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.

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.


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

It’s comments like some of the above which really bring home to one just how mind-bogglingly civilised the Ottomans were when they refused to destroy Hagia Sophia. I used to think they were mere centuries ahead of their time. Now I see that even now we haven’t caught up.

Posted by Ian_Kemmish | Report as abusive

All religions have their drawbacks and most people forget is context. Every religion has come into being in a different context under different pressures. Islam’s was one for unifying nomadic tribes. Islam’s only flaw is that it promotes faith over state which in the larger picture unifies all Muslims but then makes loyalty to the state a Dilemma. But this feeling has eroded as the newer generations have found little value to this dogma as Islam is more and more seen as a faith as opposed to a unifier. The laws and edicts that get Islam vilified are those that have been interpreted by men and used to cement power for men. It would be a grave injustice to tar everybody with the same brush and would bring back the feeling that Muslims should stick with Muslims. The reality is that a great many people are not violent and are in search of what most human beings want on earth, the good life.
Those who feel that they learn about religion through one incident need to remember this blame game can be extended to centuries before and you can always find some one incident by specific individuals in each religion done in its name, that will horrify you as to what religion can do. There is no religion in the world that is bereft of blood on their hands.
Fear pushes people to do horrific and stupid things. By creating fear around the Muslim community the solution is not going to be found. Also the principal strategy of terrorism is not going to benefit Islam in the long run. There is no way the world will bow and convert to Islam as a whole!! This is a fact

Posted by interrupts | Report as abusive

To all those who mention Timothy McVeigh, you are blind dumb fools. Pretty sure he was on his own and there aren’t branches of his organization blowing up government buildings all around the world.

No, BUT, there are Muslims murdering muslims in city markets all over the world. I guess that fact makes me extreme for saying it, my bad…

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive

Hey Bernd, were you a member of Jourolist? Had to ask!

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive

You’re ignoring the main point of my post. I’m not saying that any complete group is anything. I’m saying the extremists in all groups are the problem. I’m sure there are people who oppose the community center for legitimate reasons. But the people who speak with hate and march with signs that betray their bigotry should not be considered a part of this debate. They are hurting their own argument, and America in the process.

You, for example, have made some very broad accusations about things which you claim are taking place in the United States and abroad. As these are your assertions, you have a burden of proof before we can actually discuss the issue. Could you link to some reliable sources on the issues you’re bringing up?

I don’t want this to be a liberal vs. conservative issue, or any other them vs. us. We’re all Americans (or, if you’re not America, we are all citizens of the world). We will all succeed or fail together. The purpose of these debates should not be to prove each other wrong. It should be to explore the information (and perhaps our morals) to determine what the best solution is.

Posted by TrueIronPatriot | Report as abusive

If all muslims = evil terrorist, then how come ALL 1.7 BILLION, or heck I’ll give you the benefit, how come HALF of the worlds muslims, aren’t doing their utmost “religious duty” waging war on us?

If they were,then those who “know all they need to know…” would be on to something.

As it stands now you haters are simply talking out of your arses since currently billion+ Muslim’s aren’t carrying out their [according to your belief] religious duty by chanting “Allah…” and lobbing RPG’s every-which-way.

Posted by aahari | Report as abusive

Yes there is violence in ISLAM. But, I suggest you consider Torquemada before you throw too many stones at anyone else.

That being said, this is America. We have a Constitution (Does anybody remember that?) (Anybody in Congress remember that—Nah) that GUARANTEES FREEDOM OF RELIGION!!! AND FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY!!!

Anyone who opposes the RIGHT of Islams to build that mosque is effectively a traitor to the ideals this country was founded on, and I strongly suggest you move to to Myanmar where you’ll fit in better. Sure, building a mosque there is potentially incendiary and probably not a smart idea, but it is a legal right and the problem with with the bigots that ignore the law. Do we really want to degeneration into “Mcarthy-ism” again?

Posted by dhiorth | Report as abusive

Honestly, do people think that the American system of government is so weak that it could be overtaken by Muslims and their Islamic practices? It’s completely absurd. Why is this even a debate? Freedom of religion is protected under the first amendment.

