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The 2 Worlds of Muslim-American Teenagers
The New York Times ^ | October 7, 2001 | SUSAN SACHS

Posted on 10/07/2001 5:15:59 AM PDT by sarcasm


Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
From left, Fariah Amin, Salam Said and Andira Abudayeh, are juniors at Al Noor School, a private Islamic academy in Brooklyn.

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Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
Fami Fozi, 17, left, would not fight against a Muslim country. Mazen Kased, also 17, is not convinced that Muslims attacked the trade center.


They are Americans who feel duty- bound by Islam to obey American laws. But some of them say that if their country called them to war against a Muslim army, they might refuse to fight. They cannot be shaken from the conviction that America is intrinsically anti-Muslim. Yet they see it as the one place where Muslims are free to be themselves.

To be young and Muslim in the United States today, to hear students at Al Noor School in Brooklyn tell it, is to be both outsider and insider, to revel in both roles but see neither as the ideal. It is to be consumed by causes abroad and removed from politics at home, to feel righteous and also confused, to alternate between gratitude and resentment toward the world outside their classrooms.

As any parent knows, this is the paradoxical planet inhabited by many teenagers, whether they are Muslim or not. But in a country wounded by terrorists and preparing for war, young Muslim Americans are finding that real life has raised especially acute questions for them about competing values of allegiance and faith.

"We have a burden on us," said Andira Abudayeh, who is 16 and attends Al Noor. "We're Muslims, and we feel like other Muslims around the world do. And we're Americans."

In extended conversations last week, high school students at Al Noor spoke of their empathy for the young Muslims around the world who profess hatred for America and Americans, saying the hostility is an outgrowth of American support for Israel.

They said they did not believe that the hatred extended to them. "Muslims are all one," said Fariah Amin, who is also 16. "They kind of think of us as just living in America."

The students complained that the United States threw its weight around too much in the world, but that it also was not active enough in support of what they called freedom-seeking Muslims in Chechnya and the "true" Muslims who oppose the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

"Isn't it ironic that the interests of America are always against what Muslims want?" said Fami Fozi, a 17-year-old student who said he would rather go to jail than fight in the United States Army against Muslims.

The students also said the Koran, which Muslims consider the literal word of God, provides a perfect blueprint for their lives. Their ideal society would follow Islamic law and make no separation between religion and state.

In the meantime, they said, they want to become doctors and lawyers and teachers in the United States. Even though the American government uses taxes to finance things that are un-Islamic — licensing the sale of alcoholic beverages, for example — they said Muslims here should pay taxes and accept the judgments of secular American courts.

"If you want to survive in freedom, I guess you just have to pay taxes to get the benefits from America," said Ahmad Odetalla, 14. "You know you're not going to be the one who buys alcohol. So as long as you stay away from what is forbidden in religion, I guess we have to pay taxes."

The students at Al Noor may not be a scientific sampling of Muslim American youth. But their comments are similar to those posted by Muslim Americans on the numerous Internet chat rooms and message boards about Islam, and their outlook is similar in some ways to that of other newcomers.

Immigrants and their children often feel the strain between the adopted and the native culture. Their political interests may focus on the topics and debates in their homeland. In the case of these Al Noor students, they are children of immigrants from places like Pakistan, Egypt, the occupied Palestinian territories and Yemen, which have been preoccupied for years by the efforts of Islamic fundamentalist movements to gain power through violence or the ballot box.

Still, some of their comments reflect what they have been reading and exposed to in the United States, where some Muslim clerics say openly what is said underground in Muslim countries: that the United States is to blame for the ills of the Muslim world through its support of more secular Muslim rulers.

Some of the students, for example, said they would support any leader who they decided was fighting for Islam. Among those who do not fit that definition, they said, are the rulers of just about every Arab and Muslim country.

Mr. Fozi, for instance, said that he would support any leader he determined to be an observant Muslim who is fighting for an Islamic cause, and that he would do so even if it meant abandoning the United States. "I would support him with my life," he said. How would he know who is a true Muslim? "I use my understanding of Islam and see what the person is doing," Mr. Fozi said.

