America’s trouble with Islam

By Bernd Debusmann
August 27, 2010

Of the many posters held aloft in angry demonstrations about plans for an Islamic cultural centre and mosque in New York, one in particular is worth noting: “All I ever need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11.”

As an example of wilful ignorance, it’s in a class by itself. It passes judgment, in just 12 words, about a sprawling universe of 1.3 billion adherents of Islam (in 57 countries around the world) who come from different cultures, speak a wide variety of languages, follow different customs, hold different nationalities and believe in different interpretations of their faith, just like Christians or Jews. Suicidal murderers are a destructive but tiny minority.

But for the people waving all-I-ever-need-to-know posters in front of national television cameras two blocks from “ground zero,” site of the biggest mass murder in American history, Islam equals terrorism. No need for nuance, no need for learning, no need for building bridges between the faiths. The mindset epitomized by the slogan mirrors the radical fringe of Islamic thought, equally doubt-free and self-righteous.

Both sides have data to back up their assertions. The Islam-equals-terrorism school of thought can point to 3,000 victims of the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Those who preach that the U.S. is waging war on Islam itself, and terror acts are therefore a form of self-defence, can argue that Christian soldiers have been killing Muslims through history, from the Crusades to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The “ground zero mosque” affair began with a dispute over the center’s proximity to the hole where the Twin Towers once stood. Too close to hallowed ground, argue opponents, including family members of people who died in the attack. The question of location morphed into a national debate on religious tolerance and prompted demonstrations against planned mosques more than a thousand miles from New York.

Does all this add up to a rising wave of anti-Muslim bigotry? Or is it more of the same, with the volume turned higher in advance of mid-term elections? There are no hard data to answer that question and it is worth looking back a few years at polls on American attitudes towards Muslims. In 2006, a Gallup survey found that 39 percent favoured rules requiring Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry special identification to better spot potential terrorists.

Callers to a Washington radio show host who followed up on the ID issue suggested identifying Muslims with a crescent-shaped tattoo on their foreheads, stamps on their driving licenses, passports and birth certificates, or special armbands.

THE ISLAMOPHOBIA MACHINE
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic relations, thinks the noise level of anti-Muslim statements has risen because the Tea Party movement has attracted Americans “more ready to speak out” than traditional political outlets. But at the core of the often ugly debate is what he calls “the Islamophobia machine – right-wing bloggers on the Internet, talk radio, and opinion columns in conservative newspapers.”

Like President George W. Bush before him, President Barack Obama has had little success in convincing his fellow Americans that al Qaeda and the Taliban do not represent Islam. In Obama’s case there is an added complication: 57 percent of Republicans, according to a poll in spring, think he is a Muslim. (He is not.)

Nationally and across party lines, 24 percent believe their president is a Muslim, according to a TIME poll taken after Obama stepped into the New York Islamic center debate by saying that Muslims had the same right as anyone else to practice their religion, including in a place of worship in Lower Manhattan. A day later he watered down his remark. It had been about the right to build the center, not the wisdom of doing so, he explained.

No such vacillation from Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York and virtually the only leader who has spoken about the mosque without making politics look like a game reserved for panderers and demagogues. Newt Gingrich, a possible Republican presidential candidate for the 2012 elections likened backers of the New York mosque to Nazis and observed that “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington.”

Bloomberg, who is Jewish and not affiliated to any party, said this week that dropping plans to build the center or moving it elsewhere would undercut American values and principles and “feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen.

“And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam. Islam did not attack the World Trade Center – al Qaeda did.”

It’s an admirably clear message. Whether it can get through to the people with the “All I need to know about Islam” signs is another question.

118 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Get out of your idealistic bubble, Bernd. The bigger issue is not the fear of terrorism.

All I ever need to know about Islam, I learned by looking at cultures dominated by Islam. Islam utterly fails as a force to promote prosperity and freedom for any culture it dominates.

And as far as domination goes, All I ever need to know about Islam, I learned by watching what’s happening in Western Europe. This is NOT a peaceful religion that assimilates and co-exists with others. It’s adherents are bent on taking over and imposing Sharia law.

Facts and evidence speak much louder than words. Look at what’s happening around the world and get a clue.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

I wonder what would happen if I wanted to build a Christian church or a Synagogue in Mecca, Medina, Hebron or anywhere in Iran,Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, et al

Would we be met with open arms and tolerance? Would we be left alone unmolested?

