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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. 12IVEHADIT

    “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.
    SO TELL ME HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
    IS THAT NOT WHAT HAPPENED ON 911, KILL THE INFIDELS THAT ARE NOT PART OF ISLAM
    SOUNDS LIKE THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK

    March 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  2. A CULT COMPOUND

    I thought they wanted to build a larger Mosque because their members had grown, now the REAL truth has came out they want to build a cult compound.

    March 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  3. pete

    You think Muslims feel alienated? Try being a white man in America. Anti-racist is just a code word for anti-white.

    March 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  4. gift shop

    I heard there is a new company making suicide vest in custom colors.You can design your own.Please check with your local mosque gift shop for details,

    March 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Muslim timeline

    I heard there is a new company making suicide vest in custom colors.You can design your own.Please check with your local mosque gift shop for details,

    March 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  6. Patrick

    I learned all I needed to know about Islam on 9/11

    March 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Deluxe

      And I have lost hope in people like you on 9/11...Ignorance is indeed the work of Satan.

      March 29, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  7. Hooty-hoo

    ISLAM = TERROR & MURDER.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  8. donjon

    Never mind the Muslim enclaves,what about the white enclaves under threat like Marin county?

    Only white countries are "experiencing" it,ONLY white leaders are pushing it,ONLY white children are suffering it.

    It`s genocide.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  9. toby123

    When Muslims talk about their own country then they should show more that they care about the good of the country
    and not just themselves and their being picked on. While Christians in many Muslim countries are routinely
    attacked, arrested, persecuted and slaughtered, here there is simply increased scrutiny and sus-picion based on
    legitimate concerns which are defending ourselves against an international non-uniformed guerilla terrorist
    organization that has declared war on us and which is well-funded, armed, and targets both military and civilian
    targets, and which appeals to all Muslims to join its cause. Numerous terror acts by Muslims both foreign born and
    US born have shown that this is not just paranoia but an actual threat (DC sniper, shoe bomber, underwear bomber,
    Ft. Hood shooter, Times Square attempt, USS Cole, previous WTC attempt, multiple embassy bombings and assasinated
    diplomats are a few examples). Muslims here would do well to share and understand our security concerns and
    work more actively for the same cause in preventing and identifying terror recruiting efforts in this country and
    terrorists coming from other countries. That is the main concern of non-Muslim US citizens, that Muslims don't
    seem to care and haven't done much to help the cause against terror but to complain.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Lebanese citizen for 20 years

      "While Christians in many Muslim countries are routinely
      attacked, arrested, persecuted and slaughtered," thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard, in lebanon we coexist and none of that is true about what they do to christians in arab countries. You watch to much t.v.

      March 29, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  10. joe

    It's also VERY VERY funny to me that people have problems with Muslims who pray 5 times a day, but super religious people here in America, be it christians or jews or buddhists, pray more than 2 or 3 times a day as well, but that's just ok. OPEN YOUR MINDS PEOPLE.... WE CAN'T LET AMERICA BECOME THE JOKE OF THE WORLD.... THE REST OF THE WORLD ALREADY THINKS THAT PEOPLE FROM HERE ARE DUMB AND IGNORANT, AND AFTER READING ALL THESE POSTS, THE WORLD POPULATION SEEMS TO BE CORRECT.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  11. NO More BS

    The fact is that the US is the most tolerant and accepting society in the world. Whatever rumblings may be heard/felt in the US with regard to religious intolerance and the Muslim community amounts to nothing compared to where these people came from. Muslims have been killing each other for centuries out of their own religious intolerance. Further, in societies where THEY dominate culturally and politically, they are most likely to forbid any religious practice outside of Islam and to do otherwise is often punishable by death.

    Muslims in America enjoy the most free, most tolerant country & society on planet Earth. They know it and I know it.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • TiredofBeingPC

      Unfortunately they are here and want to introduce their own laws to this country. Don't let them erode our freedom! America and disenchanted muslims, stand up to the trouble makers!

