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U.S. Muslims happy with their country despite pressure, study finds
More than half of American Muslims say it’s harder to be a Muslim in America since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
August 30th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

U.S. Muslims happy with their country despite pressure, study finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

People look at Zeinab Chami a little warily sometimes, she says, especially when she travels outside big cities.

She started wearing a headscarf when she was in her early 20s, making herself "a visible Muslim."

That "can really be an emotional strain," she says.

Life is getting harder for American Muslims, she says, given the media's portrayal of Muslims, the false perception that President Barack Obama is Muslim, and the rise of the tea party, whose most vocal leaders, according to Chami, "spew vitriol against anyone perceived to be 'foreign.'"

And yet, she says, American Muslims are "lucky."

"I have Muslim friends who are from every ethnic background. It's easier to get to the true spirit, the true practice of Islam," in the United States. It's easier for a Muslim woman to get a postgraduate education in America, and the American sense of civic-mindedness jibes with Muslim teaching, she says.

"When people see a clash of civilizations, they are wrong," she says.

Chami - a 27-year-old educator working with a nonprofit to improve teens' math and reading skills in Michigan - is typical of many American Muslims, a new survey suggests.

Many American Muslims feel singled out by government anti-terror policies; significant minorities have been called names or had their mosques attacked; and most say it's harder to be a Muslim in the United States now than it was before September 11, 2001.

And yet the vast majority say their communities are very good places to live, that Americans are not hostile toward Muslims, and that American Muslims have a better quality of life than Muslims elsewhere, the survey of more than 1,000 American Muslims has found.

Support for Islamic extremism is not rising among Muslim Americans, who are much less likely to support terrorism than Muslims in many other countries, according to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

Seven out of ten American Muslims have very unfavorable views of al Qaeda, while only 5% have favorable or somewhat favorable views.

Chami puts it bluntly: "Everybody hates al Qaeda - hates, hates, hates. There is real hatred because of the atrocious attacks and because the blowback on the community affecting us."

The lack of support for extremism "makes these perceptions about Muslims in America kind of ironic," Chami says ruefully.

But Rep. Pete King, R-New York, who has been chairing high-profile congressional hearings about the radicalization of U.S. Muslims, argued that the Pew study "was not as positive as it might seem."

"Seventy percent of American Muslims are opposed to al Qaeda. We are at war with al Qaeda. One hundred percent should be opposed to al Qaeda," he said.

He's not worried about the radicalization of the community as a whole, he said: "I've always said the majority of Muslims are good Americans. My concern is the small number of Muslims who can be radicalized."

"Al Qaeda is attempting to recruit, and we can't hide from it. If they can recruit 15 or 20 or 30 people, that's what we're talking about. There were 19 hijackers on September 11," he said.

And while he acknowledges that the percentage of American Muslims who trust the government's anti-terror efforts is rising, he says it's still not high enough.

"Only 43% think that government anti-terrorist efforts are sincere. If 57% don't think they're sincere, then when the FBI comes into their communities, they're not going to cooperate with those efforts. I think that's worrying," he said.

The survey shows that American Muslims are much less likely to support terrorism than their co-religionists in the Middle East.

Four out of five say suicide bombing and other violence against civilians is never justified. That's a significantly higher percentage than Muslims in five Middle Eastern countries and territories surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project earlier this year.

And although six out of 10 express some worry about the possible rise of Islamic extremism in the United States, only two out of 10 believe there is much support for extremism today.

Just under half of American Muslims say U.S. Muslim leaders have not spoken out enough against extremism, while one in three say they have.

The survey came against the background of a number of controversies touching the American Muslim community, ranging from King's hearings to the debate over plans to build an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan.

Even so, American Muslims have positive views of the United States now, and they are getting more favorable over time, the survey found.

American Muslims are far more likely to believe that the United States is sincere in its efforts to fight terrorism now than they were four years ago, the study says.

Just under half of them say American efforts are sincere, many more than believed it in 2007, when George W. Bush was president.

The rising level of trust comes even though half of all American Muslims believe that they're being singled out for increased surveillance and monitoring, the study says.

The feeling that it's harder to be a Muslim in America since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks has held steady since 2007, with just over half expressing the view in each survey.

About one out of five Muslim Americans say they've been called offensive names in the past year, and about the same number say they've been singled out by airport security.

