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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. tiger

    CNN hijacked by Islam. This is driven by muslim employees in CNN.
    Does CNN muslim employees have the courage to accept the failure of Islam?
    Fake propaganda like this shows your true face.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • muslim religion of hate

      CNN has such a bias towards Muslims. This has gone overboard. Why isnt it politically correct to say that ISLAM more than any other religion is extremist and preaches for killing others through suicide bombings and other terrifying actions. The world must wake up and smell the coffee islam is trying to take over the world..

      March 27, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Another Larry

      What ignorant bigotry.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Tstrick

      Both of you are ignorant. Islam is not preaching to kill, Islam is not telling their followers to attack. Simply because CNN has the guts to say that while Fox "Fair and Balanced" shovels it at Muslims is not wrong. And what does a "failure of islam" even mean? These interviews hit the nail on the head. Why is it that religion only comes into question with crime when it is islam? That should be something we all ask ourselves.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Mohammad

      Most of the hateful comments here seem to be written by non Muslims – just by looking at the names. That shows the civility of Muslims. Kinda reminds me of how when the crusaders massacred everything that walks runs or crawls in Jerusalem in 1099 however when Muslims took it back they treated everyone with fairness and guaranteed freedom of religion for all. Oh by the way they didn't make a big deal that the church of Holy Sepulcher was close where the blood of Muslims and Jewish blood was spelled. Why do you think your churches still standing there?

      March 27, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      "convert or die"

      all religions are primitive and need to be abolished.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Another Larry

      @muslim religion of hate: "Why isnt it politically correct to say that ISLAM more than any other religion is extremist and preaches for killing others through suicide bombings and other terrifying actions. The world must wake up and smell the coffee islam is trying to take over the world."

      Because it's not true. You're attributing the actions of a very tiny percentage of Muslims to all Muslims. There are 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, more than four times the population of the U.S. and the extremists comprise less than 0.1% of them.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • frootyme

      It was written by Jewish employee of CNN. Let us start with Jewish employees of CNN to face the truth.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Another Larry

      According to tiger and frootyme the article was written by a Jewish Muslim. Well, I guess that makes about as much sense as everything else they say. This must like Obama being a Black Liberation Theology Christian Muslim.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • The Dude

      Hey, just a reply to Mohammed, I agree with you that the crusades were a series of mass murders committed by christians. But FYI you should read about the initial Muslim conquests under the Rushidun and Umayad Caliphates. These happened even before the crusades, where muslim conquerers declared war on the christian Bystantine empire as well as slaughtering the Visigothic christians of the Iberian penisula (Spain). We all need to understand that we have all done terrible things to each other and we need to seriously get over it, especially the stuff that happened A THOUSAND YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!

      March 27, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  2. Mike B

    It is not bigotry to be concerned about beheadings and "honor killings."

    March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • M.H.

      it is bigotry to associate beheadings and honor killings with every muslim you see

      March 27, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  3. Edward

    The first step toward healing, is admitting there is a problem. We now recognize the problem and can work to make things better.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  4. Guest 123

    I think there are a few of you out there that need to study how islam came about !!
    Mohamad saw a "Genie" and went home and told his wife that he is either a "prophet" or "crazy" Do some research and then you choose !!!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  5. Dave

    I cant believe the number of comments you try to leave on any of these muslims stories that cnn does not allow to be printed.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  6. Infidel

    They ARE unwanted in this country and CNNs crying about it isn't going to change anything, The fact that their muslim garb has cost them jobs during interviews shows that there are still some people out there with common sense. And for all those who cry about this post and scream racism, bigotry, etc, you can GFY.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • M.H.

      you are unwanted in this country

      March 27, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      religion and stupid people are unwanted in this country.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • hamza

      i will do better,i GFYmama!

      March 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Atheism is truth, god isn't real wrote: "religion and stupid people are unwanted in this country."

      Wrong!!! The right-wing nutcases just love "born-again" stupid people...

      March 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  7. norcalmojo

    Everyone feels alienated.

    Isn't that the point of multiculturalism?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  8. Ruby

    Good Morning, I am eagerly anticipating this program, though I see that so far I have not heard any mention of the great work being done by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who is teaching Islam as presented to those in North America by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. There was just a Saviours' Day Celebration held in Chicago at which over 19,000 people came to hear Minister Farrakhan. He has a large message and great work and following and there should be balance in the presentation of this topic. Thank you

    March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  9. M.H.