      March 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  12. The Message of Islam Is Monotheism

    If you understand that, and study your own scripture, that's all you need to know about Islam as a non-Muslim.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  13. Robert

    Being a convert to Islam (formerly, no religion) it's so amusing to read all of this! Nobody has a clue what they are talking about and those that do are still clueless because they have "heard" something or "read" bits and pieces of something else and just assume it's truth. If anything these types of comments drive more people towards Islam and becoming a Muslim. How do you think it is that I converted? Read alot of BS and figured it's time to know what is going on. The more I read, the more I liked.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • TiredofBeingPC

      "Nobody has a clue what they are talking about and those that do are still clueless because they have "heard" something or "read" bits and pieces of something else and just assume it's truth."
      Muslims are the ones who provide fodder for news. Honor killings, stonings, beheadings, suicide bombings, murders by the people who worship the muslim god on a weekly, if not daily basis, are not reenactments or figment of people's imagination. They are acts by muslims themselves. They are not "bits and pieces", they are the main story. Deny it all you want but it's crystal clear to the rest of the world that islam breeds demented people who have surrendered control of rational thinking to the opposite of God.

      " If anything these types of comments drive more people towards Islam and becoming a Muslim."
      If anything, muslims and their misguided teachings drive many, many people like me away from the dreaded sicko religion called islam.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Barb

      Tired of Being PC: More people in America are killed by guns, illegal drugs and drunk driving than honor killings and beheadings.

      March 29, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  14. Mona SIdhom

    Unless you have lived among the Muslims as a non-muslim, no one has any idea how the muslims are. I think the Americans are gulllible with a capital G and want to be so liberal and be inclusive. The thing is Muslims don't tolerate non muslims but want to be tolerated themselves. I have respect for the Muslims who left their countries and live in the US, but people has to assimilate not create their own country and laws within America. The same way Amercian laws don't work in Muslim countries why should the Shariah law be implemented in the US. As I said before they want to be tolerated but do not tolerate the others themselves.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • I'm an F-18 Bro'

      Boom.

      March 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      My brother and his wife lived in the UAE and Oman for several years. They liked it there and didn't have any issues (as non-Muslims)

      March 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  15. joe

    Can't wait until all religions die.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • sandy bean

      shouldn't take much longer. they're gonna hate each other and fight each other til there's no one left standing. then sanity can be restored. amazing that their "god" is so ineffectual that he needs mere, frightened humans to kill and die for him, just to prove that he's all-powerful.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  16. donjon

    Did someone mention white genocide?????

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    There is a coalition of groups all willing to ignore/condone a state-backed policy of white genocide?

    Please visit White Rabbit Radio and Bob`s Underground Graduate Seminar and help us FIGHT WHITE GENOCIDE!

    March 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • lala

      You DO realize that means all white people would have to go back where they came from and North America would be back in the hands of the natives, don't you? Not that that would be such a bad thing.

      March 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • lala

      Sorry donjon. Misread your post.

      March 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  17. Pietrus

    They should at least read the ban on Sharia in Oklahoma. It says that such law cannot be taking into account when resolving a matter of law, and that if there's a conflict between State law and such law, then the State law shall prevail.

    Since the State Laws of Oklahome DO NOT prohibit public Allah worshiping, there is no problem with that act. The law doesn't prohibit hijab either.

    So when would the ban take place? For instance, under Sharia a 9 year old girl can marry. Not the case in Oklahoma. If the girl's family claimed that Sharia allows them to have her married at 9, they would be told to get the hell out and stop wasting the State's time, and kindly refer them to the civil code where marriage age is specified.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      Do you realize that there are numerous laws that support other religions laws? Generally if you are married in a faith, it is held that the contract is in the rules of that faith and except in cases of abuse you must get permission from a Priest Rabbi or whatever. Don't like it? Don't get married that way. As for "Allah Worshiping", Allah is the arabic word for God PERIOD. Arabic speaking Chrisitians and Jews use that word in their own sermons and concepts. Muslims hold that "Allah" is the same God as Christians and Jews. So, take your bigotry away. You don't have a freaking clue.