It seems to me from the actions of the radical and terrosit Islamists and the inaction “Islam” in general against these terrorists, the only people who are intolerant are Islamic apologists like yourself and the Islam in its totality.

Posted by DrewMN | Report as abusive

Islam does not project an image of trustworthyness and forgiveness because Islamic Nations do not punish their own when they commit horrendously grotesque acts of violence. More often than not they welcome them with open arms. Knowing that, it seems ridiculous in the extreme to riducule those with the will to speak out.

Posted by GLK | Report as abusive

Islam does not project an image of trustworthyness and forgiveness because Islamic Nations do not punish their own when they commit horrendously grotesque acts of violence. More often than not they welcome them with open arms. Knowing that, it seems ridiculous in the extreme to riducule those with the will to speak out.

Posted by GLK | Report as abusive

The problem with this commentary, and most of what I see coming from the left on the mosque issue, is an arrogant supposition that anyone who “fears” Islam is uneducated and only reacting to 9/11. It’s demeaning to anyone who has legitimate concerns. And there are plenty.

The more I learn about Islam (by examining the real-life practice of Islam around the world – see previous comment), the more I see that all Americans should be VERY concerned about the biased deference to Islam currently displayed at many levels.

Furthermore, the more I learn about Islam, the more it becomes clear that the liberal elite in this country either haven’t looked at what’s happening in Western Europe, or (shudder) they do understand and despise America so much that that welcome a takeover.

That last thought used to be reserved in my mind as an implausible conspiracy theory, but the more I see the once-unthinkable coming from the white house and other political leaders, I’m not so sure anymore.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

I love how these elite media types call everyone who disagrees with them: idiots, racists, bigots, Islamaphobes, Homophobes – the list goes on. To them, they are so smart that they can’t even fathom the idea that the other guy might actually have a point. What’s even better, this dude Bernd, actually quotes a CAIR spokesman who thinks the Tea Party has something to do with Islamaphobia. Partisan reporting? You bet!

Posted by ironman_az_3 | Report as abusive

Yes i agree with what you say.Islam cannot be compared with western culture.What do you propose?Invade as many Muslim countries as we can?Kill as many Muslims as we can?Put a sword on their head and convince them to denounce their fate?

Part of the problem is that the west does not want to accept that in Muslims countries Islam is still respected while in the west Christianity is not

Posted by TheGreenKing | Report as abusive

Absoutetly pathetic. Islam teaches violence in hadith (WORDS OF MUHAMMAD). You never even looked at what hadith had to say.

“One who dies but does not fight in the way of Allah, not does he express any desire or determination for Jihad, dies the death of a hypocrite” [Sahih Muslim hadith]

…Their is much more violence in hadith

http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Misinterpr eted_Quranic_Verses

Posted by Ahiu | Report as abusive

Great article! Completely agree with Mike Bloomberg!

Posted by pesheff | Report as abusive

I echo the comments so far. Just because you disagree with someone or a religion practices does not make you ignorant or a bigot.

Posted by DavidS95 | Report as abusive

I don’t think that ‘freedom’ is a goal of Islam. Admittedly I am but a poor student of the world’s religions, but I thought that ‘surrender’ to the will of God was one of it’s main points. The test will be if Democracy, which shows no preference for any religion will tolerate Islam’s very different views from those of Christianity. Or maybe that’s the choice we have to make now, are we a Democratic nation or a Christian nation. A Democratic nation will allow both and provide a way for them to coexist. If we are a Christian nation, I suspect that the Armageddon theorists will be proved right in fairly short order.

Posted by lhathaway | Report as abusive

So, all of you who are anti – mosque, anti-islam: I have one question for you:
– What happened to all the american purported values of freedom and liberty (including of religion!!!) that the US is spreading around the world? Are you suggesting (gasp!) that you are selective about what values you impose on others vs what you practice at home?
– How should I spell hypocracy? =)

Posted by pesheff | Report as abusive

All the people who attack Islam must propose an alternative instead of just attacking it.I know its unfortunate that in Muslim countries Islam is still respected, while in western “civilized” counties Christianity is not.What should we do about this?Invade more muslim countries?Kill more muslims?Ban Islam in the west?People who attack Islam cannot copy with the fact that in Muslim countries, a religion plays a key role

Posted by TheGreenKing | Report as abusive

Nothing personal to the 1.3 billion, but fact is there is no Allah. Religion is nothing more than a safety net or comfort zone for those who need something to believe in because they have no purpose otherwise. Do the math and show the real world some proof of your gods? You won’t find any because the Koran or a bible is just a book that some chap decided to write. Unfortunately, the masses of this world are easily brainwashed and in turn, brainwash others. 1.3 billion on the result of a domino effect.

