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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. Margroks

    We don't need new laws to protect Muslim citizens; we already have a number of them that will do the trick just fine-it's called The Consitution.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • HZ

      agree, if we need special laws to protect muslim, then I demand special law to protect myself since I don't see I'm any less important than muslim.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  2. HZ

    In this day and age, why would anyone still believe in god without proof?
    I believe that everyone has a soul that's not materialized, but I don't believe a higher power or something created us. Don't you guys know that the earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago and human's ancestor lived back millions years ago. so NO, we are not created by god something like 10 thousand years ago, it's just that simple, if human was there millions years ago, your god can't create human just 10 thousand years ago.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  3. WVlady63

    Our Government is going to "protect" muslim rights???? WHAT ABOUT OUR PROTECTION AGAINST THEM????? This is just another prime example of "paper" Americans getting preferential treatment. As long as you are a foreigner in our country feigning to be an America, via a piece of paper, you get preferential treatment over the rest of us who are taxpayers. And the Government and bleeding heart liberals wonder WHY there is racism?????????

    March 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  4. alsmeer1

    what happened to OUR rights? as someone previous stated in their post.... most of them were not born here and yet they demand rights while other Christians are not allowed to pray publicly etc.
    I do not believe a muslim mosque belongs any place in America. nor do I think any KKK or neonazi groups belong here.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  5. Tom

    I'm from the area and have lived in the community my whole life. Unfortunately, what this piece does not highlight is the denigration of the community by the Muslim residents. All of my Muslim neighbors, do not take care of their property. Their homes are dirty, lawns grow inches high, landscaping is unkempt and dying, and they are not friendly in the least. My last Muslim neighbor kept her pet animals in her detached garage all summer long in hundred degree heat. They will not say hello or engage in small talk even when prompted at the local coffee or donut shop.

    Come to Dearborn Michigan and see how the Muslims treat the community before you judge how people react to them.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Can you post pictures on the web somewhere? The rest of us would like to see.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  6. Sean D

    Here is what we know. People kill people, on a huge scale, all the time, throughout history. This wont ever stop, it is simply ignorant to think it can, and even more ignorant to believe that would be a good thing. This is a conflict that can and will boil into a war... even both "religious texts" in this discussion say so. Right now the "Christians" AKA the west, have a lot more firepower, and have the ability to completely obliterate the "Muslims". So... the only intelligent thing for them to do is to stay passive, until such a time that they can attack with force, as we have been doing... without declaring all out war. The scales now are tipping because the US and the Fed have fumbled their economic war with the world. And the "Muslims" in the east are growing in numbers, and will soon be steadily increasing their own resources to make war, as all countries that are not under someone elses protection do. LETS JUST SIT BACK AND HOPE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN OUR LIFETIME!!!!

    March 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  7. Bryant @ SJC

    All I can say is how tolerant are Muslims? I can guarantee that if Christian Extremists were going around bombing Muslims and whomever that large Christian gatherings in Muslim countries would not be tolerated! Sorry but if your religion is partly responsible for terrorism and/or extremism you will be looked at sideways with those around you that are not Muslim. Also there are rumors that many Muslims were absent when the WTC was attacked and many believe these rumors.

    This is why USA is great because we even protect people of all races and beliefs!

    March 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • CH

      bryant@SJC that will be our down fall, believe me they are just wating to bomb us again, and mark my words they will!!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  8. bobk

    Top 10 Reasons Why Sharia Law Is Bad For All Societies...
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/08/top_ten_reasons_why_sharia_is.html

    March 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Sean D

    Here is what we know. People kill people, on a huge scale, all the time, throughout history. This wont ever stop, it is simply ignorant to think it can, and even more ignorant to believe that would be a good thing. This is a conflict that can and will boil into a war... even both "religious texts" in this discussion say so. Right now the "Christians" AKA the west, have a lot more firepower, and have the ability to completely obliterate the "Muslims". So... the only intelligent thing for them to do is to stay passive, until such a time that they can attack with force, as we have been doing... without declaring all out war. The scales now are tipping because the US and the Fed have fumbled their economic war with the world. And the "Muslims" in the east are growing in numbers, and will soon be steadily increasing their own resources to make war, as all countries that are not under someone elses protection do.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  10. doug

    could anybody explain to me why CNN makes this a front page story for an entire week???!!!??? The public is getting tired. Mainstream could care less. Eventually is has the opposite result than your initial purpose. Give it a rest!!

    March 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • kckaaos

      Because, as CNN sees it, in order to be fair to the muslims, they have to be unfair and unbalanced with everyone else. The fact is, Jews are 82% more likely to be discriminated against than muslims.

