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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. MaryLee

    A plea to Christians, Muslims, and people of Judaism,
    Please quit fighting over whose interpretation of a magical sky daddy is right, take the pacifier out of your mouth and grow up. The rest of us want our world back.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  2. The Reality

    Its really funny to read through these comments and see just how uneducated people really are.
    For people who think that muslims are trying to enforce Sharia law, have you actually spoke to a muslim and asked them their viewpoints. I am an american muslim, and have been educated in the US. I am married and have 2 beautiful children. I do not force my wife to do anything. She choses not to wear a head cover and I feel that it is her decision. We are equal in our marriage. I am not closed minded to any other religions. People have the right to worship what ever faith they choose. After all this AMERICA right? Land of the free, home of the brave. Is'nt that what makes this country great?
    People have to realize that muslim terrorists are extremist that have twisted the religion.
    I have never been taught that violence is the answer to anything and to respect all other human beings. I am willing to help anybody and everybody in need. (and that;s what I do for a living)
    I will admit there are muslims who treat their wives poorly, they are chauvinists and I believe it is a cultural thing. Not a religious thing. And there are a lot of male chauvinists out there. What about all the battered wives shelters out there? I don't think that those people are beating their wives in the name of a religion.
    If you have negative feelings towards muslims why don't you take the time to go speak to muslim religious leader or some one of that faith. A little bit of education goes a long way.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  3. anti muslim

    I live near Dearborn Mich. The muslims think they can do what they want. WE dont want them!!!!! they cant drive they refuse to speak English . and they know it . muzzies claim freedom unless you are Christian then you must be evil.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  4. Check 1

    Hitler just may be the Greatest Christian in history. History proves, Christians are more like Hitler than Jesus.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  5. Check 1

    I would rather have the 72 virgins, than spend eternity with some old white guy.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  6. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    not too many women get rap ed in islamic countries though. because most women there are family oriented and usually stay home at nite or spend time with their extended families. As opposed to drinking out in bars with total at 2:00 am in the morning. Basic common sense!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  7. Check 1

    Christians are like Jesus? lol lol lol lol lol lol lol ....look, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  8. Carly

    No one's religion should be a reason to discriminate against them. Did Protestant's not want to come here to not be discriminated against? This is supposed to be the "land of the free". Just because there are some radicals in a religion does not mean EVERYONE in that religion is a radical. There are radical Baptists, do we discriminate against them? Do we tell them "Hey, shut your mouth because I don't believe the way you believe". Do we get angry with Christians protesting something they don't believe in? No, we don't. I am appalled at the prejudice that we treat people with. Whether they be Muslim, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Church of Christ, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, whatever you happen to be. In this country, if you aren't a Christian, you are wrong. Us saying, "If you are not Christian, you are wrong", is no different than any other country saying "If you are not Muslim, you are wrong" or "If you are not Catholic, you are not wrong". Christianity seems to be the dominant religion in this country and does Christianity not preach tolerance, acceptance? We get angry when someone in another country doesn't tolerate our religion there, yet we do the same thing with Muslim's here. People are scared of what they do not understand. Maybe, we should stop trying to suppress everyone who doesn't believe the same thing as we do and try to understand them. No one should have to be scared to worship the way that they want to. There are radical Methodists and radical Baptists and radical every other religion that is accepted in the United States. Yet, when the radicals of these "accepted" regligions do something radical no one says anything about it. Oh, it may make the news for a few minutes but it doesn't cause anyone to go on a tirade against any of these "accepted" religions. As much as I love this country, I am ashamed of the ones that are against everything that this country stands for. There are radical Baptists protesting SOLDIERS FUNERALS because they believe that these soldiers are dying because America "harbors" gays. What about supposed "Christians" bombing abortion facilities or someone's facility where they do something that they do not believe in? When I was 8 years old, I was told on the school bus by a Church of Christ member that I was going to hell because I wasn't a Church of Christ member. Explain to me, how someone doing these terrorist acts is any different than someone who is an extremist of any other group. We all have our extremists in our religions, there should be no one singled out in this. If we are going to single out extremists, single out the extremists in EVERY GROUP!!! Not just one group!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Bethe123

      Extremism is a problem yes. It is not the only problem with Islam. Been r_aped lately? I hope not. In an Islamic country, if a woman is r_aped, it is often considered her fault, and so she gets lashes under Sharia law. Nice.