      March 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Dondie

      @Geoffrey You failed to address the marrying off of a 9 year old girl. Enlighten us on this practice since you are "all-knowing".

      March 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • The One True Steve

      @Geoffery ... Allah is NOT the same as the God of the Christians and Jews. The God of the Christians has a Son, Jesus. Allah says he has no son. Can't be the same.

      March 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  18. hoofleau

    CNN is on an Islamic kick right now. That's for sure!

    March 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  19. Ben Franklin

    @ RMY: You cant even spell the name of your Holy Book correctly Qu'ran. Nice try your probably some bored stay at home mom that has no idea. I guess its just my imagination that the muslims were chanting death to america and israel during a Muslim pilgrimage to their holy city of Mecca. You lose! Try writing something beneficial.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • sandy bean

      wow, such a condescending person you are. in your world, everyone who disagrees with you is uneducated, needs to find something worthwhile to contribute and can't spell. well, in the last 2 pages, you misspelled "retarded" (you wrote "retarted"), and misspelled "accept" ( you wrote "except"), and you've improperly used the word "your" instead of "you're". yet you dismiss out of hand anyone who challenges your beliefs, even though many of them actually have quite a bit more knowledge than you do on a given subject. i guess you are just one of those people who are here to fill their empty lives, rather than open their minds and look at things from another point of view for a minute or two. try it, you might learn something. (though i won't keep my fingers crossed).

      March 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Barb

      Ben Franklin, there is no direct translation from Arabic to English. There are "transliterations" and none are exact. In English the name of the Muslim Holy Book is Koran, Qu'ran and there are probably a few others I haven't seen. In America, Muammar el-Qaddafi's name has been spelled "Qaddafi" and "Gaddafi". Neither are wrong because they are transliterations.

      March 29, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  20. Kathy NYC

    They are FREE to go back where they came from.

    March 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • JackedUp

      You got that right! In fact, I would love for them to GO BACK immediately!!!! If they don't like it here and if they cannot live by American rules, American laws, harmonize with American culture and defend American values then get the #$%& OUT!

      March 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Magic

      "They are FREE to go back where they came from."

      Back to WHERE?... back to Detroit?.... back to Chicago, Atlanta, Sacramento... or thousands of other U.S. cities? Babies have been born here to Muslims for centuries.

      I think that Islam is based on supernatural imaginings that can go away any day, along with the all the rest of the religious fantasies, but please quit moronically harping on this "go back" cr@p.

      March 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Hellmut Meiswter

      They are also free to practice their religion as they please. If you don't like the principles this country was founded on why don't you leave?

      March 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • vtxrider

      Spoken like a true bigot. If you do not like our free, mulitcultural society, perhaps you should find a nice religious dictatorship to your liking and move there.

      March 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Austin

      Folks, I am a polish white republican and I am a Muslim. You don't know who you are around, and faith doesn't define a person. Just the fact that a person worships should align us. One of the main reasons I am a follower of Islam is because the 10 commandments tells us to worship only one god. If you argue that, then you argue your own faith. Muslims believe that Jesus himself will come back to fight the shatain. Let's educate ourselves before we persecute others.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Ted

      Since they breed with such reckless abandon, there will be a billion of them here in 20 years. I would never trust such a highly patriarchal society. Where are the women in this prayer hall? What will they do to my American born gay grandchildren? I don't trust that they will treat them with the same respect that they demand for themselves.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Chris

      They will have Pakistani style blasphemy laws on the books faster than you can say Allah if they ever reach a majority.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Austin

      I wonder if that's a statistic or an opinion... Octuplets?

