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. jorge washinsen

    Could anyone but CNN sugar coat something like this?No but your President can.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  2. Be Careful

    Be careful there...it may not be one religion...it may be all religions. Foreign people tend to think they are discriminated against when often they go through the same things we all went through. People have lost faith in things they once believed in...pretty much across the board.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • jorge washinsen

      The faster religion gets out of our systems the faster peace will be here.There will never be peace with a bunch of nuts following man as his teacher.This war was started by Islam we did not start it on 9-11.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Mark B.

    When Timothy McVei did his bombing he didn't scream Alluh Akbar! He didn't claim it as a act for God and was promised no heavenly reward for it. Stop jihad, stop Sunni-Shiite fighting, obey OUR laws and we will talk. As long as there is jihad and ANY push for the U.S. to accept any part of sharia law, you will know no peace here.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  4. echase

    Detroit istan, really?? your really complaining about people looking at you wrong, your religion is at WAR with our religion... We didnt start it, you did. That is why you get bad looks, that is why you dont get hired.. Just be glad I am not, along with several other million Americans not the President of the U.S... We wouldnt have a Detroit istan....

    March 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  5. bbnx

    Why don't all of us quit debating this topic for now. Then, the day AFTER the next terrorist attack, which is inevitable, and also which WILL BE devised, planned and carried out by Muslims we can start the discussion again. Deal?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  6. sajon

    The people that discriminate against Muslims aren't atheist, they are Christian.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Be Careful

      Christians tend to reject cults. (See mormons, scientology, etc.) Or possibly modify them...for example, Mormons are not allowed to have multiple wives.

      Although women often held themselves back in the past (men too), seems highly unlikely that women will go backwards again (Huckabee take note) to someones false hope of an ideal world...it simply doesn't work that way. I'm sorry.

      I suspect that people that are trying to put religion in government are really trying to get a conscience into corporations. That's not how you would do that. CEO's are charged (legally) to make money for stockholders....nothing in their charter about being socially responsible. I did find this page which I think is useful and would love to see more like this so people can invest in socially responsible companies. You might not make as much money, but would probably make what you would make if they were socially responsible and that's what we want...so...that looks like a smarter path to get there to me.


      March 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  7. hobartneck

    CNN – Instead of throwing gasoline on the fire, try alcohol for a lower temperature; almost invisible flame. Or Napalm, if you want it to stick to those nearby. Diesel fuel will burn longer and spawn other fires. Hell, with the right chemestry, you should be able to give this story "legs" and run with it for quite a while. Get some help from the Israelis and Pallestinians; they know how to fan a fire...

    Any reason you HAVE TO play to the minority?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  8. jim

    Thanks CNN for being fair and positive and promoting such ideals despite not receiving the type of response you deserve to receive from a lot of people who would want those ideals for themselves only; but not for others. I will read CNN more and more for its positivity.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  9. jorge washinsen

    Peaceful I suppose was those building falling on 9-11.If we let our laws be twisted to fit every misfit that comes to this country, we deserve what we get. I hope the snoopers are watching today.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  10. Valerie

    All you idiots citing religion as a scourge on society really need to STFU! We are talking about HUMANS here, and humans will ALWAYS find a way to divide themselves and fight about it! Get real! Every freaking story posted on CNN proves it! No matter what the topic is, here come a thousand people to spout off about it and argue online with each other about it.....why don't you all click on the William and Kate wedding cake story.....I rest my case!

    March 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • doughnuts

      But religion gives them the ultimate weapon to use to hate anyone they perceive as different: God wants them to. There is no debating it, there is no challenging it, there is no guilt in it. They believe they are commanded to do it by the ultimate authority.

      Without that crutch, they have to try and come up with "rational" reasons for their hate, thus exposing themselves to be the useless bigots they are.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Valerie

      Whatever, doughnuts.......whatever you say.....since you know NOT a world without religion, your comment has no bearing. Man finds something to separate himself from others, and take sides without religion. That is TRUTH and no getting around that fact. Religion is just another thing man has to fight over.....that and politics...people get REALLY CRAZY over that too! And you know it. And so does everyone else.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  11. whelz

    maybe if the people raising their families would understand what the rest of their radical buddies are doing and would try to correct it on their own just like the robbing theiving drug dealing black person gives a bad rap for all of the rest of the black comunity ...you just cant tell when or who is going to act agenst humanity .so you identify the threat by sight ! out of all the unknowns of a possible thret sight identifiys it first! say hi be freindly and we will see your not but we got to be safe first ...sorry

    March 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  12. Jonny

    Americans MUST distract themselves by Hating everyone 'different'
    so they don't see how much the Rich White Straight Christians are screwing them
    out of house and home and job and power in this country.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mark B.

      Your point is what? We will let them do as they please here when The Bible and Chrisitanity is welcomed in the Muslim world.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  13. DarrellS

    It's a crying shame that in the USA, in the 21st Century, we're still even having to deal with issues such as racism and religious intolerance. When are we going to learn that the boogey man isn't "out there", it's in our own hearts? When will we be able to look our own personal fears square in the face, accept them, and work towards building understanding and basic human trust with each other? THIS will truly bring about change. Nothing else.