And many feel that their own leaders are not doing enough to fight Islamic extremism, according to the study, a joint project of the Pew Research Center for People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The researchers spoke to 1,033 Muslim Americans between April 14 and July 22, doing telephone interviews in English, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi.

Asked whether they consider themselves Muslims or Americans first, half of the respondents said Muslim, a quarter said American, and the rest either said both equally or that they didn't know.

American Christians, by way of comparison, split right down the middle. Just under half say American, just under half say Christian, and less than one in ten chooses either both or "don't know."

Zeinab Chami, the educator, chose a different answer.

"I would say I consider myself a human first, and I live my life according to that," she said. "We're all the human family, and that happens to be a very Islamic point of view. My loyalty is to God, then humanity. Not God, then country - God, then humanity."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Polls • United States

soundoff (915 Responses)
  1. maryhh

    The Muslims in our country sit back and practice their freedoms here, while our sons and daughters go and fight for the freedom of their countrymen back home. I don't remember hearing them say "thank you", I don't remember seeing them marching in the streets in support of our war efforts, I would like to see them publicly condem the actions of the Taliban and each and everyday call out for the support here and abroad for our futile efforts . I don't see the war ending well. The extremist will not lay down arms, they are brainwashed into believing in a cause. If a large majority of Muslims spoke out publicly against their actions, and condemned the men and the families that support them, maybe personnal responsibility and public peer pressure will sway the Extremists.But speaking out makes you a target, so again, they will sit quietly and let us fight, die, and go broke trying to give them what they are not willing to fight for themselves ......

    August 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Conky2012

      This article is insulting lol.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Billy

      Yikes! Mary you are right about all of that! Where are the protests in the streets? Where are the good guys?

      August 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Kyne

    Sadly, instead of sincere efforts to lower the numbers of those who favor, even somewhat, al-Qaeda and terrorism, a lot is done to turn the rest over to that dangerous mindset. It's simply sad, because those against it are still the great majority, one that if it backs the efforts has great power and influence. That majority should be supported and strengthened. Instead it is alienated by collective discrimination.

    At the moment I feel more terrorized and threatened in my daily life by Christians than by muslims. There are radical, extremist and fundamenalist Christians in America that terrorize and threaten the society. But because they call themselves Christians (Jesus would be so ashamed), it's ok. Because it's laws and policies instead of bombs and machine guns, because it's cutting souls instead of throats and poisoning minds instead of bodies, it's ok. It's all ok, as long as they say Amen at the end of their hate tirade.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • bobt

      There are 1.8M Muslims in the US so let's do the math...
      "Four out of five say suicide bombing and other violence against civilians is never justified." therefore 20% think it is = 360,000 US Muslims who don't care if innocent civilians are killed.
      "Seven out of ten American Muslims have very unfavorable views of al Qaeda, while only 5% have favorable or somewhat favorable views." this equals ONLY 90,000 US Muslims ready to join the ranks of al Qaeda and attempt to kill you and your children.
      "Only 43% think that government anti-terrorist efforts are sincere." Judging from the numbers above I must agree... send them ALL packing! Let's show them we ARE serious.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Muslims come to this land of the United States of the Americas for what reasonings? A bettering of one's lifestyle prehaps? Why therefore are such Muslim's children being persecuted by Christian's children. The purveyors of young bigotrousness is in someways brought on by such children's parental visionings in which is overheard by their child. The mimicking canundrum of alpharian-like wants in youth centralized massings was, is and shall ever be the admonitions of Life. Where will the lines of differing religious devotees be drawn? What will be the outcomes? Only GOD knows the sureties of godly adherences that vary in temptuous Acts of devisive naturalisms concordances.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Muslims are well served if they FIRST stop blaming magnanimous Americans who have warmly & unconditionally embraced us non-Christians (I am Hindu) as their neighbors for all our communities ills, something NOT EVEN A SINGLE MUSLIM COUNTRY accords even to their own hapless minorities (Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews etc.) who have lived in those lands for 1000's of years, way before the Muslims occupied them! FORGET about recent minority immigrants like us to those lands who have no rights what-so-ever!

