap, when the hearings are to only see what influence a radicalized muslim faith has on the potential for violence. This fool imam is stoking the very fires he is fighting against. He should be one of the first ones in the hearings helping this committee!
    They DO need to look at this religion, as some parts of it do teach that killing infidels is not just OK, but a duty. This we need to find out about and counter, with whatever force\investigation necessary.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  7. Fred

    It is nice that CNN keeps placing pro-Muslim propaganda on the front page of their site while Muslims are burning churches in Ethiopia and lobbing rockets at Israel constantly...

    March 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • manoj

      well said.... The muslims are wolf in sheep clothing.... Wherever they are minority, they are peace loving and so act so nice and innocent...but when they become a majority they start persecuting other faith... look at middle east christians are driven out from egypt, palestine etc ...look at indonesia...they try to win sympathy when they are a minority when they bocome a majority they show their true color... So america better be careful... Dont forget mumbai attacks when they searched taj for just american nationals..

      March 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Some History

      Manoj,

      Muslims ruled India for 1000 years but 80% of India is still Hindu, including the seat of power which not only remained predominantly Hindu but progressed as a Hindu culture... This cannot be said of Europian countries that colonized huge continents and coverted almost 100% of population to their faith. Think about this in your free time.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  8. Mary Ann

    I'm African American and converted to Islam thirteen years ago. After watching this I've decided to put on my hijab and donate more money to the local Masjids and Islamic Centers. As far as I'm concerned THIS IS MY COUNTRY: MY ANCESTORS BUILT THIS COUNTRY. I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. To the young girl who stood up for her beliefs:kudos to you for not allowing fear to dominate your life. Please know that you touched and inspired me to be not only a better Muslim but a better human being. May Allah bless you and be keep you safe. You are the Muslim Rosa Parks!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  9. Mary Ann

    I'm African American and converted to Islam thirteen years ago. After watching this I've decided to put on my hijab and donate more money to the local Masjids and Islamic Centers. As far as I'm concerned THIS IS MY COUNTRY: MY ANCESTORS BUILT THIS COUNTRY. I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. To the young girl who stood up for her beliefs:kudos to you for not allowing fear to dominate your life. Please know that you touched and inspired me to be not only a better Muslim but a better human being. May Allah bless you and be keep you safe. You are the Muslim Rosa Parks!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Hymack

      Ameen!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Oh please...Rosa Parks was standing up for civil rights.

      Islam is just the opposite, it takes away the rights of women, and under Islam, women are inferior to men.
      No informed feminist would support Islam.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  10. Alex

    The man appeared in the center of this photo played Russian FSB agent in movie "Borne Supremacy"

    March 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • till1and1are1

      awesome

      March 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Bethe123

      ...big deal.

      Matt Damon, who played Jason Bourne, is probably an atheist.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  11. COUNTRYCOOK

    To the Muslim girl who was in a debate with the woman who was defending women and children's rights you said name one Muslim woman in town that Islam was abusing, The answer is your mother she was all covered up I know she would NOT be allowed to go outside uncovered and how much longer till you will be forced to cover yourself up ? That is ABUSE !

    March 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Would you say its abuse to the people of the Amish faith, or Catholic Nuns, how about the Orthodox Christian Greek women, or how aboutt the founding fathers wives who all wear very similar things as the HIJAB that muslim women wear.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      They are not FORCED to wear under penalty of being whipped, ran over by a car or death

      March 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      And neither are they here. Or France or any Democratic country.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Dino

      No, that is choice – a woman's choice to wear a hijab. They are not forced to wear it – by anyone, including their religion. Many Muslim women are religious and do NOT wear a hijab.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • MunJun

      There are many young women in this country, myself included, who choose to cover up despite the fact that their mothers do not (and in some cases, even disapprove). They cover out of a belief in modesty and a desire to please the good Lord, not because anyone else–not any man, nor woman–forced them to. Their dress is very similar to what devotional women of other faiths wear, including Catholic nuns and some Orthodox Jews.

      Also, there is another video on this blog interviewing this same young woman on the topic of the headscarf. She talks about how she hopes to wear it some day, of her own choice, and how she does not believe it symbolizes oppression at all.

      That being said, I do affirm that were anyone forced to wear the headscarf-or any other religious dress or symbol-against their will by someone else, it would be oppression and this is not justified by Islam. The Qur'an firmly states "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256).