Several of the young men said they could fight against a Muslim if they were convinced that the Muslim had committed a crime. They all said they were not convinced that Osama bin Laden — or any Muslim, for that matter — was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, attacks that they condemned as violating all precepts of Islam.

"It comes down to the proof," said Mazen Kased, 17. "If you prove a Muslim did it, that's a different story."

Another 17-year-old student, Ammar Arif, agreed. "If you prove it's Osama bin Laden and I was in the Army, I would go to fight," he said. "That's my duty to my country and my religion as well."

The students at Al Noor are reluctant to accept that the terror attacks were carried out by anyone of their religion. They draw on their deeply felt belief that Americans are biased against Islam and Muslims and that Muslims are victims of a prejudiced news media. Like many Muslim Americans, they said they believed that non-Muslims did not understand them and their choices.

These are also children whose parents made a conscious decision by sending them to a private Islamic school to shield them, at least during the school day, from the secularism of their adopted American culture. Girls at Al Noor must wear a loose- fitting robe and a tight-fitting scarf to cover their hair and necks. Except for the youngest children, boys and girls are separated during the school day.

They feel their separateness keenly. Since Sept. 11, rumors have raced through the school that Muslims have been shot and beaten in Brooklyn, and that it is not safe to walk the streets because of revenge attacks by Americans against Muslims.

They believe the rumors — which have not proven true — because they said it fits with their experience of seeing negative images of Islam in films and articles that they find disrespectful of Islam.

"A lot of newspapers write negative things, and we get so upset," said Mona Widdi, 16.

But few students said they thought that newspapers should be forbidden to write things about Islam, the prophet Muhammad or the Koran, topics that writers in most of the Muslim world stay away from out of fear of offending Muslim clerics.

"America does have freedom of speech, and it's one of the basic things," Miss Amin said. "I was taught about it since kindergarten. You can't tell someone that they can't write that. But if they can't prove it, they shouldn't put it in the paper as some kind of hatred against us."

None of the students said they had experienced any harassment since Sept. 11. Their school has received offers of guidance counselors from local hospitals, visits of support from state education officials, offers of interfaith exchanges from nearby Catholic schools and a constant stream of calls offering assistance from political figures in Brooklyn.

The principal, Nidal Abuasi, acknowledged that the students' assumption of a backlash might be misplaced.

"Maybe," he said, after recounting the number of calls from the neighborhood expressing good will, "we are too paranoid."


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The joys of multiculturalism.
1 posted on 10/07/2001 5:15:59 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: dennisw, blam
ping
2 posted on 10/07/2001 5:17:28 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
Scary
3 posted on 10/07/2001 5:25:55 AM PDT by BunnySlippers
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To: Travis McGee
.
4 posted on 10/07/2001 5:32:07 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
Most kids this age don't have enough experience in life to say anything coherent about anything. These "Muslim-American" kids are no different. But they seem to be much more paranoid than they should be. Why? They can do just about anything they want in this country just like everybody else. Someone is filling these young kids heads full of mush. They ought to go live in one of the "Muslim" countries for a few weeks and see what it's like. Don't they have a clue why their parents came to America?

The more I read statements by people that practice the Muslim faith the more it appears that they are taught in their religion "either you are with them or aginst them." Or maybe "you are with us or we are against you". And a lot of them have been saying things that make them seem more part time Americans than anything else.

5 posted on 10/07/2001 5:52:19 AM PDT by isthisnickcool
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To: sarcasm
Let them take their views and their cowardly asses back to Muslim world and don't come back. The U.S.A. has spent more money and more Blood protecting the world from evil than all other countries combined . I am really tired of listening to the Incoming Alien types who expound on their anti American views.. Particularly 17 year old morons who still haven't learned anything.....Let them go to Taliban World where you can be jailed or killed based on the length of your beard or your pubic hair. Take the Poll in Kuwait and see how they feel?
6 posted on 10/07/2001 5:54:52 AM PDT by chatham
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To: sarcasm
The man we supported and helped, Bosnia's fundamentalist Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic, wrote before the war there that there can be no co-existance between Islamic and non-Islamic societies.