Posted by dbapozer | Report as abusive

Ian_Kemmish, my apologies if I am missing the ‘tounge-and-cheek’ in your comment, but are you really suggesting that Muslims are more civilized than non-Muslims, using as an argument: when Muslims conquered Constantinople they chose to steel and convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, rather than destroying it? … and then of course went about the city raping and pillaging old school until everyone in the city was dead or enslaved …

Posted by Frenchy1 | Report as abusive

Judging my many of the anti-Islam posts, you guys should realize its just flavor of the month. Christians have killed millions in an organized manner from animists in Africa, to Hindus to India, to Mayans in South America, to the Jews in Germany and looks like they are gearing up to do the same to Islam.

I think the only honest answer is all old testament religions are corrupting, evil and a vehicle to kill non believers by there extremist followers. They inherently define their religions by believing in a prophet – not in the goodness of people. All I need to know about Christianity and Islam is the total death tolls they’ve racked up for the last 1500 years: Millions upon millions. And how both say they are peaceful religions – please.

Posted by John2244 | Report as abusive

All these anti-Islam extremists seem to be well organized and very well financed. It appears that there is a very powerful lobby in the United States that influences politicians, the media, academia, opinion-makers, movie-makers, etc, and that is interested in presenting Islam and anything even remotely associated with Islam in the worst possible light. This wealthy lobby works secretively and has for years infiltrated American culture and shaped American views. Most politicians are afraid of confronting this lobby. One has to admire the courage of Mayor Bloomberg, an independent Jewish public figure, for standing up for real American principles.

Posted by millik | Report as abusive

Ground cero exists because of islamic extremist and U.S. extremists.

Posted by mucaro | Report as abusive

what a bunch of haters! Y cant people just realize that religion is a practice like any other, for eg cooking food. You wouldn’t hate a guy who likes to fry on a pan hating becasue you like to roast in the oven.

Aren’t the bible and the quran nearly the same books, half the references and the characters are the same too!

Fortunately the world is moving toward a homogeneous people and that is good, the present generation is more racially tolerant than the previous one, because that was the major line of divide earlier. Seems like religion is getting infamous for that now.

Posted by Shukla | Report as abusive

For any conservative person out there, I consider myself a liberal and I cannot begin to fathom who thought building a mosque near the twin towers site was a good idea. This plan just falls under the category of really bad taste. In a country where we have every right to offend and be offended, this is one of the most ill-conceived ideas in a long list of bad ideas.

As for who has killed more over time, Christians, Jews, Muslims? I think it is a moot point. For the future, I worry about the rogues who don’t have a country to worry about. Nuclear weapons have been in the arsenals of many countries for decades. They haven’t been used because of Mutually Assured Destruction. But country-less terrorist groups have no geographical allegiances. That is a scary, scary thing.

Posted by tangostar98 | Report as abusive

“Those who preach that the U.S. is waging war on Islam itself, and terror acts are therefore a form of self-defense, can argue that Christian soldiers have been killing Muslims through history, from the Crusades to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
*Little known fact Mr. Debussman – 200 years before the first Christian Crusade, the “Profit” Mohammad was waging his own Crusade on the lands surrounding Arabia. The Christian Crusade was in response of Muslims invading their holy land. Islam is by definition a violent, aggressive religion.
Now, I’m a man of science and KNOW that there’s no such thing as God, Allah, the Boogie Man, etc. I believe in everyone’s right to practice whatever they want in their own time. I also firmly believe in the right to build WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT on private property. I couldn’t care less about its proximity to the World Trade Center site.
But, Mr. Debussman… please look at the facts and don’t spin this. Americans have every right to fear Islam. I couldn’t imagine an Islam-centric world. The Western-centric world we live in is oppressive enough for me.

Posted by the_sconnie | Report as abusive

ah. freedom. i love the ability to say whatever i want, and i hope you all do too.

Posted by RailBended | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann’s article is a great disservice to the reader. True, there are many Muslims who are “moderates” or modern Capitalists, and, arguably, should be treated (or at least thought about) differently than the crazy terrorist crowd. The trouble is that you can’t tell the “moderates” from the ones that are driving the quest for world domination.

The key point, however, is that while there are moderate Muslims, there is NO moderate Islam. Mohammed set it all up 13 centuries ago (give or take), and Islam is as unchanging, powerful and venal as ever. To learn more about it, I encourage you to read The Sword of the Prophet, by Serge Trifkovic.