    Here's a quote from Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, noted Pakistani Nuclear Scientist and Fullbright Scholar – Pakistani Americans MUST combat radicalism NOT just complain – Certainly no country is free of religious discrimination. But the Secular west is INFINETLY LESS DISRIMINATORY than ANY MUSLIM COUNTRY. How many Churches are there in Saudi Arabia? Yet Muslims have built hundreds of new mosques in America with Saudi money and many after 9/11. NEW CHURCHES & TEMPLES ARE IMPOSSIBLE IN PAKISTAN. EVEN OLD ONES ARE BURNED DOWN BY RAMPAGING MOBS. If Pakistani Americans MUST FEEL WELCOME in the country they have chosen they MUST judge the West and Pakistan using EXACTLY THE SAME CRITERIA. It’s a LIE THAT AMERICAN MUSLIMS ARE VICTIMS OF EXTREME RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE. It’s a lie that American Muslims are PHYSICALLY ENDANGERED. Muslims are SAFER IN THE US than in PAKISTAN

    http:// www. thepakistanupdate. com/2010/05/why-faisal-shahzad-bombed-times-square/#more-1380

    August 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  4. BG

    This is one of the more interesting muslim story threads. Here the Pew Foundation has published a 'survey' of 1,033 muslims whose statements have reflected poorly upon themselves and muslims in general. Once again, 5% of millions of muslims responding favorably to al Qaeda is telling. Muslim 'concerns' about Islamic extremism is telliing. Muslim awareness about the lack of their religious leaderships' response to extremism is.. telling. This isn't arguable. It's stated by muslims themselves.

    The response from (and who can tell them apart) muslim apologists, trolls, 'atheists,' and neo-liberals? Attack and denounce christians, Americans, conservatives, patriots, et.al. Or, alternatively, criticize the survey methodology, sample size, question set, margin of error, validation, etc. in an attempt to discredit both Pew and it's survey. But don't, under any circu mstance, attempt to argue or mitigate the muslim response to the survey.

    Unfortunately for muslims, their responses stand on their own merit. I, for one, believe them. And I really want to once again thank contributor -CJ for stating the – real – agenda so plainly. It's good to see it out in the open, absent all of the window dressing and silly peripheral distractions. In case you missed it –

    " CJ said: " That is changing now, as hispanics rightfully repopulate (America). And as global immigrants diversify it, not only due to, but mainly due to, American/Western economic exploitation that has impoverished their homelands..."

    August 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  5. wow!

    Wow, is that it? I expected a lot more hateful comments on Muslims...Well, that's a surprise, isn't it? Maybe it is now too late in the day in Israel / India...

    August 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Logic

      Or perhaps late in the day for Arab countries as well. I am not hearing any hate against America, Israel, Jews, or "the West."
      Late in the day for Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, ect ect

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  6. Allocer

    blame blame blame, its what you people do. Rather than go out in public to complain about Muslims, you cowardly hide behind the computer screen. tsk tsk. 🙂

    August 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  7. Logic

    It is not that Muslim's are terrorists. It is that Terrorists are Muslim. We sacrifice safety in the name of political correctness, and in the end, that will be our downfall.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • J.W

      It isnt about political correctness it about the rights of other people.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Peace2All

      And... what in your opinion is your plan to remedy this problem that you have posited...?

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Logic

      Yes, the rights of Muslims are to be respected. But what about the rights of others to not have to live in fear of Islamic Extremism.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Logic

      Peace2all-
      A solution? Well....
      There are cases in which there is home grown extremism, and American Muslims contributing to terrorist organizations. This needs to stop. More American Muslims need to denounce further terrorism. Also, they should be more understanding at airport security. If they TRULY were against terrorism, they would not make such a big deal.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • J.W

      Well then why should gays have to live in fear of conservative Christian groups? We need to do away with those groups Why should I have to live in fear that a gang member might rob me? We need to get rid of all the races that make up most of the gangs in the US. Why should children have to live in fear of pedophiles? Since most pedophiles are men we should get rid of all men in this country.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @logic
      "We sacrifice safety in the name of political correctness"

      I would argue that the American people sacrificed freedom and privacy for the illusion of security in the wake of 9/11 (re: Patrior act)

      August 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Logic:

      You are right!

      I am Hindu but look Muslim to many Americans who suspect many of us to be either MErner or Pakistani, and I ABSOLUTELY don't blame them for that!

