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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. teremist

    We can and should make every effort to discover terrorists on our own soil, whether skinhead or muslim. If the AICC, was smart, they would welcome the King hearings. They would want to expel and expose those radical elements that threaten us all. Let the radicals and nuts from all segments of society, face justice when they conspire to do harm. The fact that radicals profess islam or Christianity, is NOT the issue. The issue is to try and prevent radical acts of terrorism and violence. The AICC should be protesting terrorism and denouncing it. It should not allow anyone to preach or encourage jihad. Nor to support it financially, philosophically, materially, or by concealment. Their current stance lends itself to the appearance of protecting and encouraging the radicals.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Veritas

      Well said – why are they afraid of us going after terrorists calling themselves "Muslims." If terrorism is as unIslamic as they say, you'd think they'd be the first people wanting the imposters out to clear thier own names. Unless they know something that most American's don't – that terrorism is woven into the very fabric of Islam.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Doug Wright

      And,, i would be just as welcome to see forums, debates or any other form of review on any organization in the USA to find terrorist..

      March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      Therein lies the point. They don't want to denounce their TRUE agenda. After all, at this rate it will only be another 5 years or so until islamic terrorism is accepted and is illegal to resist!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • SILVER

      BE ROMAN WHEN IN ROME. WHEN YOU CAN NOT ADOPT THE US CULTURE, WHY THE HELL YOU CAME TO US ? GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY IN DESERT AND CAVES. YOU ARE SUITABLE FOR THAT.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • JRB

      Very well said. I am an American Christian, and let me tell you, I don't care what religion or race a terrorist is. They could be my father, my pastor, my best friend for that matter. Any groups that decide to make unarmed, un-suspecting civilians their primary targets and objective are evil, sick-minded criminals. Call them Christian, Jew, Muslim or Athiest. Who cares.

      However, Muslims need to own up to the current state of their religion. The Catholic Church has to do this with child abuse. It was embarrassing and painful, but necessary. Islam must now do the same, or else they will continue to lose credibility.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Zee705

      Unwelcome: Any Religion Next Door

      March 27, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • freeddoom

      stop whining .did you adopt the native american culture???no!!! you killed them all!! i bet them native americans told you to go back to your hell holes too but we know you did not.sooo,all those idiotic arguments are invalid.b t w,what is terrorism???? and who is a terrorist??? those are the real questions that need to be answered.we all know al qaeda is a terrorist group because of their disregard for civilian safety and indiscriminate nature of their deeds.also that describes the US military and many other western militaries to a T !!! the funny thing is that most of the islamic terrorist groups were created and sponsored by the united states.bin laden was a US ally.lets investigated the nature of those relations if you realllly want the facts.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • humberto

      solidarity comrade reagan unt king .

      March 27, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  2. Blake

    Christianity has been watered down from its complete orginal state. (meaning people dont follow everything in the book anymore. They pick and choose based on general current morals of the time) Islam will be watered down as well. Once watered down everyone can become agnostics and eventually athiests. People can learn to be good because thats how they like to be treated themselves. And then the world will have one less problem.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      Good post Blake.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  3. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • John

      Wrong, Reality. What instigated the attack against the Twin Towers was political extremist. Al-Qaeda said so clearly. That attack was part of al-Qaeda's private war against the West for Israel-Palestine, for the Colonial period, and because of Western economic and political manipulation of Muslim countries. That was an act of war for al-Qaeda, just like bombing Hiroshima or Dresden or Hanoi .. Bin Laden said so himself.

      But the response of the unAmerican conservatives is to blame the religion and the people who resemble the actual terrorists, ignore the root causes, and try to punish/blame the vast majority of innocent, blameless Muslims right alongside the guilty.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  4. Pastor Franklin

    Really???? How many churches have we had to disarm??

