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Washington-Area Muslims React to Ground Zero Debate

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By Sanaz Meshkinpour

The controversy over whether to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York has had an effect on Muslims in the Washington-area.

Anita Husseini serves up rice and kebab with a warm smile.

"Here sweetie, come on, come on, just move faster because the line is long," Husseini says.

At the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring Maryland, a couple hundred members have come together to breakfast for Ramadan.

"Alakum salam my beautiful friend, how are you?" Husseini says.

The mosque is tucked away in Maryland's wooded suburbs.

But even here, far away from ground zero, Husseini says some are worried about anti-Muslim sentiment.

"We are afraid, we are scared," Husseini says.

Because she says it's times like these that Muslims are made to feel un-American.

"This is our country," she says. "We grew up here and we want people to have respect for us."

Imam Mohamed Magid of the Adams Center says the controversy has posed an important question for the country.

"Whether Muslims and Islam should be accepted as part of American social fabric," Magid says.

He says having a public debate over that question is the only way to convince other Americans the answer is yes, and to counter those who would punish an entire group for the actions of a radical few.

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