      And, I am NOT the least perturbed when AIRPORT SECURITY pulls me aside for additional checks. In fact I always make it a point to commend them for doing the right thing and ask them not to waste their efforts searching innocent Whites/black Americans, for the simple reason, I don't want a PAKISTANI/ME TERRORIST who looks like me to get on my plane while the a/p securty lets them go in the garb of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

      August 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  8. shyboy69

    It's not the media's portrayal of Muslims that is the problem. IT IS THE ACTIONS OF MUSLIMS. I get sick and tired of hearing how unfair it is to stereotype a group when that group acts stereotypically. Terrorism is, largely, the province of Muslims. Street crime is, largely, the province of blacks. Drug trafficking is, largely, the province of latinos. That isn't to say that other groups don't do these things, but that, primarily, said groups do them. Stereotyping is something ALL human beings do (no you idiot libs, not just Whites). The human brain engages in associations, and sometimes this involves racial or ethnic associations. It is not up to people to change their brain functions, it is up to these groups to change their behavior.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Abram

      LOL, and what do whites have going against them? You have just written perhaps the most disgusting post I've seen yet.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Sing

      I'm liberal as they come. I'm an idiot compared to what? Tea Baggers? I hope that not what your saying.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Michael

      It's actually the acctions of a few Muslims. The percentage of muslims who take part in radical islam let alone actually commit a violent act is so small it's ridiculous. Also, numerous maintstream muslim groups have come out against radical Islamist groups. In fact, the majority of tips on radical groups here in the US come from Muslims. No matter what, some minority of any group can cause trouble and give the entire group a bad name. However, a person should be judged by their own individual choices and actions, not the actions of people they happen to share a religions or skin color with.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Abram

      You can come up with a negative stereotype about latinos, blacks, and Muslims, but not whites? What group are you in, and would you estimate comprises the majority of those you spend most of your time with? People are individuals. I would consider myself an atheist, white/latino/whatever else mixed in, male, American, and currently a graduate student at LSU. However, I am not responsible for others who happen to classify themselves the same. That's just fact. You can't magically affix responsibility of the ACTUAL people responsible to ALL people within the same classification. Ludicrous, and it makes you mentally lazy.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • LMFAO

      Well then you need to teach your human brain not to be such a bigot don't you think? Some parents even try to rear they're chidren like this, teaching them wrong from right. Stop being lazy and making excuses, try harder and educate yourself. Ignorance and human nature are unacceptable answers. A group cannot act in a certain way, especially if it is over a billion people who have never met one another.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Fred1

      The nicest government worker I’ve ever met was a lady in the head scarf and everything covered except her face. She was very pleasant and went out of her way to help us

      August 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  9. quickshelf

    Down with all of these religions! ALL HAIL SATAN!!

    August 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Etesot OBe

    Happy...but most likely will not vote for nutrepublicantea party which keeps demonizing them !

    August 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • JackLack

      The republicans don't need to demonize them, the do quite alright by themselves, idiot.

      August 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  11. matt houston

    Of course they are happy...nobody is forcing them to do anything against their will unlike living in a strict Muslim country where that would be the case. Why is this even news?

    August 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Abram

      Excellent point on why they are happy! They're happy for the same reasons you and I are happy to be living here...I believe it is news due to the general negative views many Americans have toward Muslims, and the public comments made by politicians about how American Muslims do not denounce the radicals enough, etc.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  12. marcia

    Doc Vestibule is a biggot! Through and through!!

    August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Colin

      No, he is actually a level-headed, articulate blogger who has consistently demonstrated a knowledge of church and US history above and beyond virtually every regular blogger on here.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Laughing

      I don't think you understand what the word "biggot" means

      August 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @marcia

      W T F is all of this nonsense about -Doc Vestibule...? Are you insane...? Doc Vestibule is without question one of the more intelligent, and honorable consistent bloggers here on the CNN Belief Blog.

      I agree with my friends, -Colin and -Laughing here.

      And... I would add that you learn to spell the word "biggot" [sic} in the correct way.

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • J.W

      I am the most honorable Christian blogger on here. That is why all the atheists worship me. They thought there was no god until I came along. Now they all bow down to me.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey J.W. – lol, but be careful what you wish for. We might decide there is another original sin that needs, shall we say, cleansing......

