Diverse Muslim community finds common ground in Asheville

WILLING SUBMISSION TO GOD: Local Muslims gather every Friday for fellowship, a short sermon and salah (pictured here), the act of wor- ship that combines physical, mental and spiritual elements — reciting verses and praying along with different postures. Photo by Able Allen

“You could say I was hungry for the truth without even realizing I was searching for it,” says Western North Carolina native Joseph (Yusuf) Gantt, “and that led to a journey of maybe 10 or 15 years in which I finally recognized Islam. It satisfied my hunger.” Two of Gantt’s family members, his mother and a sister, have also embraced the faith.

Some 35 or 40 years ago, Gantt recalls, he’d returned to the area to do a 40-day fast in Pisgah National Forest. “I just went deep in the forest. … I had known how to pray, and I knew about Islam for many years before that but didn’t consider myself a Muslim. Then it occurred to me: Why am I sitting here praying in a forest by myself when I should be praying with other people that have the same belief?”

So Gantt, who was born in Fletcher, left the forest and went to study at The Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., followed by more study in Egypt. After that, he worked in various capacities as a consultant to nonprofit Islamic organizations. Now retired, Gantt devotes his time to his family and his faith community.

Until a few decades ago, most Americans probably had little awareness of Muslims. These days, Islam and individuals claiming to be its adherents appear frequently in screaming news headlines, yet most people in this country still consider themselves Christians and don’t know much about what the Pew Research Center and others say is the world’s fastest-growing religion.

Western North Carolina has had a Muslim population for decades, says Khalid Bashir, a physician at the local Veterans Affairs Hospital who serves as president of the Islamic Center of Asheville. “There are some people who were originally from here and they converted to Islam, probably in the late ’70s to ’80s.” Today, he continues, there are about 75-100 Muslim families in the area, many of them immigrants from far corners of the world.

But who are these people, and how do they fit into Asheville’s kaleidoscopic faith community?

Visitors welcome

On any given Friday, Gantt can be found at the Islamic Center on Old Fairview Road, praying alongside maybe 60 others. The masjid, or mosque, is a large carpeted room; only males are required to go there for prayer, but part of the room is partitioned off for women who wish to attend. The center doesn’t have an imam (prayer leader) at the moment, so the “khutbah” (Friday sermon) is usually given by a volunteer, often Bashir.

Visitors are welcome here. Muslims, non-Muslims and student groups from Warren Wilson College and UNC Asheville come to learn about Islam and the Quran. In addition, the facility serves as a kind of community center: Each Friday after prayers, some of the men stick around for a family-style meal; there are also monthly potlucks.

The Asheville Islamic Center is the only formally organized mosque in North Carolina west of Morganton, and it continues to see modest but steady growth. Perhaps the busiest time is Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. During this major holiday, the mosque hosts about 200 people, notes Bashir.

The language of faith

On one recent Friday, the sermon was short and simple, essentially a guide to proper behavior in the masjid. Besides telling worshippers how to enter, move around and find a place in the room, the speaker, Bashir, urged his listeners to wear clean clothes and avoid eating stinky food.

That practical approach was a far cry from the rousing, persuasive, inspirational model followed by many modern Protestant sermons.

SHARING CULTURE: After Lina Abuadas closes the restaurant for the day she turns the same space into a learning lab for language, cooking and dance. Photo by Able Allen
SHARING CULTURE: After Lina Abuadas closes the restaurant for the day she turns the same space into a learning lab for language, cooking and dance. Photo by Able Allen

But to this outsider, at any rate, the core of the short service seemed to be those parts that are always the same: ceremonial words spoken in Arabic, personal prayer and the physical movements of praying. The name Islam comes from an Arabic word meaning “submission”: The faithful are supposed to demonstrate their submission to God by, among other things, praying five times a day. But though some local Muslims attend the masjid daily, many do much of their praying and connecting with God outside the mosque.

