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. James McGuire

    The truth lies beneath hidden words and evasive cunning displays of honor, loyalty and friendship, when the truth is, they don't believe we have the right to exist; every word uttered and every action is to destroy Jesus Christ and those who believe in him and the father GOD. Those of you who turn your back on Jesus BEWARE!

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

      Your hatred is derived from religion. How does that make you any different than what you are accusing others of being?

      March 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • May

      You are correct.
      Further, let us Pray that our Congress pays at least as close attention to preserving the rights of Christians as it is trying to do with the 'New' to America Muslims. They had religious freedom in the countries they came from, they have indeed come here to destroy. We all need to wake up.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • lm

      How about if the Christian in the Muslim world treated the same way Muslim treated here there is millions of american Christians in all Muslim countries how you feel if been attacked like you do here and if you talking about teror how could you forget the Christan TIMOTHY MCVIE the one who below up Oklahoma city but you have selective memory depending on religion he done that as Christians but you have double stander, how about all those killing for abortion clinic as Christan is your god ask you to kill people because you don't agree with their way of life
      Don't forget to put yourself in the other person place before you judge them

      March 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Scott

      It drives me to anger when people pull up a insane men that called themself a "Christian". They are so few to call it a problem with theology. The reason we can blame Islamic theology is simple look at the simple fact that Jesus and his apostals died for their truth. Mohammed and his first followers killed for their movement and it continues today worldwide. They are not stupid if they tried this in North America they would lose their " victim " falicy and would be wipped off this continent. Here is a list of ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS alone by muslims.


      March 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Edwin


      I know muslims. They do not say or act the way you claim they do. I know christians who openly feel muslims do not have the right to exist. They post over and over about it. I know of NO muslims who make the same claim.

      Christians in America feel threatened by Islam, so they claim it is evil. They then use that justification to destroy it, to make sure that the United States never has to deal with a large number of muslims. Forget the fact that the christians are using the oppression - real facts and logic never have anything to do with this fear.

      There are dangerous people out there. Some of them call themselves muslim. These crazy and dangerous people seek to destroy everything that is not like them. But the MAJORITY of muslims - the VAST majority, are not like this. They seek to add to the fabric of American society. It is the others who seek to destroy them, not the other way around.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  2. Ali

    i fled Iraq and came to America so i can get away from those crazy Muslim wackos. Now that am living in California am seeing alot of Muslims act the same way as the Muslims in the Middle East. I have no problem with Islam as i follow the Islamic faith but i have problem with Muslim religious people. they destroyed my country. They made Iraq in a crap whole. I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!! Trust me even those Muslims who are consider themselves moderate have some hate inside them. They still consider Jews as pigs. as an Iraqi Muslim, i find this disgusting. I support Israel

    March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  3. steve

    This is right up there with coverage in Tennessee where they are building a mosque, hear gun fire from hunters and think it's terrorism.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  4. edmundburkeson

    Yes! If you embrace a faith that regards Americans as infidels ... you will be alienated! What did you expect?

    March 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  5. GoRemote

    Stop being a Muslim American or and American Muslim, and just be an American.........Problem solved.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Sam

    More from Pat on dangers of Islam-:

    March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bethe123

      very nice

      March 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  7. Accius

    Islam is fundamentally incompatible with American values. Freedom of speech, separation of Church and State, democracy... the list goes on and on and on. If you disagree with this statement then you are either a Muslim whose opinion is compromised, or you are being delusional. I challenge you to read the Koran from cover to cover. It's similar to the Bible in that it's full of some crazy/evil stuff. The difference between Islam and Christianity, however, is that a vast majority of worldwide adherents of Islam actually believe word-for-word. Islam also encompasses politics, which is what should worry you most. Sure, while Muslims are a tiny minority, this won't be as apparent. But just you watch European countries over the next 20-30 years as they come to grips with an electorate that votes for Allah, and against anyone who doesn't believe in him.

    And no, it has nothing to do with racism. Just take the difference between Indian and Pakistani immigrants. Indians assimilate, contribute to society, work hard and earn the American dream. Pakistanis are light years behind in societal development, even though both groups arrived to the US during the exact same period.

    Islam is the curse of the 21st century - this will be made apparent to everyone in time if it hasn't already. Wake up America. This is one Trojan horse that we need to expunge in its nascence before it is too late to do so.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • LC

      Of course we believe it is the word of God. The Bible has so many revisions and copies it has been watered down. It took the Catholic Church about 2,000 years to forgive the Jews and say that they weren't responsible for crucifying(how can you kill God) Jesus. It was only a select Jewish leaders. Please... This is why Islam was sent down because, Christianity is not the same religion that Jesus brought. Only bits and pieces are left.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Cameron

      Before saying Islam is incompatible with American values, i'd like to ask, which religion is compatible with American values and/or law? Thats why we have separation of church and state. If we were implementing religious principles on American law, then adultary, stealing, killing etc would ALL be punishable by death, according to the bible.
      As a reference, no other religion is also compatible with the secular law, else we'd not be allowed to eat cows (Hinduism), so you might want to stop specifically targetting one religion to make it sound like only Islam is incompatible with our values

      March 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Edwin

      Accius: christianity is ALSO incompatible with our form of government - if you place the Laws of God above the laws of men (which a christian MUST do), then you must do things which your government does not allow.

