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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. Aaron

    There are NO WOMEN in this picture! Take a picture of a church praying and then go back to this picture. See the difference? See just one of the many issues with Islam? I hope so.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Mario

      That's because they pray seperately. Just like in many Jewish synagogues. It makes sense to me.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Crom

      Thats right Aaron, there not allowed to be with women and pray... for that matter there not even allowed to look at Playboy.

      AND MARIO, Do JEWS BLOW PEOPLE UP IN THE NAME OF THEIR GOD?????????? god dam idiot. take your head out of your rear end.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  2. WOlivere

    So much out of context...

    "Do not take the Jews and Christians as friends" Koran 5:51

    "O believers, do not take the Jews and the Christians as your friends and protectors, they are friends of each other. And whoever makes them a friend then he is from amongst them. Verily God does not guide the unjust people. And you will see that those (Muslims) in whose hearts is a disease run towards them saying 'We fear that a calamity may befall us.' So God will soon bring victory or a decision from Him, causing them regret on account of the thoughts they harbored in their hearts."

    "O you who believe! do not take for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery and a joke, from among those who were given the Book before you and the unbelievers; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah if you are believers. And when you call to prayer they make it a mockery and a joke; this is because they are a people who do not understand." (Quran 5:57-58)

    What does it mean? We as in we Christians who are the people of the Book, we who have turned away from the book, we who then mock Islam. Should not be taken as friends.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Mario

      Wow that really is out of context and mistranslated. If I start pulling one liners from my bible, it might scare people.

      I hold interfaith dialogues with Muslims and Jew every month, and it's brought me up to speed on the wisdoms and context of the different theologies.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  3. Joe

    IF people didn't have religion they would find out just how worthless they really were.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Crom

      Actually, Humans are great batteries...didn't you watch Matrix? On the other hand, humans are very remarkable creatures, it just that they get caught up in head games of creation. Humans can make the Earth a great place unfortunately they squander it to no end. The human emotions also get in the way. Love you one minute and hate you the next.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  4. Gabriel

    Unfortunately the Muslim religion is a closed sect, not everyone is accepted. In Christianity, all are welcome. People the Muslim Religion is diametrically opposed to the founding beliefs of the FREE WORLD.

    Note that there is a pattern to their assimilation, one family, small communities, larger communities, infiltration by election to town and city Councils and in time because they are multiplying themselves by a 6-1 birth rate, do the math, the USA, Canada and the UK will be Muslim States eventually. Do you think that if the head of the Muslim community says kill all infidels that your neighbor will act for or against you. You can only bury your head in the sand for so long...wake up everyone before it's to late.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Crom

      Well said Gabriel.... no truer words have been spoken.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  5. Joe

    Wait so as long as it's innocent people your good...but, please define to me Innocent because our troops are there in Afghanistan. So please save it.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  6. danny

    Why would congress want to protect Islam whne they do not try to protect any other religion. Christianity has been under attack in the USA for almost twenty-five years from the liberals and now we got an article about the poor Islam faith being under attack in the USA. Give me a break, if the muslim don't ;ike the way they are treated maybe they should go to IRAN and then they can be with people that think as they do.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  7. Mike !

    JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD!!!

    March 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Michael, Chapel Hill

    CNN adds fuel to the fire; they do not want to look at both the sides and have a conclusion. It is sheer irresponsibility to shoot out inflamatory headlinese while hiding facts.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Crom

      Yes, what a shame to see what people really think about Islam and Muslims... oh my we should help out the poor muslims they are being persecuted.... it was amazing to see that for 5 years Americans paid for an extremist iman to live in the usa and travel on their tax dollars and in-sighting his followers to blow up american service people over seas... now if thats not bitting the hand that feeds you.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Dolphinvet

    This article is more proof that CNN is doing virtually everything it can to prove it's not anti-muslim. The paragraph that stated where one man tried to bomb the mosque was a muslim, attempting to commit a muslim on muslim crime. That part was omitted though it appears. CAIR, which refuses to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization, makes up anti-muslim bigotry if it can't find any. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the holy land terrorist funding case, so named by the justice department. Unindicted doesn't mean not guilty. Also several members of CAIR have been convicted of terrorism. There may be many peaceful muslims in Dearborn, but there is no peaceful Islam. It means submission, and that's it's ultimate goal.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  10. Sandiegobeachbum

    It is impossible to warm up to Islam and Muslims based upon all the constant news of Islamic suicide bombers killing INNOCENT people on every continent. I keep waiting for all the so called followers of this religion of peace, Islam, to get out and demonstrate against all the nutjobs in their religion. I guess I will just have to keep waiting. I look at the Muslim led countries around the world and can anyone out there tell me if there are any countries in worst shape, more corrupt and just plain dreadful than these Muslim countries? I don't think so. I have said it and will say it again, the US Muslims better hope and pray that we don't have another 9-11 in our country. If there is another attack carried out by cowardly, evil, cruel Islamic fanatical thugs, I predict an all out war against Muslims. I see NO positive Muslim Leadership anywhere in the world. I have no respect for Muslims because they haven't earned my respect. Until I see a lot more demonstrations against these evil, cruel, cowardly Islamic loons, I'll continue to keep my distance from Muslims. I have no problems with Buddists, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Catholics, Protestants etc. but I sure do with Muslims. BTW, ask the leaders of the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Holland etc. how their immigration policies of letting Muslims in their countries are going? I can tell you in one word; REGRET!