      March 27, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Isa Hajj
      - In an Islamic country, if you are a woman, you can be lashed if you, a woman, get r_ped...what they will do if a woman does not wear hijab? FIRST they will r_pe her, and claim it is HER fault for being immodest...THEN she will get lashed due the demands of Sharia....Nice.
      France banned it for reasons that it is against French values and the treatment of women. I agree 100%

      March 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Thats right Dino it is a choice and it is between them and Allah if they wear it. Just like its a choice for me to go and drink beer or not. I either choose to obey the laws Allah has set for me or i dont but that is between me and God.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Bethe123

      MunJun
      - Feminists have not been fighting for equality only to have women adapt a mysognistic religion, and wear the hijab. It is a symbol of the oppression of women...I would not respect any woman who wore it under her own volition, which means any woman in America that wore it. Nor would I do business with her....it is an affront to women's equality.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Bethe123 listen you and every one else here are talking about countries that are ruled by "MAN" law not Gods law. There are worse things then what you discribe going on over there in Muslim Jewish and Christian countries. You can not judge a book by the people who profess to practice it. Let me let you in on a little reality. The gas you put in your car this week came from a country that is an ally to us. a country that is described by the US and other countries like Isreal and Europe as a good Islamic country. Im talking about Saudi. But guess what they are not. In Islam as ordered in the Quran by Allah a woman does not have to work if she doesnt want to and if she does then it is her money to keep and spend as she feels. It is the husbands responsibility to provide for his family. If she wants to go to school, drive a car, or visit her family no man or government can or should stop her. But they do in Saudi. I tell this to every one that America is the only true Islamic country there are non over there. Here as a muslim i can practice my religion with out fear of reprisal. Here i can vote on my leaders it isnt passed down from family member to family member. Here i can marry whom ever i want. These things are IIslam and they are taught in the Quran but like many other faiths even Christianity it isnt practiced.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      @ MunJun COME ON SISTER KEEP READING..... it say to convert non Muslims or kill them that sounds like "compulsion in religion" to me.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Countrycook how about the Bible where it says: If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die. - Deuteronomy 13:6-10
      You Christians need to study your Bible.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      you need to quit lying about your

      March 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Isa Hajj
      -
      What an incohent rant.

      The fact that you actually believe in the supernatural tells us much about your education...or lack thereof. So you claim there is such a thing as "Gods laws" - and you base your whole reply on that...and you apparently do not undestand what a weak premise that is. What are you going to use as evidence to support that? The Koran? (LOL)

      Islam is mysognistic... cf "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and learn.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      @Isa Hajj do tell us about your "god's law" Oh I understand now you mean "Sharia Law"

      March 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Bethe123 I am a Cardiology Nurse and yes i believe and live by Gods Laws as you i assume are a Christian you have the 10 commandments. and in the New Testament you have Jesus saying " I have not come to change the laws of Moses but to fufill them." Also i could use the Quran ( the Quran is spelled this way not Koran) but i would rather use the Bible to prove Islam is the way and Muhammed is the last prophet as told in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. But your probable to busy trying to come up with new ways to insult me with you education comment to listen to reason or facts. And Countrycook im not lying about that verse go get your Bible and read it. I can tell you more where the Bible advocates the killing of "Non Believers". Plus look at your history 3 Christian Crusades sweeping across the Arabian desert to Jerusalem.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      Here you go countrycook this is an example of Sharia Law: Here is a Sharia law for you. If someone kills any in your family you as the victim can choose 1 of 3 punishments for the murderer. 1: you may take his life for the one he took from you.2: you may make him an indentured servant for a set time untill he has worked off a debt to you that is equal to what the murder victim would have provided for you or a monetary settlement. 3: forgive him completely and our QURAN the 1 GOD said this 3rd one is the best and God promises if you forgive them you could not count the blessings he would bestow upon you in this life or the next. Now does this sound like a violent religion where God advocates forgiving someone who has murdered you love one. Cus here in this country they don't offer that to the surviving victims. Now this was just practiced in Pakistan 2 weeks ago with the CIA agent who killed 2 men there and the families choose money over his head.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      @Isa Hajj the Christian Crusade was started to stop the spread of Islam because of their oppression of other religions. Well looks like things haven't changed much.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Isa Hajj
      - What about my posts leads you to believe I am a Christian? I am not.

      Again...your whole post relied on the presupposition of the existence of "God's laws"...which presupposes the existence of the supernatural. So, I ask you again, on what do you base your belief in the supernatural? The Quran ? The Bible? Either way, the scientific evidence is overwhelming against both myths.

      So that leads us again to your education. At least the Catholic religion admits evolution is valid, and the Biblical story of creation is a metaphor. Unfortunately, the Quran is supposed to be the word of Allah, and cannot be called metaphor.
      So, anyone who believes it is very likely ignorant of a large body of science - even if, like you, they are a nurse.
      Got it?

