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. PRex

    Interesting how they come here and demand rights and are shocked when they are treated differently. Now, let us Americans go to their countries (Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc) and see how you are treated if you don't COMPLETELY assimilate in their culture. I've never seen a religion that is more "do as I say, not as I do"....which says a lot.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Roland

      This is there country. They are US citizens. Yes if you go to some other parts of the world you are treated differently, however they are not the USA are they? No. Your argument against them is that we should become just like those other places that don't treat us very well. Good job.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • PRex

      No that wasn't my point exactly but thanks for the feedback Roland.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  2. mnmcv1

    I can't believe some of these comments! We're talking about natural born US citizens who happen to be Muslim, and these vicious bigots screaming for them to "go back to their country". This IS their country, and they're supposed to have the "Freedom of Religion" we all have. Instead they're being DEMONIZED for the actions of a few radicals in the name of their religion. Should we condemn and demonize Christianity when an abortion clinic gets bombed in the name of Jesus? It's hypocritical...and what it boils down to is they look, sound and worship differently, and in ignorance and blind fear, that scares white bread middle America.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Kate

    Protect the American Muslims? You protect the illegals. Who the heck protects the White tax paying American? We are forced to put out money for illegals, welfare etc. I don't give a hoot about the muslims or the illegals. I care about my pocket books which you continue to take from! Who do these people think they are? i don't trust the muslims any more than I would a KKK member! Stop giving our country away!

    March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jud

      More ignorance. These Muslims have been here for generations. There is nothing illegal about them. Your racism is a cancer.

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

      Dear Kate,

      Do you know how many Muslims fought in World War 1 and World War 2? Do you know how many Muslims are in the US military fighting over at Iraq and Afghanistan? Or have you turned the other cheek for these Muslims?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  4. jorge washinsen

    what I said is a historical fact.Why not censor the Muslims that spread the garbage on here.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  5. mjandrews8

    No wonder people are fleeing Detroit in droves...I'd want to get away from these freaks as well! You liberals are kidding yourselves if you think these muslims don't look at non-muslims as infidels! And Mr lisp speaking Simmons,,,save your BS for ppl who care...Osama would cut your head off in 2 seconds if he could....

    March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  6. sharky

    I want to know why the Former Muslims in the US, the Apostates, were excluded from these hearings.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Chelsea in Houston

    Anyone who believes their religion is under threat from another religion has already lost their religion. Religion is a belief. If your beliefs are so frail they can't tolerate others' beliefs then your religion is already failed. Jesus wasn't a bigot, nor did he teach intolerance. I only wish his followers were more like him. I have read the Bible and nowhere did I see where Jesus said that everyone has to be a clone of yourself. He didn't tell anyone to force others to all be the same.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  8. crabman

    pick a religion each one has done their fair share of killing . just happens to be the muslims turn to get the spot light . just sayn

    March 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Greg

    Everything is falling apart...how about bad healthcare around the world?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      Yeah! One bullet can ruin your whole day! Since when is stopping the bullets not the same as healthcare? Duh.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  10. Jud

    Idiot Americans. You believe all Muslims are terrorists and are trying to implement Sharia law. It's no wonder your place in the world is now "formerly great country living off its reputation and delusion that it's still great" while the rest of the world passes you by. Your ignorance has cost you.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Michael

      As an American, I 100% agree with you. The intolerant Christian-Right wing has destroyed this once great country.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • PRex

      Jealousy is an ugly thing.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      I completely understand your point of view. As an educated tolerant American I feel extremely frustrated by my fellow man. But violence is never the answer. Hate is not the way. Don't be intolerant like they are. When you do the exact same thing as the people you are against... you lower youself beneath them. Be an example of how you want Americans to act. Thank you 🙂

      March 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Jud - Nice rant.
      The opposition to Islam is prevealent in Europe, not only the US.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  11. Repentigny

    I didn't know we lived in muslim country. When was American invaded?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • sandy bean

      it was invaded when white europeans bullied their way in, murdered all the indians already living here, and then started in on the mexicans.