    March 27, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  5. Flex

    I love the favoritism Islam is given in the US, yet no churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia the center of Islam....Wow, how dumb you expect people to be? And how far they would bend before they smack you back? This double standard must stop, why Muslims are running away from their own countries is they care about it so much? America has become a "gullible fool" to let this Islam invasion continue.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • MuslimsareEv!l

      Simple and logical. Such truths aren't welcomed here. This is a place for fantasies such as 'islam is peaceful' and 'only bad americans are against islam'

      Seriously, though, thanks for posting some truth! Refreshing!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Becca

      IF WE HAD A PRESIDENT WITH ANY GONADS HE WOULD SEE WHAT IS GOING ON AND START SYSTEMATICALLY REMOVING THEM FROM THIS COUNTRY, Oh I FORGOT HE IS A MUSLIM LOVER AND IS BUSY IN ORCHESTRATING THE TAKE OVER OF THIS COUNTRY

      March 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  6. Familydoc81

    I never leave comments but I have to say this....... Decisions are not simple. We make this as simple as about persecuting a religion . If the FBI did not infiltrate that mosque what would have happened? Yes so they monitored the mosque and the Muslims felt violated but lives were saved due to that investigation. I feel like the average American needs 'fo leave the Muslims alone to practice their religion but law enforcement have an obligation to go ahead and target them to protect us. We must be honest about the fact that more radical terrorists are Muslims than any other religion over the past few years. To ignore that and not go looking for terrorists in those groups would be to invite our own destruction. To not take a closer look at the centers for this religion would be unintelligent. Furthermore I would like to hear more Muslims denouncing the radical terrorists that rise up from their communities . The silence at times is deafening . Maybe these hearings are a good idea because they will finally force discourse about the issues on an open stage. As a society we have to stop thinking in absolutes. We weigh the positives and negatives and sometimes one choice is not always clean and tidy. We just pick the choice that we think has less negative and more positive. Other may disagree but I support the hearings.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  7. RLA

    Islam needs to change! It has made it part of the world a black hole of ignorance and the evidence is overwelming as one sees the tribal behavior and the Islamic power structures designed not for the worship of a God but the assimilation of people! My feeling is that the weak and those who can be intimidated make up this pseudo religion. Oh and if you call me islamaphobic one more time I will puke-get over yourselves!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  8. farmerboy

    Jiri-So if Muslims are commanded to live by the law of the land (as in America), as long as they are permitted to worship God, pray and fast, is that crap? For your information, that is what the Quran and Shariah law commands.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  9. Truthseeker

    If you want to know the truth about islam and islamic society, please visit faithfreedom@org
    If you have difficulty in finding the link then go to google and type faithfreedom@org
    Peace in the universe.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Bhushta

      do you by any chance have a good link for the truth about christianity? I'd prefer to see one that includes spanish and english inquisition, crusades, Bush's invasion of Iraq, Hitler's killing of Jews, and all the other acts of terror perpetrated by christians.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  10. Reality

    From the topic:

    "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.”

    Unfortuanately, Walid failed to note the following koranic/mosque/imam-driven historic acts of terror and horror:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011
    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    historical facts:

    And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.3/2011

    March 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Meggie

      Too long. Learn to make your point quickly. This isn't a history class.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • farmerboy

      Isn't free speech great? You can make up a bunch of numbers and maybe someone will believe you. Too bad telling lies in public is not a criminal act.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • John

      The fact that you can even make a rough list of the sins of an entire religion proves the peacefulness of it 🙂 Come on, as you well know, many groups have committed atrocities. We can all play this game. For example:

      White, Christian societies have the following sins on their hands:

      1) The Roman Conquests
      2) The Crusades
      3) The Inquisitions
      4) The Slave Trade
      5) The slaughter of native Americans from Alaska to Argentina
      6) The colonization and exploitation of most of the world's population (16-20th century)
      7) Both world wars
      8) The Holocaust

      need I go on?