      So let's be clear...It is not only extremism that is the problem.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      not too many women get ra ped in islamic countries though. because most women there are family oriented and usually stay home at nite or spend time with their extended families. As opposed to drinking out in bars with total at 2:00 am in the morning or louting about needlessly in public places after hours. Basic common sense!

      March 28, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Bethe123

      " As opposed to drinking out in bars with total at 2:00 am in the morning or louting about needlessly in public places after hours –B(iraq) Hussein Osama."

      You are an idiot.

      Who gets to decide what is or is not needless? A man? The Quran? Shaira? (LOL)
      2:00 am is bad exactly why?

      you are trying to argue for Islam, I can only tell you anybody who reads your posts can only conclude Islam is backward and misogynistic.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      the number of women running Fortune 500 Corporations = 13
      13/500 = 3 %

      the number of women running major Business, Government, Health and Educational inst itutions in the non-islamic world other than Fortune 500 = 5.5%

      March 28, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Carly

      I believe in equality for everyone. Maybe I'm wrong but that's the way I believe. I believe that the "Muslim next door" should have the same rights and opportunities and limitations as I do. I believe that the Southern Baptist who lives three houses down from me should have the same rights and opportunities and the same limitations. I believe whether you are white or black or Asian or Hispanic or whatever you are, in this country, if you are a citizen you should have the same rights. If you are not a citizen, you shouldn't be treated with disrespect but should still be expected to follow the same laws. The same laws should apply to EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These laws should not be applied to only certain people but everyone. In this country, in this day and age, we obviously have not learned from our past. We are not tolerant of other religions or races. We discriminate at the drop of a hat. I thank GOD that my child is not of one race or religion and can understand many sides of a situation. She may be discriminated against sometimes because she is not white or black or asian or hispanic but these are the same reasons she will be more tolerant of others. She's not Muslim, Baptist, Methodist or any other religion. She has the freedom to choose and I thank GOD for that!!!! I thank whoever I should thank for having such a well rounded, tolerant, accepting child!!! If I wasn't of the religion I am I would thank someone else. I will thank whoever is up there watching over me and my child that let's us accept all races and religions and thank him/her for letting us get to know all the other beliefs that we listen to and let preach to us. There are so many different religions and most have the same core belief. We as adults should take after our children and be thankful for the simple things and stop muddying the waters with all this racism and discrimination!!

      March 28, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Carly

      OK, well I've noticed that nothing is being said in response to what I posted so I will not post anything else unless I'm prompted. But I would like to leave everyone with this "And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'" “Judge not, that you be not judged." "With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." None of these seem to be being followed by the "Christians" in this day and age. I believe I'll worship how I want and allow tolerance and love of all religions and all cultures and skin tones and whatever else I should be tolerant of and love my fellow man as I should.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Bethe123

      @Carly -"I believe I'll worship how I want and allow tolerance and love of all religions and all cultures and skin tones and whatever else I should be tolerant of and love my fellow man as I should."

      That's pretty ignorant.

      All cultures and all religions are not the same.
      Islam is the most vile and evil relgion currently being practiced..."love all regigions" ...man that is stupid

      March 28, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Bethe123 wrote: "All cultures and all religions are not the same."

      Actually, they are... they all specialize in promoting ignorance...