    As a proud native of Dearborn, and a first generation Lebanese-American, I believe I have the right to defend my city from ignorant buffoons who have never lived/been here. We do not commit crimes, we do not impose our ways on others, we do not "wage holy war" and commit so-called "honor killings". Instead, we work our butts off to provide for our families and improve our great city. Dearborn is just a hard-working immigrant driven city, and we have cultivated an existence that is highly integrated with American society and allied with other religious groups in the area.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  10. Anna

    "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."

    If I went job hunting wearing a bikini my chances of getting a job would be pretty slim. Lady, you are in a secular western country. Get used to it or go back to where you can wear your headscarf.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  11. Craig

    I heard many disturbing comments regarding the teachings in the Koran so I decided to read it. It is far worse than I had heard. I you are under the impression that this is a religion of peace, forgiveness, and tolerance then read the Koran. Barbarism at it's worst would be more accurate.

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

      heard many disturbing comments regarding the teachings in the BIBLE so I decided to read it. It is far worse than I had heard. I you are under the impression that this is a religion of peace, forgiveness, and tolerance then read the BIBLE. Barbarism at it's worst would be more accurate.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Atheism is truth, god isn't real

      I know of many disturbing lies regarding the teachings in ALL RELIGIOUS TEXTS so I decided to read them. THEY are far worse than I had heard. NO ONE is under the impression that these are religions of peace, forgiveness, and tolerance when read in ALL RELIGIOUS TEXTS. IGNORANCE, PRIMITIVE, and LESS EVOLVED barbarism at it's worst would be more accurate.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  12. Dave

    As my good friend MOE and NOSHEEN said when they came to this country from the middle east. "we escaped because we could no longer take being around a "religion of blood and hate and now here our muslim friends are importing the same relgion here" Both of them have left their faith due to the hatred theyhad been taught from childhood. They see what is happening here and it scares them.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  13. Guest 123

    Islam is a religion of hate ( against all non- muslims )

    Tolerance to those who tolorate ! And we all must live by the same law !

    March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  14. tykka1

    We definitely are going to have to learn to live with them and all other cultures. The only thing that concerns me is why they don't speak out about radicalized Islam. I would suggest the millions that are here have large peacefull protest against people that are hijacking their religion. What we are reading and hearing everyday is the worst of Islam because of the Taliban in Pakistan blowing up schools with children, the women are second class citizens. Forcing uneducated children to strap explosives on themselves. Giving their children away at age 9 to a 60 year old, i don't know if that's part of Sharia law, if it is then we can't accept that and you have to change the bad parts. You need to speak out more, tell the radicals and teach the children that hating everyone doesn't work. Be thankfull for being allowed to be American. I'm just wondering how tolerent you would be of me if I lived in your country and If I tried to protest again Radicals where I would end up. What if I spoke out about Blasphemmy, would I be killed like the Goverment officals who spoke out in Pakistan. What about the Madrasses teaching children hate. That is part of your culture that you need to clarify to your youth and especially to Americans.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  15. Bob

    "Islamophobia" is legit when the threat is real: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/Islamophobia.htm

    March 27, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  16. REG in AZ

    I don't know a whole lot about Islam but much of what I see has the tendency to be scary and just alienate. Not only with the radicals and the terrorists, although that is very significant, but also in things like how they don't want to translate the Qur'an into any other language from Arabic. There just appears to be a whole lot of effort that goes into not being open and instead to being isolated. Then there is the actually condoning of violence, their treating women as inferior and other actions which seem in drastic contrast to our values. So much of what Islam presents seems to be about rigid control, about stringently controlling their people and having them blindly follow. Now maybe there is merit in having people be extremely religious but I suspect that with the complete control they demand it easily leads to real abuse and, consistent with much of what has already been seen, that can just be totally scary (especially when considering their aggressive recruiting and political agendas). There is considerable said about Islam being a peaceful and compassionate religion but while we don’t want to condemn a whole religion, we also really need to see actions that support those professed qualities, because so far the words have been mostly empty.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  17. danny

    why is a muslim living next to me any more of a problem than a jewish guy? don't get it.........

    March 27, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Becca

      CUZ A JEWISH FAMILY IS NOT GOING TO KIL YOUR FAMILY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAPPEN TO CALL JESUS CHRIST YOUR LORD AND SAVIOUR

      March 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  18. Marcus

    The USA is not a Christian Nation: [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PntDpcRu0_g&w=480&h=390]

    March 27, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • O2BinCLT

      It's not about whether or not the U.S. is a Christian nation. I am a Christian and I don't consider the U.S. a Christian nation. It's about adhering to societal norms as I stated in my post. I shouldn't have to pander to some minority group just as I wouldn't be allowed to live the same way that I do here as I would if I moved to one of their home countries. If you want to wear clothing that differs from what is considered normal, do it on your time, not on mine. Should I have to hire someone who dresses like a Storm Trooper every day because they worship the Force?