      The point is, you are making excuses for your bigotry, and they are transparent excuses. Simply tell me this: do you blame innocent people for the sins of the guilty who happen to come from them? Do you think "Muslims" are terrorists? What about the innocent ones? How can you explain all the polls, surveys and public comments proving the vast majority of Muslims reject terrorism in all its forms?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • John

      That "Smiley Face" on #7 was supposed to be a #8 .. World Wars 1 and 2 and the Holocaust are no laughing matter.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • The Point

      The point is to demonstrate the consistent pattern of terrorism committed in the name of Islam. Liberals and Islamic apologists would just call a poster a right wing extremist without the aforementioned examples. Now all you have is to say the list is too long? Maybe if fewer terrorist attacks were carried out my Muslims that would be the case. Take off the rose colored glasses!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      To those that have replied. What you are missing is that the overwhelming majority of terrorist acts and suicide bombings in countries across the globe have been carried out by muslims and those faithful to allah/islam, in the 21st century.

      Who cares what happened thousands of years ago, were were much more primitive than we are today, as a whole.

      This crap is still going on TODAY, with all our advances in science and technology, that's a problem.

      Islam is the most violent, and muslims are committing the majority of terrorist acts.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      From: http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u

      o The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      20 million Joseph Stalin 20C

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)
      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans)

      8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      March 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • vanhoopcoach

      meg and farmerboy are folks who just don't have the time to read FACTS.
      What REALITY just shared with you are easily found facts that you chose not to read?
      That tells me a lot, lol.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Marcus

    Just reading these posts that are anti-Muslim shows that the Conservative Christian Republican Theocracy is the downfall of America. Escape goating Muslims like the Germans did to the Jews in WWII. If you are a true American, you can't vote Republican. Stop the hate!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Alpha

      You think the republicans are to blame for the hate speeches posted here? I would bet that the most extreme anti-Muslim posters here have never seen the inside of a voting booth. Stop being an idiot. Republican does not equal racism. You are a fool if you believe that.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Professor

      "Escape goating"?? Really???

      March 27, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Javier, Philadelphia, PA

      if you are a true American you will defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. that was the oath I took when I proudly joined the US Marine Corps. Have you ever taken an oath to defend your country, even against itself, at the cost of your own life? Do you even know what it means to be a patriot? The peaceful practice of Islam is not a threat in it of itself. The Muslim radicalization is. You just have to understand Muslim culture and their history of attempting to convert others to Islam, by force if necessary, to understand that this movement is a threat to out way of life and out national security. Of course Muslims are not going to say that their agenda is to convert the whole of the United States. that is not the way things are done anymore. This is the 21st century. misdirection, subtlety and political angling are the name of the game nowdays, but believe me that most Muslims will not feel satistfied until traffic in times square stops 6 times a day because they are playing arabic prayers over a loud speaker and everyone is kneeling to the east. Fortunately for America, there are still those of us who would give our lives before we see that happen.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  12. qsaimik

    God has no religion.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Terry - Indiana

      Assuming there is a god, and allowing that some supreme being created the world, what was the need for hundreds of religions? How did so many versions of various texts actually occur? Do you find it strange that women were never involved with text editing. Wars and Religion were created by man, and they operate hand-in-hand. Muslims are killing Muslims throughout the Middle East. What is wrong with that picture?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  13. Evil Begets Evil

    You mean the metropolis with the worst crime rate in the country? THAT Detroit!? I'm shocked, really.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  14. Terry - Indiana

    There is absolutely no religion that will ever control the legal system of the United States. The Founders made it clear that a separation clause was needed to protect religion from the government, and the government from religion. If Muslims want to be citizens of the United States, I support their efforts 100%. However, Catholics do not try to have the Pope and Catholic Doctrine forced upon the people of the United States, and if Muslims think that American Citizens will sit idly by as Muslim push Sharia Law as an alternative or replacement for the justice system, they need to leave, as soon as possible.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • James

      Yet we outlaw abortion, or severally restrict it, based on religious beliefs. Our money says "in God we trust", and we have Christmas off as a holiday. Hardly separation of church and state.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Becca