      If you want to see REAL discrimination, go into a muslim-owned business wearing a Christian symbol and apply for a job.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  11. jorge washinsen

    It seem the jerk heads we elected to watch out for Americans are more interested in these Muslims than they are about the ones who were in America on 9-11 and saw those towers come down. If there is a hell they will bust it wide open.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  12. Joey

    They are not "in their own country" as the headline implies, if they are muslims. This is a Christian nation, and the biggest problem with this country is the falling away from the founding faith in Jesus Christ and the one true God.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Rich

      You are truly ignorant of American history. This is not now, nor has it ever been, a Christian nation. Our founders believed in God but NOT Christ. It's in God we trust, not in Christ. There is a very fundamental difference. Go read and learn before shooting off your mouth.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • MoInFL

      You dummy; there is NO official religion here. This is a secular country with FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Does the currency say "In God we trust"? Yes, and guess what.... that's the same God that the Muslims, Christians and Jews all believe in.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  13. Chanco

    We have "islamaphobia" because people who have the same religion as these people, even if its not as extreme, who look similar and speak the same languages drove a plane into our buildings and killed many Americans. Of course we will be afraid of you!? Even if its a stereotype- what do you expect? we arent "chinaphobic" because the chinese do call us the " great devil" and israel "the small devil". its as if we are suppose to forget everything that happened ten years ago and is occuring everyday? Of what religion are we fighting in Afghanistan- its not the catholics. How ignorant are we as a country? Jeeze

    March 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  14. doughnuts

    Dick Durbin is an idiot.
    There was a spike in anti-Muslim sentiment right after 9/11, but ever since then, religiously-motivated hate crimes against Muslims have trended down and leveled off. According to the FBI, Jews are 8 times as likely to the target of a religiously motivated hate crime than Muslims.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Arturo

    Both Christianity and Islam have forced people to convert at the point of the sword. Christianity no longer does that, whereas Islam continues to do so and promotes it. What is the main objective of Islam? I guess that depends on what sect you fall into, but overall its the same result.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Muslim

      If Islam was forcing conversions, then why don't European Muslims denounce their religion at this point. Europe would be protective of such an act. Was it not the Serbs that slaughtered muslims to force them out of their religion? It is not like there is a sword to force anybody to stay in Islam in many parts of the world. You are also highly ignorant of the spread of Islam. In many parts of the world the spread was due to best practices and honest trade dealings. You can force the body, but not the heart.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  16. kckaaos

    I love it when muslims blame Christians for the OKC bombing.

    1. I doubt Tim McVey prayed to his God before bombing the building
    2. I doubt Tim consulted his preacher/priest before bombing the building
    3. I distinctly remember thousands of Christians standing up and denouncing his actions.
    4. I do not recall ANY Christian doctrine that teaches Christians to kill non-believers.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • muslimheart

      Thats a huge part of the problem is that non muslims think they understand the contextual meaning of Quranic verses or have been told what they believe via fear mongering and ignorance. The term "Unbeleivers" in the Quran was used by God to prophet Mohammad(SWAS) when he ordered him to go into Mecca/Medina and rid the area of the Unbeleiever (aka, Infidels) these were the pagans, idol worshippers, and aethiests that lived there at the time and is NOT!!! referring to christians or jews as unbeleivers or infidels. You are people of the book and God commanded we live among you in peace, love, compassion and mercy! There was periods of war in prophets time b/c the owrld had reverted back to its sinful arrognat ways and Mohammad was a soldier for God as was many prophets and apostles in blbilical era as well.I am a former chrisitan, my entire family are chirstian, I have as many close christian friends as I do muslim ones. I know christians married to muslims and they do not hate one another nor do they live with such biggoted fear and animosity towards each other.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • jw

      I'm with you Margroks

      March 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  17. EvilGenious8

    America: I'd like to introduce you to the new "blacks"......the Muslims!

    March 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • MoInFL

      What a disgusting, ignorant comment.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Brian Gordon

    Really, they were not born in the US....just because you get a citizenship...means Sweet -- all...
    I'm a 6th generation Canadian and it makes me sick to see these losers in their country come over and mouch off of the US...
    We cannot just go and live in the Middle east, cause if we tried they would kill us....

    So you know what, go back to the Middle East where you belong

    March 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Robin

      Agreed, you are 100% right. Go back .live in caves or be Roman when in Rome.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Tay

      What do you mean they aren't born in the US?? I grew up with and went to school with plenty of 'American Muslims' that were born and raised in the same neighborhood as me. There is nothing different about them except for their religious practices. All this 'islamophobia' really does need to stop. I'm a Christian and I can say that.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Stephen Falk

      You sir, are a racist piece of crap and make me ashamed to be a Candian

      March 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Tareq

      Brian,

      There are plenty of Americans, Canadians and Europeans in the Middle East who have been living there for decades. So nobody is going to kill you for going and living there. In fact, you will find people very hospitable. There is a big difference between sensationalized news reports of certain trouble spots and reality. There are certain neighborhoods you would not feel safe in within your own city, does that mean you do not feel safe where you are? No, you just avoid trouble spots.