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

      it is not YOUR country,it is OUR country(both yoursand mine).non-euroeans do not have to follow european customs.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  19. hamza

    americans are naturally idiots,they do not understand words,nor they have morals.we muslims need to stop talking nice to fascists and tell it the way it is.americans are trying to hide and justify crimes against muslims abroad by blaming muslims.very often i hear european americans(whites) telling like :"we don't need them here".let us clear something-white people do not have jurisdiction over the others,we are not your guests.we are equal here.america has invited terrorism on itself by terrorizing muslims abroad.america needs to become decent,peaceful country.and these white supremacists need to be tamed.real axis of evil,church-congress-pentagon,are inciting hatred against the part of the population.one thing i can tell to these fascists:for as long as america is murdering muslims,you will be target.there are more than 1.5 billion muslims with a lot of money available from oil sales and muslims will not lay down and let you push them around.whether you like it or not,that is the way it is.you are not gods.stop attacking anyone and downsize your egos.i personally disrespect these "patriots" and will not help them any way,for me they are cancer.

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

      "1.5 billion with a lot of money available from oil sales?" Does that sound like a real Muslims to anyone? Only the rednecks really think "oil sales" are the main source of money for Muslims. Any real Muslim would know that a) that "oil money" is NOT available to anyone but the ruling families in the Gulf (who are basically servants of the US State Dpt, and who won't spend a single penny on terrorism), and b) that most wealth in the Islamic world comes from free enterprise (businesses, lawfirms, doctor's offices, schools, etc).

      Another redneck posting as "Hamza", a fake "Muslim". I guess to try to "prove" how bad those Muslims are.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • John

      A person claming to be named Hamza wrote "1.5 billion with a lot of money available from oil sales?" Does that sound like a real Muslims to anyone? Only the rednecks really think "oil sales" are the main source of money for Muslims. Any real Muslim would know that a) that "oil money" is NOT available to anyone but the ruling families in the Gulf (who are basically servants of the US State Dpt, and who won't spend a single penny on terrorism), and b) that most wealth in the Islamic world comes from free enterprise (businesses, lawfirms, doctor's offices, schools, etc).

      Another redneck posting as "Hamza", a fake "Muslim". I guess to try to "prove" how bad those Muslims are.

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

      well,i have never been in any arab country,so i only know about the oil.my goal is to attract the attention of journalists and some politicians to start paying attention to what real,white rednecks from mostly bible belt/heartland america are doing-undermining the very foundations of america.this country needs serious restructuring,many things are wrong.this foreign policy that is villifying muslims is vintage,the new one needs to be created.america needs to become responsible country,needs to ratify international crimes court cooperation agreement and deliever war criminals to hague.that would make congressmen think before they spit hatred.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Becca

      SO WHY DON'T YOU JUST LEAVE?

      March 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • ulbpsu

      appears you are looking for another building to blow up.....

      March 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • vanhoopcoach

      Tough talk from behind a keyboard.
      Sounds like ya might be a little hot because of how your faith supports treatment of women like dogs.
      America does not want that type of 'faith.'
      Threaten all you want.
      But the day will come when the followers of such lunacy will be forced to leave this great nation.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  20. REG in AZ

    I don't know a whole lot about Islam but much of what I see has the tendency to just alienate. Not only with the radicals and the terrorists, although that is very significant, but also in things like how they don't want to translate the Qur'an into any other language from Arabic. There just appears to be a whole lot of effort that goes into not being open and instead to being isolated. Then there is the actually condoning of violence, their treating women as inferior and other actions which seem in drastic contrast to our values. So much of what Islam presents seems to be about rigid control, about stringently controlling their people and having them blindly follow. Now maybe there is merit in having people be extremely religious but I suspect that with the complete control they demand it easily leads to real abuse and, consistent with much of what has already been seen, that can just be totally scary (especially when considering their aggressive recruiting and political agendas). There is considerable said about Islam being a peaceful and compassionate religion but while we don’t want to condemn a whole religion, we also really need to see actions that support those professed qualities, because so far the words have been mostly empty.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Mohammad

      Did you just say that the Quran is not translated? LOL (This is the first time I use LOL so that gives you an indication of how ridiculous and ignorant your argument is).

      March 27, 2011 at 10:38 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.