Islam is not just a religion. It’s also a political system and a set of laws (Sharia) that carry Draconian penalties for breaking the Muslim laws (like stoning, beheading, and bad treatment of nonbelievers, etc). It is both obfuscating and disingenuous to refer to Islam as a religion, or to interchange “Muslims” with “Islam” as Mr. Debusmann did in his article.

The 9/11 event was perfectly in keeping with the teachings of the Koran (the unabrogated portions). Islam is out to get us (all “non-believers), and they’re damn good at it.

THAT’S America’s trouble with Islam.

Posted by thbinbos | Report as abusive

TrueIronPatriot, thanks for clarifying your position.
My original take-away was that you were lumping anyone who disagrees with the mosque site as an extremist.

Here are some links you requested. Google Sharia Law in America and you’ll find many many more. 3/islamic-law-helps-illegal-couple-stay- in-u-s/ 6/creeping-sharia-law-comes-to-the-gridi ron/ 3/shariah-law-in-the-us-gov-paterson-off ers-to-make-islam-the-state-sponsored-re ligion-of-new-york/

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

What happened to “separation of Church and State” as demanded in our constitution? Should not our politicians be made to answer for deliberately linking the issues? This should not be us versus them! This should be about seeking a solution to the problems and that solution starts with “education”. Not just of them but us too!
Islam is no more better or worse than Christianity and Islam, as much as Christianity, is splintered within into many sub-groups whose believers will not accept alternatives, the most radical of which rabidly desire to impose their own version of values upon others. The
9/11 site is a fiasco anyway! The buildings should have been replaced long ago and perhaps then the building of a mosque would not have been so scandalized. Crescents arms bands? Why not Stars of David? Why not Swastikas while you are at it?
Stop fearing others by trying to exclude them from your environment lest you divorce yourself so much from reality that you will become the other side of their same coin!
I do not mean embrace them, I mean try to understand them from an objective point of view. And that applies to all followers of all religions or beliefs.
We are citizens of the World now.. let’s act like it!

Posted by laeticus | Report as abusive

laeticus, good post.
This was the same view I held for a long time toward Islam. But it was precisely _because_ I got educated that I now resist high profile maneuvers such as the ground zero mosque. And I’m not referring to only to radical fundamentalist Islam, but the core tenants of Islam as a whole. It’s much more than a religion.

Read “While Europe Slept,” as a good starting point. It’s the crystal ball of America’s future if we don’t wake up quickly.

Posted by Pyotr | Report as abusive

Primarily, islam is more than a religion: it is also the dominant political and legal force of muslims. It overshadows everything in the life of muslims because it defines their lives, and that can not be seperated from the religious aspect. So to allow freedom of religion in this case, it also accepts the rest of the baggage associated with islam. To allow islam to intrude on America is to accept the things muslims consider part of their religion, but we here in America do not. Where do you intend to draw the line when an honor killing or some other form of islamic religious belief intrudes on America’s laws, but it is a part of muslim beliefs? In the countries that islam dominates, any intrusion on their belief system usually ends with a brutal death. Cry freedom of religion all you want to, but it is more than that. It will be an infection you are inviting into the core of America, and it will turn to pestilence eventually. The title of this article should not be Americas problem with islam. It should ask the question first: What is islams problem with the rest of the world?

Posted by Hooey | Report as abusive

Pyotr, unfortunately your primary source is heavily biased. Please locate another reference point that is not self-admitted to being devoted to certain political motivations.

Posted by TrueIronPatriot | Report as abusive

cynicalme: I lived in Muslim countries for seven years and travelled all over the Middle East and nobody ever tried to convert me. Not once.

Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

According to some posts here we should blame all the Christians and Christianity because Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building , killed hundreds and he was a Christian

We should blame Christianity because 500,000 Iraqi children died because Christians at the UN Security Counsel decided to put an embargo on Iraq

We should blame Christianity because thousands of Muslims were slaughtered in Bosnia by Christians

We should blame Christianity because millions of people died in North Africa because the Christians occupied their land by force for over 130 years.

We should blame the Jewish religion, because millions of Palestinains are suffering for decades and hundreds of thousands were killed by Jews.

