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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. mohamed

    just stop all the argumant. we all are human and we know the true and the bad. We should have peace in our planet and there is only one ("God" "Allah") like the Qur'an and Bible said we all should care about one and other, have you realize we all are the same people and we do the same staff.. i only believe in one "God" our "Allah" the one that create us as human and he will always take care of us.. if we beleave him!! but the Qur'an is the book of "God" or "Allah"

    May 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Dennis Pence

      Mohamed – I was sort of with you until you said the Quran was the book of God – it is the book of Mohamed. The passages in the Quran that have every "practicing" Muslim thinking they need to conquer, subdue or kill all people of other faiths is not the book you follow for peace. Yes – there is One God, with One Son (Jesus Christ) and One Holy Spirit. His Son is the Truth, the Life and the Way (not a way) to God and everlasting life (not virgins and alcohol). The book that teaches us God's Love, His Forgiveness, His Mercy, His Grace and provides a path to Him (not through murdering, torturing and conquering) but through the fact that He sent His Son as a Sacrifice for all of our sins. He was raised from the dead and now sits at the Right Hand of God. I'm sorry, but there is no historical record that the Prophet Mohamed was ever raised from the dead, he never claimed to be the Son of God (with good reason) and he is not sitting at God's right hand.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • boby

      Brother You are right..

      May 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Mohan Lahe

      ...what about Hindus, Buddhist and others? We on the 'EARTH', must fight for achieve the peace on the planet, rather than comparing one religion to another!!

      May 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Humanist

      This is what happens when Religion is Brought in to solve any issue.... Everyone argues.
      Why can't you Religious fanatics just stop for 1 day and respect the other one's belief?
      If you take a long long in the mirror and then at the other person you would realize that we are all "Human" the rest is just "Fluff"
      Realize this... More "War's" have been commited in the name of religion than any thing else in human history.
      Be "Human" Have Respect, and by all means Remember that Donald Duck created us all in his own image, or was it Daffy Duck....... i keep forgetting.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Ocean

      I am neither Christian nor Muslim. I see the post of Mohamed as peaceful and benevolent regardless of what religion he belongs too.

      May 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Humza

      @Dennis: The Quran says no such thing about subjugating non-Muslims. One of its most famous verses is: "There is no compulsion in religion," saying that Muslims do not have the duty, or in fact the right, to force others to follow Islam, thus disproving your statement.

      May 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • SlaveofAllah

      Nah, brotha you need to read your book. The Lord doesnt need to plan or decieve because "HE IS" as he says "I AM"

      Allah is Totally a Trickster and Deciever! hahah

      Sahih International

      4:142
      Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah , but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little,

      May 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Respect for all!

      It doesn't matter what religion one follows. After all, God is one. His forms are many. What is important is that one doesn't blindly believe & follow everything a holy book or scripture says. Use reason. Respect life. Be compassionate and help those in need (if you can). Be humble. Every one has a right to their own beliefs. Its when one wants to impose one's belief on another is where the problem begins. But the bigger problem is mixing this situation with politics. People who use these radicalists to their own benefit not realizing that one day the radicalists will turn against them. And then its totally out of anyones hand. That is the situation today and God bless the world, for there is no way to stop such radicalists – they're this big population now and their kids, innocent with impressionable minds, who grow believing what is fed into their minds.

      May 5, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • amos33

      This is a very great sign the end is near. Christians make ready and repent and return to the Lord Jesus.

      May 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  2. toto221999

    These professors spent their entire lives studying religions in general. They truly understand what religions stand for even if they do not follow them. So when they give their opinions it is considered an expert opinion. And still some of you who know nothing about religion and probably know nothing about anything give absurd opinions about Islam.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  3. Reality

    Bin Laden followed the dictates of the koran. His execution for crimes against humanity has not changed the koran. Until this book of terror is modernized or deleted all together, no male Muslim can be trusted.

    The proof:

    Some examples of koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror. Many are not related to bin Laden and his crazies:
    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) – Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  4. mike kerns

    Religion in general is putting a mental straitjacketed on.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  5. coder

    like any other religious nut bag – the pope included
    if you dont like the religion you are born in – create your own
    to me – religion(S) has become blasphemy itself
    no major religion on the planet has not committed murder in the name of a god
    between moses, mohammed and jesus – i wonder is more proud of the murder spree they have inspired

    May 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  6. David Stone

    Bin Laden simply took his book literally, he adheres strictly to Islam, but make no mistake, this IS islam. A more correct statement would be that the "peaceful muslims" have THEIR own version other than what the Quran states.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Alan

      Just like Christians who don't stone their wives to death for burning their dinners aren't real Christians? Does it hurt being so dumb?