      Muslims who are in this country now, no matter how long they have been here, and some date back to the 1600's, are working and contributing to society, paying taxes like everyone else. You talk like the US has stopped building.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  19. joeb

    Does the story ever change with 'most' Muslims? Why is it that we always have to understand them and never the other way around? Why is it that what they always demand we give to them, but would never stand up for other religions having the same rights in their home countries? If religion were really, really, really the most important thing in their lifes then there are quite a few countries they are free to go to and never have to worry about what other religions/people aren't giving them.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tyhouston

      You know every time the "POOR Muslim" people are alienated it's because they rub their religion in peoples faces every two seconds.

      It makes a Jehovah's witness look like a person whos keeps to themselves. Seriously. Muslim Terrorists attack? Hey guys let's all dress in our Burka best and go pray in public to scare people who already hate us for our extremist brothers and sisters behavior. Yeah that's great PR. Muslim shooter blasts a army base, protest "HEY NOW DON"T BLAME MUSLIMS!" well he is one... "OH, THE USA IS GONNA HATE GANG BEAT US DOWN! PITY US!" Nope never happened.

      You know the god head religions did something bout 200 years ago, they grew up alot and well...so does Islam.

      Guy wanna be accepted? Then do pray for people to die, condone bombings, and keep your prayers to yourself like everyone else.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Steve

      I don't know why they should leave thier country and go somewhere to live just because people like you say so.. Maybe you should leave America and go love somewhere else if you don't like them? How about that? Maybe all the Jews should go to israel and not live in America? Maybe all the Christians should go to Italy and live there? Does that sound realistic to you? People who live I. Thier country have the right to live and practice thier faith.. And yes we need to give them what they want.. They are Americans like all of us and they are also in our military fighting for our safety..

      March 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • mnmcv1

      "give them"? all they want is to be treated fairly and enjoy the freedom of worship we all have. Unfortunately, a tiny percentage of Muslim radicals have given a bad name to the millions of peaceful muslims worldwide.

      i can't believe the level of blind hatred and bigotry in these comments. I've been shaking my head nonstop...

      March 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • jw

      Steve in case you haven't noticed the Jews do not try to impose their religion on any one in America. If Islam and sharia law is what Muslims want then why leave the countries they came from. Because they had leaders who took their rights away? Well then why do they want to come to America and impose sharia law. How many of the belly achers have become naturalized? They don't love our country enough to become a citizen, well then they are welcome to leave.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • MoInFL

      The ignorance in these forums is astounding. Hey Joeb, of course muslims deserve to be respected in this country, and if they so choose to practice their religion, is this not what our country was founded upon? Freedom of religion?! Yet they come here not simply for freedom of religion, but for freedom of life in general and opportunities that they are unable to have in their home countries. Get over your ignorance, get educated, and step into someone else's shoes for a change.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  20. JC

    We're at war. The economy is in the toilet. And Congress is having hearings on the hurt feelings of Muslims. With "leaders" like them, no wonder this country is in such p**** poor shape.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Seenen

      It was to counter King's anti-Muslim hearings. They were a waste of time too, right?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • CH

      I totally agree!!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • caveman

      Ok, so first you bring the blacks over here and force them to be slaves, and then you complained. Then, you bring the Mexicans over here to do the agricultural labor and got rich off their backs as literal slaves, and now you're complaining about them. The Muslim folks come over here for opportunity, and now they become a threat because of 9/11? .. Be for real, 9/11 was not just some backdoor thugs with box cutters. There was alot more to it than that, that's evident. STOP RAPING AMERICA! Stand accountable for your actions and get the hell out of America if all you want to do is destroy other peoples lives. Let people pray however they want.. if they're not hurting anybody, what do you care? As far as I'm concerned, white, greedy, ignorant people desroyed this country way more than any one particular group of immigrants. I say that, and I'm white, so now what?.. What do you have to say about that?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • jw

      Who cares about hurt feelings. I have a blond blue eyed friend in dearborn and she is treated like a stranger in her own county by Muslims. America has always been about people coming here to be American not to be Irish or Italian living in America. Some have gone so far as to change their names in order to be more American. Muslims want to be here and form their own "countries" within our country and impose their sharia law. No sharia law in america. Why leave your own country to come to america if not to be american. We dont force our women to be subservient. We treat them with respect and punish those who do not.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bryant @ SJC

      I really enjoyed that story about a Muslim TV station owner broadcasting messages of peaceful Muslims then proceeds to cut off his wife's head because she couldn't take his crap and wanted a divorce! I agree with many aspects JC's comments and most of the closed mouthed and stick with your own kind Muslims are first generation and believe me if they stay their kids will be much more American. This is what I hope for.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:28 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.