Does Christianity and Judaism sound thrust worthy to you?

Should I go on..!!

Posted by Foot2010 | Report as abusive

Terroism has been around since the dawn of man. Associated it with a particular group is a bit lame, since it really is human nature. Remember that seen in “2001 A Space Oddyssey” where a monkey picked up a club and beat the next monkey to death, I would argue that was the first act of terroism. People will beat up people for whatever reason and call it Americanism, Islam, Nazism, Shiite against Sunnis, Tutsi vs Hutu…. and on and on…… The only thing that is different is that there is nuclear option now so a single person’s venom can get magnified to terrible levels. But negative groups will always exist inside of mankind. All we can do is try discuss, negotiate. If that does not work we will wield an iron fist to bring the peace. Maybe in a 1000 years we can avoid the negative and go right to peace.

Posted by freedomadvocate | Report as abusive

No one has an understanding until they understand what is to be understood.

Posted by Khal3d | Report as abusive

Isnt this quite simply a case of bad taste, an error of judgement at best, an extremely antagonistic attempt to build a bridge? As previously stated you dont need to be religious or a genius to see its clearly in poor taste considering the location and thats being polite.

Posted by renown | Report as abusive

somehow democracy began to be equated with lawlessness. also, many people started to question American view on religious freedoms. however, what’s missing from all this is the fact, that we need to separate violence from religion. most of us can’t, because in our minds Islam equals violence. more over, Islamic shaaria lows such as stoning to death, are eagerly promoted. while western countries have death punishment, it’s mainly because other life was taken away, not because of adultery. on the other hand, preachings inviting or promoting violent behavior, don’t constitute religion at all.
I agree with previous comments about western European muslims having troubles integrating into society. They also, don’t denounce violent behavior.
So, let’s not forget about 3000 people killed by ISLAMIC thugs 17 of whom came from Saudi Arabia. Let’s not forget ISLAMIC thugs chanting ‘death to America and israel’ while tower fell. Let’s remember beheadings. Let’s remember American soldiers’ bodies dragged through the streets of capital of Somalia. The list goes on and on. But, seeing how people reacted to the plan to build this mosque, planners should probably pause and ask themselves whether they would want to prey there. Or may be they have different plans. As it turns out, western European mosques are gathering places for many future terrorists. That’s why sane people are outraged.

Posted by roger7474 | 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

What Islamic county allows Catholic or Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, athiests, or homosexuals to practice their beliefs freely, in the open? NOT ONE.

Posted by stacylaw | Report as abusive

BTW Foot2010, Timothy McVeigh was NOT a Christian. That’s not a judgement, that’s a fact. We know this precisely because he blew up the building. That is not, as Christians know, “Spirit-controlled living.” Just because you SAY you are a Christian does not mean that you are, in fact, a Christian. Christianity is not a culture – those people calling themselves in North Africa “Christian” is not an indictment against Christianity because people of hate and bondage cannot be true Christians. The number of true Christians is far less than the statistics say.

Posted by stacylaw | Report as abusive

Because we were founded by Christians.

Posted by STORYBURNthere | Report as abusive

BHOlied: No, I wasn’t.

Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

@Stacylaw question:
“What Islamic county allows Catholic or Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, athiests, or homosexuals to practice their beliefs freely, in the open? NOT ONE.”

If you ever decide to become an informed American then you’ll lear many Islamic countries do allow the above, though I agree not ALL the above.

I will counter with the following question however:

What DEMOCRATIC nations citizenry is trying to limit personal freedom, ostracize/outlaw homosexuals and non-Christian believer to practice their beliefs freely, in the open????? “AMERICANS” like YOU!

Posted by aahari | Report as abusive

Thank you Mr. Debusmann for a very thoughtful article.

Unfortunately, I cannot enter a ‘recommend’ as I refuse to join Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Posted by Warburton | Report as abusive

To Quote the Article; “Those who preach that the U.S. is waging war on Islam itself, and terror acts are therefore a form of self-defense, can argue that Christian soldiers have been killing Muslims through history, from the Crusades to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Here, once again, is the idea of the Christians and Crusaders of early 900′s CE being somehow responsible for the actions of Muslims.