Lina and Mohamid Abuadas run the Pita Express in Hendersonville, serving Middle Eastern food. Verses from the Quran and other Arabic words adorn the walls. But since Friday, Muslims’ holy day, is typically very busy at the restaurant, the couple can’t always make it to the early afternoon service at the Islamic Center. Still, Lina says she always makes time to pray: The energy it gives her helps her make it through the day.

And when the restaurant closes after lunch, she turns it into a studio, teaching classes in cooking and belly dancing as well as Arabic and Hebrew. Arabic is the language of the Quran and, for Muslims, the language of prayer. Lina stresses the importance of knowing the language and being able to read the text in its original form. A Hendersonville rabbi, she says, is studying Arabic with her in hopes of being able to do that one day. Two other students, a husband and wife, were so moved by what they learned that they converted to Islam. The husband, notes Lina, “said, ‘I want to experience what you experience. I want to have that peace of mind; I want to have that energy.’ So he studied Arabic, Quran and Islam. And he is practicing, he is actually praying, just like us.”

Home away from home

Several decades ago, WNC residents like Gantt began praying together in living rooms. Others joined them and, over time, the community grew large enough to rent spaces where they could worship. Finally, about a decade ago, the congregation built the Islamic Center.

Immigration has been a driving force for the religion’s growth in the area. “It’s a pretty heterogeneous population of Muslims,” says Bashir. In addition to local African-Americans and a handful of Caucasian converts, “We have all kinds of people from all countries,” including Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Southeast Asia, Sudan and Kosovo.”

Lina and Mohamid are Palestinians who moved to Houston from Jerusalem nearly 30 years ago to pursue the American dream and leave behind the violence, poor economy and stressful environment of their homeland. But they didn’t like the noise and crowds in Texas, so when friends told them about Western North Carolina, they visited, fell in love with the area and decided to move here. With its four seasons, mountains and natural beauty, says Lina, the Land of the Sky felt more like home.

Many local Muslims voice similar sentiments. Born in Algeria, Ferhat ben Massod moved here from New Jersey. He says he and his now ex-wife chose this area because of its trees and mountains. And though Rochdi Ammar, who’s originally from Tunisia, moved here to be with his then-wife, the Hendersonville nurse says he, too, finds the climate and environment friendly.

Having an established and welcoming mosque also helps: Both men say they searched the internet for a mosque before deciding to relocate here, and they’re proud to be part of the local community. Nonetheless, being Muslim in America has its challenges.

One Pita Express customer, remembers Lina, asked her, “You are so good, why can’t you be Christian?” Her response was, “Why can’t you accept me the way I am?”

The customer, Lina explains, was wondering whether she feared a backlash from Americans upset about the violent acts committed by some in the name of Islam. But Lina says she isn’t worried because those people aren’t her.

“I practice my religion without imposing on anybody. It doesn’t matter to you if I take five minutes, go into the office and pray: I’m not affecting you in any way.” If anything, she maintains, she’s helping her customers, because when she returns from prayer, she’s energized and provides better service.

The political thicket

Still, it can be hard for outsiders and Muslims alike to disentangle the religion from political movements, both here and abroad. And even Muslims who are secure in their own spiritual identity are likely to encounter uncomfortable questions.

When Xpress asked Gantt for an interview, for instance, his initial response was, “You don’t want to talk to me: I’m a terrorist.” And though he was joking, his reaction reflects the way many Muslims feel about being unfairly labeled.

Social media, notes Ammar, spread the misconception that a huge percentage of Muslims are involved in terrorism and violence. To him, that seems like propaganda designed to divide people who are simply trying to live in peace.

A lot of his fellow worshippers agree. They’re disappointed that so many of their neighbors are content to form their opinions about one of the world’s major religions based on distorted perceptions gleaned from media reports. Massod, for example, invites non-Muslims to visit the local Islamic Center and learn about the religion firsthand.

“Muslims are human,” he points out. “They can make any mistake, like any other religion or any other people around the world.” Besides, he explains, it’s a religious duty to teach everyone about Islam in a nonforceful way.