All this killing in the name of the non-existent Allah, or for that matter any other god, is nothing more than representation of the way it’s been for thousands of years. Religion killing religion, country killing country, man killing man. Welcome to life on earth, where we are the uncivilized.

As for the mosque – it’s clearly in bad taste considering the location. You don’t need to be religious or a genius to figure that one out. Just use a little common-sense or borrow some from someone else.

Posted by somethingtosay | Report as abusive

So when the neocons win their “war” on Islam…what’s next? This story plays out over and over again. These folks just need desperately something to fight or something to complain about. If Islam disappeared from the planet, they would begin going after each other, or the Lutherans, or the Methodists, or the Babtists that allow their children to dance. IT NEVER ENDS WITH YOUR MINDSET. You are just as bad as the Islamic extremists, AND you fall for their strategy when you start to hate. Osama Bin Laden is laughing at us in a cave somewhere. Just like the Emperor in Star Wars.

Posted by Marius429 | Report as abusive

As a matter of fact, Islam is in all the countries of the world, not just 57.

The attitudes to Islam in America are similar to those in Western Europe to Jews in the 1930s.

If America doesn’t turn this around, they will be in very serious trouble.

Posted by Dafydd | Report as abusive

Speaking as a right wing blogger (or at least commentor), I say: Bloomberg and Debusmann are correct.

Islam is not, inherently and in and of itself, evil.

Allow me to qualify this- the cultural center of Islam has a very corrupt and vicious core. The sort of fundamentalist Islam that allows (note that I do not say “promotes,” I leave that judgement to the reader and will not make it myself) such things as the broad and deeply entrenched sex-slave trade and events such as driving 24 hot nails in a maid is dangerous.

At one time I lived close to a mosque, in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. The Imam was arrested on charges of terrorism. The rest of the local Islamic community was A) convinced that Americans were out to get them (because some Americans are racist bigots), and that B) they could not turn to the police for assistance, because the five-oh would be unwilling to help, since they were Muslim.

I and my family disabused them of these notions, and while I do not agree with some of their cultural practices, at least they are beginning to understand that there should be only one ethnicity in America- American.

Pyotr, GLK- do you suppose that we begin branding Muslims or require them to register? Perhaps we should put them in camps, so that we can both keep an eye on them *and* protect them from dangerous bigots.

If you believe this is wise, then I recommend that you watch Schindler’s List. It’s a very good film starring Liam Neeson.

If you do not believe that such could ever happen in the land of the Free, I recommend looking up the concentration camps we maintained for the Japanese in World War II.

Ironman- The “tea party” movement isn’t a cohesive movement, as I understand it. It’s just a bunch of little stuff *happening.* People are speaking out. *That* movement to speak out *could* be related to the anti-muslim movement, simply because it has become chic to speak out, which is exactly what this article says CAIR said.

I will grant that the media is skewed, and often tends to misreport. However, do not misread the text simply to suit your own view.

Posted by ComeWhatMay | Report as abusive

I live in a country where the main aim of politicians is to use Muslims as a vote back and to do that they are ready to bend forward (not bed over backwards). Islam in itself may be the best religion in the world, however, can the same be said about Islam as interpreted by its followers?

Islam is not a religion, it is a nation, says the holy Quran. It tells, by the way of Sharia, how to run a nation. Unless Sharia is applied on a governance, it is not considered fit for a Muslim to follow it.

The situation is bad… in my humble opinion.. if a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu stands up and says I am proud of my religion he is considered bigot, if a Muslim says he believes in supremacy of Islam he is just exercising his human rights. We are living, unfortunately, in a world where being politically correct is more important then being correct.

What good is a mosque if it hurts even one person’s sentiments? By hurting a human being the very purpose of building a place of worship is defeated.