      August 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • marcia

      you guys are hilarious. boy did i get you riled up!!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • J.W

      Oh but I am God. So I get to pick my own tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I will have to think about that one.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Thanks for the kind words!
      Peace and Colin, you've made my day. 🙂

      August 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @J.W.

      LOL...!!! Well, I can't say that i'm at the level of 'worshiping' you yet. But, I will say that you are, without question one of my favorite 'fundies' 😀

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • BG

      Seems like just another blip on the ol' Adelina radar... and you're all biting the bait for pete's sake. Doc is beyond reproach and doesn't need validation to someone who's obviously incapable of spelling the most overused word on these blogs.

      Just saying..

      August 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Doc Vestibule

      No problem, my friend ! You da' man !

      Peace brother...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • BG

      " Colin... cleansing."

      Good one.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      Yeah... you're probably right, concerning the 'troll.' However, you know me... I will defend my friends, which I'm happy to include you in that group, when they, in my opinion are unjustly or unfairly characterized or attacked.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL Peace I dont know about fundie. Laughing sometimes say he doubts that I am really Christian. Unless by fundie you meant like FUN-dy then that may describe me better LOL

      August 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • harvard

      You are absolutely correct. Doc has a real problem!

      August 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  13. tarfeanor

    25% of muslims in america are american converts.every year,over 25 000 americans convert to islam.the racists who keep saying to send muslims "back" to their countries dont know what theyre talking about

    August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  14. Silly Willy

    Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

    August 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Random bible verses for some reason, -Silly Willy...?

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Billy

      Hatin' on the Romans!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • no

      wait the billy's and willy's will be praying 5 times a day not too far in the future....

      August 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Colin

      Het Peace, I put another list together for you dude, but it ended up being 10 reasons you know you are an atheist.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Billy

      Don't need a bible to have my first amendment protection keeping me from Praying 5 times, and posting bad jokes on CNN to boot! And my 2nd amendment rights to pop a fellow in the face if my freedom to not pray is compromised. Just saying...

      August 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • no

      silly billy the amendment would be amended so it gives you the right, no it requires you to pray 5 times, remember the majority rules!!!, you silly billy will be the minority.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Billy

      No,

      You are joking right? A majority of Muslims in the US? When? Does that mean they are converting 2/3 of us or are a majority showing up to immigrate this month? That's about half a billion people, by the way...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin

      Well... where's the new 'list' ? I'm sure it's a good one !

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Billy

    Please, please, people! Don't hate Muslims based on their faith or the color of their skin! There are plenty of reasons to hate people other than race, color, or creed! Hate based on merit, people! Hate Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Athiests, Space Aliens, Witches, Gays, Straights, Neocons, Lefties, Executives, Hippies, dirty Pirates (Arrrrr), and most importantly Jedis! Focus your hate, strike them down, and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete!

    August 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Sing

      Religion has no merit. Therefore I am justified in utter contempt for it. Luckily for the human race, each new generation shucks off a lil more religious ignorance and begins to embarrass Common sense, logic and reasoned thinking. We still have a ways to go, but progress is progress no matter how slow.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Andrew Friet

    I like how they state the "false belief that Obama is a Muslim".
    He clearly is by his actions. He has spent more time (at least in the public eye) celebrating Muslim culture (ramadan)than he ever has on the Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter)

    August 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Michael

      First of all, he's not a muslim. You are merely seeing what you want to see. I'd like to see some statistics quoted as to where you got this. Second, even if he were a muslim, who cares. There is certainly no requirement for him to be affiliated with any sort of religion to be President. Most of the founding fathers were Deists.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • A Theist

      Maybe he's neither. Maybe hs's registered as Christian because he knows there's no way anybody would vote for an Agnostic or an Atheist or someone who practices Christianity out of tradition instead of belief. If you ask me, his words and actions support the latter-most idea more than a Muslim or a devout Christian.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Hee HeeHee

      Sorry, dude.., Christmas and Easter are not Christian Holidays. They are pagan – which are not the same.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • A Theist

      Not that I have a problem with that either. I agree with Michael. Even if he IS a Muslim, he's clearly more concerned about the safety of the US than any looney notion of terrorism that can be derived.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Hee HeeHee Christmas and Easter are *taken* from Pagan holidays and set on the calendar days of Pagan holidays, but the current form of celebration–I mean the focus of attention, not the peculiar traditions like Easter Eggs–is undeniably Christian.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Hee HeeHee