    March 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • WOlivere

      First Suicide bomber was? A templar.

      IED we hate them now, but the Underground in France, Italy, and Greece loved them. Back then when we used them they were considered tactical charges.

      Also used extensively by most western covert forces.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Crom

      WOlivere...you must be a politician, twisting the views in order to meet your own agenda. People used IED's against the germans because they where assimilating the free countries and exterminating Jews. Are you really that idiotic or just an azz in general.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  11. rivirivi

    Any creed, belief, religion or night-time story which teach the submission and suffering of millions of human women beings is never going to be accepted, it should never be respected until this is addressed and stopped.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • wial

      If it weren't so bloody-minded, the right wing attack on Islam on the basis it's not feminist enough would be hilarious in its hypocrisy. Tell me, do you respect a woman's right to choose?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  12. Charles4truth

    This is one Christian that understands the M u S l i m argument.

    The world is telling them how they are to worship and behave. We christians have had this same fight. Love not the world neither the things in them.

    However, I do not agree with killing inocent people to make a point. I do not believe Jerusalem belongs to the m u s l i m people and they need to get over it.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  13. Angelo

    tell you muslim brothers and sisters in foreign countries to stop burning christian churches an homes, and tell them to stop trying to force christians to convert to islam,
    and maybe you'll be treated better here in America.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  14. DannyG

    While Muslim extremists (I'm talking only about the extremists, as most Muslims aren't in that category) scare me and I think they are full of crap (17 virgins? You couldn't find 17 virgins at a nunnery anymore) the Christian religious right scares me too. There is no creepier group than the Christian religious right, no more closed minded, violent, hateful people in American than those Goobers. Anybody that thinks everything they do and all of their small mindedness and hatred is endorsed by God has a real problem with reality. God isn't on their side; their supposed to be on God's side, right? Any religion that spews hate is flawed beyond repair....whether it's Muslims or people who call themselves followers of Christ. Christ said, "Love one another," and that was his only message. He didn't start a church.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  15. Ron in California

    If you follow history, an influx of any group brings with it mistrust and hate. In this case,some of their Muslim brothers wish to do America and other country's great harm. Their stated objective is a Muslim world. Unfortunately, Muslim's are doing very little to further their own cause by not assimilating and certainly by not denouncing such extremism. I for one still have trust issues with them.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • iamacamera1

      It isn't "unfortunately" they don't assimilate. There is no intention of assimilation into our society, but rather an intention to conform our society to their way of thinking. NO THANKS!!!!!

      March 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Crom

      your not the only one Ron.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  16. james

    If you dont like it here in America get out and move to a country where your beliefs are welcome. I cant stand when people from other countries come here and then complain about how it is....dont like it LEAVE!!!

    March 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Crom

      Thats right James, you tell them. I've told them also, but its always good to see it coming from others as well.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Yahya

      To all those who say Muslims should go home: I was born here. My family has its roots in South Carolina, Alabama and Kentucky. You'd have to go back at least 4 generations to find an ancestor born over seas, and they were brought here in the bottom of a slave ship !

      March 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Mario

      I thought in a democracy, if you don't like something you push for change through due process.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  17. M A Harol

    Let's remember who attacked whom. It was Muslims acting in the name of the Quran. Unfortunately, the Quran does advocate the killing or enslavement of those who will not convert to Islam. The Quran advocates that women are like "cows" and to be treated as though they are as unintelligent as cows. To me that is not a religion of peace and therefore not a relegion to trust. Yes, Christians also commit terrorist acts but as in the Oklahoma incident. But that incident was a political act of terrorism, not an act based on relegious beliefs. September 11, 2001 was based on relegious belief and interpretation so until those beliefs are stamped out there is no reason to trust Islam.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • wial

      You're referring to which attack now? Going back how many centuries?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • MC

      Can you tell me where in Quran said " Kill poeple who are not going to convert". There is preaching apect islam in quran just like some christians stop by at my door and ask for understanding christianity. Is it wrong? Where quaran says "Women are cow". This country still have pay difference between men and women. This country still has beauty contest which is a humiliation of women.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  18. Ex-Muslim and Happy

    Islam means fear, darkness and misery.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • TiredofBeingPC

      I hope more of your kind will speak up as I am sure there are many out there. Thank you for being honest and brave.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  19. Rambo

    I wish the U.S. Armed forces took people in like me. Old, but not too old, really.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  20. Josiah