Now that this issue comes closer home, we realize that Islam is not Southern Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic or Greek Orthodox. Islam recognizes only one nation -- the nation of Islam. It is therefore incompatible with any other. It co-exists with others because it has to, but Koran teaches the believers that they should spread the religion, even by force. After all, Islam means submission, not peace. It treates non-believers as enemies. Koran online is availbale. Read it.

7 posted on 10/07/2001 5:55:39 AM PDT by kosta50
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To: sarcasm
This article confirms my suspicion -- and fear -- that American Muslim's generally lack a belief in and support for the American political creed as expressed in our founding documents. Our system of self-government requires a consensus on these principles. The recent history of Islamic fundamentalism in the so-called "moderate" Muslim states confirms their opposition to individual liberty and what we have come to call constitutional principles. This was admitted, even though I don't think he realized it at the time, by a so-called "moderate" Muslim spokesman who was on Dr Laura Schlesinger's show on Thurs (Oct 4). I believe it was extremely revealing about the true Muslim agenda in the US, indeed in the world.

The guest was introduced as Dr. Hassan Hathout author of Reading the Muslim Mind and a spokesman for the Los Angeles Islamic Center of Southern California. This is the exchange as I transcribed it from the radio.

Question asked by “Ken” from Nevada:

Ken: “Is Islam in conflict with the US Constitution? Specifically, does the Koran instruct the faithful to strive for Islamic rule of law or government under Islamic rule of law? The fundamental question is this: Is the goal of Muslims Islamic rule of the world?"

Hathout: “For the last question, no it is not. As for the American constitution, I wish deep from my heart if all Muslim countries would take the American constitution for their constitution and live the democracy which is the essence of true Islam.”

Dr. Laura: “And take that Ken. Thank you. Did you have a follow-up or are you happy about that?”

Ken: “Well does the Koran instruct the faithful to strive for Islamic rule of law?”

Hathout: “No that’s when you are a Muslim community. If you are a Muslim community, you are required to judge your affairs… and in the Koran there is a verse that says that people of the torah should rule [unintelligible] should rule themselves with it and the people of the gospel should rule themselves with it and if you are just a Muslim majority nation, you are required by Islam to apply the Islamic law.”

Dr Laura: “However if you live in the United States of America?”

Hathout: "I belong in the law of the land. And that’s what Islam tells me."

Dr. Laura: "And that’s what Judaism tells us too."

After hearing this I returned to my Encyclopedia Britannica (1992) section on Islam and reread the material on Jihad. This is what it said:

Because the mission of the community is to “enjoin good and forbid evil” so that “there is no mischief and corruption on earth,” the doctrine of jihad, in view of the constitution of the community as the power base, is the logical outcome. For the early community it was a basic religious concept. Jihad, or holy war, means an active struggle using armed force whenever necessary. The object of jihad is not the conversion of individuals to Islam but rather the gaining of political control over the collective affairs of societies to run them in accordance with the principles of Islam. Individual conversions occur as a byproduct of this process when the power structure passes into the hands of the Muslim community.

I think the conclusions are clear. If and when Muslims are in the majority, they will use the power of the vote to conform our laws with Islamic law. This is what our leaders are ignoring. However "moderate" Muslims in America may seem, their religion recognizes no separation between church and state and is therefore fundamentally inconsistent with our political principles -- indeed with all of Western civilization. If America continues the open door immigration policy we may find that it is our political and religious principles that are merely "tolerated" by a Muslim majority while they pursue Islamic rule.

8 posted on 10/07/2001 5:56:08 AM PDT by politeia
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To: isthisnickcool
My 2 words.

Get Out.

Not really down with anyone not willing to fight for the very country and lifestyle they enjoy.