      May 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • AJ

      The same should absolutely be said of violent, bigoted Christians, Jews, [fill in relgion here]. Unfortunately any book written that long ago (since that's exactly what these holy scriptures are) is going to include concepts, (like slavery, beating women, conversion by force,) that we abhor as a civilized society today. Christianity requires a whole lot of context to make it not sound evil too, my friend and I can accept that it needs to be put into today's context to be fully understood.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  7. Big_D

    They follow Milestones not the Koran. They were sold a bill of goods by Sayyid Qutb. Qutb is a malevolent narcissist that took his rejection by western women and made a faith of hatred out of it.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Name*Chedar

    I am sorry to say who is Mohammed listening to? Can you prove it is God or Satan. This is also true to Christians who listens to voices. That is scary. Both of these group should be committed. It's about time.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  9. really?! Didn't know this...

    Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?

    by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

    from an NPR article on http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124494788

    "By the standards of the time, which is the 7th century A.D., the laws of war that are laid down by the Quran are actually reasonably humane," he says. "Then we turn to the Bible, and we actually find something that is for many people a real surprise. There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide."

    El-Ansary, who teaches Islamic studies at the University of South Carolina, says the Quran explicitly condemns religious aggression and the killing of civilians. And it makes the distinction between jihad — legal warfare with the proper rules of engagement — and irjaf, or terrorism.

    "All of those types of incidences — [Sept. 11], Maj. Nidal Hasan and so forth — those are all examples of irjaf, not jihad," he says. According to the Quran, he says, those who practice irjaf "are going to hell."

    May 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bill2

      As I wrote above:
      The difference is that the warfare narratives in the Bible are written as allegorical, historical or explanatory and are not intended to be proscriptive.
      While early Islam recognized the need for context and while this same need is probably held by the majority of Muslims in the Western world I think it would be a mistake to attribute such a recognition to the majority of Muslims worldwide. A number of commentators suggest that Quranic exegesis (akin to that of the Bible) has not been widespread for centuries.
      While a number of passages in the Quran can be read as defensive or reciprocal this is not universally true. A number of ayah suggest or promote aggression.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  10. Big_D

    Sayyid Qutb is the author of Milestones a book that is at the core of most radical Islam. He was a malevolent narcissist that lied about his experiences. He was rejected by western women because he dressed like midget Hitler and acted worse. His hatred of Jazz and American women is telling of the reality.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  11. Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?

    Good Article you should all read... by by Barbara Bradley Hagerty on NPR no less...
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124494788

    "Much to my surprise, the Islamic scriptures in the Quran were actually far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible," Jenkins says.

    Jenkins is a professor at Penn State University and author of two books dealing with the issue: the recently published Jesus Wars, and Dark Passages , which has not been published but is already drawing controversy.

    Much to my surprise, the Islamic scriptures in the Quran were actually far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible.

    – Philip Jenkins, author of 'Jesus Wars'

    Violence in the Quran, he and others say, is largely a defense against attack.

    "By the standards of the time, which is the 7th century A.D., the laws of war that are laid down by the Quran are actually reasonably humane," he says. "Then we turn to the Bible, and we actually find something that is for many people a real surprise. There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide."

    'Out Of Context'

    That may be the popular notion of jihad, says Waleed El-Ansary, but it's the wrong one. El-Ansary, who teaches Islamic studies at the University of South Carolina, says the Quran explicitly condemns religious aggression and the killing of civilians. And it makes the distinction between jihad — legal warfare with the proper rules of engagement — and irjaf, or terrorism.

    "All of those types of incidences — [Sept. 11], Maj. Nidal Hasan and so forth — those are all examples of irjaf, not jihad," he says. According to the Quran, he says, those who practice irjaf "are going to hell."

    May 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bill2

      The difference is that the warfare narratives in the Bible are written as allegorical, historical or explanatory and are not intended to be proscriptive.
      While early Islam recognized the need for context and while this same need is probably held by the majority of Muslims in the Western world I think it would be a mistake to attribute such a recognition to the majority of Muslims worldwide. A number of commentators suggest that Quranic exegesis (akin to that of the Bible) has not been widespread for centuries.
      While a number of passages in the Quran can be read as defensive or reciprocal this is not universally true. A number of ayah suggest or promote aggression.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Alan

      I think the important question here is whether it's reasonable to judge any religion by its holy text. These things were written thousands of years ago by very mortal men with very mortal flaws and ambitions and they stopped being relevant shortly after their authorship.

      Unfortunately, the religious masses never got that memo and here we are.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Catherine

      Which parts of the Bible? Please point them out.
      Thanks.