Gantt, meanwhile, says he’s spent time with people all over the world, and misconceptions exist among both Muslims and non-Muslims. Traveling and living abroad, he says, he’s encountered “people who tend to be a little ignorant or suspicious about white American males. ‘What are you doing here? Are you CIA or FBI or something?’ But I just tell them, ‘The religion is for everybody: It’s not just for whoever you think it’s for.’”

Without exception, though, all the local people interviewed for this article emphasized that anytime violence rears its head, the motivation is power, culture, economics and/or politics — not God. And while political disagreements divide many people in the Middle East and elsewhere, they report, their faith is uniting Muslims here in WNC.

E pluribus unum

PRAYER LEADER: Khalid Bashir is the president of the board for the local Islamic Center and often gives sermons and leads group prayers.
PRAYER LEADER: Khalid Bashir is the president of the board for the local Islamic Center and often gives sermons and leads group prayers.

“Islam itself is the religion,” Gantt explains. “Muslims are people who claim to follow the religion. Whether they follow it or not is one thing, but the religion doesn’t change. And Muslims being amongst each other can be a positive reminder of what they share.”

The local Muslim community’s relatively small size, he says, creates a culture of inclusivity that promotes spiritual growth. In larger communities in non-Muslim countries, Gantt points out, “Whether it’s in Europe or South America or the Caribbean, it’s easy for the Muslims to separate based on ethnic or cultural biases. But when they come here … it’s not enough people for all of the people from one culture to go start a mosque over here, another one start a mosque over there. They are forced to be here together, knowing that the only thing they have in common is Islam.”

Bashir agrees. Muslims in other countries, he says, behave more the way Christians do in the West, banding together in sectarian groups. But for Muslims, that’s wrong, Bashir believes. And while the local masjid doesn’t discourage small differences such as hand placement during prayer, it doesn’t cater to ideological divisions.

At the end of the day, Gantt maintains, the local Muslim community may actually benefit from a quintessentially American phenomenon: the melting pot. This, he says, affords the opportunity to separate culture from religion, “because, in most other parts of the world in which Muslims can be found, they don’t have the economic or religious or political or educational freedom that they do here.”

And though realizing the ideal isn’t easy, Gantt admits, it’s important “that they be able to learn from each other, share with each other and strengthen themselves in the religion, rather than in cultural or ethnic identity.”


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About Able Allen
Able studied political science and history at Warren Wilson College. He enjoys travel, dance, games, theater, blacksmithing and the great outdoors. Follow me @AbleLAllen

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76 thoughts on “Diverse Muslim community finds common ground in Asheville

  1. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I have absolutely no idea what the draw of Islam is, It seems to be so easily co-opted by the Wahabi (Saudi) perversion that is repressive, misogynistic, and violent.

    • Lulz

      LOL, that’s the irony with brainwashed leftist. Us uneducated peons who don’t vote for our best interest and like voted to keep Muslim refugees out. After all, suicide bombers and semi trucks with radical terrorist behind the wheel running over dozens of people during Christmas is no big deal. But if it’s a white guy now, why the sky is falling.

    • luther blissett

      You seem to be convinced of a lot of things that are not true. You ought to think about that before clicking on “Post Comment” every single time.

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        Why don’t you point out in my comment what isn’t true?

        • luther blissett

          Why don’t you read the article, engage your brain, and ponder whether the readers of MX need to hear your musings yet again?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            An absolutely meaningless dodge. Do they really need to hear you falsely accusing someone of not telling the truth? You accused me of speaking falsely, then refused to show the falsehood. Shame!

          • Peter Robbins

            Read the article again. Underline the passages where you find evidence of local people being co-opted by repressive, misogynistic or violent perversions. Then look for any evidence of more positive attitudes. This exercise might help you better understand why some people might find association with this particular Islamic community attractive.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            Read my initial response again and underline the passages where I said there is evidence of local people being co-opted by repressive, misogynistic or violent perversions.

          • Peter Robbins

            Then your comment is not germane to the article. Save your blubbering for another time.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            But it is germane to Islam, which is what this article is about.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            In fact, my comments are very germane because one of the persons interviewed for this article basically agrees with what I said.