      The problem, however, is not christian nor muslim. It is extremists. Extremists are incompatible with democracy. And if you think the only extremists are muslim, you are surprisingly naive. Muslim extremists may be dangerous, but christian extremists are far more numerous in this country.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  8. Gustav Malloy

    Radical Islam is the main instigator of terrorism today. To pretend it's not is to advertise your stupidty.

    And even if the Muslims in America don't feel 100% comfortable to express their beliefs they still are some of safest Muslims in the world, just for residing in the U.S.

    Plus. still waiting for Soledad O’Brien to do anything on the current state of Asians in America.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  9. sigh

    Oh go cry in Mecca. Every single nationality, race and religion has had their turn. You want to be special?

    March 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  10. Hal

    How can God continue to bless our country if we continue as a nation to turn away from Him?

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

      Hal, while your sentiment is reasonable, you may need to qualify WHICH God you are concerned about. There are lots of people who would consider your definition (whichever you use) of God to be blasphemy.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  11. Sam

    A good advice for the US from Britan-:

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

      I love it thank you Sam. Unfotunately few want to hear the truth about Islam. We Christians are often vilified because they forget the rights and freedoms that we enjoy were built off of Judeo/Christian beliefs and they have nothing in common with Islam. Lebanon should be a wake up call for Christian countries with open borders.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  12. edmundburkeson

    As a Christian ... I am not afraid that the person sitting next to me in the pew is a government agent. What are you afraid of?

    March 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  13. Ted Ward

    One has to ask just how many muslims are in denial of the true nature of their own faith. Really it's high time muslims take a good look at their own faith and make some reforms. It's a faith that brazenly and in no uncertain terms incites and extols violence against "infidels". I feel sorry for muslims that have so much cultural and spiritual investment in such an anti-social and inhumane set of ideas. How can you call islam spiritual when it depends so much on coersion, death, close-minded intolerance,and violence?

    March 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  14. InfidelHere

    America and the rest of Western Civilization is falling prey to the same overt and covert strategies and tactics. Terrorism has been only one of those tactics…and hence it is really stupid (yet politically correct) to call it a “War on Terror” when terror is simply a tactic. The “Who” are Muslims who practice “true” Islam and Sharia law and of course the “Why” is Islam as founded by their terrorist/pedophile muhammad!

    We need to hold the cult ideology of Islam accountable for the inhuman behavior it has inspired. My condemnation of Islam is based entirely upon the revolting nature of religion's five oldest sources, the demented life and words of the religion's lone prophet, the revolting behavior of the first Muslims, Muhammad's Companions, and the demonic nature of Islam's god, Allah. Today’s terror (tactic) is nothing more than an outgrowth of Islam.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  15. from experience

    Muslims don't immigrate, they colonize. As one who's lived among them for many years and has seen such situations evolve elsewhere, I can see that Americans must inform themselves as to the dangers of this colonization. Were we to ignore this issue, we'd be setting up a futur, not to far off social catastrophe.

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

      from experience: so you are saying they are like christians, but not as bad? Christians colonize, then take over. If muslims colonize, they are just doing half of what christians do.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  16. Ben Franklin

    Why should we have to tolerate as much from Muslims as we already do? During a t.v. episode on Muslims in this country trying to put up a Cultural Center in Tenn. The Muslims made the following comments regarding how they were being treated, "why do they do this to us" "Why must they treat us like terrorist." Well here is your answer. When we (Christian Americans) turn on the news in the morning, we hear "Death to Americans" "Death to Israel." If this is taking place during a religious ceremony are we required to ignore your cultural and more importantly, religious beliefs? I can tell every muslim reading this post, that if it were a Cultural Center for Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism we or I would not care nor would I consider it a THREAT to me, my children and my country.