      Actually.., even the attributives associated with Easter and Christmas originate from nothing anchored in scripture to the true.
      Sure.., I mean anyone can jostle with the star in the east and those who followed it and then do the same with being crucified and then getting up a few days later as being memorables that give life to those Holidays. All must understand that the Christian God's goal is to exterminate what is not his and to reconcile with what is his. What determines who belongs to him is not a religion but an application of belief in his character attributes and replicating them in our own behaviour in everyway possible. Trust me.., I screw up a lot but certainly know God's not into relying on people to do things the right way.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  17. mrability

    i hate all ragg heads

    August 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • marcia

      If you hate ragheads...Doc Vesitbule is going to be mad at you! Be scared...very scared!!!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Aradan

    "She started wearing a headscarf when she was in her early 20s, making herself "a visible Muslim."

    My grandfather was a Sikh a Sikh who emigrated from India to the US in 1915. Male Sikhs typically wear turbans and a beard as an outward sign of their faith.

    However, my grandfather and a majority of other Sikhs who came to the US during that time doffed their turbans and beards in an effort to better integrate into their new country. My grandfather said you don't need to display your religion in public as long as you keep your beliefs in your heart.

    I wish people of all religions would take note...

    August 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Jebus

      This is an asinine thing to say. That means hindus should not wear a dot on their forehead, jews should not wear a kippa, christians should no longer wear a cross across their chest, etc etc. You must be a communist.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • baller23

      i wish people of all religions would respect other people's religion. if she wants to wear a head scarf, let her. To have to take off u're head scarf in order to intergrate is nonsense. People should have manners and learn to respect one another.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Aradan

      I think wearing any religious symbol in public is asinine, yes. This point was well-demonstrated by the fellow in Australia who recently wore a pasta strainer on his head for his driver’s license photo, as a Pastafarian, in honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      But why should we honor or respect or someone’s absurd symbols of antiquated, Iron Age religious beliefs? Especially when these symbols are so often tied to violence.

      Look at the story of the Muslims at the amusement park yesterday as evidence of this fact. As far are wearing crosses as a symbol of Christianity, if Jesus were real, do you think he would really want to ever see a cross again? That's like wearing a sniper rifle pendent in honor of JFK...

      August 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  19. JackLack

    Of course they like it here, we have freedom of religion. Of course, as they grow, we'll still have freedom of religion...freedom to be muslim or die, freedom to be blown to bits, when they don't like you, freedom to mistreat and kill women, freedom to be pedophiles.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • marcia

      Doc Vestibule would beg to differ. But then...he's an idiot!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That sounds mighty Christian of you.
      Those muslims bast.ards!
      Visiting a peaceful nation and distribuing smallpox blankets.
      Burning witches and heretics at the stake.
      Their clergy abusing children, and then getting transferred to another parish.
      Those nutty muslims living in tar shacks without electricy or running water, writing anti-american manifestos and blowing up good Americans...

      Oh, wait... all those things were done by American Christians.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hi Marcia!
      Maybe I'm an idiot, but at least I'm not a bigot.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Joe800

      @Doc Vesitbule: yes, youre just an idiot who confuses the actions of 16th century christians with the actions of 21 century muslims....

      August 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Joe800
      Ted Kaczynski lived in the 16th century?

      August 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • memphispiano

      Sorry Doc Vestibule, but your posting was one of the most bigoted on this forum. Just because you like Muslims does not keep you from being a bigot. A white person can love every black person in the world and still be a bigot if they hate another group. Your posting shows hatred for Christians...so you are a BIGOT! So to amend your own post, I guess that means you are both a bigot and an idiot!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Laughing

      @memphispiano

      Yeah, I don't think you know what the word bigot means, but it's cool, Doc here is able to back up his assertions, something tells me either a) you have nothing to add except going after Doc or b) whatever you have to add to the conversation is going to be straight from the bible and have no legitimacy.

      But that's just a guess.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What I am doing isPointing out that your house is hardly free of examples of nastiness like violence, oppression and terrorism.
      I mostly chose well known, but very old examples so as to give a bit of distance from the topic. If you'd like some modern examples of terrible things western society has done, I can certainly oblige you.
      No enti.ty, be it an individual, a religion or a nation, is free of sin!