            “…in most other parts of the world in which Muslims can be found, they don’t have the economic or religious or political or educational freedom that they do here.””

            That is because they are under Islamic law. So it seems that the folks mentioned in this article are pursuing the right course of recognizing and separating religion from politics. Good for them. The only majority muslim country that I can think of at the moment that practices this same approach is Syria, where the majority of muslims want a secular government and are fighting an invasion of mostly foreign jihadists who want an Islamic government.

          • Peter Robbins

            So, as the article shows, Islam is not as easily co-opted as you thought. It can be practiced as this local community does it. Glad to help you dispel your own ignorance.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            Read it again. He attributes that to small size and assimilation.

            “The local Muslim community’s relatively small size, he says, creates a culture of inclusivity that promotes spiritual growth. In larger communities in non-Muslim countries, Gantt points out, “Whether it’s in Europe or South America or the Caribbean, it’s easy for the Muslims to separate based on ethnic or cultural biases. But when they come here … it’s not enough people for all of the people from one culture to go start a mosque over here, another one start a mosque over there. They are forced to be here together, knowing that the only thing they have in common is Islam.”

            At the end of the day, Gantt maintains, the local Muslim community may actually benefit from a quintessentially American phenomenon: the melting pot. This, he says, affords the opportunity to separate culture from religion, “because, in most other parts of the world in which Muslims can be found, they don’t have the economic or religious or political or educational freedom that they do here.””

          • Peter Robbins

            So to return to the point: If you want to understand the attraction of Islam, examine closely the core values that endure when inessential cultural influences are stripped away by immigration to a liberal democratic (for a few weeks more, anyway) country. That is what you wanted to do, right? Understand the attraction of Islam? Or did you have some other agenda all this time?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            And what are those core values? I never really hear them talked about except in vague, general terms. And I’m speaking from the perspective of those who are not born into the religion. What is the draw to them? I simply don’t understand the appeal.

          • Peter Robbins

            Big Al has already recommended a book for you to read. Have you finished it already?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            Is it online somewhere? I would be glad to read it. Printed books are so 20th century.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            I see nothing in this excerpt from a synopsis of the book that contradicts anything that I’ve said. What is described below has been called “the Gates of Ijtihad”. To one group the gate is open; to the other (the vast majority) it is closed.

            “Conservative and fundamentalist sects are violently at odds with those Muslims who feel Islam must find a way to integrate science and democracy into Islamic life. Without an opening up of Islam, the Middle East will continue to lag far behind the West and even emerging Third World nations in terms of its military power, economic might, and general standards of living.”

          • Peter Robbins

            Sorry. Students in my class have to do the readings. Even special little snowflakes.

          • NFB

            “I see nothing in this excerpt from a synopsis of the book that contradicts anything that I’ve said.”

            You read an except from a synopsis and use that to reaffirm your sweeping, preconceived notions?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            “sweeping, preconceived notions”?

            Please explain. Based on your comment I’m probably much more knowledgeable about the subject than you are.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            “You read an except from a synopsis and use that to reaffirm your sweeping, preconceived notions?”

            No, I read the whole synopsis. What I quoted was, in essence, it’s essence. Since Big Al has the book, let him provide some quotes that contradict my comments.

          • Peter Robbins

            When you said that you didn’t understand the attraction of Islam, I thought that you were acknowledging a deficiency that you wished to correct through careful study, not proclaiming a state of enlightenment that you were inviting others to join. You’ve been given plenty of reading material to begin a sincere quest. Get cracking.

        • boatrocker

          In this Christmas (tm, all rights reserved, 2016 Bill O’Reilly, Walmart) season, let’s consider the dangers of of undocumented illegal immigrants of questionable beliefs in ‘Murica.

          First, that pagan elf with the beard who breaks into your house every year on xmas eve and demands cookies. He ain’t from here and is not a Christian. He leaves packages unattended under your tree- according to the TSA, a big no no.
          Yea, he says he can fly- he’s obviously on drugs and hangs around small children.