      March 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      @Isa Hajj... right, it's such a loving religion, it also says "the rocks and trees will cry out Oh Muslim there is a Jew behind me come and kill him"

      March 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      countrycook you really dont know your history. The Muslims ruled in Spain for almost 800 years right along side Christians. Matter a fact you can go over there to this day and see churchs from both faiths built together and some of the best architecture know to man. Not to mention the Ottoman empire where jews christians and muslims lived in harmony. and the Abyssinian empire where again the 2 lived in harmony and untill 1957 when the US and europe decide on the Zionest movement and took land from Palestinians jews and muslims lived in peace there as well. LOOK READ A BOOK

      March 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      yes they lived in harmony UNTIL Islam tried to force everyone else to submit by sword THEN the crusades began. You need to read the whole book not just a few pages.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Bethe123

      Isa Hajj
      - "Read a Book" is good advice...perhaps you should take your own advice.
      Besides remedial science books, I can recommend to you "Why I Am Not a Muslim"...

      March 28, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  12. Joe

    I don't mind people practicing religion, but, these Sharia laws go against basic human rights. Why should any woman have to wear a veil, be beat by their husband, have no rights, and be owned as property? Even if these laws only apply to Islam members its still not right? I don't see Jewish people beating their wifes or making them property? Even the Mormons had polygamy, but, they didn't beat their spouse? They just wanted to have more than 1 spouse? I guess for me its the potential for violence in these Sharia laws as I understand them?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  13. Mark

    LKJ, where should you go? To a muslim country there is plenty out there if you want to be Muslim. Your a traditor to this country and turned you back on the Christian faith, you have forsaken the only God and Jesus Christ our Lord. I would encourage you to turn back before it's to late.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  14. binns

    I don't hate anyone becuse we all live on the same planet and we seem to forget this, we are all at the mercy of God. Muslim or not, we all will die and seem to forget this as well so any one killing in the name God is not for peace or life but for unrest and death. Our blood is was and still the color red, and God judges us on how we treat each other and how we serve Him to bring glory to His name.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  15. Repentigny

    It's about time that they be alienated.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • NotPC1

      I agree. It's past time, really.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  16. David

    It's our politicians that are letting this take over happen. Our muslim president has shown his real colors. In France, they are 10% muslim now and it's a choke hold on their country. Slap your local politican next time you see them, they are the reason. The ACLU has blood on their hands too for their behavior in distroying America.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • John

      Muslim president??... are you retarded?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • HarshReality

      I agree with David except for the part about Obama being muzzy. He sucks up to them, not because he is one, but because he fears them and wishes to appease them; much like Chamberlain in 1938.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • NotPC1

      @HarshReality – It does appear that way. I fear the same thing, with the same result they had in 1938. We are at war with islam, and no one wants to admit it!!

      March 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  17. muslim family movie night.

    slaughtered American contractor Nick Berg. Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: “My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan,” the man said on the video. “I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in … Philadelphia.”The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them. After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is great.” They then held the head out before the camera.THIS IS THE REAL FACES OF ISLAM.http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/american-nick-bergs-beheading-warning-graphic-images/
    ANOTHER PEACEFUL ACT IN THE NAME OF ISLAM..

    March 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Just wrong

      Well put....Ask Mr. Berg's family how peaceful Muslims are.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      Why do we let these Evil people in our country. We have a Law that most people don't know that restricts religious freedom if that religion is dangerous to others its call the snake handling law I tried posting it from the web but CNN would not post it look it up. I think Islam falls in this same Law they want to kill all non Muslims

      March 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Isa Hajj

      " Let he who is sinless cast the first stone". Take a look at your own Christian history it is rife with violence. From the The dark ages where Christians in Europe blamed the Jews for the "Black Plague" and killed hundred of thousands of Jews. Too the founding fathers of this country which drowned stoned or burned people at the stake for being in league with the devil not to mention the American Indians. Then these great white Christian men enslaved murdered and every conceivable evil act 1 human can do to another did to the Africans. Not to mention the Rail system being built on the back of Asians and when the Civil War happened the North used Irish immigrants to fight the south. I'm forgetting something oh thats right the Germans and 6 million jews did it to save the white Christian Aryan race. Look pick up a book read it watch other news besides FOX listen to others beside Right wingers Rush and Glenn Beck. Pull your head out of the sand and realize there are nutt jobs in all religions that go to the extreme. But the acts of a few do not determine the reality of the many. Other wise i would be inclined to think you where a member of the KKK just based off your comments.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Aboo Abdullaah

      People should know the difference between deviant ideology of khurooj, which is practiced by the khaarijees (khawaarij), who are sometimes also called jihaadis, irhaabis (terrorists), takfeeris (excommunicators), qutubis (followers of Sayyid Qutb, a deviant), and the real, traditional, orthodox Islam. check this out http://www.allaahuakbar.net/downloads/thewahhabimyth.pdf

