U.S. outreach to American Muslims may not curb Afghan violence
February 27th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

U.S. outreach to American Muslims may not curb Afghan violence

By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN)– After a weekend that saw continued deadly violence in Afghanistan triggered by what the U.S. says was the inadvertent burning of Qurans, an American Muslim group says outreach here is unlikely to help over there.

On Friday, a ranking Pentagon official visited a prominent mosque in the outside Washington and apologized for last week's incident, which involved copies of the Quran and other religious tracts that had been
kept at a U.S. detention facility in Bagram.

"On behalf of Secretary Panetta, and the Department of Defense, I offer my sincere regret for the incident at Bagram Air Base," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy.

But an Islamic activist group Monday suggested that the U.S. is preaching to the wrong choir if officials hope they can reach those in Afghanistan who have been perpetrating the violence.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told CNN "it's not like we can call people in Afghanistan and say 'okay, stop it now.'"

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

CAIR, among the largest Muslim activist organizations in the U.S., believes the violent Afghan reaction to the burning of the Quran is symbolic of greater frustration at the continued presence of foreign

On Monday, a suicide bombing at a military airfield that the Taliban said was in retaliation for the Quran burning reportedly left 9 dead and 12 wounded.

Hooper said "It'll take leaving Afghanistan, letting the Afghan people figure out their own problems," to resolve friction between the local community and foreign troops.

But the mosque's cleric, Imam Mohamed Magid, said the Prophet Muhammad, speaking through the Quran, prohibits violence and a lack of respect for human life.

He told worshipers on Friday that they must "live by the book" in peace and avoid violent reactions like those seen among fellow Muslims in Afghanistan.

Imam Mohamed Magid speaks to reporters after Friday prayers.

After the prayer service, Magid told reporters that "violence that we have seen taking place in Afghanistan is unacceptable, from Islamic perspective, and that's why we will continue this conversation with Muslim colleagues in Afghanistan."

Magid said it was unprecedented to have a ranking American military official address the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society, which he said is one of the largest Islamic congregations in the U.S.

Lavoy used the occasion to publicly accept blame for the incident.

"Our military neglected, out of ignorance, long-established correct procedures for handling religious materials," said Lavoy, "even as we were fighting to help the Afghan people secure and govern their
country, we as the military did not meet our obligations to the Muslim community."

Lavoy was accompanied by a uniformed U.S. Army chaplain who tried to emphasize the military's remorse over the incident.

"I stand before you this afternoon looking at this as another teaching moment, as another opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my colleagues in ministry, to find ways and opportunities to come
closer together in better understanding how to make this world that we live in a more peaceful place," said Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, who is Muslim and who also delivered remarks in Arabic.

Many of the worshipers responded to him in Arabic with affirmation.

Various U.S. officials have sent emails of regret to Islamic groups across the country, according to CAIR, but Hooper, the group's spokesman, downplayed the influence the outreach may have over events in

The people there, Hooper maintains, will remain provoked by "the mind-boggling actions of people who've been in the country a decade and still don't understand the cultural and religious sensitivities."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Belief • Church and state • Islam • Quran

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Colby

    Idiscovered your weblog wtbeise on google and verify just a few of yourearly posts. Proceed to keep up the very good operate. I simplyadditional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking for ahead tostudying extra from you in a while!…

    July 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Iqbal Khan


    March 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Muneef


    February 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Brad

      Hello Muneef

      I'm not as familiar as I might be of the Dajjal. Interesting. Do Muslims read of Daniel's prophecy regarding the "abombination of desolation"?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hello Brad.

      The Dajjal is what you call to be the false prophet or the Antichrist .... These stories are from the Islamic Hadeeths...

      But tell you the truth we Muslims are not aware of the said prophecy of Daniel...

      March 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      For that reason I googled and read about it from 

      And here I quote some thing interesting;

      Verses 5-8 describe more of this religious leader’s pride in the context of what his end will be: “By your great wisdom and traffick have you increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches: therefore thus says the Lord God; because you have set your heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon you…they shall bring you down to the pit.”

      March 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  4. Bodunde

    Islamist need to focus on peace and co-existence, every human being is given the right by God to make their own choice,
    God does not give right to any person or any religion to hurt or destroy the life of their fellowman. It's time for Islamist and Moslems through out the world, especially those in America, to contact their religious leaders in the Arab countries and in north Africa, and let them know that it's time to make all necessary changes and reform. It's not only the government that caused all the destruction and the killings, the "protesters" took part in them as well. My suggestion is for these protesters is to drop there weapons, respect their leaders, and return to their houses, that the government can tell the military forces and polices not to shoot at anyone, especially if he or she does not pose any threat to anyone. Give the governments enough time to rebuild the countries.. Stop attacking non-Islams, religions do not make their countries, God made them. Leave judgement to God. Just because someone doesn't share your religion, doesn't make him or her your enemy. Life have changed, Judaism and Christianity has been reformed hundreds of years ago, I think it's now time for reformation in Islamism so that their people may enjoy the peace of life. I know that some evil people benefit from conflict and riot, but that never please God and Man. May the innocent people that got killed rest in peace. Amen.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Muneef

      No harm in dreaming...but defense against foreign invasions might require people stand firm and well armed to protect their lands and beliefs..

      February 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
1 2
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.