Islam/Muslims started the whole thing. Beginning in the later 400′s CE, Mohammed and the next couple generations of Muslims preached Jihad (war on non-Muslims by any method … aka terror) and the rightness of Jihad. Their outlook on the world was those areas which fall under the rule of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and those areas of the world that remain to be subjugated.

BEFORE THERE WAS ANYTHING CALLED “The CRUSADES”, By terror and by Jihad Islam was spread throughout Spain, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, parts of France, parts of Italy, the Mediterranean in general, North, Central and East Africa, the Middle East in total and much more. They brutalized and slaughtered non-Muslims by the tens and hundreds of thousands for 400 years before France fought them to a standstill. Before Spain began to force them out of Spain (a process that lasted over 200 years).

So they have switched tactics a little bit but still they are slowly increasing their grip on the non-Muslim world. This is not by accident … it is by DESIGN.


Posted by Bay0Wulf | Report as abusive

Sorry. Need to amend my post of previously.

Islamic Jihad was preached and actively began in the mid 600′s CE, the FIRST commonly recognized Crusade started in 1095 CE. I believe that there were some others that are classified as Crusade-like endeavors beginning in the late 900′s CE.

This is STILL a more than 400 year gap in when Muslims embarked on their worldwide terror campaign and when Europe began to respond.

Posted by Bay0Wulf | Report as abusive

I think most people are confused here.

Firstly, what makes the Twin Towers Site ‘hallowed or holy ground’? If I recall correctly, those towers were called the World Trade Centre, hence they represented international trade, commerce and most likely, profit. Therefore, is America stating that it values trade, commerce and profit above all? Are we seeing the truth now – the US worships the almighty greenback? Is there unabated greed coming to light, again?

Secondly, Mecca has been deemed a holy ground and has been worshipped on for many many decades. Dont confuse a less than 10 year old hole in the ground with mecca and other places that the masses put significant religious belief into. Lest we start a new religion, one that worships international trade, commerce and profit.

Finally christianity is far from civilised and holier than thou. Just ask your nearest Irish neighbor about the Troubles. Whilst this was political in nature, there was significant religious undertones to it between the Proddy’s and the Mick’s.

Posted by PassingResident | Report as abusive

islam is an integrated religious, political, and social system…you can’t try to divorce its parts (well you can try but the fundamentalists win in the end)…adherents will blend in and cry freedom of their religion and when their numbers have swelled up (they don’t believe in contraception) they will forcefully bend systems and laws to their ideology (crying foul in the name of democracy)…unfortunate but that’s what makes islam dangerous

Posted by alsomichael | Report as abusive

George Carlin got it right when he said (paraphrasing here): “The root of all evil is organized religion…”

Posted by TimeIsAllWeHave | Report as abusive

From an atheist’s standpoint, this is truly pathetic to watch. Mankind is falling behind. I watch The Daily Show & The Colbert Report and only they truly capture the idiocy happening here. It actually makes me ashamed of being How can people be so blind? If we just didn’t give a f*** then this issue would be non-existent, as I wish religion was. Dig those words, I say them without fear of some guy with horns poking me in a** with a pitchfork. Evolve idiots.

Posted by lighthouse | Report as abusive

America’s “problem with Islam” is perhaps not quite the right title in the end. It’s “a section of American society’s problem with democracy and the Bill of Rights”… I am talking about the part of American society that loves Amendment # 2 to the detriment of the rest.
And then there are all those drama queens running around trying to get on TV or on the Internet….. Things haven’t changed, except that some of those drama queens have made it big, like Malkin, Beck and others. And they have made it big because in a country of 300 million you are bound to find a few whose brain somehow remained in their mother’s fallopian tubes.

Posted by Talleyrand | Report as abusive


If you wanted to build a Christian church in Saudi Arabia, as you asked, you would not be allowed to do so because Saudi Arabia does not guarantee its citizens freedom of worship and it is an Islamic state. The government has an official religion, as opposed to the United States which does not.

So, let’s say you are a Christian, and you lived there, and you wanted to worship. Well, you couldn’t because it would be illegal.

That would be pretty terrible wouldn’t it?

Aren’t you glad you live in America, where you are allowed to worship the deity of your choice and in the way you choose?

That’s because we have federally protected freedoms and we are a tolerant society.