      March 28, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Carly

      Bethe123, so I am ignorant for allowing someone the FREEDOM to worship the way that they choose? I don't think that getting on a plane and killing innocent people who have never done a single thing to you is right, nor do I believe that protesting a soldier's funeral, who fought for you to have the right to protest his funeral in the first place, is right. We all believe differently. That is NOT ignorance. The definition of ignorance is ": the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awarenes". That is called tolerance. The definition of tolerance is ": sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own". No, all religions are NOT the same and I never said that they were the same. It is not IGNORANT to allow someone else to worship in the way that they choose. It is TOLERANCE! You don't have to love all religions but if you ARE NOT tolerant of other religions, you are no better than someone who wants to come to America and kill people for not believing the way they do. There are so many different religions and who are we to say which one is right and the ONLY one? NO ONE should have to die for what they believe in. Just because someone chooses to believe in something other than what you believe in is no reason to "HATE" them. My point is that people should be allowed to worship the way that they CHOOSE. If I chose to believe that there is no higher being, that's my choice, who are you to judge me? I believe we will all be judged after we are gone but it IS NOT up to us to judge whether someone is "evil" or "vile" for what they believe in. Judging people like this only breeds hatred. I am not now, nor will I ever be, ignorant. I choose to be accepting of people exactly the way that they are. When Europeans first came to this country they treated the Indians as if they were animals. That being said, do you think everyone should hate Indians because they don't believe in Christianity? Buddhists, Catholics, Jews? Should we hate these religions and the people who follow them too?

      March 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Carly

      Bethe123, I didn't say all religions were the same but that most of them have the same core beliefs.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  9. Face it you both lose

    Christians and Moslem's should be joining hands by now. Probably explains why people are feeling uneasy and unsafe. Fear is the lack of love. Both Christians and Moslem's are a source of darkness until they learn to get along.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  10. Check 1

    9/11? Iraq? <-– Americans need to research these topics and review all findings and developments. If you believe Muslims from a cave in Afghanistan caused 9/11, I have a bridge I want to sell you. ...ask yourself, Why is Osama Bin Laden not wanted wanted by the FBI for 9/11? Americans need to wake up, and the bigots of Murfreesboro need to stop calling themselves Christians. ...oh, unless they are like those KKK and Nazi Christians. lol

    March 27, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  11. Califas

    Christianity throughout history has had its fair share of responsibility of bloodshed. Appleby averred, "the core values of secularized Western societies, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, were elaborated in outraged response to inquisitions, crusades, pogroms, and wars conducted in the name of God" (p. 2). Now what? Who's to blame when spilling blood in the name of God occurs? Is any religion exempt even those perceived as peaceful?

    References

    Appleby, R.S. (2000). The ambivalence of the sacred: Religion, violence, and reconciliation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  12. Hymack

    Thank you CNN for fair and accurate reporting!

    March 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • stacie

      I found some holes in this report – however did this small group raise over 300K with their first fund raiser? That point was never developed. The second point is the burials they plan in their cemetary, no coffins, no embalming, no cremation....I believe there are certain health laws which govern this. I feel as Juan Williams said on MPR, the group has scared a lot of us.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  13. How can the Koran know Iron atomic weight and number

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

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

    March 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  14. x_Unknown_x

    joe the thing tht made islam look bad is tht ppl interpret it on different ways and do tht mohamad(pbuh) was married more than 10 times and one of them was christian to all who say we hate christians bec. we dnt and we r allowed to marry ppl from any religion we want but ppl make such traditions tht r against islam like making a girl only marry someone from their relatives with same last name which is forbidden the person marries who he chooses not who others choose as women keep their maiden names and it's forbidden not to do so. and se-xual harr-assments and ra-pe is totally forbidden. as beating up of anyone(wife,kids,friends,employees...etc) is forbidden by god as it symbolizes slavery and violence is only justified if it was self-defence which is logical to anyone. as he beleive in jesus and the other 23 messengers of god from adam till jesus the diff. is he also have mohamad. guys if u read the full qur'an u will know tht it's rly peaceful so as it's true followers not the ones u see. and i thank all ppl who beleive tht we have rights as humans.
    P.S: im a muslim

    March 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  15. David C.

