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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. MM22

    sigmund: "Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, in the 1960s, when southern governors, senators, congressmen, sheriffs, mayors .... were claiming that the Civil Rights movement was a Communist plot. ... And where are all those people today? That's right, they've been welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms."

    Ah, yes, nothing like hearing words of wisdom from someone who knows nothing about history.

    The Republican party was one of the leading voices and proponents of civil rights for over a hundred years. From emancipating the slaves, to the Civil Rights Act of the 1870's, to the 19th amendment, to Eisenhower sending troops into Little Rock just so African-Americans could go to school.

    Not to mention Dirksen's valiant efforts in getting the '64 Civil Rights Act passed alongside the moderate Democrats.

    In fact, at the 1964 Democratic Convention wasn't it Johnson himself who didn't want to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democrat Party because he was afraid that allowing Blacks into the arena would lose him the Southern vote?

    "That's right, [racists have] been welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms.""

    Historical revisionism at its finest.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • riiight

      Unless they're gay...right? Then, all bets are off. Repubs hate gays.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • CJ

      Yes, but the Republican party in the 19th C was nothing akin to todays, its another beast. And as for civil rights, aside from the odd enlightened leader forced to listen to progressives, most, I say most, republicans are indeed anti-minority and always will be. The poster is right, a few decades go by, and they get it, then hide what they used to think. This will happen with fear of Islam and Moslems too...although personally I think we should all dish religion and start helping each other instead.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  2. EDGEMASTER

    THE TWISTED SPIRIT OF RADICAL BELIEFS IS MORE EVEIDENT IN ISLAM THAN ANY OTHER RELIGION – FIRST THEY CLAIM TO BE VICTIMS – THEN THEY GET RIGHTS – THEN THEY FLOOD AND OUT BREED THERE HOST NATION THEN THERE OIL OR POLITICAL INFLUENCES CHANGE LAWS – THEY JUMP INTO BED WITH COMUNISIM THEN THEY ARM UP AND THEN THEY TAKE CONTROL THEM THE MODERATTES LET THE RADICALS TAKE OVER -ISLAM IS OPPOSED TO DEMORACY AND DEMOCRACY IS OPPOSED TO ISLAM-IN STYRUCTURED BELIEF SYSTEMS AND IDEALS -–IF I SOUND LIKE A RACIST OR ANTI ISLAM OR A HATER – IM JUST POINTING OUT HISTORICAL FACT OF WHAT HAMMENDED IN LEBANON DECADES AGO – I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE BELIEVING WHAT THEY CHOOSE – JUST DONT MESS WITH MY GOVT – MY FREEDOM OR MY LAWS AND FORCE ME TO BELIEV WHAT I DO NOT BELIEVE -AND SHRAIA LAW IS FLAWED – ITS SAD HALF THE POPULATION CANNOT VOICE INJUSTICE NOR GET JUSTICE -SPEAKING OF WOMEN WHO HAVE NO RIGHTS BY RELIGION OR CULTURE .IN THE MIDDLE EAST . -DO MUSLIMS HATE ME BECAUSE I HAVE A CHOICE AND BELIEVE AS I DESIRE ?????? THATS CALLED FREEDOM – -IN SLAM THERE IS NO FREE WILL AND THERE IS NO CHOICE -SO – SHOW ME WHERE DEMOCRACY AND ISLAM AGREE??????NUFF SAID –

    March 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Eric

      In Islam there is free will and choice, depending on which Islamic culture you're talking about. There are different levels of political and social discourse in Islam, from conservative to moderate to liberal. Many Muslim women, as in Pakistan and Indonesia (who have had Muslim women as their political leaders), fight for their right and are perfectly respected. Where does democracy and Islam agree? Try reading about Indonesia, for example, since the fall of (US-supported) dictator Sukarno. I know democracy there may not be perfect (is American democracy perfect?), but you'll be surprised. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Good place to start.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  3. Dusty2701