      March 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  12. B Nakka

    A 6 foot man, dark skin, greying hair, 200 pounds has been seen with a hatchet around the neighborhood. Be on the look out and all 9-1-1 if you see him.

    If that was the gist of an announcement I WILL MOST DEFINITELY CHANGE HOW I LOOK even if I know I am not the one who they are describing. I will most definitely be upset but will make every effort to not look like the killer in question.

    I guess Muslims who think they have rights too are correct, they do have rights but I guess they forgot they don't have common sense because ACLU is with them....

    March 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  13. jorge washinsen

    They weren't satisfied putting out a death sentence on Rushdie, they had to put it on all Americans on 9-11.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      But you are different by calling them "they"? Ever tried looking at it from their point of view? Obviously "they" feel the USA is against all of "them" just like you feel they are all against you. Historically, they have more justification than you do.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Jud

    So many Americans are so stupid about so many topics. This is one of them.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • PRex

      Jud why don't you just go to CNN international for some coverage on whatever crappy country your from.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  15. Moots7

    i'm so sick of hearing ppl complain about the mistreatment of Muzlims. They whine and cry about our mistreatment of them. If i remember correctly it was muzlims who flew two planes into the world traide center NOT CHRISTIANS! If they got a problem with our resentment of them then they can just get out of America. If it was legal we should put an anti muzlim policy in our defense policy. I can understand that theyd like to not be a part of a sterotype but welcome to america muzlims. Osama ruined your religon and your image for you permanently. Dont blame the grieving Americans who may of had family or friends involved in 9/11 blame the radical religon of izlam and it's followers since it was an izlamic related attack.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Li


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

      It was a Christian who murdered 6 million jews 70 years ago. But people were smarter then, and hated the man, not the religion.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      Anyone who believes their religion is under threat from another religion has already lost their religion. Jesus wasn't a bigot. Jesus told you to turn the other cheek. So who is the one losing their religion? You are.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Roland

      Now i hate chrisitans because the west baptist church! Using your thinking we should hate all chrisitans as well because of there crap!!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Tina

      wow since you decided that certain things are american and others aren't – why not go back to the 'glorious' American days and enslave the black people and hang the gay people, too? Muslims, blacks, Jews, Asians can ALL be Americans and they ARE. Get over your one dimensional idea of America and realize what exactly makes this the greatest country in the world – its diversity

      March 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  16. DB

    Its interesting how CNN is quick to write a sympathetic piece about hearings regarding discrimination of Muslims and an equally unsympathetic piece about hearing regarding radicalization of Muslims. One might suspect that yet again CNN is advocating a position rather than reporting on the situation.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Don

      Bingo! Although this shoudl suprise no one.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Carl J.

      FOX News makes CNN look like child's play in that regard. FOX is 90 percent editorial opinion, 10 percent "news". CNN does a little bit better, but they are guilty too.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  17. David

    Why do we need to import more trouble??? We have millions of illegal aliens trying their best to ruin America already. Enough is enough. Were are those great europian immigrents that made america what it is. Today we bring trash from criminal countries. Totally senseless....

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

      GREAT European immigrants???!! You mean the ones that killed all the native people and took their land? Seriously, unless your people are Cherokee do us a favor and shut up with the 'I'm an immigrant too but everyone who comes after me is trash' hate talk.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      Someone needs a history lesson here. As for the present... go into ANY medical center in the USA and meet all the immigrants who save your life when you are at your most vulnerable. Even the guys that do our lawn from Mexico are better people than most US citizens I know. At least they have manners and behave well. More than I can say for most.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  18. hoss

    strange how there are attacks against committee hearings about radicalization of islam in the united states especially after testimonials given more than half a year ago by SoD, SoHS, head of the FBI, and head of the CIA, that the largest threat now to the united states is islamic radicalization within the borders

    here's your sign...idiots

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

      Unfortunately some idiots can't read.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      I'm ready to have hearings about the radicalization of Christians. I think that is very overdue. There are many more radically violent Christians in the USA that are a danger to us than there are Muslims.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • hoss