    To have this kind of widespread hate and discrimination in the 21st century is ridiculous. What have we learned over the last 200 years? Nothing? Muslims have come to this country seeking the same things we all seek: opportunity, safety, a better life, freedom. If they wanted to live under an Islamic Theocracy, they would have remained in the craphole countries that they came from. To see people of other religions, especially those who may have been discriminated against themselves, perpetuate this kind of discimination is sickening. I don't think a week goes by that I don't get some kind of anti-Islamic spam e-mail. It's the 21st century equivalent of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"...totally baseless accusations meant to stoke anti-Islamic feelings among the ignorant. I, for one, support our fellow Muslim citizens.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  16. The Truth

    go to islamdom.blogspot.com for the truth

    March 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  17. Joe

    Well I have seen those Sharia laws in affect. I have a Islam woman that is a student in one of my classes. She comes to classes covered, but, I can still see the bruises she receives from her husband. I do not know why she gets beaten I do know that nobody deserves it! When a person can beat another human being because of some Sharia law for its members that is dead wrong! They are trying to get us used to these laws hoping to change the fundamentals we have already fought for here in the United States. Things like Womens Rights and Equal Rights took time to evolve and have in this country. Human beings should have rights to. Women should have the right not to be beaten or have to be covered in public.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • x_Unknown_x

      joey the thing tht made islam look bad is tht ppl interpret it on different ways and do tht mohamad(pbuh) was married more than 10 times and one of them was christian to all who say we hate christians bec. we dnt and we r allowed to marry ppl from any religion we want but ppl make such traditions tht r against islam like making a girl only marry someone from their relatives with same last name which is forbidden the person marries who he chooses not who others choose as women keep their maiden names and it's forbidden not to do so. and se-xual harr-assments and ra-pe is totally forbidden. as beating up of anyone(wife,kids,friends,employees...etc) is forbidden by god as it symbolizes slavery and violence is only justified if it was self-defence which is logical to anyone. as he beleive in jesus and the other 23 messengers of god from adam till jesus the diff. is he also have mohamad. guys if u read the full qur'an u will know tht it's rly peaceful so as it's true followers not the ones u see. and i thank all ppl who beleive tht we have rights as humans.
      P.S: im a muslim

      March 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Check 1

      Wife abuse is normal in the USA....Hell, I think the Muslims would fit right in. I'm a Christian and me and my father beat the hell out of our women. lol If Jesus never killed anyone, why have Christians killed so many? I think the Christians follow Hitler, not Jesus. ....Jesus loves the little children, but so do Catholic Priest. lmao

      March 28, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Bethe123

      check 1–
      NO. Wife abuse is not normal in the US. It is illegal. Period.

      If you seriously are comparing the Islamic treatment of women with the treatment of wives in America, you clearly are either ignorant, or simply an apologists for Islam. But the facts are against you.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  18. Lily Daisy

    I have a big problem with CNN taking this particiular time to fan the fires with this piece. I believe the polls show that the majority of Americans think it is perfectly fine for a muslim center to be in their communities. I'm sick of CNN always portraying the negative side of Americans. We are the most welcoming people on the face of the earth and do more to help other countries and cultures than any other nation. I for one have several "sponsored" children from Equador and I am just a little old lady trying to do my part. There are many more caring Americans out there that care deeply about this world and its people, and not just about their own religions either. Report about that, CNN.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • MunJun

      Agreed!

      March 28, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  19. hmmm....

    Hey (B)iraq Hussein Osama! I'm a Buddhist, what do you have for me?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      look at it this way buddhist, all the supermodels will be in hell. So there is a silver lining, yes.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Bethe123

      (B)iraq Hussein Osama
      -
      What a surprise...you actually believe there is a Hell.
      How ignorant.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  20. COUNTRYCOOK

    People PLEASE look up the Snake Handling Law it restricts a religion if it is harmful and dangerous to others Islam falls under this SAME law.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:56 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.