      These deviant khawaarij even attacked the Prophet Muhammad (peace and prayers be upon him) and killed his companions. So they are against Muslims, even the best Muslims, let alone others.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Aisha

      You will find such atrocities everywhere even here in the united states daily women and children and even men are beaten to death, their heads chopped off, dismembered and everything known to man. One stupid and ridiculous even such as this poor man's death is definitely not an even that doesn't happen everywhere. My prayer are with his family for having to watch this and for all the families in all the lands for atrocities afflicted to their loved ones.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • COUNTRYCOOK

      “Allahu Akbar! means god is greatest, meaning to them is their god is greater than our God, but WE know OUR God is GREATEST!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  18. Zack Dunn

    This Islamophobia is sickening. It is frighteningly similar to the anti-semitic sentiment that ran rampant in society and led to the murder of millions of European Jews. If we as Americans are advocates for freedom of religion, and don't want the government restricting our Christianity, it is flat-out hypocritical to say that Muslims should be denied the rights that we hold so dear.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • desertfox

      i wouldnt call it islamophobia as much as islam awareness:Quran (4:89) – "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing as they: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah From what is forbidden. But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and take no friends or helpers from their ranks." you could say i'm nitpicking from the Quran but the problem is since there is a high illitaracy rate in most muslim sharia countries most extremist Imams do the same. And you can say that the bible has verses that incite to violence too but the difference is Christians dont use the verses in the bible these days to justify the muder of anyone not christian.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • John

      Well said.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Bethe123

      "Islam awareness" - yes indeed, well said.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • John

      Well said to the original comment....

      but I agree that muslims do have more extremists, but they are also poorer nations... education and wealth allow us to move away from those things... if christianity were out of poorer nations, the same could potentially exist...

      Again, the problem isn't religion.. it's people... fear... and sadly hopelessness that drives some of this.... if we were all wealthy and people weren't fighting over oil or cheap goods, it would be different world...

      March 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Islamophia is a made up word...used to imply criticism of Islam is irrational.
      In that case, not well said.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • NotPC1

      Anti-semetic, eh?? Ask any member of the Jewish faith to tell you about islam and it's benefits for Judaisim. Islam wants to destroy Israel, read the durn papers if you don't believe me.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Muslim Revert

      As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu,
      May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you

      @Desertfox:
      The quote you just listed it refers to the Quraish tribe from the time of the Prophet (pbuh) which were fighting against Muslims.
      Before miss-representing the Qur'an verses, please check with the references related to these verses.

      To all other brothers and sisters from other Faiths:
      – Please take a Qur'an, read it, ask questions and compare with your own Faith.
      If your faith doesn't check against a basic logic then is upon you that with a sincere heart and enlightened mind to accept the Truth which is unaltered presented in the Holy Qur'an. Islam is an all encomapssing system, from faith, to social, economics. The real fear of the Western world is not the one related to terrorism but the fact that a Godly, revelead system can replace the aging and dying Western system.

      May Allah have mercy on us all.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  19. Arturo

    I don't care what religion you are, don't bring violence to others because they don't worship your god.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Lear K

    May be these people consider banning Catholicism and Catholics also.Who wants to have "child molesters" in their nighborhood.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • linda

      I am sickened that Americans are being duped and brainwashed, especially the well-intentioned folks at CNN. Please – look up Sharia law and what it really means. We Americans do have much to fear, but it's NOT about "religion" (it is a convenient cloak, however). Better yet – research what happened in Lebanon in the 1970's -WHY and HOW it happened. (They were an educational and cultural country at that time, just like the U.S is today – be honest: how many of you even knew that?) It'll get your attention. Check this out, too. http://www.youtube.com/embed/A3YQANdvvbY Also check out ACT for America, and its founder. Maybe CNN will be brave enough to do a story about her: Brigette Gabriel is her name, and her story isn't pretty, for those who think they can stomach it. (You can view it through the Heritage Foundation on U tube). But if you can, you'll learn why she's dedicating her life warning America of what's going to happen if we don't stop Sharia law NOW. (Among other things). And then you can come back and explain it to me like I'm a two year old why I'm supposed to be okay about Sharia law and also explain what's been happening in Europe. (France, especially). What I'm puzzled about is why CNN and our other media isn't showing THAT? (And they wonder why they have no credibility). Thanks for listening – I'm the proud offspring of two souls from 'the greatest generation', and seek to pass their lessons on to the next generation. Hopefully, those lessons won't be wasted. Linda

      March 27, 2011 at 11:26 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.