      @Chelsea...in part i agree with you....there should be hearings over all religious radicalization....but if you want to ignore the fact that the united states is at war with radical islamic fundamentalist...go ahead and have your christian radicalization hearings....lol but they will never happen because of the non-secular nature(aka christianity) of american politics

      March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • JustMe13

      Chelsea: You are exactly right!! I couldn't agree with your posts more! Thank you.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Matt

    Dear CNN; Where are you articles about all of the Christians being massacred in the Middle East? Why don't you be fair and post stories that matter rather than a couple muslims who feel people have discrimated against them. You people make me sick.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Li


      March 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Michael

      Because no such thing is happening...

      March 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Roland

      Dear Matt.
      We live in the USA, not the middle east. If you care about the Christians dying there you are more then welcome to go over there and try and prevent it. However in the USA, which is our country we have a Religion that is being outcast because of someone else. Do you think we blame all Christians because of the west baptist

      March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • bbnx

      Well put Matt!

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

      Agreed. Absolutely 100% spot on Matt.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Chelsea in Houston

      So you are claiming that there are thousands of Christians being mass murdered in the middle East for believing in Christianity, but there are only "a few" people being killed by Gadhafi? And you think this is a rational & logical statement? I think this is exactly why your religion is the problem and not the solution. Until you can speak truth you should be ignored.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • xibu

      Because CNN has an agenda, which is to drum up support for Muslims. And the fact that they kill, marginalize and treat poorly Christians and Jews in Muslim majority countries doesn't fit CNN's agenda. The United States is not, and never has been a Muslim country, nor do we want to be. Secular doesn't work with Muslims. The US Government and immigration system has does a huge disservice to the American people by allowing all these muslims to move here and bring their backwards, midieval beliefs. No to Sharia law, No to headscarves and burkas, No to segregating women, No to foot washing faciilites in public places, No to 'Muslim Call to Prayer' crap heard on American streets, No to Mosques, No to Imams in the US.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • JustMe13

      Just as much blood shed is on Christianity's hands. Should all Christians be treated the same way? Should we denounce Christianity as we do Islam? This country has grown into a society of hate, and it saddens me that I don't see an end coming to it. Get past your fears people. Judging an entire society based on a few people's actions/ignorance is just plain tired. Evolve people. Evolve.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Rahma

      Wafa' Qustantin, also a priest's wife, went to a police station to report her desire to convert to Islam. She appeared later before a state prosecutor to insist on remaining a Christian, but was moved to an unknown church, where she currently resides. if you do not beleive just make a search and get the information.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  20. jorge washinsen

    Half the people who have died in wars died because of religious belief.What a crock.

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

      I'm sure the 80 million plus people who died in WW2, the 20 million plus people who died in WW1 and
      The roughly 2 million people killed in Vietnam would disagree with you.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Michael

      Half is being far too kind. Try 90% of all deaths in wars since the invention of christianity in 300AD, were because of religion.

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

      Brian, you do realize a big part of WWII was fought because Adolf Hitler, a Christian, was committing genocide against Judaism. Or did you miss that history lesson. WWI also had religious implications, though not as obvious or well known.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Mike

      Whether we believe as a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other faith – we should not allow ourselves to become so distant from each other. We are not connected by race, creed, religious preference or upbringing – we are connected by our humanity. Every faith has a virtue of loving your neighbor, few of us ever practice it though.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • xibu

      Multicultural doesn't work. This country is Christian, Jewish, or agnostic basically. Muslim culture doesn't work here. It was a big mistake to allow Muslims to immigrate here, as they can't peacefully live with others. See how they treat non-muslims in Muslim majority countries. They need to go home, to their REAL home, not the US.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:20 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.