Posted by dangerouslydead | Report as abusive

Awesome commentary Bernd. The United States of America, sadly, has had an infectious smear of xenophobia running through it for some time, one which permeates today (the U.S. has a record number of active hate groups, for example, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and one that no doubt grew out of American slavery. People of color (especially blacks)–but also Jews and gay people–have historically been the target of American xenophobes, and while these groups still are targeted by hateful xenophobes, Muslims (and those perceived to be, such as Sikhs) have been added to the list. It’s tragic that America invaded two Islamic countries post-9/11, because those countries’ goverments had nothing to do with the terroristic attack on America on 9/11. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims have lost their lives in wars the United States created since 9/11, and so no thoughtful person should wonder why the United States has an image problem with those who practice Islam.

Are fundamentalist Muslims sexist and homophobic? Yes, but so are fundamentalist Christians and Jews.

Religious fundamentalism is the problem, not any specific religion itself.

Posted by 1AmericanGuy | Report as abusive

Awesome commentary Bernd. The United States of America, sadly, has had an infectious smear of xenophobia running through it for some time, one which permeates today (the U.S. has a record number of active hate groups, for example, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and one that no doubt grew out of American slavery. People of color (especially blacks)–but also Jews and gay people–have historically been the target of American xenophobes, and while these groups still are targeted by hateful xenophobes, Muslims (and those perceived to be, such as Sikhs) have been added to the list. It’s tragic that America invaded two Islamic countries post-9/11, because those countries’ goverments had nothing to do with the terroristic attack on America on 9/11. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims have lost their lives in wars the United States created since 9/11, and so no thoughtful person should wonder why the United States has an image problem with those who practice Islam.

Are fundamentalist Muslims sexist and homophobic? Yes, but so are fundamentalist Christians and Jews.

Religious fundamentalism is the problem, not any specific religion itself.

Posted by 1AmericanGuy | Report as abusive

Sorry guys, he’s right. It’s total fear reaction. Who cares if they want to pray? It’s perfectly legal. Sharia Law? You have to be KIDDING me! That, my friends, is not legal, and will never hold up. Stop spreading the hate, put on your big-boy pants, and teach your kids the right life lessons.

Posted by THeRmoNukE | Report as abusive

Hmmmm….let’s see. Terrorist acts commited by Muslims in the name of Islam since 1980 (in no particular order):

Khobar Towers on June 25, 1996, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 19 service men and women dead, 372 wounded

Beirut barracks bombing October 23, 1983, Lebanon: 241 American servicemen dead

Twin Towers, New York City, Sept. 11th, 2001: 2,995 civilian deaths

2002 Bali bombings, Bali, Indonesia: 202 dead (88 Australians, and 38 Indonesians)

7 August 1998, U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 224 dead, including 12 American citizens, over 4,000 injured

Attack on the USS Cole, October 12th, 2000: 17 American sailors were killed, 39 injured

Fort Hood shooting, on November 5, 2009, committed by US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 13 dead and 30 wounded

1993 World Trade Center bombing, February 26, 1993: six dead, 1,042 injured

Madrid train bombings, 11 March 2004, 191 dead and 1,800 wounded

I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. And never once, was there any sort of meaningful condemnation or outrage from Muslims. On the contrary, they either sat on their hands and said nothing or were dancing in the streets.

If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck!

What a bunch of dribble Mr. Debusmann.

Posted by mredi42 | Report as abusive

9 years later, after reading tens of thousands of pages and watching hundreds of hours visual documentation, biting and testing every bit of the available information and filtering everything through my nearly 3 decades experience in the construction business, I still couldn’t find anything to proof the official story of the US regime. Then the obvious question is – what really happened at 9/11 and who did it? ( I know – it is a dumb question, but needs a very smart person to answer it!)

Posted by Saturn2000 | Report as abusive

pesheff, 100% contrary to your (overarching) comment, we’re stating that the values that are legislated in the US (not “imposed”) simply be applied fairly and without bias. In countless situations in the US, churches and other religious facilities have been denied building permits for a whole host of reasons. We’ve come to accept that some of these are fair an necessary in a pluralistic society.

What we are reacting to is _preferred_ treatment being given to the mosque developers that flies in the face of several _legitimate_ arguments and concerns over the building of this mosque. (I can outline them again if needed).

Those concerns are being dismissed with no regard and no valid intellectually honest discussion, and anyone who raises them is being labeled as an intolerant “islamaphobe.” As you can imagine, logic would suggest this clearly lines up with the pattern of dominance and takeover that Islam practices around the globe.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

Hmm. Go back to before the Crusades and you find Muslims killing Christians and Jews for refusing to convert to Islam.

