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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. Jonathan

    Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice. Freedom doesn't mean handing the keys to my own jailors. If Muslims ran America, I would be forced as a Jew to pay a Jizya, which is a non-Islamic poll-tax. Yeah – go ahead and try that and see what happens. We Jews were here long before most of you; we'll be here LONG AFTER YOU. We'll protect our freedoms by any means necessary.

    You want 'tolerance,' CNN? Write an artcile that demands Saudi Arabia allow Jews and Christians in Mecca. Demand the TOTAL REPEAL of Sharia law worldwide. Demand that temples and Christian churches be built in Muslim countries that don't allow them. Require Islam to CLEAN ITS OWN SIDE OF THE STREET before it comes here whining about 'acceptance.' Until then, go stick your 'tolerance' where the sun don't shine.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Marcus

      Your not an American, you sound like an Israeli. However, as an American Christian who is looking into converting to Islam and even more so after reading all your posts, I recommend reading this: http://www.islamdenouncesantisemitism.com

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

      Spoken truly! Right on brother!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • David Weston

      I wonder if CNN would do a series of articles with a pro-Christian slant as they are doing with Islam? I seriously doubt it. It is interesting that we are being asked to tolerate a movement responsible for 9/11 and countless acts of terrorism against America and Americans. I for one refuse.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • David Geffeney

      Well said Jonathan. Satan's attempt to destroy God's people (you) has failed throughout history. We tenack based Christian scholars will be standing by you during this troubling time, even unto death.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Brad Hudson

      Well said.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      @David Geffeney: I'm a Jew and I know that most of the cozying up to Jews by Christians is so we'll become Christians.

      @Marcus: I'd suggest you read the entire Qur'an before saying that Islam, in any way, denounces Antisemitism. All displacement theologies - religions that believe they replaced what came before them - are anti-whatever-came-before-them. As for Jonathan sounding like an Israeli, not in the least. Jews were around before Rome was even a city-state. We were around before Greece. We'll be around after Muslims realize that acts of violence and oppression are causing more problems for the spread of Islam and "tawhid" (pure monotheism) than anything else. A dear friend of mine is an Iraqi Shi'a Muslim. Members of his family were murdered by Sunni relatives. Islam has been at war with itself with Yazid murdered Imam Hussein in 61AH at the Battle of Karbala. Before you recite the Shadahah, know what you're getting yourself into, and choose your side wisely.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • das272

      @Jonathan - good point. You rock!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Che Quevas

      Marcus is already a Muslim – he has said so already but is now pretending to be so "shocked" that he is "going to turn to Islam".

      Marcus is a bald-faced liar. A dog of a Muslim who sticks his nose up another man's crack.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Film at 11

      Many Jews are openly racist, spewing the hate of any goyim. Others not so much.

      Israel is so similar to Nazi Germany, I can't help but wonder how long it will be before the next Holocaust – only next time the ones murdered will be Muslims maybe instead of the Christians who hate Jews because Jesus was a Jewish heretic.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  2. Kevin

    I was discriminated in my own Islamic country because of being Christian. It is time for them to pay the price and what they are doing to us back there. Wake up America, in the new eve in my country they blow up a church and killed 13 people and she is upset that she is losing a job because of her scarf!!!!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  3. Wake Up

    Spoken by a Muslim who knows the real truth and agenda:

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxklsBVub-s&w=640&h=360]

    March 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      It would have been a lot more believable if he'd admit that Islam, just like Christianity, believes that it is the One True Religion and everyone in the world is destined to realize the error of their ways and convert, or eventually die some horrific death.

      If you want to read where all the bad things happens in the Christian texts, open to the book of Revelations and just start reading.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  4. woodro742

    First of all this was never their land , and tough shot if this is the way it is , they are the one`s who read that book 20 times a day about killing anyone who don`t believe in their ways , and I will not forget them dancing in the streets when 9/11 happened
    they have not deserved the trust of this country so soon and find another country to live and hate if this one is not to their liking

    March 27, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  5. Dave

    One of my best friends and probably one of the best people I know is a muslim. I often talk to him about the various tragedies caused by muslims all over the world and he openly says that they are misguided. There still isn't enough muslims like my close friend who realize the difference between a real muslim and the brainwashed portion that permeates most of their religion. Until they start to speak out against them on regular LOUDER basis they will be feared and rightfully so. CNN like they do with everyone of their PC driven Race articles appears to be completely oblivious to reality ( note I said appears ) to try and deflect it by blaming others for a problem caused by the very people they want you to sympathize with. Assimilate or get out is gist of the point I'm trying to get across to non brainwashed muslims in this country.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  6. hank