      PLEASE READ THE BOOK OF REVELATION BEFORE YOU SAY SHARIA LAW COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE

      March 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  15. JimMorrison

    I do not understand this logic – that muslims need to be treated the same way as christians are treated in some arab countries. The muslims citizens in US have nothing to do with arab countries. They dont represent those arab government..got it?
    So if those arab countries are called repressive shouldn't USA be called the same? Are you up for that?
    Ok, another thing for the ignorants – is there no violence in bible? Please read it first before trying to read other religion books.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Amen

      March 27, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Dolce21

      I want to make it clear that I am not for islam, but if the USA lets them practice their religion here that is fine, but it will not effect our laws, no sharia law, no killing because they disapprove of the groom or bride, no selling of groom or bride, or of children. They will and should live by OUR laws. the USA.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  16. John

    Jim, those passages refer to the polytheists, the Qureish, who were slaughtering Muslims at the time of the Islamic prophet. They were at war with them, and it doesn't apply to ALL nonbelievers. The very same Quran you are cherrypicking also says if the nonMuslims stop fighting, then they cannot be attacked, to give freedom of religion to the nonMuslims (which explains the large nonMuslim communities that have existed for thousands of years in Islamic countries), and that since God gave freedom of choice to us, who are we to take it from others?

    The problem with bigotry is its lack of scholarship and reason .. it has always used fake science and bogus arguments to justify a kind of hatred that was already going to be a foregone conclusion anyway. If you are going to "prove" something about Islam, be balanced and inform yourself better. Why? Justice and the dignity of a quarter of the world's population should be reason enough.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  17. Javier, Philadelphia, PA

    "They (people of the book, meaning Jews and Christians) disbelieve in Allah and confound truth with falsehood (3:70-3:71). Christians lie when they talk about the son of God (18:4-5).", "Fight against them, kill, convert, or subdue them and (only if it is beneficial to Islam) force them to pay a tax that Muslims do not have to pay (9:29-35). If they refuse to pay, kill them. (Other option is slavery).","Non-Muslims are condemned to hell/cursed/doomed/bad/evil/turned into swine or apes, etc. (2:61, 4:48, 4:50, 4:116, 4:47-52, 4:55, 4:157, 4:160, 5:12-5:13, 5:37, 5:51, 5:53, 5:59-60, 5:72-73, 5:79, 9:29-35, 18:52, 33:26, 59:14, 98:1).","Jews will face Allah’s wrath because they made friendships with those who disbelieve (5:80).","Mohammad (Allah) says Jews look ugly and they are foolish (62:5). Jews are greedy (2:91), and are evil-livers (5:59).","Allah will mock Christians when they burn in Hell, asking them Where are your partners now? (40:73).", "Muslims won’t get hurt fighting them (the people of the book), who will turn and flee and afterwards will not be helped (3:111)".,"
    And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah","Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority", "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them", "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah", "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah", "He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa'id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!", The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, "Kill any Jew who falls under your power.", "Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us" (Muhammad "the prophet"), "Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion", I have taken the time to search, copy and paste the preceding verses from the quran. When Timothy McVeigh bomb the building in Oklahoma, he ws a Christian acting out completely against everything that the bible teaches. Acts of violence against non-believers and Islamic radicalization on the other hand, are at the heart of islamic teaching. I don't care if they practice their religion, but please, don't shove it down my throat. These people (Muslims) are the ultimate hypocrites and furthermore, they are a threat to national security. Our mentality of tolerance willl only land us into another 9/11 over time.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Terry - Indiana

      It is not hard to define c-r-a-p when you smell it, or read it.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Meggie

      No one wants to read a blog, dude

      March 27, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Bhushta

      now let's go through the christian bible and find all the hateful, bigoted verses there. and yet you choose to ignore those.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Barry

      Well said. Some people just can't handle the truth.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • farmerboy