How convenient that Muslims and Liberals remember the Crusades, but forget the Moors…

I disagree with somthingtosay on whether or not God exists, but I do have to agree that religion has been used as an excuse to kill a significant number of people over the millenia.

But then so have other excuses such as Race, Class, etc.

Let’s face it killing is just another way to express power in the pursuit of ones goals.

That’s what 9/11 was, the expression of power in the pursuit of someone’s goals.

Building the Mosque near Ground Zero would also be the expression of power in pursuit of someone’s goals.

The only question is: Is it appropriate to allow that expression to occur in this location?

Posted by bobw111 | Report as abusive

Sorry, but “legal” does not equal “right”. It is legal to kill unborn humans, but it does not make it right. Are there peaceful Muslims? Yes, but they are considered mediocre much like Christians who are deep in the word and deep in prayer consider benchwarming “Christians” who don’t do much but claim the title. Those who do as the Koran says, “Kill the infidels where they stand” are the real Muslims. This is why no one can ever truly defen Islam as a peaceful religion. Mohamed was a ruthless leader who accepted nothing short of complete conversion at the point of a sword. This was the first Muslim. Christ was led as a lamb to the slaughter and never once tried to fight. Even when his followers tried to defend them He said, “put away your sword”. Have there been some misguided Christians? Certainly, the crusades and wars among protestant/catholic lines show that Christians can and will forget themselves. However, a quick trip through the Bible will set them who are serious about serving God straight. A trip to the Koran will set a true Muslim up in arms. Read it for yourselves people, the Koran COMMANDS its followers to KILL. (Qur’an 2:191)

Posted by Texicano | Report as abusive

THeRmoNukE, I used to believe that too. But Sharia law is _already_ being imposed in certain public school districts in MI and FL. It’s happening now! In the US! A slippery slope, but that’s how Islamic domination works. Start small and build from there.

And yes, it’s unconstitutional, but the constitution is only as good as the people with enough backbone to fight for and enforce it.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

Anyone who has studied history knows that you could take the anti-islamic comments of posters like Pyotr and GLK, replace the word “Islam” with “Christianity”, and they would be equally accurate. The problem is not one religion or another. The problem is extremism. The problem is hatred. Those who protest against the Lower Manhattan Community Center are only adding more negativity to the world, more hate, more extremism. You’re making it worse. Only education (institutional and personal) can break the cycle. People who choose to shut down that self-improvement and march for hatred are part of the problem, even though they want to be part of the solution.

Posted by TrueIronPatriot | Report as abusive

QUOTE: ” wilful ignorance”???? “Islamophobia machine”???

Bernd – This is a religion with the core belief to kill YOU without hesitation or remorse if you do not convert. It is 100% exclusionary to ANY other religion. It main goal is to convert the world to their religion by any means, and prohibits one from ever changing from their religion under penalty of death. Globally it restricts access to media, libraries and any other source of information that can allow free thought. Here’s a challenge — name any Muslim country in the world which is a leader in any sense of economy or social freedom.

And please Bernt, spare the civilized persons of this world the bullsh*t about “religious freedom” when these medieval fanatics do not first practice the BASIC freedoms upon which OUR society is built – life, freedom, and liberty.

Tell you what Bernt – go do an interview with ANY Muslim leader in this country and just get them to state 1) ALL religions are equal including Muslim 2) EVERYONE has the inherent right to freely practice ANY religion they choose and 3) killing ANYONE for ANY reason is evil and wrong (as opposed to “innocents” which are defined as Muslims only). If you can do that, you will have accomplished what no B.S. media person has done to date.

Posted by cynicalme | Report as abusive

TrueIronPatriot, it’s a well-known liberal tactic to label anyone who has a legitimate, intellectual argument that is contrary to liberal dogma to raise the accusation of “hate,” “bigoty,” “extremism.” Common-sense people are raising serious concerns, and none of them are being adequately addressed.

Your whole broad-brush approach ignores the fact that the concerns being raised might actually be _legitimate_!

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

Maybe what is happening is that some Americans have a pathological need for a big enemy. Now that the Red Menace is no longer red and its cousin, the Yellow Peril, has become America’s banker, Islam works just fine as the bogeyman of choice.