          Then there’s that Jewish guy (no, not Soros or Alinski or the owners of media and Hollywood) with brown skin, born in the Middle East whose known accomplices include prostitutes, beggars, the ill and infirmed, the poverty stricken and the dude doesn’t even speak ‘Murican! He speaks Aramaic! He don’t even wear pants either- he dresses like a hippie in a robe and sandals and hates the job creators- he even says they can’t pass through the eye of a needle! He and his paid protesters have been making trouble for over 2,000 years!

          Suddenly a religion that does not allow images of someone (to avoid the inevitable commercialization and co opting by political parties) doesn’t seem so strange.

          Are you suddenly against violence, subjugation of women and religion determining legislation?
          Funny, I happen to read your posts for a laugh and would have called you a ‘mooooslim’ all along.

    • Big Al

      Read “In the Shadow of the Prophet” and you will see that there is a great deal of diversity within Islam, almost literally a different variety of the faith within each country of the Middle East that practices Islam. Most Muslim immigrants to America came here to get away from Sharia law and Wahabi influence, not to bring it with them.

      Try reading a book now and then rather than echoing the simplistic rants of Fox “news”.

      • Stack walked

        Not really, if countries with majority Muslims would practice Sharia law they wouldn’t immigrate anywhere. History showed that Muslims and others thrived in economic gains and science during the hated Sharia law in the west.

  2. Anne Craig

    Excellent article, very timely and serving to create understanding. Thanks!

    • Peter Robbins

      For the long answer, see Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflections on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims (2010). Or, if you share poor “Snowflake’s” aversion to books, you can skim the Wikipedia entry on LGBT in Islam. There appears to be a lot of diversity among Muslims on the topic of homosexuality. According to Wikipedia, homosexuality is lawful in 20 Muslim countries, including the largest (Indonesia). Two countries — Albania and Kosovo — reportedly guarantee gays and lesbians civil-rights protections more progressive than those in the United States. I don’t think an opinion on homosexuality is a core requirement of the religion itself. As I understand it, the only irreducible doctrine that all Muslims must believe is that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger. The rest is practice or interpretation. Don’t go by me, though. I’m not an expert. Check out some of the books discussed above to learn more about Islam’s core beliefs. Or you could just drop by the mosque discussed in the article. They seem like friendly folks.

      • Thanks, Mr. Robbins, for taking time out from your busy holiday celebrations to save us some bothersome book readin’.

        However, your comments seem to omit some other, I think important, views on homosexuality that are expressed by leaders and clerics of the tradition. Perhaps your reading schedule hasn’t yet allowed you to acquaint yourself with them and that is why you do not touch on them here.

        I do recall one recent case where the Iranian-born Muslim cleric Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar clearly expressed a popular view, if not a legal one under Sharia Law, regarding the status of gays in the family of Man: “Gays must die”.

        Sekaleshfar preached those prophetic words in 2013 at the Husseini Islamic Center, located just outside of Orlando, Florida; the location of the Pulse gay club mass murders by a Muslim faithful.

        Here’s a video for those averse to research: http://bit.ly/2isVM5M

        As reported in The Advocate: “Death is the sentence,” Sheikh Sekaleshfar said. “We know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence. … We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same — out of compassion. Let’s get rid of them now.” The may, at least partially, why Muslims are fond of throwing gays off rooftop to the amusement of the believers’ 10 stories below.

        I understand that a certain population of Muslims do not practice their religion faithfully. God knows that’s a problem for all religions. Other Muslims, we know, lie about their beliefs to avoid criticism. In fact, the Koran expressly calls for Muslims lie to “infidels” about their beliefs.

        That, it occurs to me, might account for the encouraging portrait you’ve painted here for our edification during these Christmas holy days. Thanks for adding to our body of knowledge on comparative religion. But, somehow, a discrepancy exists between your seeming rosy accounts and the actual foundational beliefs and practices of Islam that are all around us — even without a library on the subject.

        • Peter Robbins

          I said there’s a diversity of opinion among Muslims about homosexuality. Some of those views are awful. But not all. It’s a highly decentralized religion. One must make a particularized inquiry. Let us know how your visit to this little mosque goes. I’m sure everyone there will appreciate your sincere interest.