    Has anyone read the Koran? I am not a Conservative, I am quiet liberal, so I read this book. Disturbingly, the Koran gives the Ok to kill infidels/non-believers, beat your wife etc.....if any Muslim posts otherwise, you are misrepresenting your beloved religion and a liar. That being said, if Muslims wish to worship their religion and leave politics out of the equation, and embrase Western values then welcome to America. Otherwise, go back to your dirt hole country, sell us your oil, and leave us the hell alone.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  7. jay thakor

    all religious books were written on planet earth ,none fell from the sky men wrote what was suitable at that time

    March 27, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      Yes, I approve this message.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  8. roy

    If there are people blowing up buildings and shooting innocent civilians in the name of religion,then you cant blame people to be distrustful,If you are being told to be a martyr in the name of religion,then have 70 virgins in heaven, there will be problems.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  9. Flex

    I lived amongst Muslims half of my 57 years old of life. There is a hidden agenda in Islam, and do not let anyone else convince you or try to otherwise, because it's a lie. Our American leaders and politicians have fallen for this lie and the march of Islam within the US is on with a blast. Yes, you can go ahead and call me an "Islamofobic" , "racist" or a "bigot", it would not matter to me, because you won't be able to take the many years of first hands direct experience with Islam from me, NEVER....which is pretty ugly and repulsive indeed.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  10. wial

    Often people most hate in others what they most fear in themselves. Christianity is more ancient than Islam, so your point (if you had one) applies more strongly to it.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  11. Dave

    On purpose/due to naive decision makers/due to a large contingent of Muslims on the payroll/ ..it really does not matter but CNN is fanning the flames of divisions in the usa between muslims and the rest of the country. CNN for whatever reason is trying to do this and perhaps dont even know it. THere is a tremendous lack of understanding of the historical foundations of religious belief and how it is implemented. Very sad but CNN is very naive.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  12. Peter

    All of the posts about the "fact" that ALL Muslims are an evil force in the United States reminds me of what was widely said and published in America about Catholics and Jews in the late 1800s. You can't elect a Catholic, the Pope will end up ruling the USA, Jews will make pork and shellfish illegal, etc. I guess some things never change in the USA. Oh by the way, some are advocating that third generation American Muslims "go back to where they came from". What? Some people ho post on this board are so saturated in fear that they can't think straight. And isn't that what the RADICAL Muslims want?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      I have =no= intention of going back where I came from. South Jersey is a nice place to visit, but they talk funny and eat weird food.

      I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  13. Veritas

    Interesting that when laws are made to restrict the imposition of Christianity in the public space (banning school prayer, etc.) liberals poo-poo any cry of "what's next" from Christians. But when states very reasonably act to keep judges from citing Sharia law in court cases involving Muslims, liberals to say a word in response to non-sensical fears. Why is that?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      Besides being illegal to do anything to outlaw Sharia (violates the Free Exercise clause), there are millions of Jews waiting to see how Kosher laws are going to be attacked next.

      I don't see any activity where Christians are blatantly working to convert Muslims - mostly they want Muslims to go "back" to wherever they came from. But for Jews, I get to experience the pure joy of being told that I'm going to die and go to Hell for rejecting Jesus and would I like another slice of pork with my dinner? As soon as Christians figure out that we (Jews) have our own legal system, y'all will be out to outlaw us as well.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Jonathan

      Yes; why do liberals and lefties scream and whine when someone puts up a manger scene within 400 yards of a public school, but have NO PROBLEM with a mosque being built on Ground Zero?

      ANSWER: It's because they hate Western culture. Islam is an enemy of Western culture, and lefties are following the dictum which states 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'

      There REALLY ARE Americans who want to destroy their own society. Go to any major university and you'll find them.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  14. AJ JONES

    STONING TO DEATH IS SHARIA .
    SO IS, CUTTING OF HANDS FOR THEFT, CHECKING WOMEN WITH VERGINITY TESTS, KILLING WOMEN FOR CHEATING, AND MURDERING ALL INFIDELS(NON-MUSLAMBS).
    JUST BECAUSE A MURDERER DOES SOMETHING THAT IS NOT IMMORAL AND ILLEGAL, DOESNT CHANGE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE A MURDERER.
    IF YOU "PEACEFUL" MUZZIES WERE GOING AFTER THE RADICALS YOURSELVES, THEN PEOPLE WOULD NOT WONDER ABOUT YOU.
    AND IF YOU WATCHED THE HEARINGS, YOU WOULD KNOW THEY WERE TOTALLY IN SUPPORT OF ISLAM WITHOUT VIOLENCE...BUT IM SURE NONE OF YOU DID....HEII, HALF OF THEM DIDNT EVEN KNOW IT TOOK PLACE !

    March 27, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  15. gene

    The word American does not have another word before it. You are either American or not. If you want to be muslim go to a muslim country since loyalty is not to this country. Personally I'm glad they're on edge because that's what I am because of them.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  16. Alim Beta Israel

    The sad part is that amerikkka is still stuck in the mind state created by George Bush and co. If you really believe that the govt had nothing to do with 9/11, then you are a Fool! This country is headed for destruction, and your ignorance is the fuel. Christianity, catholism, etc are all untrue. So anything that can be done to discount the truth will be done. They have taken wise and crafty counsel, welcome to Babylon!