Posted by Komment | Report as abusive

One need not look far past the protesters in New York to see where in lies the true face of the immanent danger ahead-
If the religious founders of this mosque were truly of a kind heart and spiritual nature, then they would react accordingly by simply seeking another location as a peaceful response to the pain it is causing the still mourning and recovering families of the 9-11 tragedy.
This present situation could very likely incite a civil suit against several parties due to the high presence of Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder amongst the survivors as well as citizens.
“If you don’t stand for something, then you’ll fall for anything”

Posted by harleypyrate02 | Report as abusive

The only problem with this article is its need to be written. No matter how much Pyotr protests, people who judge an entire population on limited and biased premises are best described by the word ‘bigot’. Now let them build their damned mosque-that’s-not-even-a-mosque, and worry about some of the real problems in the world.

Posted by RexMax46 | Report as abusive

It seems like Americans and Taliban have more in common than the differences. At least they both practice this religious bigotry. Why are you guys fighting Taliban? I think you can be good friends with them. You are Christian bigots and they are Muslim bigots. Let us just compare the people massacred by both of you.

Islam(Taliban) – 9/11(3 thousand people killed), Al-Qauida( may be another 3 thousand all over the world).

Christians(US,UK,Germans) – Iraq(3 million), Afghan(2 million), Vietnam(1.5 million), Holocaust(6 million).

Yeah..I got a ‘clear answer’ that Christianity is the ‘most peaceful’ religion…..LOL.
The facts speak for itself.

Posted by stand4peace | Report as abusive

Well done commentary overall. The folks against will never change because as the theme of the commentary reads, “all they ever needed to know… blah, blah, blah” is their touchstone and they will not be changed. Those for demonstrate they have a low level of tolerance for fellow citizens who exhibit traits we have hoped would be long grown out of.

The building in question is not “near” ground zero unless several hundred meters and a few city blocks is considered “near” and then perhaps “near” or “close by” might include anywhere on the island or maybe in the state or maybe somewhere between the oceans. The actual question it seems is how long do we have to tolerate being bludgeoned by this phenomena of the dimmest and least able dominating and steering the direction of our society?

The truth is the so-called Americans who are so enraged about a multi-cultural building located in one of the most diverse of cities need to remember their place. And keep to it. As their mamas told them when they were little children: Sit down and be quiet, the grownups are having a conversation.

Don’t wanna sit down and be quiet. Tough. Do so anyway. Oh, and eat your peas.

Posted by tangolimagolf | Report as abusive

Islam does not tell us to kill anyone infidels or otherwise.

In fact according to Muhammad (PBUH): “If you kill one person, it is as if you have killed the whole of Mankind.”

These extremists do not represent my religion Islam. They have there own twisted way of interpreting the religion which is clearly and utterly wrong.

Here is another quote of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH): “ One who hurts a non-Muslim, he hurts me and one who hurts me, hurts God.” (Hadith)

Also Qur’an says: “… and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (16: 125)

So I urge everyone one to please be more open minded and tolerant and do your research before coming to conclusions.

Posted by ObjectiveGuy | Report as abusive

Ground cero to most, is holy land. In that regards those who want to built a mosque close to this site, should recondider based on respect to their fellow citizens.
As I ask respect from fellow islamic citizens, I ask the rest of us for forgiveness for ramsacking and destroying sacred and burial grounds of native americans. Is it not the same?

Posted by mucaro | Report as abusive

I am actually glad that you are recommending people to read the Koran so they can see how full of BS you are…look how easy it is to quote scripture without context..

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:16-18)

“And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and woman: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5-6)

Posted by aishenglong | Report as abusive

When I think another person is arrogant, how do I know I myself am not? Am I Almighty himself that knows? When I think that another is brainwashed, how do I know I myself am not by my own ignorance or blinded by my own pride? Someone would say that if you eat one sour apple from an apple tree, then you know that tree does not bear sweet apples. But then how do I know if it is that apple I had was not ripe, or the sweetness of the apples from an apple tree is not like the worms in the apples from that tree? If one apple from that tree has worms in it, does it mean all the apples in that tree has worms? Or maybe sometime that is true?