      May 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  12. Syed

    Good article. It's too bad the idiots on these forums won't really comprehend. OBL had his own twisted beliefs and it had nothing to do with ISLAM. Islam indeed is the most peaceful religion and these fanatics/dictators don't represent it. Anyways I just really hate to see so much ignorance from these so called civilized people

    May 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Chuck

      Only peaceful while in the minority.....

      May 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Catherine

      Syed,

      I have studied the Quran and sharia law. I do have friends who speak Arabic. I don’t study the Quran from the internet or from modern translations which have been doctored to fool and deceive the western mindset. I own one of the first translations of the Quran and also an Arabic quran which my Arab friends translate for me. I also have an excellent sense of comprehension and when I am in doubt I look at my Arabic Quran which is word for word in translation.

      So stop talking about ‘taken out of context’ and “misinterpretation”. Kill means Kill…how can this be taken out of context or misinterpreted? Please stop calling people who speak the truth, idiots and ignorant.

      I know you are allowed to lie – TAQIYYA.. The Quran specifically says; Muhammad said: "Lying is wrong, except in three things: the lie of a man to his wife to make her content with him; A LIE TO AN ENEMY, FOR WAR IS DECEPTION; or a lie to settle trouble between people" [Ahmad, 6.459. H]
      Small wonder the Pakistani Government lied about the whereabouts of Osama. We must never forget that all Muslims are good traditional, faithful, peaceful Muslims who are waiting until they increase in numbers.

      The daily accomplishments and contributions of this peaceful religion and its followers around the world with proof can be seen at http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

      May 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Mikee

      most peaceful..how bout buddhism then?

      May 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  13. BL

    "Jihad" doesn't mean warfare against people at all. It's all about the internal struggle between our human and devine nature.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      No one falls for that old malarky anymore. Try something else.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • jinn

      All Islamic scholars disagree with you.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Hassan

      I know this is a popular sentiment in the opposite extreme- the transcendent sufi pacifist, but it cannot be escaped that there is plenty of cause for actual armed struggle in the world. There always has been, and always will be. Christians proudly enlist in armies worldwide to kill and be killed, in defense of 'good' against 'evil', so any claims they have that their religious/moral beliefs do not include their own Jihads is malarky. There is no need for us to jump to extremes and give up on the notion of just struggle, of necessary Jihad, just because hypocritical gun-toting Americans want us to.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  14. Muhammad

    When the Saudis let Jews and Christians into Muslim lands they opened up Osama's can of worms because of what God Says in the Holy Qur'an. Osama is gone, the true religion of God namely Islam has come to America. NONE IS GOD EXCEPT ALLAH

    May 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Chuck

      Of course don't forget about Jesus Christ the true Messiah who warned of false prophets...... muhammad is no different than Jim Jones, David Koresh , or Joseph Smith.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Eric G

      The last sentence of your post is almost accurate. "There is no God" requires no exception.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  15. OneObserver

    Jinn, either you are misguided or your intention is to misguide the readers. Osama bin Laden, The Taliban, Khomeini, Hamas, Hezbollah are not true Muslims. They may believe in monotheism but they have twiested the teachings of Islam and invented their own religion and their own theology.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • jinn

      Who knows Islam better you or them?

      May 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  16. davegeorgia

    obl worshipped the false moon god allah, read the false koran book, followed the false prophet muhammed, how is that a break from other muslims?

    May 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Bill

      The "false moon god Allah"?!?

      Umm... apparently, you don't know that Allah is the Arabic name for GOD, the same GOD that Christians worship, and the same GOD that Jews worship? Arabic speaking Christians, as well as Arabic speaking Jews, use the word Allah to refer to their Christian or Judaic GOD. It is not a "false" God, nor is it a "Muslim" God.

      I love all of the folks on here commenting about this as if they actually KNOW anything about Islam. I mean.. thinking that Allah is a fake God is just STUPID, and perhaps worse, LAZY... since you can go to wikipedia, type in "Allah" and find all of this out in about 30 seconds.

      But then, they'd actually have to LEARN something, wouldn't they?

      May 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Bill

      The "false moon god Allah"?!?

      Umm... apparently, you don't know that Allah is the Arabic name for GOD, the same GOD that Christians worship, and the same GOD that Jews worship? Arabic speaking Christians, as well as Arabic speaking Jews, use the word Allah to refer to their Christian or Judaic GOD. It is not a "false" God, nor is it a "Muslim" God.
      -------–
      Are you a Christian Bill? The god of the Koran and the God of the Bible are NOT the same God! One has a son Jesus and the other has no son.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Alan

      A dispute over parentage does not make them separate fairytale deities.