9 posted on 10/07/2001 5:56:08 AM PDT by 80skid
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To: sarcasm
Their ideal society would follow Islamic law and make no separation between religion and state.

This is what all of America needs to understand about these people. Their goal is the overthrow of the US Government and to impose their way of life on us. Mohammedans will get along with anybody else, as long as it is on their terms, fully and completely

"Maybe," he said, after recounting the number of calls from the neighborhood expressing good will, "we are too paranoid."

Their worldview is totally dependent on wild conspiracy theories. They believe the Mossad and the CIA were behind the attacks.

10 posted on 10/07/2001 6:03:32 AM PDT by GuillermoX
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To: kosta50
There is a medical term that mostly describes what you are talking about. In the human body it's a cancer.
11 posted on 10/07/2001 6:05:00 AM PDT by isthisnickcool
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To: sarcasm
But few students said they thought that newspapers should be forbidden to write things about Islam, the prophet Muhammad or the Koran, topics that writers in most of the Muslim world stay away from out of fear of offending Muslim clerics.

Sorry kids - Freedom of Speech is a basic right in this country - If you don't like it go home to your country and see what you're missing out on by living at home. Their parents are isolating them by sending them to an Islamic school to shield them from our American culture. I sense that these kids are starting to become anti-american.

12 posted on 10/07/2001 6:08:19 AM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: isthisnickcool
You're absolutely right. Islam is a cancer. Too bad our President is so busy running from mosque to mosque barefoot, too busy inviting terrorists to the WH and National Cathedral to "pray" to realize this.
13 posted on 10/07/2001 6:08:27 AM PDT by GuillermoX
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To: isthisnickcool
So ... if the US Supreme Court rules that vouchers for private religious schools are constitutional, how do you all feel about this school getting tax money to spread anti-Americanism?
14 posted on 10/07/2001 6:09:33 AM PDT by ikanakattara
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To: politeia
If and when Muslims are in the majority, they will use the power of the vote to conform our laws with Islamic law.

Not just when they are in the majority

When they are a significantly large minority (say, 5-10%) they will use violence and threats of violence to get their way. Media outlets that are judged "anti-Islamic" will either change their tone, or face an endless series of assaults, sit-ins, protests, etc

Any author who speaks out will risk getting murdered, with the murderer either getting sprung by an "OJ jury" or becoming a celebrity on Death Row (like Mumia Abu Jamal) while filing endless appeals

Any teacher who says anything disliked by Muslims will be hounded from the school system, etc, etc

15 posted on 10/07/2001 6:12:10 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor
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To: sarcasm
Notably absent from this piece is any shock or horror from these young people at the senseless slaughter of thousands of innocent human beings (many Muslim) on September 11th.

This piece demonstrates the bitter fruit of "diversity" and "multiculturalism." In the past, all immigrants, who became U.S. citizens, were Americans first. Now, we have an enormous fifth column of traitors who bear no allegiance and will fight against the rest of America.

I will never again trust the allegiance of any Muslim in America. Their religion has no place for national allegiance.

They have no respect for the religious freedom allowed in the United States, and under which they practice their faith HERE, in contrast to the murderous intolerance toward non-Muslims in predominately Muslim countries.

Islam is a dangerous faith and the enemy of freedom throughout the world.

16 posted on 10/07/2001 6:15:28 AM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: sarcasm
It would certainly seem that all those profiling,bigoted,"Iwon't fly on a plane with Arab types",Islam is anti-American,the problem is in our midst, bigots,may have been on to something..........

I sure hope all the Islam apologists here on FR read this.

And once again remember;in any war,there are only two sides.

17 posted on 10/07/2001 6:16:13 AM PDT by porte des morts
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To: sarcasm
"It comes down to the proof," said Mazen Kased, 17. "If you prove a Muslim did it, that's a different story."