      Your enemy is never a villain in their own eyes. Keep this in mind and it may offer you a chance to negotiate peace.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Doc,

      Can you please cite where you found Ted Kaczinsky to be a Christian? I'm curious because all of my research (limited though it may be) cites very little on his religious view and more that he had a political agenda as opposed to a religious agenda.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @DamianKnight
      His religion is unknown.
      Based on the fact that he holds an advanced degree in mathematics, I'd guess to to be agnostic or atheist.
      Good job finding a solid flaw in the logic of my argument as opposed to name calling!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Doc,

      You'll see, most of the time, I don't resort to name-calling. It doesn't do any good and detracts from the discussion at hand. Now, simply because Ted Kaczinsky's religion isn't known, that clearly doesn't wipe clean everything that various groups have done in the name of Christianity.

      Here's my point of view. Very little of these actions were done because of pure Christian values. It is my as.sertion that acts such as witchburnings were done as a means of social control. Think about it.

      Let's say, I'm king of an area. I use Christianity as a means of lording over people, because it's convenient that I claim a "divine right to rule." Therefore, I can make decrees and more or less do as I wish, because, God put me in power. Now, let's say a person doesn't believe in God and instead believes in Wicca. Well, if they don't believe in God, then they don't buy into my divine right to rule. Hence, they are questioning my authority. I want to stay in power, so I need to get rid of people who don't believe I have that divine right. Therefore, I claim they are "witches" and are a detriment to society. Now, since most people believe I was placed here by God, they agree with me. So we grab up this person and execute them. And the cherry on the sunade is that I do it publically, so anyone else thinking of joining these "witches" thinks twice about doing so, so they don't suffer the same fate.

      See? Very little to do with Christian values and more to do with controlling the populace and ensuring they stay in power.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @DamianKnight
      I agree with you in principle.
      All religion, in my opinion, is a form of social control.
      Not that this is necessarily a bad thing!
      Humans must walk a very fine line between conflicting instincts.
      On the one hand, we are selfish creatures concerned primarily with self-preservation. However, out success as a species depends on cooperation.
      In order for the self-preservation instinct to extend beyond the individual or their immediate family, we require more than just practical considerations as we are not simply creatures of logic. We need an emotional bond to our community, as well as rules of conduct for socialization.
      In this, religion has obviously been extraordinarily effective.
      Religion as such is not the problem – but shamans are.
      As soon as someone claims to be a divine conduit, able to interpret the otherwise unheard and unseen edicts of the supernatural, the religious community is undermined.
      Traditionally, the position of Shaman has been free of laborious work, has been held in high social regard and has given rights and privileges not given the laity. Add to the mix a warrior class, fervent in their belief and you've the recipe for disaster!
      Faith is blind. By its very nature, it allows no proof. And if someone is capable of believing in one thing despite the total absence of evidence, then they will believe other things as well.
      The the unscrupulous con-man, that makes faith a weapon to be honed by shamans to goad others into doing things they otherwise would not consider.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Doc,

      Agreed. So when people are shouting, "Down with Christianity!" what they are really calling for is less social control from that group. I firmly believe that we should not be a Christian nation, and I say that, as a Christian. The reason for that is that Christianity has very few definitive lines and even those can be argued. We are therefore subject to interpretation. For instance, when Paul calls for women to have their head covered. Personally, I interpret that to mean, everyone should dress modestly and with respect of their culture. But there are fundamentalist groups which believe that to be literal. And in the reality of Christianity, that's a very small issue, however we can see it's the beginning of a very slippery slope..

      So whose interpretation do we use? Mine? The fundamentalist? Or perhaps someone else's whose opinion is completely different? And if you choose one, you therefore, exclude the others. And that, in and of itself, is what the founding fathers were trying to avoid by creating the First Amendment.

      Lastly, and this is another issue entirely, I believe in the seperation of church and state, as stated by Thomas Jefferson. Not because I fear as much that the church control the government, but more that I fear the government controlling the church.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • J.W

      But Damian if you allow the church to control the government, then who knows what church it will be. Will it be Catholics, Lutherans, Evangelical, Mennonites, etc? Actually I think a lot of atheists seem to want more government control on the church, or maybe not control but taxation. Although if the government could control the church it would use the church to further its own interests, whether they were in line with the church or not.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Anshul

    nlkn

    August 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
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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.