      And God isn't a very nice fellow in ANY of the holy texts. The Bible was compiled from a bunch of random oral traditions by a pack of Roman politicians. Oh, yeah, it's definitely the word of God, though. They were some diligent Romans, let me tell you.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • xtianityisasham

      Steve (The real one) – does the g-d of Moses have a son?

      May 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Hassan

      "Allah" is God in Arabic and Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
      Arab and Aramaic Christians, and JESUS HIMSELF, called God "Allah". Of the 360 pagan idols the pre-Islamic Arabs had, Allah was not one of them. Instead the pagans said he was their 'father'.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Alan,

      OK let me see if I understand this. God is a fairy tale, right? So far so good, right? Now, a long time ago lizards turned into birds? And you believe from nothing came something? Yet I am the believer in fairy tales? One day you see your judge, feel free to tell his to His face how much a fairy tale He is. I would have added a "good luck" to that but why bother?, it ain't gonna help!

      May 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      xtianityisasham
      Steve (The real one) – does the g-d of Moses have a son?
      -------
      1. Based upon your name, this is a joke to you
      2. I already answered that.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Steve (the real one): Be careful my friend.....

      That "something from nothing" argument cuts both ways.

      Just looking out for ya my Brother.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  17. davegeorgia

    islam is not compatible with democracy

    May 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      Islam probably is not, but muslims may be.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  18. Ted Ward

    So which is the version of Isl*m that doesn't involve killing j*ws and chr*stians, stoning people, making war on the entire non-mooslim world, caravan raiding, treachery, deception, enslavement, betrayal, back-stabbing, and general barbaric desert tribal behavior?

    May 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • hm

      most muslims dont do that. if they did 1 billion people would be murderers

      May 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • James

      Lets rephrase your statement and see if it also fits:

      So which is the version of America that doesn't involve killing of blacks and other minorities, stabbing people, making war in the world, car jacking, treachery, deception, enslavement, betrayal, back-stabbing, and general barbaric hillbilly/cowboy behavior?

      See, someone could say the same ignorant thing you said in a different context but it doesn't make it right does it? If I were a betting man, I'd say you have never even met a Muslim.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Alan

      There's just no reasoning with you clowns. Fine, hate Islam all you like. No amount of facts, history, or truths will convince you. Go ahead and hate Muslims if you like. You only have one life and you're defining yours as a bigot.

      Your 6-year-old self would be so proud.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chuck

      "Normative Islam has heavy constraints – very, very heavy." This should be translated as "minority" islam has heavy constraints because when they become the majority look out!!!

      May 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  19. James

    The view of orthodox Muslim scholars is that Osama bin Laden and the contemporary groups characterized with extremism in takfir and jihad are "kharjites." Kharjites (khwaraij) are a the first group to deviate in Islamic history and warned about in Hadeeth narrations. They are described as extremists who appear to be pious but lack understanding and as a result of their over zealousness pronounce "takfir" upon fellow Muslims who commit sins. What exist today are neo-khrajites, they are those who have adopted the end result of the distillation of the ideologies of Vladimir Lenin, Alexis Carrell and Mawdudi taking place in the mind of Sayyid Qutb, subsequently expressed in his books, and then trying to justify these evil ideologies by drawing upon texts from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Only few journalist have correctly identified this link while most erroneously label him as "salafi" or "wahhabi." It would be more appropriate to label him Qutbi in his ideology, in fact Sayyid Qutb's brother was a mentor to Bin Laden in his earlier years.

    When asked about the status of Bin Laden, the late Shaykh Ahmad bin Yahyaa an-Najmee (a leading Islamic scholar in Saudi Arabia) said: "These (ones) are the devils. They are the devils. Bin Ladin is a Shaytaan Khabeeth (a filthy devil), a Kharijite (a renegade revolter). It is not permissible for anyone to praise him. Anyone who praises him, then this is evidence that he is a Kharijite just like him ... anyone who praises him, then this is evidence that he is a Kharijite just like him."

    May 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  20. davegeorgia

    a criminal offensive oppressive abusive muslim religion, and bo is concerned who the US offends? bo says nothing about our flag burned, Bibles burned, or Christians killed. all islam is a blight on humanity, moderate muslim? what a crock

    May 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • AJ

      Look, President Obama isn't a bully like those who constantly threaten millions of innocent people around the world. He understands the concept of actions and consequences (both intended and unintended). The fact is that you are no better than the people we are fighting and President Obama wants this country not to stoop to their and your level. It's about maturity and standing on your principles, something most right wingers view as weak. If a child knocks an ice cream cone out of your hand i'm sure you'd smack him right? Or the mature thing to do was tell the kid why it was wrong and be an adult by moving on with your life. There's a reason you're not president – you have no thought for how your actions might be perceived or how it could put the entire country at risk.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
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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.