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

      If you want to know what religious intolerance is look no further than Muslim Majority countries. Try building a Christian church in a Muslim country, or expanding the few that exist. Is there a place in Christian nations similiar to Mecca and Medina, that outright ban people who are not Muslims? Chrisian majority countries are miles better at treatment of minorities that ANY Muslim majority country, and yet here we are, STILL bashing the US. OF COURSE, Americans are afraid of Islamic terrorists. We would be insane or stupid not to be. Those of you who keep spouting how Muslims aren't as dangerous as right wing Christians, need to seriously consider what it will be like when we live in a country where women cannot worship next to men, facilities are segregated, your daughters are marrying Muslims and undoing hundreds of years of womens rights gains. Be careful what you wish for.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • TiredofBeingPC

      THE BOOGEY MAN IS "OUT THERE"--in the suicide bombings, the beheadings, the fatwahs, the honor killing, the calling for "death to America" when they felt wronged, the murder of over three thousand dear souls on September 11!! No amount of PC writing about islam can change the fact that it produces the world's most horrid group of religious fanatics. MOST HORRID GROUP vs. every other group and people that do not conform to it.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Wiggles

      @ Xibu. Only in Christian majority country (France) you need to worry about women not wearing burqaa, only in Christian majority countries you cannot deny holocaust YET make fun of one's prophet, etc.....

      Dont forget that in secular and liberal muslim countries like Turkey, many mosques are locked while churches are still open. Also, Palestine and a lot of Middle Eastern countries have many Christian holy sites still preserved. I agree in some Muslim majority countries, there is being less and less tolerance of Christians. That is because of the wars and attrocities committed by US, France and Britain. I DO AGREE that hate crime is wrong no matter who it happens to and perpetrators should be brought to justice.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  14. Jerrald

    Good for sharia ban!! We have state and federal law that has long been established by the blood of our forefathers who fought for our way of life and freedoms. We do not need your sharia law and there are many countries you can move too that will honor your sharia law. Screw sharia law and I greatly loom forward to seeing a ban on it in every state!!!!! It is a pathetic way of life!! A male dominant atrocity that is of a simple primitive mind set. Banish Sharia in the PROUD UNITED STATES!!!!!

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

      A day will come when the muslims in this great nation are going to demand their own state on the ground that they are being oppressed (like when sharia law is banned-should NEVER HAVE BEEN ALLOWED in the first place!!!). They fight and kill over what they think is their right in the Philippines, Thailand, parts or Africa, everywhere they claimed they are being oppressed. They will do the same here in due time. No other religious group has wrought as much death and destruction around the globe in recent history. Wake up disenchanted muslims and speak up against the atrocities taught by islam

      March 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  15. Gordon

    My problem is simply that I have heard very few "American Muslims" making much of an effort to distance themselves from the "radical muslims" we are so familiar with. I think they are just all waiting....quietly, patiently....a lot like 19 other muslims I can think of....waiting for the right moment....I don't trust any of them. I never will.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Reality

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.
    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism are available upon request.

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

      Right... All books are true, but only follow this one... And all prophets are true, but only follow this one.. "

      Here we go again...

      March 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Nathan

    "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.”"

    Ummmm....Walid, did you miss that day in history class about the Salem witch trials??? They burned and drowned people accused of being a witch...

    March 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Better Half?

    What's wrong with picture #1 in the articles slideshow?

    These gents must have told the women to get out of the picture so the important people can be photographed. Or perhaps the women are at the front of the room doing the preaching... No, these guys probably just forgot their muslim women at home that day. Wouldn't want mens' and womens' prayers getting all muddled together.

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

      They aren't allowed in the same room in most mosques.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • anthony

      whats wrong with u do u remember the word RELIGION? my friend u need to go through some big n strong religion (that tell humen of world the best way of spending their lives)in picture #1 there is nothing wrong i see ,they r followers and just following the religion not their wishes,follower of the creater(God)who knows the best about all creatures that he made like engineer know the best about machines and doctors about medical etc..so if u are not a follower then first learn about the one belief u r satisfied with the true belief that pacifies u r soul and mind and everything if u dont do it then at least let the others do.thankx and take care.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • because this is patriarch, not democracy

      Yeah...most obvious. Not a democracy...more like patriarchy and there's no way women are going to go along with that here unless they are in childbearing years and stuck in that. but...both men and women are victims in patriarchy...so that's a problem all the way around. watch mitworld video Learning to See in the Dark. The books are better. They can only say so much in a lecture. Moral development is hijacked by patriarchy. Don't let it be. Learn more about how oppressed you are, both men and women.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Better Half?


      thank goodness. i knew there had to be a perfectly reasonable, if not well-articulated, explanation. AND, it avoids situations like one day realizing that the same dude has been "praying" behind your wife for the last week at the mosque.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  19. jorge washinsen

    If Detroit is an example of an all american city we are sunk.

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

      They sure are trying in Florida Ohio Wisconsin New Jersey North Dekota . . . . . etc etc etc

      March 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Egbert

    CNN ... PUHLEASE ...........

    Can't you find something else to write about? Must you keep pushing ISLAM on everyone? It's a NO SALE – get over it and move along.

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

      Americans MUST distract themselves by Hating everyone 'different'
      so they don't see how much the Rich White Straight Christians are screwing them
      out of house and home and job and power in this country.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • To Jonny

      Patriarchy was rampant in older generations, but less and less all the time. I could see it being gone in 40 years...out of power in roughly 20 years. But, I don't see religions picking up much speed in the interim. As more people understand how they are oppressed by patriarchy, they are more likely to walk away from that and go with the moral development that they were born with...not religion so much. That's my guess. Religion might get blamed for patriarchy also, but once people understand that part...they should do just fine. go to mitworld video and watch Learning to See in the Dark. Then read the books. The books are MUCH better. (They can only say so much in a lecture.)

      March 28, 2011 at 2:51 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.