    I've never heard a muslim in America defending the right of christians and jews to worship their faith freely. I've never heard a muslim in America speak against radical (or better yet, communist) islamist and I've never heard a muslim in America defend America's right to protect itself against the communist islamist that want to destroy our way of life. However, I have heard muslims in America call christians and jews infidels that must be destroyed as the Koran commands. Thank God for our right as American citizens to bear arms against our enemies...both domestic and foreign, including the tieranny of our own government if it comes to that.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Muslim

      Is not over 99% of the legislature in the United States composed of Christians and Jews? So, it is not like muslims have any leverage over any legislative process for you to demand they do something to protect Christian and Jewish rights. Those rights are safeguarded in this country. As for muslim countries, orthodox muslim belief clearly prohibits meddling with the religous beliefs, worships, churches, temples of Christians and Jews. Those rights are safeguarded. In fact, when Islam was strong, Jews escaping European prosecution found refuge under Islamic governance. It is nonsensical to believe that 1.5 billion muslims adhere to an irrational thought process. If you wanted to debate in an open and constructive forum, I am sure many of your deepest prejudices can be addressed. Are you humble enough to genuinely listen to the other side?

      March 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  4. JonnyBGood

    Oh Puh.....lease.........not all muslims are bad in this country......but majority of them are A**hole.......Women abuse, cheap, in front of camera they act innocent bu behind camera they probably cuss at stupid American

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

      it's highly unlikely you've met Most muslims... that's millions of people. and if you did, i'm curious to know how you've managed to learn things about them that they're actively trying to hide. So if you meant "I don't like most muslims i've met" then i can understand that and only suggest you don't hang with those specific people or theres a risk that your judgment can affect your perception of any new muslim you meet that might actually be cool if you had more patience.

      How good we are is measured by how good we treat those we do not like.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  5. Chris

    Haha .. on the first picture it looks like there was a massive sneeze and everyone is looking at the mess they made in their hands.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  6. Doug

    The Republican war on any religion that is Christianity continues. The more they continue, the more I understand the popularity of al-Queda

    March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  7. jorge washinsen

    I wonder if people posting here wonder just who the hell it is doing the censoring?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @jorge – the "moderation" filter is automatic and blocks certain words and letter combinations. It doesn't do anything but drive people away and make the rest pull out their hair. There is a list around here somewhere of all the words and letter combinations I came up with. If you want I can post it again....!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  8. gordon

    Why is CNN pushing this story so much? There are other religions that have issues living in America but you don't here them crying.

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

      because Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in america. The numbers are already so high that its important for other Americans to learn as much as possible about this group ASAP in the hopes of reducing the likelihood of other americans becoming too afraid (thus hateful) of them as is already being seen in this thread. If the hate is not curbed soon, people who don't fully understand what america stands for will begin to compromise it in its name... kinda like "islamic terrorists" do..

      March 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  9. Tim

    Religion in GENERAL is the root of all evil. It causes wars, causes inhumanity, causes people to behave poorly because they'll be forgiven in the afterlife. Sorry I'm no SALE on any of it. Might as well worship Thor or Zeus. It's all the same. The day the world can look past the fear of dying (hence religion) and devilish greed of money or resources and move on scientifically is the day that war will cease. I especially think those religions that are convert or DIE are the supreme evil (which is part of the quaran apparently). The last thing anyone wants is some know it all religious wacko saying believe this or that or else. Where in the muslim faith that else is hands cut off, women treated as garbage. It's pretty sick.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • abraham

      FYI, Islam believes that Christians, Jews, or anyone else who believes in ONE god is eventually destined to heaven. no one is supposed to force anyone into Islam. but this doesn't mean there aren't many people (claiming an understanding of the religion) that kill on that basis... but no more different then most other religions... its just that muslims are the hot topic these days. most people of faith live peacfully, that is the intent of all religions. the problem is intolerance due to a real lack of love towards our fellow human brothers and sisters everywhere.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  10. Former Catholic School Boy

    The Muslim community can show Americans that they love this country as much as the rest of us by stepping up to the plate and offering their services to help catch these terrorists. Their help would be invaluable. They also need to speak out against terrorism to mae it clear to all Islamists that Alah will not reward those who kill innocent people. I know that some of this already exists but it is on a very small scale. You want non-muslim Americans to consider you our brothers? Then step up!!