    The best way to sort out this fighting between religions is for people to stop guessing about christianity and islam and to read the bible and the quran and find out which one seems morally correct... think about it if either one of these say to murder someone then clearly its a religion that shouldn't be followed in society does that make any sense at all we seem to make up crazy ways of destroying each others religious beliefs and then expect the other religion to understand the things we do. the templers were clearly murdering people but that doesnt mean that thats what christianity is about it i recall that one of the commandments in the bible is thou shall not murder... then with islam how do we know what the quran says?? if we just simply say that every muslim is out to kill us because we dont beleive the same way they do then we're clearly making a horrible assumption. We should find out what the quran says and see if that is what it says then we shouldnt be allowing it but if we just keep making assumptions will never get anywhere and continue to keep fighting. Im a christian and for those so called christians out there that show any hatred toward a muslim, Jesus said that that is like commiting murder in your heart Jesus didnt say love your neighbor as yourself except for muslims apparently we seem to distort truth to fit our feelings toward our beliefs, when God hasnt changed one time hes been like this since the very beginning and he doesnt plan on changing in the future I hope this makes sense I'm getting real sick of people and their distorted views.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • iamacamera1

      The Q'uran clearly does say to destroy the infidel, who is me. It can't be any more clear than that. As far as I'm concerned no Muslim should be allowed to enter the country, for any reason! If they had smallpox you wouldn't let them, so why is this different. They carry a religion based on hatred, not peace as they would have you believe, and it's objective is convert you, by sword if needed; otherwise kill you. I don't know that anything can be done about the adherents that are in the country as citizens, but you can dang well stop the spread.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • IamaMusim

      I couldn't agree more. I think the issue is that Islam is hijacked and like all the societies in the world the majority are mostly remain silence either because they don't care or they don't bother to raise voice but the fact remain they are in majority. In a crowd of people only those people stand out who raise their voice or act differently than the rest of the crowd. In the same manner, we hear only the extremist voices in the media because they are active and they want to put across their extreme views. Whether 911 or 711, we heard the viewpoint of extremist who barely make up 0.001% of Muslim population but the rest remained silent because although we hated the act of handful of crazy people but we did not know how to raise our voices against the evil. I am a Muslim living in west, I pratice my religion as much as I can but neither do I try to force it on others or oppress my women in the family(which itself is a rediculous elegation by west) ... no one does that. We want peace and we want peace for all the religions. AND THIS IS THE VOICE OF 99.99% of the Muslim population. Believe it or not!

      March 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • James

      Sharia law was already respected in a Florida court last week. A judge declared it acceptable because the two parties had entered into their contracts under Sharia law beforehand. It was explained as similar to a prenuptial agreement. If that is what the parties entered into, then that is how their differences will be resolved. Since Sharia is religious law and this country is not supposed to have laws specifically governed by religion, than how did this acceptance sneak in?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • serita

      Where are the women during prayer time?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Craig

      If you fear intolerance, just look at the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. With these laws in place, there is only one true God. Anyone who says anything bad about this one God can be severely punished. Local Pakistani politicians have been assassinated recently for speaking out against these blasphemy laws. Once killed, the populace rejoiced and few in government positions dared attend the funerals.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Merry

      In this country the citizens have the freedom to believe how ever they wish as long as it does not harm others. We have the right to scream our beliefs and everyone has the right to ignore it or agree. How does a place of worship honestly hurt individuals It doesn't, there are so many options take a different route, don't look at it, etc. Seriously let's grow up and stop acting like 2 year old children because we do not want to share...

      March 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Steve

      I'm sick of all religions. If you care to believe in one, fine. I was raised in Texas under the Baptist unbrella. None of it ever made any since even as a child. One of the main reasons that I left that state. Religion is a choice. Again, is you choose to believe in one fine, but I don't want to hear about it. Even in this country, where there is supposed to be the seperation of church and state, the two always seem to cross paths and their beliefs pushed upon us by their hypocrites. I've seen the Muslim population try and change the way people live in The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. WHY do Muslins leave their nutty parts of the world, migrate to peaceful, moderate and progressive countries then try and change the laws in these fine countries that work so well?
      KEEP YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS TO YOURSELF, OR SHARE IT WITH THE LIKE-MINDED! But when you try and change laws, tell people how to live and what to believe in you've crossed the line.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • elaine

      It is not a stretch to think that they will get a foothold in communities, grab city council seats and start changing things to fit their ideologies. Are we allowed to say that out loud? It has been more than proven in France that the youngest are more extreme than the first generations.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jonny McGerk

      Please stop making Christian-Americans like myself look bad with your poor grammar. I refuse to listen to somebody's point of view who cannot even comprehend his or her own language.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • thad

      @Johnny McGerk If grammar is your main concern with this post, then I am worried about you.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Edith

      I fear for the gay adolescents brought up around this religion.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Joe Stone

      Girls in Afghanistan are not even able to run out to the store for bread. Many Afghanistan families make one of their daughters a boy with boys clothing if there isn't a boy in the family. This girl is the only one allowed outside the house to run errands. They remain a boy in disguise until they are much older teenagers. I can't begin to imagine the psychological scars.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:49 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.