Posted by JoeAtLowell | Report as abusive

@Pyotr – “tactic”? I’m not a liberal (nor a conservative … gasp!) and I fully well see the ignorance, bigotry, racism, and hatred posed by these Islam-aphobists (hey a new word!). Reminds me of the “common-sense” people in the 50s who said “I don’t have a problem with [black people], but they ain’t a goin’ to the same school with my daughter!”.

“Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.”

Posted by bobSmith | Report as abusive

how about Islams problem with anything but Islam? How about Islams problem with stoning people for alleged crime? How about the Islam problem with sharia(*sp) law?

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann, your article clearly reveals that–however much you may loathe people who claim they need to know nothing more about Islam than 9/11–your knowledge of Islam is no better. In fact, “As an example of wilful ignorance, [this article is] in a class by itself.”

I echo your words because wilful ignorance surely is one reason why an esteemed columnist for Reuters could write something like this when there exist myriad books proving that your portrayal of Islam, and its historical relations with Christian peoples, is disingenuous at best.

PLEASE, if you have not done so, educate yourself properly on Islam before you opine publicly like this. Read Serge Trifkovic’s book *The Sword of the Prophet*. Concerning this book–which completely debunks your fourth paragraph about historical data backing up assertions–one could rightly say “All I ever need to know about Islam, I learned from it.” If you want more historical proof read *The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims*, by Dr. Andrew Bostom. Or *The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude: Seventh-Twentieth Century*, by Bat Ye’or. There’s just no way you could write what you did having read these books.

America’s trouble with Islam is that most Americans have no idea what they’re really dealing with. Islam is not a religion as most Americans think of religion, i.e., privatized, having minimal impact on the public sphere, reflecting a total separation of church and state, etc. Rather, Islam is a social/political ideology intertwined with faith in Allah. If Islam was merely worship of Allah (like Christians worship the Triune God), there would be no problem. But true Islam seeks nothing less than world domination, the ushering in of Sharia Law, and the dhimmitude of all “non-believers”. The so-called “radical extremists” in Islam have not “hijacked a peaceful religion” but are simply zealots who are faithful to what the Koran really teaches. They are calling the millions of sleeping Muslims around the world to be faithful once again.

This is what most Americans don’t get. And since the Koran teaches “warfare tactics” such as lying (what they call “taqiyya”) in order to achieve their aims, gullible and “nice” Americans too often want to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe what Islamic leaders say about their peaceful intentions.

I fear that our country may represent the proverbial frog in the [Islamic soup] pot. Certainly we will become their food if we so ignorantly believe about them as you do in your lamentable opinion piece.

Posted by paddyinpdx | Report as abusive

Islam equals terrorism? What religion was Timothy McVeigh? The 9/11 hijackers were almost all Saudis. Why didn’t we attack Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq? Why were the only ones allowed to fly out of the US after 9/11 Saudis? Why aren’t the protesters in this article enraged that we have Saudi gasoline in our fuel tanks?

Posted by colonelP | Report as abusive

Islam equals terrorism? What religion was Timothy McVeigh? The 9/11 hijackers were almost all Saudis. Why didn’t we attack Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq? Why were the only ones allowed to fly out of the US after 9/11 Saudis? Why aren’t the protesters in this article enraged that we have Saudi gasoline in our fuel tanks?

Posted by colonelP | Report as abusive

@Pyotr,
You are compeltely correct. Anyone who disagrees with a liberal is labeled extreme.

A TIME poll aptly described ‘Majority Oppose Mosque’
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/ 0,8599,2011799,00.html

so is the majority of America extreme now? Is the majority if America islamopobes? No, is the correct answer in case you libs were wondering.

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive

Islam is a THEOCRACY. Islam practices archaic laws and rules that give them the ultimate judicial legal right to execute, flog or incarcerates any person who dares to defy their Islamic faith or values or by a simple accusations of blasphemy a just cause for beheading individuals. Thiers is a world of no separation of the Religion and State. To Islamic countries there is no support of any Individual Human Rights especially those of female genders.

A country that does not have “separation of church and state” is a THEOCRACY. In a theocracy, there is no secular government, and religion is part of every aspect of life. For example, a theocracy has one established religion and citizens are expected to belong to it, observe its holy days, follow its dress codes and dietary laws, etc. The legal system in a theocracy is usually run by the clergy, using their religion’s scriptures for guidance. Some theocracies allow minority faiths, but do not give them the same rights, while other theocracies forbid the observance of minority religions entirely, and may even punish non-believers (Infidels).