    March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Doug

      They have. What they haven't done is adopted the belief that Christ is their savior so we need to make sure we curb their freedoms until they do. Or so it what many appear to believe. Their fictional believes are silly, but no more than the Christians.

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

    Maybe if the Islamics could get their insane Islamic brothers to quit blowing $h1t up, we might be a bit more sympathetic. Or maybe if just ONE of the so called "peaceful" muslims would turn in one of their psychopath brothers before THEY blow something up, we might actually believe that you are Americans and working with us on this problem. But that hasn't happened, and all those of the islamic faith cannot be trusted as Americans, as they will not do their duty to protect America.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • abraham

      easily found this on the internet for you: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110307/ap_on_re_us/us_muslim_hearings
      American Muslims helping FBI stop terrorist plots. hope this helps you be more sympathetic towards this group of people (and any other if that's not too much to ask).

      March 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  12. Bryant @ SJC

    Tell you what. If you are not Muslim or speak any Middle East language go to a Muslim Mosque and see how you are accepted. I tried this and it def was not like going into a Christian or Catholic church! I felt alienated and thought horns grew out on my head because of the looks I got. So whatever....

    March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bryant @ SJC

      Try it and report back! lol

      March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Bryant – You are a brave soul. Or crazy. Or both. Why did you do it?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  13. COUNTRYCOOK

    Did you notice how the Muslims standing outside by the burned bulldozer when a gun shot was heard (like on plan) they stated "This is terrorist attack " and they said they were afraid but kept on standing in the open without moving, and when our country suffers a REAL Muslim terrorist attack and we say "This is a terrorist attack" we are called "bigot, Islamapobic, haters, anti-Muslim"

    March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  14. Ray

    moslem rights...really?? how many Christian "rights" are protected in Moslem countries???

    March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • abraham

      Christian rights are protected just about as good (or bad) as islamic rights are protected here in the U.S. Just good enough for the majority being treated better to not care.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Frederick Lee

    The real problem facing Muslims in America is they fail to see the United States as "their own country."

    March 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      They fail to see that this country has it's own laws that they must follow regardless of their religious beliefs, like most other people here....!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • abraham

      to be fair, they wouldn't have come to this country if they didn't want to be americans and live a better life. they know american offers more hope for a good life than their homeland, but that doesn't they shouldn't voice their concerns if they see room for improvement. I believe it's more accurate to say they're unhappy with the inequality and unfair treatment they're getting from their fellow countrymen when America was supposed to stand for tolerance and justice for all and not just those that wear and talk a certain way. And this problem is not limited to Muslim Americans.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  16. dan

    I have been told that Islam is not just a religion, but also a form of governing, and that the two can not be separated. If this is true, how will they ever adjust into our western systems?

    March 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • jorge washinsen

      1 out of 10 is probably not a citizen.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Mark

    Ahhhhh.......Christian are more persecuted than any group in the US.. So lets have hearings on that !!!

    March 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • LadyAnon

      No one is persecuting Christians that I've seen. Some over-zealous Christians just 'Claim' they're being 'Attacked' or 'Persecuted' every time a group of people says or does something that isn't directly in line with their beliefs. That's hardly an attack.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  18. DEBRA

    If the Muslims dont like it here why dont they go home ,that would make us all very happy .If they want to live here in america
    then dress like americans get the head peice off and start acting like americans .We have our faith also but we dont act like you

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

      dress like american? would u mind sharing how does an american dress? those nuns who are covered head to toe are those americans also? the jews who practice their dress code considers americans? how about the chiness, the indians, the africans they all dress differently right? So how does one dress to look like an american? Should we color our hair blond and wear blue contact lenses and walk naked in beaches to look more american? Is covering your head with a scarf make you less american?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • LadyAnon

      You don't get it (or you didn't read the article). These people ARE home. These are Americans. Freedom of religion is supposed to exist here. Statements like yours only make you sound like a hate-mongering, biggoted red-neck. Is THAT what America is becoming? That's certainly nothing to be proud of.