For an example of a level of proof that still would not satisfy these people, look at the OJ trial

18 posted on 10/07/2001 6:16:23 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor
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To: GuillermoX
You're absolutely right. Islam is a cancer. Too bad our President is so busy running from mosque to mosque barefoot, too busy inviting terrorists to the WH and National Cathedral to "pray" to realize this.

I would have expected it from Clinton or Gore, but I am shocked that Bush is more concerned about offending and codling of the enemy - than protecting American citizens.

19 posted on 10/07/2001 6:20:35 AM PDT by TheOtherOne
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To: ikanakattara
So ... if the US Supreme Court rules that vouchers for private religious schools are constitutional, how do you all feel about this school getting tax money to spread anti-Americanism?

Considering all the left wing Anti-Americanism being spread today in our gov't schools having vouchers would help a great deal. If that means it would fund schools like this, so be it....

20 posted on 10/07/2001 6:21:00 AM PDT by isthisnickcool
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To: kosta50
The way religious folk get along in the US is to relegate the more difficult parts of their faith to the background. This is particularly important for Christians who are obligated to take their faith into all the world. Else, we'd have 'em lined up at our doors 10 deep every day.

One day in a discussion with a couple of mullahs, one gentleman asked me how it is that Christian missionaries will go anywhere and everywhere, but Moslem missionaries don't go to the worst places.

I told him it was that prohibition on Moslems living or working in places with legal systems incompatible with Islamic principles. After all, the places that need the missionaries, if not their religion, the most, barely have law, to say nothing of having law compatible with a high order of civilization.

You will notice that Moslems live in the United States. That is because our system of laws is compatible with Islam. That was determined first by the Ullema in Cairo, and by others later. With 5 million or so Moslems, that actually makes us pretty much one of the major Islamic states in the world.

All is not as it seems, eh?!

21 posted on 10/07/2001 6:23:32 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: GuillermoX sarcasm
Where's El Cid when you really need him?
22 posted on 10/07/2001 6:23:48 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: porte des morts
I sure hope all the Islam apologists here on FR read this.

They'll tell us that this worldview is shared by only a minority of Moslems and that Islam means peace.

23 posted on 10/07/2001 6:23:53 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
"Their ideal society would follow Islamic law and make no separation between religion and state. In the meantime, they said, they want to become doctors and lawyers and teachers in the United States. Even though the American government uses taxes to finance things that are un-Islamic..."

These young miscreants should be labeled MUSLIM "WHORES" because that's what they're espousing - living a lifestyle they believe is wrong solely for the money.

The sooner they are back where they belong, the better for all involved.

24 posted on 10/07/2001 6:27:56 AM PDT by BamaCharm
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To: isthisnickcool
There is a medical term that mostly describes what you are talking about. In the human body it's a cancer.

Early detection and treatment, we are told, are crucial if one is to survive cancer. This country, I am afraid, is in deep, deep denial as to the diagnosis.

25 posted on 10/07/2001 6:29:46 AM PDT by DSH
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To: SauronOfMordor
Truly an amazing point of view. Medieval Spain, where the Moslems never constituted an overwhelming majority, was considered possibly the best place to live at the time by everyone who'd heard of it.

Under the Umayyads it was certainly an excellent piece of civilization. Under later regimes where the central power had been broken up, and a federalism prevailed, you could find a community in Spain that satisfied your own personal attitudes toward law, religion and style of community.

Can't say we have yet attained that in the US. At the moment it looks like a single standard imposed from the top that forces us all into an uncomfortable conformity is the rage.

So, what was that you were saying about how Moslems will do it when they try to "take over"? Is that what they did in Spain? Is that going to be worse than a system where we have a bunch of perverts in a Supreme Court telling the rest of us we have to put up with baby killers?

26 posted on 10/07/2001 6:34:27 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
Considering that 70% of American Muslims voted for Bush it is evident that most Muslims aren't here for handouts. Nor should they be all labeled as fifth columnists.
27 posted on 10/07/2001 6:34:33 AM PDT by Truthsayer20
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To: sarcasm
I've defended Muslims and Islam on this forum from unwarranted and downright bigoted attacks, but I've begun to come to the conclusion that the American ideal and Islam are just not compatible.

Jews and Christians seem to be able to live the American way and obey American laws with no threat to their religious values, but it seems there is conflict when it comes to Islam. This might make sense, considering that while the Founding Fathers intended for all religions to be free and welcome in the US, they founded the US on Judeo-Christian, Western values.
28 posted on 10/07/2001 6:35:35 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: sarcasm
They seem to be on the level of Nazis. We don't need this kind of immigrant to the US. I remember just until a few weeks ago, the Jews in this town were free to worship without harassment, now every synagogue must hire security guards for their services and people are finding their flags ripped down and burned.

They really should not mind being sent back to Islamic countries which need their skills because we sure don't.

29 posted on 10/07/2001 6:38:54 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: politeia
Good points. If you are talking about a MUslim majority trying to bend America towards a theocratic rule, I agree with you, although the Constitution does allow, on a local level, people to basically govern themselves as they please, and religion plays a role in it (look at Utah). However, if you're talking about other countries, the Constitution, though it is my ideal, is not binding on anyone else. If Muslims as a majority religion want to rule using Islamic law, then that's what they are going to do. I don't think its neccessarily right, but that is the way the world works.
30 posted on 10/07/2001 6:42:11 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: sarcasm
They'll tell us that this worldview is shared by only a minority of Moslems and that Islam means peace.

This view is very often held by non-Arab converts to Islam.Yet they fail to explain why the majority of interviews and the actions (or non-action) of the Islamic community does not mesh with the definition of peaceful. I have been saying since 91101; there are only two sides.....I jumped for joy when GWB said basically the same thing.

This article clearly points out were these peoples sympathies lie.

31 posted on 10/07/2001 6:43:45 AM PDT by porte des morts
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To: Truthsayer20
When I see American Muslims purging and denouncing their own extremists and staging large protests against the slaughter of innocents by their brethren, I might think differently than I do now.

On September 11th, a group of Muslims working in a computer manufacturing plant in my U.S. city, rejoiced and cheered over the carnage in New York, thereby starting a fist-fight with fellow workers.

32 posted on 10/07/2001 6:46:53 AM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: TheOtherOne
No reason to be shocked this goes back way before bushtheyounger, he is just carrying on the traditions of his father and his fathers father.
33 posted on 10/07/2001 6:47:50 AM PDT by IRtorqued
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To: sarcasm
They cannot be shaken from the conviction that America is intrinsically anti-Muslim.

Let me ask you this, carpet rider: how many churches do you have in Saudi Arabia? How many mosques do we have in America? Now WHO are the bigots???!!!!

Maybe America is "anti-Muslim" because Islam has shown itself to be anti-Western. Or, maybe America isn't anti-Muslim at all. Maybe that is just a convenient fiction behind which to hide a murderous agenda, and speciously justify the slaughter of 7,000 innocents.

34 posted on 10/07/2001 6:48:08 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: muawiyah
Sura 9, verse 5: Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them, in every strategem [of war]."

This is what Islam teaches. "Nice," eh?

People read the Koran. Don't let those who embraced it tell you about it. Learn what's it all about from the source.

35 posted on 10/07/2001 6:54:37 AM PDT by kosta50
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To: Cool Guy
Ping
36 posted on 10/07/2001 6:56:52 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: dennisw
And what do you wanna bet that legal Islamic immigration to the US is still running at max?
37 posted on 10/07/2001 6:58:03 AM PDT by Let's Roll
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To: sarcasm
We're being used by people such as this who have no appreciation for this country, its history or traditions (I'm not saying that about all Muslims, but this bunch certainly fits it). All the supposed "anti-Muslim activity" of the US armed forces during the past decade?: 1) freeing Kuwaiti Muslims from Iraqi domination in 1991; 2) in 1992/3, feeding 3 million Somali Muslims at a loss of 20 of our Rangers; 3) in 1995, garrisoning, feeding and supporting Muslim Bosnia against Serbs whose parents helped us in the fight against Hitler; 4) in 1999, bombing the tar out of our fellow Christians in Kosovo on behalf of Albanian Muslims. I could add paying billions a year to the Egyptian and Palestinian Authority governments but I know this bunch wouldn't care to hear it.
38 posted on 10/07/2001 7:03:02 AM PDT by laconic
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To: IronJack
"...Islam has shown itself to be anti-Western."

Excellent point IronJack! With all the propoganda about America being "anti-Islam", we need to turn the tables and press home the point that America permits their mosques and the practice of Islam in this country. Can Muslim countries say the same about Christian churces and Jewish synagogues in their countries? The truth as you correctly point out is that Islam is anti-western, anti-anything but Islam. It is the epitome of intolerance and tyranny.

Who can argue this point? Step forward. Who in the media has the guts to ask these questions of Islamic Clerics and the liberal left?

39 posted on 10/07/2001 7:04:15 AM PDT by BamaCharm
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To: ikanakattara
So ... if the US Supreme Court rules that vouchers for private religious schools are constitutional, how do you all feel about this school getting tax money to spread anti-Americanism?

They already do in Milwaukee, and at least two of those schools are Islamic.

40 posted on 10/07/2001 7:04:38 AM PDT by mafree
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To: All
An Uneasy Tolerance

One American Muslim's view of how forces of hatred find a home in otherwise beneficent mosques and Islamic centers

by Mustafa Saied
special to MSNBC.com

Oct. 3 — Ever since America was attacked Sept. 11 by suspected Muslim extremists, there has been a remarkable emphasis on displaying tolerance and understanding towards Muslims living and practicing their faith in the United States. As Americans are called to show respect towards Arabs and Muslims in their midst, it is only fair that the American Muslim community take an introspective look at their own action.

THOUGH THERE ARE many sincere and observant Muslims in America, it is also a fact that in mosques, Islamic centers and Muslim student associations in this country that are funded by extremist factions in Saudi Arabia, anti-American sentiments are commonly intertwined with religious teaching.

As a longtime member of the American Muslim community, I have a unique perspective on this. Born in India, I came to the United States on a student visa. Though the adjustment was easy because it had always been my dream to live here, during my college years I became involved with some extremist Muslim groups. I must admit that some of my conversations on campus were quite insensitive and hateful towards the United States and western civilization as a whole.

I left those ideas behind years ago, when I was fortunately convinced by some friends that these extremist teachings are alien to Islam. Now, as an American resident, I feel it is time to call attention to what goes on inside some Islamic organizations in the United States that function as enclaves of extremism.

RIDICULE AND SUSPICION
Anti-Americanism takes many forms, from a general suspicion of all things non-Muslim to the ridicule of American values and culture, to, in the most extreme cases, outright statements of hatred couched in the language of religion.

In some Muslim communities, it is not unusual for non-Islamic religious or cultural observances to be ridiculed. I have attended Friday congregational prayers in the week before Christmas, Halloween or Thanksgiving in which the sermons are marked with sarcastic references to American religious and cultural practices. This strikes me as hypocritical, especially considering that greetings on the Muslim Eid holidays from non-Muslims are received with pride, but members of most mosques are forbidden to acknowledge their neighbors’ celebration of Christmas or return a holiday greeting.

Parents are increasingly encouraged to send their children to Islamic schools because of a rising sentiment in the American Muslim community that the nation’s public schools are not safe, that they teach anti-Islamic subject matter and that their children are better off surrounded by Muslims rather than non-Muslims. I have not known any of these Islamic schools to encourage or practice the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, so I still fail to see how patriotism is in any way condoned, inculcated or preserved in the minds of our children.

The most extreme manifestation of anti-American sentiment is in the handful of mosques, Islamic centers and student groups that are controlled by forces that display a particularly venomous hatred towards the Western society. The teachings of religious experts — ancient ones, like Ibn Taymiyyah, a Saudi scholar of the 13th and 14th centuries — or recent leaders like Saudi Sheikh Albany or Abdul Wahhab are notable for their harsh rulings and strong words against non-Muslims.

SPORTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Much of this anti-American sentiment takes place out of sight, cloaked in language most Americans cannot understand and in communal religious activities that take place outside the mainstream. But sometimes it comes to the surface. A few years ago, for instance, when the media focused on basketball star Mahmoud Abdul Rauf’s refusal to stand during the singing of the national anthem, Rauf, then a player on the Denver Nuggets, received a great deal of public support from the American Muslim community.

It’s hard to say exactly why Rauf’s co-religionists rallied to his cause: was it because a Muslim sports hero caught in a controversy deserved unconditional Muslim support? Or was it that these Muslims — many of whom carry American passports — felt the American national anthem did not deserve respect? In the end, Rauf came to terms with the issue by agreeing to stand, but silently pray, during the playing of the national anthem. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, I wonder how many American Muslims now regret their involvement in this cause.

FLAGS AND PASSPORTS
A prevailing argument among some Muslim critics is that the American flag stands for the various oppressions and injustices of American foreign policy. But if the American flag is problematic for some American Muslims, what does holding an American passport represent? If they feel so strongly about it, shouldn’t these critics be turning in their passports?

Muslims living in this country and enjoying its freedoms should stop tolerating hate-filled speeches against the West in its centers and houses of worship. Now is the time to discourage anti-social elements within the Islamic centers and mosques. It is not enough for people to simply say that they do not agree with extremist rhetoric. Individuals have a responsibility to voice their concerns and put the pressure on the community to stop tolerating it.

And, if it comes to this, Muslims of good will should be ready to report extremists in their midst to the proper authorities, if they do not tone down their rhetoric — no matter how pious these extremists may claim to be. We cannot let the brotherhood of religion outweigh the security of our country and the responsibilities we have as American citizens.

Introspection is never really painless. The time has come to step up.

Mustafa Saied wrote this commentary for MSNBC.com

41 posted on 10/07/2001 7:05:46 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: Let's Roll
And what do you wanna bet that legal Islamic immigration to the US is still running at max?

Of course it is. They want out of their sh**hole Muslim nations and into the USA/ Canada/ Australia/ Europe. Once here they set up their own little colony with their own world view. Not all Muslims do this but way over 50% do. I would ban all Muslim immigration to the West. 

The Muslim numbers in France are bloody frightening!

42 posted on 10/07/2001 7:07:22 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: isthisnickcool
I highly urge you to read the Koran and learn the best kept secret from the very source.

Americans need to know what they are up against.

43 posted on 10/07/2001 7:07:31 AM PDT by kosta50
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To: BunnySlippers
Read post #41
44 posted on 10/07/2001 7:08:03 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: kosta50,chatham
Read post #41
45 posted on 10/07/2001 7:08:53 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: sarcasm
I want these idiots out of my country. I don't care if they are "kids".

They're over here in OUR country enjoying OUR freedoms, services, benefits and education, but can't distinguish murderers who hide behind Islam? These people are incapable of discernng truth and logic. Unbelievable and unforgivable!
46 posted on 10/07/2001 7:09:09 AM PDT by demkicker
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To: BamaCharm
Read post #41
47 posted on 10/07/2001 7:10:48 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: GuillermoX
Checkout post #41
48 posted on 10/07/2001 7:12:02 AM PDT by Gracey
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To: sarcasm
The anecdotal evidence like this article all points to the truth that Islam is incompatible with the national security interests of the United States of America.

Non-citizens need to be sent home along with their brood.

49 posted on 10/07/2001 7:12:03 AM PDT by father_elijah
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To: areafiftyone
I sense that these kids are starting to become anti-american.

You're right!!! That's the intent by the Islamic Radical Clerics. We should not allow people in our country that would not bear arms and fight for our way of life. Read post #41

50 posted on 10/07/2001 7:13:51 AM PDT by Gracey
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