    The teachings of the Karan say to not trust Christians or Jews, not only does it say not to trust the mentioned religions but it says to kill us. Read: – Sura 2, verse 191

    There are many things that rulers of this country have done to tarnish the flag of our country but the same happens in your countries as well. I am an individual person who believes Christianity when I die, I will be judged. I shouldn't be threatened by another because of my beliefs

    If your a Muslim reading this, it is up to you to change your hatred for us.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • LC

      I don't trust Christians, that doesn't mean that I don't like them. At work I see Christian co-workers backstabbing one another to get ahead. If you make a mistake they make it a point to let everyone know. However, when they make an error, they shrug it off. This is just one example. Look at Egypt, they were allies with the US but when the gov't had problems the US turned their back on Mubareek and said that he should step down. Yet, they don't tell the Bahrain King, Yemen gov't to step down.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Dan C

      Cut and paste much. Dishonest fails to describe you. here is verse 190, your 192 and 193 to add context to your out of context deceit. 002.190
      YUSUFALI: Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
      PICKTHAL: Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.
      SHAKIR: And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.

      YUSUFALI: And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.
      PICKTHAL: And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.
      SHAKIR: And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.

      YUSUFALI: But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
      PICKTHAL: But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
      SHAKIR: But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Ben Franklin

      @ LC so every time someone in your work place back-stabs or does an injustice you make it a point to ask their religion? The governments,and individual people, are making actions based on a decision from a group or 1 individual person, they dont go to King James or whatever bible they decide to read and say hey lets do this!

      March 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Cameron

      While you quote Quran to make a point, I'd like you to refer to bible.
      There are plenty of punishments ascribed to various crimes in the bible, though they arent implemented as law or taken into discussion. I'd suggest going through the 10 commandments, one of the cornerstones of judeo-christian religion, and refer to punishments related to those if broken, before pointing fingers

      March 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Ben Franklin

      At DAN C. Yeah thanks for helping me prove that your muslim people are taught to hate, and kill. My country is war with Afghanistan, a muslim country so because of that we are considered a Christian country, so because my country is war does that mean is at war with allah? And am I at war with allah becuase I live in this country and I a Christian? If so are you saying that muslims have to defend that and kill all non believers who are at war with allah. Your post doesnt do you justice.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • LC

      If this person were a Muslim and did this to you, you probably would say all Muslims are liars and backstabbers, etc. These people consider themselves "Good Christians". I don't want to associate with people like that.

      PICKTHAL: Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. (Whoever fights against you, you should fight back. What is wrong with that. Doesn't "Don't Thread on Me", ring a bell? The Minutemen v.s the Brits. This verse doesn't say kill any non-Muslim. It even says not to be an aggressor.)

      March 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Ben Franklin

      @ Cameron: I can quote the Ten Commandments all day but in the end I believe that any christian who chooses to not live by the word of God will be judged by God. I should judge Muslims or anyone because it is not place but I can share my concerns.

      March 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Ben Franklin

      @ LC: If that is case and hope it is. Then why Chant "Death to Americans" and "Death to Israel" during a religious ceremony?

      March 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  17. InfidelHere

    126 indictments have been handed out in the last two years by our super ultra-liberal Attorney General Eric Holder himself for terrorism.

    And guess what????? Each and every person indicted…has been…a…wait for it…wait for it…a Muslim! What a shock!

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

      Every terrorist might be a Muslim, but every Muslim is not a terrorist.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • steve


      March 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Cameron

      Well said Nadir.

      The best way to explain this is using race. Even if all jailed men are blacks, it doesnt mean all blacks are criminals

      March 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  18. rplat

    This is nothing but more politically correct crap.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  19. Stephen

    I want to know where people think terrorism comes from. Do they think it's well adjusted people who are well respected in the community and treated fairly just lose it one day? No. it is people in the out group who become so alienated that terrorism makes sense to them. Sure, there may be some mental illness, but this is a sociological issue.

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

      another interesting point of you, but more garbage. Countless terrorists (many 911 hijeckers), are educated, respected, married, and are positioned to prosper. Why do they turn? pick up a non-western (i.e. watered down) version of the Qur'an and it becomes clear.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  20. LC

    If Muslims are evil and kill people. Why are Muslims being slaughtered in the Ivory Coast and mosques being burnt down. This news is not being report. However, whenever it happens, in the future, the Muslims fight back @ Ivory Coast, then you will hear about Muslims killing non-Muslims and how violent Muslims are.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • roughriderci

      interesting take, but garbage. Muslims are the majority in ivory coast. and as in countless countries around the world once they reach a majority they try to force the minority ti submit to their will. The Christians are fighting for their country and freedom so nasty civil war has broken out.

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

      Just went to Wiki and it says that Islam is 38% & Christianity is 33%. What freedom are they fighting for? A Muslim was elected Pres., it doesn't mean that they should go house to house killing people and burning down mosques. If that is the case and your mentality, then this is why the Muslim Egyptians are burning down Coptic Churches and something in Iraq, because the Christians are trying to colonize Iraq and Egypt. With your way of thinking, this is why Hitler killed the Jews, they were colonizing becoming powerful and the Christian Germans fought back for their freedom.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:51 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.