      And for the record, NO religious law belongs in our court systems...that includes Christianity. In almost all courts anymore, when being sworn in, the 'so help you God' part has even been omitted. (of course, so has the right hand on the bible). That whole Separation of Church and State means ANY church and state.

      I'm not Christian, but do know there have to be some Sane Christians out there. Where are you?

      March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • abraham

      "If the Christians dont like it here why dont they go home, that would make us all very happy .If they want to live here in america then dress like native americans, put the head piece on and start acting like native american. We have our faith also but we dont act like you who are different" ...the language of hate sounds silly doesn't it? instead consider...
      "if anyone doesn't like living in a country because they're too different, they should consider leaving as an option. If one wants to stay, it would be wise to expect a certain level prejudice because most people haven't learned that we're all the same in the most human and important sense."

      March 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Joe

      Get a haircut for starters take off the head scarf shave your beard. Wear jeans and tee shirts. Quit praying five times a day how do get anything done?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Sammie

      What about all those generation of Muslim faith who were born here in America do you also believe they should "go home". People always spew such negative hate and prejudice to anyone who is not of the same beliefs, religion etc.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • joe

      DEBRA... YOU, and only you, well, everyone who thinks like you I guess, is PRECISELY what is wrong with this country. Somewhere along the way you guys forgot that this is the land of FREEDOM. Be it freedom of expression, freedom to protest, and FREEDOM TO WORSHIP YOUR OWN GOD HOW YOU SEE FIT. In my opinion, all ignorant fools like you should move out of the country, THEN, AND ONLY THEN will this country be a better, more forward thinking place. You sound an awful lot like those Middle Eastern dictators who censor information their people can get, keeping them ignorant, and won't let them practice religion how they see fit. I read an article about how America is really going back to how it was in the 50's, and sadly, I see the truth behind this article. PLEASE PEOPLE READ A BOOK, AND DON'T FORM YOUR OPINIONS WITHOUT KNOWING JACK.... YOU ONLY MAKE YOURSELF LOOK INSANELY STUPID.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  19. Dan

    "Consider Abu Bakr’s testimony to the deceptive character of Allah taken from the "Successors of the Messenger" by Khalid Muhammad Khalid, p. 70:

    "...Abu Bakr, though promised paradise by Allah and his apostle, while weeping says, 'By Allah! I would not feel safe from the deception (same Arabic word) of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.'

    The testimony of Abu Bakr is consistent with the Quran which tells Muslims that they should not feel secure against the Makr or deception of Allah.

    'Are they then secure from Allah's scheme (Makr)? None deemeth himself secure from Allah's scheme (Makr) save folk that perish.' S. 7:99 Pickthall

    The word translated "scheme" by Pickthall is the same Arabic word (Meem, Kaaf, Rah or Makr) which the dictionary tells us means deception. Abu Bakr being a true believer in Islam could not feel safe from Allah’s deception (Makr) even though he was promised paradise by Allah and his apostle Muhammad! "

    March 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  20. austrian

    this is america, american law goes, if you want to practice sharia law, you will have to go to a country that does. i'm an immigrant but would have never dreamed that anything but american law would be applied to me. either intergrate or go home, speak english, don't have me push 1 to hear english. soooooo tired of all this hispanic, islamic etc. stuff

    March 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • URNUTS

      So is everyone else, we are so sick of hearing about protection of the American Muslim, those two words should never even be in the same sentence. You are either American or you believe what is in their Quran? it can in no way be both!

      March 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • vova

      By never condemning the terrorism they made themselves supporters. I wish Nazies were alienated in their own country

      March 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • abraham

      you are right URNUTS, we should be talking about the protection of ALL people instead.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Eric

      Many Muslims and Muslim organizations have not only spoken out against terrorism, many have helped the FBI to successfully deter radicals in their own communities. This is a fact, so why are there people saying otherwise? It's not fair, is it? And there is no reason to believe that because one believes in the Qur'an that such person cannot be American. Another crazy item of the right-wing propaganda machine. Many American muslims are proud to be American as well as Muslims. I've see that myself where I live. Give these a people a chance.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:01 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.