      March 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Wendy

      National Geographic reported recently that Palestinians are breeding faster than anyone. Their families can easily reach up to 12 members and they are the least likely to afford this many children.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • tanker soldier

      they say they are being harrassed for being muslims but christians get attacked and killed over there for being themselves. so maybe if they dont like our ways of life here they need to go back to their own couuntry.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Brian

      The average age of the entire Middle East is 26 years old. Syrians are just behind the Palestinians in the number of children being born. The good news is that this is partly the reason for the uprisings in the Middle East. The bad news is: What can we expect from such a young and jobless population with the reigns of government?

      March 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • AJ

      Folks, don't kid yourself. How many other large population groups in this country desire to live by the law other than our legal code. The majority (not all) of Muslims are different in that they do not want to integrate into our society. They want to live under Shariah Law, which is about as regressive as you can get and treats humans worse than we treat animals. They are the most intolerant group in this country. They almost never report on their own because being Muslim for them is far more important than being American. This is not about bigotry. This is about survival of our own civilization. If they do not appreciate our society, they should go to their "civilization", whereever it is and regardless of where they were born. There are plenty of Muslim people who live by the laws of our society and are perfectly happy doing it. However, those who live with a dream of converting this free spirited country to their medieval ways should leave and go to palces where it already exists (Iran, Pakistan, etc), where human life is worth next to nothing. Do not kid yourself, Islam is a very aggressive religion that is based on an extremely intolerant and cruel way of life.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Joe Dearborn

      I am a white, conservative, Republican Christian from Dearborn, Michigan. I grew up here, I live here. People who aren't from Metro Detroit or another community with large Muslim populations don't understand. There is no Sharia here, and no problems. It seems like everyone making ignorant, idiotic comments is from somewhere else and doesn't know much about the middle east or Islam. Come stay a week here and you will see the true face of Muslim America. Most Detroit Muslims here are hard working, family oriented, honest people who are more American than you hate mongers.

      March 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      There has been a Muslim organization in NYC for more than 100 years.

      March 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Madinah

      You are free to go back where you came from. Muslims don't worship man, muslims worship Allah, Allah tells us to obey some of the laws of this land for our good. Allah is our protector, Allah is the owner and Allah have power over all things.
      Soon you shall know all that you did. Time now is very short, no joke.

      March 29, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Brett in MN

      So could you, Kathy.

      March 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • breehaze

      I am not a muslim but if you tell them to go back where they came from because`

      March 29, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • breehaze

      Well if you say they can go back where they came from then why don't you go back where you came from. America is a melting pot that means you have a freedom that allow you to live and worship how you want. Majority of americans living here ancestors are not originally from here. why do you think the first american came here? they wanted to get away from the persecution of the church and be able to worship how they wanted. You can not blame a race or religion of people for ignorance. If so you are just as bad as the first christian churches, the ones claiming to being part of Islam and committing crimes, The nazis, the kkk, and any hate group out there

      March 29, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Sayedf

      Go back? Majory of us are born here, go back to where? Ok, let me assume hypothetically, I will go back to Middle East after you all go back to Europe, because there is no difference between us and you, both were born here. You think this is your land, no this is my land. So if you dont like us well go back to Europe. you still want us out? Ok then, let me tell you what, I will go back to greater ME after you bring back all the Americans living in ME, shut down your embassies in ME, totally and definitevely cut and finish all relations with the ME and stop interfering in the affairs of ME.
      You want a full divorce well lets divorce each other then... and if you cant do that, then Shut the &*^% up...!

      March 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Native

      With that said..."they should go back where they came from."
      Christianity & Catholicsm originates in Europe NOT the Americas. Review you History lessons of the United States of America.
      If you belong here, Then so do the people of the Muslim Faith. OR You should go back where you came from.
      My people were forced to the European faith and European ways. Many of our people have forgiven and have loved & lived the diverse people that is now the United States of America. If we can, so can you.

      March 29, 2011 at 1:25 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.