      Some people don't care about the truth and will do or say anything to forward their agenda. Taking verses out of context is what terrorists do. If you want to learn about Islam or any religion, go to the source, don't take a terrorist wannabe blogger's word for it.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      The enter key, and carriage returns, they are your friend.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Javier, Philadelphia, PA

      Bushta-yes please. That is my challenge to you. Find me all the bigotred and hate filled verses in the bible. If you don't know what you are talking about, then don't say anything at all, because I know my bible, but go ahead and find me all those verses that you are talking about it. I want to read them. Don't just make a statement that you think must be true, go ahead and back up that statement.I can tell you that the verses that I quoted are not from some terrorist manual. They are from the Quran itself that I dug out from the library at the Graduate Theological Union and University of California. Like I stated before. The verses I quoted are at the heart of their teaching. So what, the Muslims in other countries are also taking the Quran out of context? Does any Muslim follows their own holy book according to you. Please!!! come back with a stronger argument next time. BTW I'll be waiting for those hate filled verses from the Christian bible. One last thing, you history major. The crusades in the east were defensive wars. They were in direct response to Muslim agression and an attempt to turn back Muslim conquest of Christian lands. Christianity as a culture had to defend itself or be consumend by Islam. Read some book and learn some history before you start spouting misinformed, garden variety arguments that hold no weight when put under scrutiny. that goes for you and for every new age liberal out there who has been brain washed by the media to teh point where they believe everything that the media tells them.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  18. weary1

    I have a cousin from 911 and a nephew at fort hood, tell me again about these people!In many of their mosques they preace against us and obviously want us dead,so we should "understand and accept" these folks?KNOW THINE ENEMY!You want tolerance and your own laws ..go back to your countries! There many countries christians are not welcome right?

    March 27, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • nick2

      I was helped to safety at the World Trade Center – by my colleague – Muslim – on 9/11. I was almost overcome with fumes and would probably have died if it was not for him.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks and suicide bombings that have occurred the past 50 years in countries around the world, have been carried out by muslims and those faithful to allah and islam.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  19. Joe

    The good old U.S.A. is the safest country in the world for these people. They can always move.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      You gave the jews palestine by killing and kicking out palestinians from their lands after germany persecuted them. Who should the world evict to make a home for muslims who left ' their' countries to come to the usa or for those born here? What country? you go back to your country native american killer

      March 27, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Becca

      I WISH THEY WOULD ALL MASS EXODUS AMERICA AND GO BACK TO THEIR MIDDLE EASTERN HAVENS

      March 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  20. Truthseeker

    Islam does not teach love and humanity among people. Islam is a hateful political ideology. We have to destroy islam to save mother earth, and uphold common unity.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Bhushta

      well, truthseeker, you're not doing a very good job of finding truth. what you are saying is absurd, childish, and deeply ignorant.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • ssearthquake

      Islam will never be destroyed because it is the word of god. Hate as much as you want. You will fall sooner or later like the crusaders dogs did a thousand years ago. Your time will come.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • James

      "truthseeker":

      Have you actually read the Quran? Do you know ANYTHING about Islam, or are you basing your narrow minded view on what you watch on TV? Some 30 second sound clip that now makes you an "expert"? It's funny people like you attack Islam, yet conveniently forget about the Christian crusades. Every religion has their radicals, people that hijack the faith and use it as an excuse to kill and push their ideal beliefs. Look at the Westboro church, the Religious Right , or the KKK in the USA alone to prove that. You have crazies in all faiths. Now, with modern technology it's far easier for those nut-jobs to get their message out. Stop blaming the whole faith for the misdeeds of a few.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      EDIT: We have to destroy ALL RELIGIONS to save mother earth, and uphold common unity.

      Fixed.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Truthseeker

      Read faithfreedom.org and islam-watch.org

      March 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • nick2

      Why do you write something that is provably completely false. Do you really believe that there are about 1 billion Muslims who given the chance would convert or kill you? You should study the golden years of Islam – where they demonstrated far greater tolerance for Christianity and Judaism than was ever given to them.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:51 am |
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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.