WATCH: North Carolina Muslims — Faith, Fear & Freedom (WRAL)

[ 2 ] December 20, 2012


There are an estimated 26,000 Muslims in North Carolina. While that’s less than one percent of the state’s population, it also reflects a 30 percent increase in the number of Muslims living in the state over the past decade.

WRAL-TV (Raleigh, North Carolina’s CBS TV affiliate station) recently produced a documentary called Faith, Fear & Freedom that  examines the challenges Muslims face living in North Carolina — a predominately non-Muslim society — and the anti-Islamic prejudice and discrimination that is fueled by the actions of Islamic extremists.

The documentary  debuted  in the Raleigh, NC (WRAL-TV) and Wilmington NC (WILM-TV) markets on December 20 at 7 p.m.

Faith, Fear & Freedom is now available for online viewing (see below).  The producers have invited viewers to join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NCMuslims.

Duke professors Jen’nan Read (Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Health) and David Schanzer (Associate Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Director,Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security ) as well as Carl Ernst (Kenan Distinguished Professor of Islamic studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of the forthcoming book Islamophobia in America), were interviewed for the documentary.

Other sources include spokespeople for the Islamic Center of Charlotte and the Islamic Association of Raleigh and other Muslim Americans living in North Carolina.



(Description via WRAL)

There are an estimated 26,000 Muslims in North Carolina. That’s less than one percent of the state’s population, but also reflects a 30 percent increase in the number of Muslims living in our state over just ten years.

Some are converts but most come from other states and other countries. They say they come for many of the same reasons others do – good colleges and universities, good career opportunities and an overall good quality of life.

While Muslims have been living, working and raising families in North Carolina for decades, many say their lives changed after 9/11. They say they still feel the suspicion of non-Muslims who associate their Islamic faith with terrorism. The recent convictions of several Raleigh Muslims in a terror plot cast new doubts among some non-Muslims. 

But local Muslims and experts on Islam say it is a peaceful religion very similar to Christianity. They say terrorism and Islam have nothing to do with one another and that extremists are a minority of Muslims who cloak themselves in Islam in an attempt to gain credibility.

The new WRAL Documentary Faith, Fear and Freedom explores the lives of Muslims living in our state and examines the anti-Islamic prejudice and discrimination that is fueled by the actions of Islamic extremists.

Faith:  This documentary examines the importance of the Islamic faith to devout Muslims, the differences between Christianity and Islam and the myths many have about Islam and terrorism.

Fear: This documentary examines the fear some people have towards Muslims based on the acts of radical Islamic extremists, including some right here in North Carolina.

Freedom:  This documentary examines the constitutional freedom of religion that appeals to many Muslims in our state and the conflict between that freedom and anti-Islamic discrimination.


For more information, including documentary producer Clay Johnson’s behind-the-scenes take read: Listen to the Moderate Muslim Voices

The documentary will air in Charlotte on WMYT-TV on Jan. 5 at 5:00pm and on WJZY-TV on Jan. 6 at 10:00pm, and in Durham (WRAZ-TV) on January 19 at 1:30pm. It will be viewable online following the Dec. 20 broadcast. 

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Category: Americas, Featured Videos, i-Comment, Muslim Life & Culture, Politics & Current Events, Security & Civil Liberties

Comments (2)

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  1. ngee cheng says:

    Dear WRAL,

    I have reread my previous post and would like to use this one instead.
    Dear WRAL,
    I appreciate the documentary and it is important WRAL does it even if only a small percentage watch it.
    The nurse that works for UNC (whose husband owns a Baba Ghanoush restaurant) tells us, again and again, to KNOW Muslims so we do not fear them. One thing the documentary failed to ask is: People know Muslims (or any believer) more by what they do, less what they say. The atrocities Muslims have committed in all those countries around the world in the name of Islam is what we KNOW of Muslims. How do you explain that?

    I come from Malaysia whose Muslim majority (in the 70’s) forcibly changed “freedom of religion” in the constitution to Islam as a state religion, making it a crime to make any public comment on it. They are putting mosques in many places with few Muslims and blast their calls to prayer 5 times a day. It is a noise we MUST tolerate. With Islam as their core values in governance, like Indonesia, Malaysia has crafted laws with LEGAL preferential treatment of all Malays (legally defined Malay=Muslim): first pick on houses in subdivisions; 2% higher bank savings rate and lower mortgage rates for Malays than non-Malays. They advertise government jobs, specifically saying, “preferably bumiputra” or natives, another name for Malays. They limit the number of non-Malays to institutions of higher learning (many, like me, have left). [When I finished secondary school, I had the highest score in the national exam in my school. I was denied the opportunity to go further because I am Chinese.] My brother’s wife says that she has to grade national exams on two levels based on Malay and non-Malay race. They have given out final medical (MD) exams to Malay students a couple days ahead of the others so they can score better results than the others. Malaysia spends millions of dollars sending out only Malay students on scholarship. I happened to teach a class at UNC Charlotte where I had 10 Malaysian students, all Malays – even though Malaysia has half a dozen other “bumiputra” natives. I have seen quite a few Malaysian students at NCSU, all on scholarship, none non-Malay.

    Malaysia is converting non-Muslims to Islam in surreptitious legal ways. They have poorly educated natives sign documents or let Malay government officials note their national id cards as Muslims. A Muslim who renounces Islam is punishable by death – like the execution of a Saudi in Saudi Arabia in the last week. Non-Muslims must convert to Islam if they marry a Muslim. It’s the law.

    So when I hear the woman say “KNOW who we are” so you will not fear us. I say, I KNOW what Muslims have done to us, and to all those non-Muslims in Muslim countries. I fear Islam when it takes control.

    I have studied Islam in depth from many sources. There is not a single Islamic country where non-Muslims are not 2nd, 3rd class citizens. The Koran does not force people to be Muslims, but they make laws that so diminished their social, political, economic, human status that many people opt in just to get the EQUALITY that would be denied them otherwise.

    Sarah Chase wrote a book about corrupt governments functioning as effective criminal organizations. Some powerful Malay leaders in Malaysia, as in Indonesia, are basically mafia dons who can do anything they want since the have the power of the police, the judge and the jury. They have gone into profitable businesses and made up violations of laws and force them to sell them. Again and again. Malaysian news outlets need to renew their licenses every year based on if they like what they have reported the previous year. All these, based on the values of Islam, put into practice by the Muslim leaders.

    So I KNOW who they are by WHAT they DO!

    Thanks for listening.

    Ngee Cheng
    Apex, NC

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