Posted by citizen_n | Report as abusive

Reading these posts is enough proof for me to see all religions are violently oppossed to others on some level (extremists). Belief in something has this affect on people.

Look at the level of hate that has been said in this thread and tell me people don’t have a right to be offended. Don’t beat up your neighbor just because you don’t know where to direct your anger. Do you think that only Christians were affected by the 9/11? Serious, do you think that a singular people were the only people who were affected?

By this same method of thinking one can say that the response to 9/11 (like the hate on this thread) is a clear indication of how all Christians act and behave. Are you not just adding fuel to a hate centred religious war in the making?

Why are we even measuring what religious is more violent? This was an act that people did against people. Religion just happened to be the cause this time. Next time it will be drugs, greed, lust, maybe need.

My point is people just need a reason to be violent. Pick your poison.

Posted by Darkly37 | Report as abusive

Somewhere between blind columns like this one and blogosphere headcases lie the 95% of us who merely note the following realities:

1. A phobia is an unwarranted fear. Islam’s extreme wing has blown up 17,600 or so folks around the world this year so far. Islamophobia is thus an oxymoron.
2. In the UK after 7/7 (our 9/11) we also had posters being waved. They read things like ‘Behead unbelievers’, ‘To hell with democracy’ and ‘Death to Britain’.
3. The ‘tiny minority’ mantra is nonsense. In the UK after 7/7,34% of UK Muslims under 35 told a YouGov survey they approved of overthrowing British society ‘by force if necessary’.
4. True, the majority of Islamics despise Islamists as dumb Underclass dupes….but they fellow-travel. Every debate with an Islamic group on Islamist violence begins, “Yes, but you…”.
5. The overwhelming majority of developed Christian States are liberal-democrat – or aspire to be. Not a single Islamist State anywhere on the planet is – or does.

This fruitless debate consists entirely of those in denial ignoring the realities of bigotry. As the Americans are wont to remark, Mr Debusmann – you need to get out more. 0-funerals-and-wedding.html

Posted by nbywardslog | Report as abusive

Mike Bloomberg is right, but most America watch Fox News.

Posted by MaiO | Report as abusive

I do so admire the multi-cultural outlook or aspiration of much of the reader comments and I want to be part of that segment. But muslim values, with the persistance of far more than a small minority, seem hellbent on encroaching onto other society’s values and their birthrate furthers the likelihood that they may one day prevail. I don’t much care whether the feudalistic women-stoning, hand-chopping, Jew-hating, Koran-obsessive fanatical governments in the worst of the Arab states are there through the will, acquiesence or blind eye of their population. One way or another, these societies are spawning too many mad & bad people and multi-culturalism and cosmopolitanism must have its upper limit.

Posted by robalka | Report as abusive

Debusmann is unable to understand this:
Islam uses religion to achieve its political goals.
Islam uses whatever is required to eliminate naive Americans – including outbreeding and violence.
Islam has taken over Europe already it’s just not visible yet as old Europeans are still around; the young ones are all Muslims. Those few young Europeans have willingly accepted their fate and given away their countries. They got no children either, so that’s it. End of history.
Debusmann; classical natural selection has wiped you out.
America is weak, naive, obese, complacent and cannot see dangers but Islam is strong.

Posted by deltadog | Report as abusive

A Gallup survey says? You mean a survey of those that are home during the day or in the afternoon. I read this as a survey of the unemployed, quite possibly uneducated, welfare recipient that has never traveled outside the U.S. Most of us that work, or previously worked, have cell phones not home phones and we are busy during the day either working or trying to find employment again. Maybe the administration should worry about jobs and let NYC sort out it’s own zoning issues.

As for the issues in Europe Pyotr brings up an excellent point and one that needs to be discussed. I don’t think the Gallup respondents would have any idea what’s going on over there unless Oprah told them about it.

Bernd should never have brought up the Tea Party and instead should have stuck to the issue at hand. He took the discussion political and it detracted from the real discussion we should be having.

Posted by Bdy2010 | Report as abusive

The article is just nonsense. History teaches all we need to know about Islam. Jihad was the reason for the crusades, not the other way around. If left to continue their conquest, a new crusade will be required.

Posted by caretaker | Report as abusive