This is the origin of Islam a THEOCRACY. To call it anything else is absurd and arrogant by believers and followers of Islam and the deceived general public of freedom of religion principals… The world defending the constitutionality rights of free religion are completely misinformed about Islamic Governments who manipulate religious dogma to escape and prevent criminal persecution by the Worlds Court.!!

Islam must change with the times from within itself. The power base of the legal system in a theocracy is usually run by the clergy and or appointed and anointed religious leaders’, Kings and Government head of state, using their religion’s scriptures for guidance. Therefore, the argument of the general free thinking public on freedom of religion principals is not a factor in dealing with Islam. A THEOCRACY already has the ultimate power and complete freedom of religion.

And with worldwide Incubators like Mosque, Islamic schools, Community Centers or any other public gathering place is for teaching their young children. These young students of Islam taught in Mosques, Islamic schools, Community Centers or any other public gathering place are not distinguished by monetary status. They are all mentally trained and susceptible to homicidal manipulation of their maniacal Ayatollahs, Mullahs, Imams, Islamic teachers and Islamic government leaders. A religious manipulation and education that begins from the time they begin to walk, talk, read and breathe. ….. Islam (THEOCRACY) will never change nor will it give up its Power in governments and its power over a nation of followers..!!!

Ironically ..!!
Freedom of religious principals and liberty does not exist in Islam…
The argument of the same general free thinking public in the world defending the freedom of religion principals and liberty would be subjugated to incarceration, flogging, hanging, stoning to death or given the “only” other option. Which is Convert?.. Convert to Islam and the teachings of Mohammad or brutally dying in an Islamic State (THEOCRACY).

Posted by muggle2 | Report as abusive

Just a nice, white, British guy (living in NYC), writing to say: have any of you actually spent time getting to know any Muslims? Really: they’re just people! They have kids, some of them pray, they like music, they worry about paying their rent, they fight with their wives, they watch TV. The only difference is that, if they live in America, when they watch TV, they feel like because they are brown and practice a different faith, that a huge portion of vicious, slathering, self-righteous morons that are ostensibly their fellow citizens wish them harm!! Worst still, their own country seems willing to actually “debate” the details of this plain-faced bigotry in the press!?! For most of the rest of the world, encountering the public “debate” in America about this – and too many other things – is like being transported back to the 16th century! You’re the self-declared “leader of the free world”, but your radio shows sound like the lead up to the stupidest kind of medieval religious war. You get that this is why the world sees you as a nation of violent idiots, right? People: go hang out with some Muslims in your neighborhood: they’re really just Americans…the ones I know are kind, thoughtful and a lot of fun. Can’t believe it’s necessary to even say this.

Posted by cancon | Report as abusive

Wow, grew up in Europe, but am American… and from many of the comments I am reading I see little knowledge of your own American history…which includes being European for the ones who doubt of my sincerity… First of all, recall that the Templars were allowed and encouraged to spill the blood of the infidels in the name of God few centuries ago, so it appears that Christians were as much terrorists as Al-Queda today. Secondly, recall that during WW2, the nation with the biggest concentration camps was in the US, more than 200’000 first and second generations Japanese were taken their civil rights away, talking about democracy. Third, recall, that we, my fellowship citizens, as country, voted for the biggest mass murderer of the past decade… yes, we murdered children and women in Iraq when they had nothing to do with 9/11… So, instead of blaming and accusing and assuming without any further knowledge or our own past, do not judge one the spread religion on this planet. Our American past is full of blood, and yet we still find a way to accuse others, this is not right. We shall lead by example and righteousness, which includes protecting our Founding Fathers’Constitution…and its 1st amendement “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Posted by yeppp | Report as abusive

The problem with Islam is that it spares no one. I am not an American, I am a Hindu from India, our religion allows us to worship anyone and anything we desire. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs have suffered greatly at the hands of Islam. The problem with Islam is that a) they don’t tolerate any thing other than what their Koran tells them, b) they believe in the concept of a Muslim “Ummah”, Islam spanning countries and continents.And that is what they want to establish. An Islamic caliphate. No one listens to moderate muslims. America is facing a throwback religion that refuses to progress with the times. They still operate on 7th century AD rules.

Posted by mundraguda | Report as abusive

McVeigh was an avowed atheist. As were all the leaders of communist dictatorships.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive