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Bin Laden's theology a radical break with traditional Islam
May 4th, 2011
03:00 AM ET

Bin Laden's theology a radical break with traditional Islam

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Osama bin Laden wore the mantle of a religious leader. He looked the part and talked a good game, but his theology was a radical departure from traditional orthodox Islam.

The pitch to join al Qaeda did not start with an invitation to put on a suicide vest but, like other religious splinter groups and cults, took advantage of disenfranchisement and poverty.

Bin Laden had no official religious training but developed his own theology of Islam.

"We don't know that (bin Laden) was ever exposed to orthodox Islamic teachings," said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University.

The writing of ideologues in the Muslim Brotherhood influenced bin Laden heavily, Moosa said.

"He takes scriptural imperatives at their face value and believes this is the only instruction and command God has given him - unmediated by history, unmediated by understanding, unmediated by human experience. Now that's a difference between Muslim orthodoxy and what I would call uber- or hyperscripturalists," Moosa said.

The vast majority of Islamic scholars and imams say the teaching of the Prophet Mohammed happened in historical context that needs to be understood when reading and interpreting the Quran.

"If the likes of bin Laden, if they had spent one day or maybe one month possibly, in a madrassa (Muslim religious school) and understood how the canonical tradition is interpreted, they would not go onto this kind of destructive path they go on," Moosa said.

In the entire leadership structure of al Qaeda, "no one has had any sort of formal religious training from any seminary," said Aftab Malik, a global expert on Muslim affairs at the United Nations Alliance of Civilization. He is researching a Ph.D. on al Qaeda.

"What you had was an engineer and a doctor leading a global jihad against the whole world," Malik said. "That would never happen in normative Islam. It's just such an aberration."

John Esposito, a professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, said bin Laden "appropriates Islam ... to legitimate and mobilize people."

"If you look at bin Laden's early statements and arguments, his interview with Peter Bergen on CNN ... lots of people would see it as something that would go down very well not just with many Muslims but among many analysts when he talks about longstanding political grievances," Esposito said.

"What bin Laden ends up doing is saying anyone who disagrees with him, any Muslim, is in fact an apostate," he said. That includes Muslims who would not join his fight, he said. "It's a distortion of the traditional teaching, and it just extends the parameters and the consequences in order to legitimate how when you're fighting on the ground you're fighting against your own people."

Malik said, "The key issue is of apostasy," referring to when a person leaves a faith. "One of the things Osama bin Laden deviates from is calling those people who do not implement Sharia, or God's law, on the planet as apostates. If they did not implement Sharia, they deserved death. This is a major departure from normative Islam."

"The second major deviation is the targeting of noncombatants. Even when you read in the Quran there are injunctions for fighting. But before and after the injunctions for fighting are calls for restraint. 'Do not attack monks, do not attack women, do not attack children.' And these are numerated heavily in the Hadith, which are uncontested," Malik said, referring to the sayings of the prophet and his close companions.

"What bin Laden has done is ignored those injunctions," he said. "The reason he has ignored them, in Osama bin Laden's theology it's basically a theology of anarchy.

"Once you let the genie out of the bottle you can't put it back in, and that's the big difference between al Qaeda theology and normative Islam. Normative Islam has heavy constraints - very, very heavy."

Bin Laden's theology is waning greatly in influence, Esposito said, in part because of the rise of the Arab Spring, the revolts of people on the street across the Middle East that have overthrown regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

"(Al Qaeda's) whole notion was to develop a mass movement," Esposito said. "Well, they never did."

Flashback: Read CNN's Chief International Correspondent Nic Robertson's report on a Libyan group that denounced bin Laden ideology

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Egypt • Islam • Islamic law • Leaders • Middle East • Osama bin Laden • Quran • Sharia • Terrorism • Violence

soundoff (671 Responses)
  1. stewart in Portland

    How do we avoid mental deviants leading groups of ignorant and poor to anarchy – education – to convert them to lives with positive choices and informed decisions.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  2. Sean

    so basically this is saying if he had proper religious education he might not have been such a nut job

    would this work for the screw balls who misinterpret the bible on this side of the ocean?

    May 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Jason

    "Talked a good game"

    WHAT?

    May 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  4. Brian

    Is there such a thing as "traditional Islam"? Factionalism is characteristic of all religions. Christianity has hundreds of denominations, creeds and sects – each of course being the "True Religion." The history of the past two thousand years is a history of European Christians killing each other in countless wars over religion.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Islam started "factionalizing" within two generations of the Prophet Muhammed's death. Most Americans by now are familiar with the main Sunni and Shia groups, with probably no clue as to what their differences are. There are probably as many volumes written on this as there are on the split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, so I won't belabor you with my personal opinions. There are other subgroups, too. The Sufi, Ismaili, Wahabi and Dervish being a few of the more well known. Each has its own interpretation on the Quran, the Haditha, and Sharia Law. Some are more liberal, some more literal in their interpretation. ObL uses stricter interpretations than the Wahabi.

      May 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Adam

    Of course Osama had his own idea of Islam. The problem is that everyone puts his face as some leader of Islam. The people most affected by 9/11 were actually Muslims. All the attention came to Osama and his fake idea of the Muslim religion.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  6. office-dweller

    The first sentence of this article is a hoot:

    bin Laden "talked a good game" ?? What on earth are you smoking?
    Honestly...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  7. Alex in Minneapolis

    I have no issues with organized religion as long as it's not violent and doesn't affect me. I welcome people to believe in what they want to believe as long as they keep it out of my life and don't try to push it down my throat.

    My issue with a lot of muslim people is that they have not revolted against Osama and never actively protested against what he did and what he believed in. I haven't seen a lot of muslims actively criticizing other muslim radicals either. I am not sure if it's because of fear or their genuine beliefs that Osama (and the likes) had a valid point.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • c

      No, MOST Muslims, especially in this country, did NOT support what OBL was doing and actively spoke out against him and al'Quada, but that's not news worthy. Remember we were ALL hurt by 9/11. I'm Muslim and a American, and I support the USA, not some terrorist nut job.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Just truth

      supporting is not enough dude (C)...how many of you openly condemned the terrorist attacks in strong words... Not even a single word came out of your mouth when this murdered was killed..

      May 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Sy2502

    I love to watch the 2 sides squabble, with those who say Islam is a religion of war and terror cite some passages from the Koran, and those who say Islam is a religion of peace citing other passages. Like any other "holy book" the Koran contradicts itself, and therefore you can cherry pick whatever passages support your personal ideology. The Bible isn't any better, btw. But nobody actually stops and reasons that if a "holy book" can be made to say pretty much anything, maybe it's not that holy after all?

    May 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Murali

      Koran is very clear about the contradictions. The latest one's take precedence over the earlier ones. And this is what many islamic scholars use to justify the fact that Koran is contradiction free.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  9. Murali

    Bin Laden is actually following the literal interpretation of Koran.
    And Koran is actually very clear about what verse to follow if there is a conflict between two verses.
    There are some conflicts and latest ones – which are more fanatical and intolerant – take precedence over prior one.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Abstract

      I doubt you have ever picked up a Quran. Let alone read one.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Iran Illukkumbura

    Bin laden is a terrerist as you(america,europ...) said. We(Sri Lanka) also agree with it. As well as, we like that bin laden was killed. But who is PRABAKARAN(Tamil tiger leader who was killed the Sri Lanka army in 2009). He is a tererist too. But bin laden is a tera and prabakaran is not tera for you. What is different of bin laden and prabakaran??...... Prabakaran killed Sri lanka people and they( Tamil tiger terrerism) wanted part of land in Sri lanka. Bin laden attacked to you not us. DIFFERENT IS..hehe

    May 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  11. Templar1

    History revisionists at work. From the very beginning. Islam has been a religion of violence and enslavement of peoples.
    Mohammed himself was a self-annointed "prophet" who used the resources of a weatlhy wife to promote himself as some sort of great religious leaded. He used the various local tribes in Mecca and Medina against each other in inter-tribal warfare (while seldom actually doing any fighting) to acquire booty and power. You could choose to join him or die
    (many of those murdered were from old and established Christian communities. If anything, Ben Laden represents the
    latest in a long line of Muusselman serial killers and mass murderers who talk religion while killing innocents.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  12. THE BLUE JIN FIREBEING

    ISLAM -TO THIS DAY HAS TO COME TO THESE RECKONINGS – ANYONE NOT ISLAMIC DOES NOT CURRENTLY LIKE -ALLAH -NOR HIS PROPHET MUHAMMAD NOR THE ISLAMIC HOLYBOOK THE KORAN .QURAN -SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE ACTIONS OF ITS FOLLOWERS AND LEADERS AND ITS NATIONAL LEADERS .

    BECAUSE OF THESE PROBLEMS .
    1.FORCED BELIEF OR DEATH
    2.KILLING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE .
    3.CRIMINALS DOING HEINOUS ACTS -USEING THE RELIGION AS A REASON FOR THERE ACTIONS .
    4.ABUSE OF THERE WOMEN AND UNDERAGE CHILDREN -IN FORCED ARRANGED MARRAGE AND HONNOR KILLINGS .
    5.ONE SIDED MALE DOMINANT SHARIA LAW LEGALISIM .NOT GIVING WOMEN AN EQUAL DEFENCE IN COURTS
    6.HATE CONSTANTLY PREACHED BY ITS CLERICS AT MADRASSAS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN PUBLIC.
    7.MILITANCY OF ITS EXTREMISTS .
    8.CORRUPT PRACTICES BY ITS BUSINESS OWNERS .STATE AGENTS .
    9.THEM PLAYING THE ROLE OF THE VICTIMS ALL THE TIME YET ,THERE THE FIRST TO COMMIT ACTS OF WAR . CRIME
    10. THEM BEING ALLOWED TO LIE IN THERE RELIGION
    11. THEM TAXING NON MUSLIMS BECUASE OF NON ISLAMIC FAITH IN THERE REGIONS
    12. THEM IN THERE OWN REGIONS TREATING OTHERS OF DIFFERENT RELIGIONS INTOLERANTLY -CORRUPTLY .
    13. THE INACTIONS OF THERE LEADERS TO STOP COMMITTED VIOLENT ACTS .
    14 .THEACTIONS OF THERE LEADERS NT PREVENTING VIOLENCE BY EXTREMISTS
    15. THE ACTIONS OF ITS POLITICAL LEADERS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS -NOT CONDEMING OR PREVENTING OR PROSECUTING ACTS OF VIOLENCE FROM EXTREMISTS UNDER SHARIA LAW IF THE EXTREMISDTS ARE FOLLOWING SHARIA LAW . NOT CONDEMED PUBLICALLY BY NAME OF PEOPLE OR GROUP OR NAME OR ACT OF VIOLENCE .
    16. THE FOLLOWERS OR THE PEOPLE – NOT CONDEMING CRIMINAL ACTS OF EXTREMISTS IN MASS .

    UNTILL THE FACE OF ISLAM AND ITS PEOPLES CORRECT THESE PROBLEMS -THERE WILL ALLWAYS BE AN INSET HATERED AND DISCUST BY NON BELIEVERS – INFIDELS AND APAOSTATES OF THIS SO CALLED RELIGION – AND A BYWORD WILL BE ITS NAME AND ITS GOD ALLAH AND ITS PROPHET MUHAMMMED AND ITS HOLY BOOK WILL CONTINUE TO BE GIVEN A BAD NAME – DISRESPECT AND BE BURNED BY THOSE THAT HAVE NO TOLERANCE FOR A RELIGION THAT DOES NOT POLICE ITS OWN AS OTHER RELIGIONS DO.

    .THE REASON ISLAM IS HATED IS BECUASE OF ITS PEOPLE S ACTIONS AND INACTIONS – AND IF THEY FOLLOW THERE HOLY BOOK TO THE LETTER THEM WELL THE HOLY BOOK NEEDS UNDERSTANDING OR CORRECTION OR AT LEAST PROPER INTERPETATION IF IT IS NOT FLAWED .

    THE PROBLEM WITH SHARIA LAW IS SIMPLE – YOU CANNOT HAVE A POLITICAL AND A RELIGIOUS LEADER IN THE SAME MAN – ONE WILL CORRUPT THE OTHER -IT IS BETTER TO HAVE A POLITICAL LEADER – WHO CONTROLS THE PEOPLE AND A RELIGIOUS LEADER ON THE SIDE THATS DEVOTE AND CAN INFLUENCE AND GUIDE THE POLITICAL LEADER ACCORDING TO A RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE AS ADVISER ONLY – NEVER MIX THESE TWO INTO THE SAME PERSON .BECAUSE THE RELIGION WILL GET TWISTED BY POLITICS .

    -IN ITS CURRENT STATE I TRULY HAVE UTTERLY NO USE FOR ISLAM – BECAUSE OF THE ACTIONS AND INACTIONS OF ITS PEOPLE – AND I WONDER HOW ALLLAH WILL JUDGE THOSE THAT CALL THEMSELVES HIS BY GIVING REASON FOR NON BELIEVERS TO TURN AWAY FROM ALLAH BY THERE ACTIONS TOWARD OTHERS -I KNOW IN JUDIASM AND IN CTHOLISISIM AND CHRISTIANITY -THE GOD OF THE ISRAELITES HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE IN JUDGEMENT FOR DRIVING FUTURE BELIEVERS AWAY FROM HIM BY THERE ACTIONS TOWARDS THEM . DOES ALLAH OF THE MUSLIMS ??