          • Thanks, Mr. Robbins, for you invitation to visit a mosque. But I seen all the mosques I can stomach for a lifetime. You would no doubt be comfortable there.


          • Peter Robbins

            I didn’t invite you. The local people you apparently distrust did. Did you even read the story or did that upset your digestion as well?

          • Huhsure

            Curious to know what the prevailing opinions are in Ft Worth, Texas’s Christian community regarding homosexuality.

            Perhaps you can enlighten us, Tim.

          • Peter Robbins

            Yes, Mr. Peck, do tell. But try to do so without the belligerent attitude. Some of those Christians are good, hard-working people, even the ones with wrongheaded opinions. Learn to treat folks with respect. You don’t need a library card for that.

          • I can understand the need to change the subject.
            12/17 10:42 AM

          • Peter Robbins

            No, it’s the same subject — religious attitudes toward homosexuality. And it’s the subject you chose. The actual story to which you are attaching your off-topic observations is about a specific mosque in Asheville — one which you haven’t visited and about which you apparently know zero.

          • Huhsure

            But Peter, by his own words he feels he’s edumacated himself enough:

            “But I seen all the mosques I can stomach for a lifetime,” said Tim. Apparently the act of seeing a mosque is all that’s required to understand it and its attendees.

          • Peter Robbins

            It’s his own fault. He opened the door. We’re entitled to poke around and see what other cobwebs are in his attic.

          • Peter Robbins

            Define “topic.” There seems to be a dispute about that.

        • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

          All that those Muslims have to do is renounce salafism and educate the public about it, and let them know that they don’t follow that doctrine. But they won’t do that. Why? Is their mosque bankrolled by Saudi Arabia like so many are?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            This was in response to the Washington Post article directly above.

          • Peter Robbins

            So send them a letter outlining your truce terms. I don’t see why they owe you squat.

        • Mahmoud Muhieddine

          If it is an inherent part of our belief that “gays must die” then how come we have 6-8 million Muslims in the US and 50 million in Europe and hundreds of thousands of gays are not being killed left and right due to our adherence to our religious code. Allegations like this don’t require sophisticated responses, just a common sense worldview.

  3. boatrocker

    Oh yea!

    Sometimes the truth is right there in front of you-

    The above picture should be the answer to “Murica’s religious theocratic hypocrisy.

    If I were granted the Christmas present of creating a cation for that picture, it would be-

    “Mammonites who only care about wealth, kiss it”.

  4. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    “…the world’s fastest-growing religion.”

    The reason Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion is because of the high Muslim birth rate, and Islam is one of those religions in which if you are born into a muslim family, you are considered to be a muslim forever. If you decide to abandon that religious identity, depending upon what part of the world you live in, or what kind of family you have, you stand a very good chance of being killed.

    • boatrocker

      Snowflake’s post translated from code words to what he really means=
      “Those mudpeople breed like rats, for my 4chan, Reddit and Breitbart forums spoke it thus”.

    • Lulz

      LOL, you’re arguing with elitist out of touch loons. To them, Christianity represents white males and therefore evil and must be eradicated. And though the left contains many Jews, to their own detriment they’ll make sure to do their part to accomplish it with Islam. That’s how insane they are.

      We’re living in a time where these people you’re trying to be civil with will not show the same to you if given the opportunity along with assuming there will be no consequences. It’s why they FEEL safe in vilifying white males at every opportunity. The Trump rallies where his supporters were attacked but lied about is but one example.

  5. Finn

    Islam is a gentle and tolerant religion, well unless your gay, or a women, or a non Muslim. 20 lashes and prison time for a man in Saudi Arabia who said he was an atheist. 20 people in Asheville dont represent a majority of a religion who believe horrible things should be done to gay people. And yes even the so called moderate ones think gays should be excuted. Read up on the real history of their propet.

  6. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I would really like to know what this group’s relationship with, or opinion of, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAiR) is. CAIR presents itself as an Islamic civil rights organization, but it is a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood that is considered a terrorist organization in (at least) England, UAE, and Egypt, and will probably be designated as such here soon. The muslim Brotherhood is just another form of salafism.

    • luther blissett

      Oh, bless his heart, you can see his lips moving when he tries to think.

      Really, playing “x degrees of separation from terrorists”? I’m sure we could connect you to a cross-burning lynch mob faster.

        • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

          Radial Christianity is actually a term embraced by some Christian groups. But they are not violent. Just the opposite. They are radically non-violent.

          • Peter Robbins

            Oh, dear. And now the good ones will be mad at me. See how much trouble you can cause by painting with too broad a brush?

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            “See how much trouble you can cause by painting with too broad a brush?”

            Broad brush… you mean like saying radical Islamic terrorism is a non-issue that shouldn’t be discussed because not all Muslims choose that path?

          • Peter Robbins

            By seeing a terrorism angle in a story about how some local people pray and share.

          • Peter Robbins

            Oh, and by pursuing that terrorism angle by innuendo. That’s kinda bad form, too.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            But with Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood influence in US mosques, the angle is potentially always there.

        • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

          Study finds young, devout Muslims in Germany more prone to violence

          “The willingness to commit violent crimes grows among young Muslim immigrants in Germany the more religious they become, according to a joint survey by the German interior ministry and the Institute for Criminology Research of Lower Saxony (KFN).

          By comparison, the study found that just the opposite was true for Christian immigrants. The willingness to commit violent crimes, such as armed robbery or assault and battery, among young Catholics and Protestants decreases with religious fervor, the KFN study revealed.”


          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            Oh look you went fishing and caught something. Not a keeper though. Violence done in the name of religion is not the same thing as politically motivated violence. Perhaps a nuance too difficult for you to understand.

          • boatrocker

            Funny, with both groups God’s law supercedes the law of a sovereign country. You know, how those who murder doctors at Planned Parenthood Clinics think God has spoken to them, so it’s ok. So in their or any religious nutcase’s mind, politics bows to religion.

            Certainly your posting buddies on Reddit of 4chan could tell you how for instance the KKK is first and foremost a ‘Christian’ organization that only promotes peace, harmony and puppies. According to the FBI, they are a domestic terrorist organization and should be treated as such- too bad their membership includes many cops, judges and politicians.

            But add Doctor of Religious Studies to Snowflake’s resume. What exactly is your specialty again, as in what might you be qualified to do again other than act as a shill for Robert Spencer?

          • Peter Robbins

            Actually, the survey to which boatrocker linked is a definite keeper. It shows that people disproportionately tend to attribute political causes to violence committed by Christians and religious causes to violence committed by Muslims. That sort of confirmation bias seems to pervade some of the anti-Muslim comments we see above. Superficial people with an ax to grind tend to interpret bad things about Muslims as generalities and dismiss good things as particularized deviations from a dysfunctional norm. Because Islam is such a decentralized religion, however, the only way to really understand it is at the level of particular circumstances and practices. And that’s where prejudice is hardest to maintain.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            When people yell Allahu ackbar (God is great) when they try to kill others, that’s a dead giveaway that their religion is driving their violence. They occasionally do that in this country, and are doing it every day by the tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands throughout the world.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            And btw, I’ve never heard of anyone saying, “I killeth thee in the name of Christ”.

          • Peter Robbins

            Opps. That should be “five seconds.” Should have taken six.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            You just don’t seem to understand the difference between those who do violence due to some grievance and those who do violence to establish the supremacy of a religion.

          • Peter Robbins

            I understand confirmation bias. You illustrate it.

          • boatrocker

            Robbins’ link to ’10 worst’ right on the money. Snowflake can deny this all he wants, but thankfully Eric Rudolph was included here. I had met various people (not by choice) over the years when he hid out like a coward in the Nantahala Forest pretending to be Rambo, and everyone who thought he was a hero always managed to inject god into it.

            Timothy McVeigh of course was a given.

            It’s a double standard. Period.

            Also, notice the spike in legal gun sales among minorities post election. Hmmmm, what ever would they have to fear?

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