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

      Of course America played a part in 9/11. The part of being the victim. You've got a few loose screws if you believe any politician in America would ask for us to be attacked. Crawl back under your rock.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Dom

      you're an idiot, please tell me you don't live in the USA

      March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  17. Dystopiax

    I belong to the unusual religious sect called STILTISTS. It is our religious practice, based upon sacred script, for the males to walk about their environment using stilts that raise their feet 30 inches off the ground. On Wednesdays, our religion obliges the men not to wear any pants or clothing that covers their genitals – which consequently are at your eye level and in your face. If you object to this, that is too bad because this is a religious practice. You are a bigot.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      lol

      March 27, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  18. Jonathan

    When was the last witch burning by a bunch of Christians?

    When was the last honor killing of a 16 year old girl performed by Christians?

    When was the last time a Jew or a Christian threatened to kill or convert you?

    When was the last systematic female genital mutilation done by a Christian?

    When was the last suicide bombing performed by a 13 year old Christian?

    When was the last Fatwa?

    When was the last killing of an apostate?

    The next time some idiot, western culture-hating Leftist spouts off about how we're 'Just as bad' or 'Even worse' than Islam, ask him/her those questions. Get in their face, ask them repeatedly, and don't stop until they're on the ground crying. Grind them into the dust like the traitors they are. Remember that these people are the ENEMY WITHIN who would hand YOUR freedom over fascist murderers in a second.

    This is a war; a war between western democracy and its faults and imperfections, and a fascist theocracy with NO PRETENSIONS whatsoever towards freedom. Keep this in mind.

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

      The last suicide bombing by a christian was at least the lockerbee bombings, if not newer.
      The rest, the answer is "pretty recently", actually. If you actually pay attention to the religions of most countries, you would discover christians are in fact, just as bad.
      Sorry for your ignorance

      March 27, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • AJ JONES

      YOU MEAN LIKE DROPPING BOMBS AND INVADING OTHER COUNTRIES TO MAKE THEM A DEMOCRACY ?...WE IN AMERICA ARE A REPUBLIC....DEMOCRACY IS WHAT WE CALL OUR VOTING SYSTEM.
      BUT A TOTAL DEMOCRATIC GOVT. IS CALLED MAJORITY RULE....AND OUR EVIL LEADERS WOULD LOVE THAT, SINCE THEY CONTROL THE MEDIA AND THE MINDS OF THE MASSES OF SHEEP.
      IM NOT FOR ISLAMB AT ALL !...BUT DONT KID YOURSELF , DUDE.

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

      Well said. And to the other replies, you continue to underscore your ignorance of America. The American military IS NOT a religious group. They are a secular group run by a government. They do not drop bombs in the name of a religion or a god. They do so to advance or protect American interests around the world. You can disagree with them (as I do many times), but they ARE NOT religious.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Sam

      I love it. You pretty much nailed it Jonathan.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • freeddoom

      @JRB.now i feel much better.those killings of millions in korea,vietnam,iraq ,afganistan,panama,........................................ were just for the interests of the united states and that makes everything just fine.even though the perps were judeo christians,that is still ok because they did not do it for religious reasons.makes perfect sense to me!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Jonathan

      That's it; keep the focus on 'The Evil West' and look forward to your own dismay when some young girl is honor-killed in your town. MORONS.

      What is it that you DON'T enjoy about western freedoms; is it the air conditioning? Democratic electoral process? Vaccinations? Women's rights? High standard of living? I guess the reason why so many people world-wide want to come here is that we suck, right?

      Oh, sorry; I shouldn't expect linear reason from idiots. My bad on that one.

      The problem with people like you is that you've transmogrified self-criticism and introspection into SELF-HATRED. You've been brainwashed by your hypocrite Cultural Sudies proffessors (the same hypocrites who spout America hatred while enjoying their pensions at AMERICAN universities).

      Get a grip – or GET OUT. We don't need you here.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      Jonathan: Brilliant.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • das272

      @Jonathan - awesome post!

      March 27, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Chris

      Jonathan, thank you!!!! You did nail it. I don't always agree with everything of our culture but it's the best so far!

      March 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  19. JRB

    Never ceases to amaze me how people who are supposed to be so supportive of "the truth" resort to dishonesty when it comes to their own sin. Dear Muslim brothers & sisters, please don't pee on my leg and then tell me it's raining. Let's be honest, shall we? Your religion is one that absolutely supports honor killing, stoning of sinners (like adulterers), jihad of both the pen and sword and a large portion of Muslims felt 911 was justified. This is fact. Own up to it. You lose credibility when you lie about your true beliefs.

    And you wonder why on earth we get angry when we hear that Islam is a "religion of peace". Sorry, not all Americans are that gullable. I'll make you a promise though. When I see leaders in Islam aggressively seek to uproot, discredit and discard things like honor killings and jihad then I will take back all my comments. However, when I still have personal Muslim friends that tell me to my face that they too support jihad of the sword and hate American ways then I say PLEASE STOP TELLING ME THAT YOU LOVE ME AND WANT PEACE. You don't want peace. You want me to convert to Islam, or else. Period. Everywhere we see your beloved Sharia law, we see laws being regularly enforced that are just plain evil from an American perspective. Do you get it? We think Sharia law and religions that teach things like "jihad of the sword" are wrong, dangerous and unacceptable.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      Dont crap on people and tell them it's snowing

      March 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Professor

      You are 100% correct! Where is the outrage from the peaceful Muslims about terrorism, so-called honor killings, and the treatment of women?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      Could you provide the chapter and verse of the Qur'an that supports honor killings?

      Thanks.

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

      Dear Juile in Austin,

      Where did I refer to the Quaran in my post? I said Sharia law supports honor killing, which is absolute fact. In most Muslim countries, this and countless other acts that we would find criminal in this country are allowed. Sadly, most such laws are largely applied to women while men face far less penalty. This is undisputed fact, and is one reason why we don't buy your "religion of peace" mantra.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      I urge you to check out the website, http://www.IslamQA.com. The answers are made by "Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, a well known author and lecturer, using only authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Go to the section on politics. The first question is regarding democracy. The answer is that "it is contrary to Islam..."

      Every good Muslim is urged to do everything he/she can to implement the shariah of Islam. If this means working within the system to "overturn the system of government..." and implement the sharia, then this is what Muslims are ordered to do.

      Other shocking statements:

      "Men are superior to women..."
      "It is forbidden to play music or to stand for the national anthem or salute the flag..."
      "All other religions are either fabricated or false or abrogated..."
      "Muslims fight to free people from the injustice of other religions..."

      This website reveals that Islam is not just a religion. It is a theocratic dictatorship, ruling every aspect of life. There is no religious tolerance, no acceptance of any other system of government, no personal freedom of choice.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Ihab

      what about bombing nations like Iraq to spread "american" democracy ? Isn't this "american" Jihad ?? Oil Jihad :))
      what about mr Bush claiming that his war on terror is "a crusade" ?? who told you that Islam or even sharia law supports Honour killing. It is forbidden. It is a tradition that is in some cultures. Not from Islam. Good luck in the new Jihadist crusade of Lybia. secure the oil and support each and every dictator like Mubarak in the middle east like you always did. This is the jihadist democracy :)))

      March 27, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      @JRB:

      Sharia Law is based on the Qur'an (first and foremost) and the Sunnah (life of Muhammed). Sharia isn't "what people do", it's grounded in Islam, which is based on the Qur'an. So, where in the Qur'an can you find justification for honor killing?

      If you want to spout anti-Muslim propaganda, that's your right. Just don't expect to be asked to back it up. Islam has plenty enough problems as it is without people making up new ones.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  20. Jon

    "The women in his family draw stares because of their Islamic headscarves"

    Well, Ali, when you treat the women in your family like dogs, that's what people do. They stare, out of shock. Shocked that people today can still treat females with such ignorance. We are a liberal society that believes men and women ought to be equal. So, if you beat your women, make them wear head scarves, make them worship behind a curtain in a balcony, etc, then we will stare. When you start treating women as equals, we will stop staring.

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

      So what? We should make laws that infidels who...gasp...stare at a Mulim scarf get flogged? " We'll, uh, yes that would be a good start...for freedom." says my Muslim friend.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • sick to my stomach

      I'm sure you like when people state at your mom or daughter when they flaunt around half naked. Most likely you also stare... Your a sick man...get some help for your facism and ignorance. Your comments are the true terror

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

      Nice ad hominem attack (look it up). Islam must be very happy to have such an articulate defender amongst her ranks.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Jon

      @sick to my stomach:

      If treating my wife and daughter with respect and dignity means I'm a fascist then I'm guilty as charged. You, on the hand, either beat your wife or are sympathetic to those who do. What does that you (besides a Muslim)?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Ihab

      Which school taught you that moslem men force women to wear scarfs ? Have you ever asked a moslem woman if she is wearing the scarf because someone forced her ??? who is the smart scholar that taught you that moslem men beat their women and treat them like dogs ? Did moslem women ever ask for your help to rescue them from the brutality ?? Haven't you noticed that moslems tends to live in stronger families ? why do you volunteer to play the superman who understands the other? I think a person should focus on fixing his\her problems before he or she volunteers to speak for others without even being invited.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:39 am |
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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.