    May 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Abstract

      what the h*ll did you just say?

      May 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • whatever

      Oh "God" another list.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Don't you just love the use of the "Caps Lock" key and total lack of grammatical structure? Kind of reminds me of Religious tracts by Fundamentalist Christians.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  13. ngc1300

    per Markm5000, Bin Laden just adopted the Wahhabist point of view. I think it's worth noting that the Saudi royal family and most Saudi officials are Wahhabists. Kind of like sleeping with the enemy.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      The Saudi royal family allied themselves with the Wahabi back in the latter part of the 19th century. It was Wahabi influence over the other tribal heads that pushed for the House of Saud to be granted the Kingship over the Hashemi. Since then, the Saudi Royalty allowed the Wahabi a free hand in how the country was run internally and are now stuck with what is effectively a 9th century country trying to deal with 21st century affairs. Because of the stifling nature of the Wahabi over education, that is why most young Saudis seeking professional degrees must do so outside of their country and why the Saudis must import skilled engineers, technicians and laborers. Recently, the Royal family tried to rein in some of the excess practices of the Wahabi Morality Police, but the local police and judges were too afraid to take any actions against them.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Muneef

    http://kaheel7.com/eng/PowerPoint/The_Collapse_of_the_Universe.pps

    May 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  15. Descarado

    I love this new phrase "Arab Spring." LOL! See me in the Autumn when the Muslim Brotherhood is in charge and stoning their own women.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      If you read about what has been happening lately in Egypt, they are not even waiting for the elections to do exactly that in some cities.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  16. cregis

    Sounds like Jim Jones with a more global reach.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Pliny

    A cartoon of mohammed is printed in Denmark. In response, muslims from all 4 corners of the earth riot.

    3000 people are murdered in the name of islam. In response....there is no response.

    The muslims support terrorism.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jack Chambers

      @pliny, Pliny I am a practising muslim and have read the quran and studied the teachings of the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). This is just not true. Please take the time to study the quran and the teachings of the prophet with sincerity not with your bias. Your experience will be eye opening with regards to how closely knit Judaism, Christianity and Islam are. That it was a religion that was sent to complete the Religion that GOD had given us ( Muslims believe that there is only one religion and that it was sent down in waves (Judaism and Christianity being the first 2 parts) You need to be a Jew and christian in order to be a muslim, it's just that based on the quran it tells us how Jesus is not the son of GOD and that he only came down to order the people to worship GOD and God alone. There are some different concepts, but at the end of the day as muslims we believe in Christ, we believe in Moses, Abraham and all the Prophets and messengers that came before and after them. I pray for peace!

      May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      There was response. In just about every Islamic country they showed people dancing in the streets rejoicing over ObL's accomplishment. Looking at that same response in another light, to their way of thinking the United States hated the peoples of many Islamic countries and proved it by supporting the dictators and "presidents-for-life" many of them were stuck with. Also our overt support of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and supporting their settlements driving out the Palestinians from lands their ancestors had been on for the last two thousand years.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Just like the Christian right-wing whack jobs in this country Osama bin Laden used his religion as justification for his own perverse behavior. History is full of people of his ilk; Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, Rev. Moon, Taliban, etc., etc. As far as the condemnation of the lack of bin Laden’s rights or consideration- Where was his consideration when he killed nearly 3,000 innocent people on 11 September 2001. Have you people forgotten that we were attacked by this animal? There is no talking to or negotiating with people like this. They want to kill you and if they had the chance your throat would have already been slit and they would be airing the pictures and videos of what they had done to you. Remember Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Dee

    Just a thought. From what have heard bin laden supposedly has 7 that look like him, weather it be just someone that look's like him, or plastic surgery, ok that being said on the DNA aspect, is there a way to have someone's DNA planted into another human, just asking – because i don't know.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tim

      Wow – your ignorance is frightening! You CANNOT replace your DNA with another person's DNA.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • c

      No, it's not possible to replicate the DNA of another person. There are certain markers that are more accurate and varied than a fingerprint that a diagnostician is looking for.That's a good question, though! I'm sure more will come out on how the DNA was tested.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • c

      Tim, that was uncalled for. We are all learning here. Let someone ask questions without being a jerk.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • biology

      @Dee Best CNN comment ever.

      May 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  20. Rev. Rick

    I'd like to cut my Islamic brothers some slack. I really would. I don't care which religion you profess, or which God you worship. However, no matter how you interpret Islamic teachings, it seems Muhammad's ultimate goal was an Islamic state, ruled under Islamic law. Wasn't it? Am I mistaken about this?

    Muslims claim that the Quran is the inerrant word of God and should be taken at face value, don't they? If not, if the Quran can be "interpreted" as the Imam says, then it must not be inerrant since it's open to interpretation. But, you can't have it both ways.

    Bottom line? Are Islamic law (Muhammad's ultimate goal) and American democracy (or any democracy) compatible? I'd love for one of our Muslim posters to clear this up. Please...

    May 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bob

      As a practicing Shinto worshiper, if Islam were to overtake my country, my only options would be conversion or death.

      As I'm not a "people of the book" but rather a "pagan" according to the goat-raping followers of that 7th century pedophile Mohammed, I am not offered the option of living as a virtual slave under Dhimmitude.

      Yes, I have researched this and experienced it firsthand. I work in oil services. When I did a 6 month posting from my company, my Saudi supervisor's first words of advice when I got off the plane to meet him were "Do not let them know you are a pagan. They will have you killed."

      Islam is not sane. I have lived in the lands controlled by that crazy death cult. And II am getting pretty tired of being told nonsense from people who obviously are either lying about it, or have no clue about it.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ BOB – Thanks for posting your experience in Saudi Arabia. However, I would seriously like a response from an informed Muslim about Muhammad's ultimate goal for Islam.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • tarfeanor

      muhammad didnt want to create a state or empire with one consistant law,the idea of the modern nation state wasnt even fully developed at the time.the goal was to create an "ummah" or community of believers.in other words,just a religion.the laws practiced at the time were standard,stoning isnt even mentioned i n the quran,muslim scholars simply adhere to it because it is in the bible and theyre simply following that tradition.cutting off the hand of thieves was practiced by the romans.capital punishment was and is still considered an acceptable form of punishment.laws change over time,and so has shariah.the spirit behind the laws is the goal.so,whatever muslims agree upon is usually considered the acceptable norm.most scholars have accepted that democracy is compatible with islam. as for the quran,there is much debate over it.all agree that it is the literal word of god,but everyone says their own interpretation is the right one.no one can of course claim this,nor can it be proven.that is the task of islamic scholars,to debate about these things.but most of these debates in theology or jurisprudence hardly enters into the daily life of muslims,as the bare minimum of following the five pillars is the norm.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Tarfeanor – Thanks for what appears to be a sincere attempt to explain. So, where this leaves us, as Christians, Muslims and Jews, is the same place we were before the Quran appeared – still at odds with each other about what is, and what is not, the true word of God.

      The problem with religion, any religion, is there are too many humans involved. Egos, socio-political agendas, and other human weaknesses get in the way. I am an ordained minister, and a former fundamentalist Christian conservative (and I do emphasize FORMER). Today, I go my own way in terms of faith. I do still believe in God. It's just not the vengeful, judgmental, condemning God of the Abrahamic religions. As the trite saying goes, "why can we all just get along?!?!"

      May 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Kash

      @ Rev Rick: you clearly have not read the Quran or even bother to consult someone w/ any knowledge of the Quran or Islam. If you had, then you would have known that Islam support Believers. Believers are those practicing any of the major religions. It is, however, restrictive on Muslims; however, its goal isn't convert the world and create an Islamic state. If you are in fact a Reverand and is serious about learning about Islam, then why not just pick up the Quran instead of throwing out hearsay information on the internet?

      @ Daniel: read a book. I like how you are taking the actions/preachings of a small minority of extremists and generalizing it for the whole religion. Quran doesn't say killing is good either.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Kash = You should pay more attention to what I actually wrote instead of making accusations. All of my "hearsay" was posed in the form of questions. Not facts. (That's what the "?" symbol means, in case Engllish is not your native language.) You should really take your own advice.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • c

      I would not take any information from the Saudi's as speaking for all of Islam. The Koran states that religion is not compulsory. For centuries, Muslims lived with people of other religions in harmony. They were also very sympathetic of Jews living in Spain as they were a minority. I don't know if any nation today has a real "Islamic state" as Mohammad (pbuh) would have wanted to see it. Many contracts (such as a marriage contract) were seen to be secular in nature, not religious, so if a woman did not want to do housework (for example), she could write a housekeeper into the contract. Sharia law is not supposed to be based on one man's opinion, as in many countries, but based on the teachings of the Koran and the opinion of the public at large. This is just my bit of understanding, but please, some Koranic scholars chime in.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.