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August 13th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

U.S. Muslim comedy tour hits Deep South

By Summer Suleiman, CNN

(CNN) - The Muslims are Coming is a comedy tour that is traveling to small towns throughout the South in hopes of opening up a discussion about Muslim stereotypes.

The tour started in Gainesville, Florida, home of Terry Jones, the pastor who attracted international headlines by burning a Quran, and stopped in Lawrenceville, Georgia, outside Atlanta, on Tuesday night. It will continue to Alabama and conclude in Tennessee.

The shows feature comedians Dean Obeidallah, Negin Farsad, Maysoon Zayid and Omar Elba. They are targeting small, conservative towns in the South where controversies over Islam have erupted.

“We came to the South because it has this reputation of being intolerant. It has this stereotype of hating other groups, so we wanted to see,” Farsad said. “We have a feeling that they’re not actually uniformly sitting around hating Muslims.”

Obeidallah, who performed with the recent Axis of Evil comedy tour, and Farsad, producer of the 2008 movie Nerdcore Rising, are producing a documentary about The Muslims are Coming. The shows on the tour are free, they say, because they want to reach as many people as possible.

“We really wanted to make this tour a chance to reach out American to American, people of different faiths coming together, laughing together,” Obeidallah said.

He hopes the tour will start a candid dialogue about Muslim stereotypes - and that it will simply make people laugh.

And laugh they did, at least on Tuesday.

The Lawrenceville audience was receptive to the performance, even when it veered into sensitive territory. At one point, for instance, Zayid joked about meeting her husband in a Gaza refugee camp and telling him to “pack up his tent”.

The shows also feature a question and answer portion with the audience.

In Lawrenceville, many of the questions gave voice to stereotypes. “Is it true if a group of women get naked, that Muslim men must kill themselves?” one audience member inquired.

“We want to answer the tough questions, we encourage people to ask the tough questions, talk about the stereotypes that are lingering in your mind,” Obeidallah said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam

soundoff (1,214 Responses)
  1. Rando

    As someone who has lived in both the South and the North, I can assure you that prejudice knows no boundaries or state lines. I've seen as many bigots in Vermont as I have seen in North Carolina. Prejudice is a learned behavior inherited by our parents and those around us. Whether there is a god or not, we are all just humans, equal on every level. It's our behavior that should be addressed, not the color of our skin.

    August 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  2. David

    Hmm, we have a reputation for being intollerent in the South? SO what. Truth of all this is, these are comics no one has heard of, or more then likely not many people have heard of that are trying to use Islam to launch themselves to fame.

    August 14, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Scott

      Apparently CNN is trying to illustrate that these muslim comics are going to teach ignorant southerners about tolerance.
      If they started the show by denouncing muslim violence towards females, jews, christians, and americans it might not make them hypocrites.I'll bet they are funny though.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  3. Keith

    How do their jokes start, "Okay, so Abdul was on his way to blow up a Bhuddist shrine..." or "A shooter walks into Fort Hood..."? There's NOTHING funny about the horrors of islam.

    August 14, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  4. sara

    Only IGNORANCE breds INTOLERANCE. These words are soooo similar. The bred and born southerners has always Had this INTOLERANCE of "another", but then Goes to GOD'S church and Claim to be Christians. These ignorants were Raised to be deceivers of what Americans and Christians are. They have to portray "others" as less than to feel superior over "another", because Hate and INTERLORANCE doesn't FEEL good in a "good human soul". First it was Blacks, Americans at that! Now it's the Mexicans and the Muslims! This Intolerance will surely define our country and our "phony" belief systems as "less than" to the World. All Muslims are Not murderers, just as Not all Whites are Murderers, as Tim McVeig was. Just as Blacks are less likely to receive government benefits than Whites. This is the southerner's "phony belief" systems that is solely based on HATE, not Christianity.

    August 14, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • POD

      You have never been below the Mason-Dixon line have you? Southerners are pretty much like everyone else....you got your good and bad, smart and stupid, polite and rude......and yes.....prejudiced and open-minded. But ask any balck person in any Northern big city ghetto if he would rather live there or in some quiet integrated rural community down South.....you might be suprised at the answer

      August 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @sara

      In a way you are right. I am a German and we have murdered some million Jews. The US humiliated the black people, whereby this cannot be compared with the German murder of the Jews. Murder and slavery is not the same.

      Of course, we are supposed to love our Muslim neigbours. Really!

      Although we made mistakes, regarding the Jews and the black people, and must be attendive, not to repeat or mistakes, we are allowed to check out the outlandish belief of the Muslims.

      In contrast to Judaism and being black, Islam is the downright enemy of Christianity. Muhammad hated Jews and Christans.

      Thus, Muslims love a man (Muhammad), who hates us and who commanded them to hate and to kill us. I guess, we are allowed to take that in account and to draw our conclusions.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Conclusion: We should still love our enemies, but the authorities of the Western World must be attendive that the Muslim community (Umma) does not get too much impact on our societies. It is sure, as soon as they participate in administration, they will impose their backward belief and abolish freedom.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Scott

      My sara,

      You have some serious bias issues of your own to deal with. Phony belief systems rant is really kind of revealing. Did mom and dad not spend enough time with you when you were little?

      August 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Big Bob

      Briilliant ploy by Muslims, changing the narrative to make this about southerners. Taqqyia!
      Look it up, sweetie!

      August 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  5. lindy556

    “We came to the South because it has this reputation of being intolerant
    ==============
    With their history on hate towards women-gays and jews the only thing funny is them calling others intolerant!

    August 14, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • AL

      you can go now why dont you go to a muslim loving country so you can be happy

      August 14, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    When the Muslims raided Jerusalem in 634 a. D., bishop Sophronius said analogously:

    We failed to follow Jesus Christ in everyday life, that is the reason, why God allowed the God-hating Arabs to assault us.

    Jesus Christ is the LORD-GOD (kyrios). Let us go under his screen and there will be no more worry! He is a mighty man of war!

    August 14, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  7. emma65

    And this is because Muslims are so tolerant of others? Tell it to be Baha'i in Iran. Fundamemtalist closed societies are a staple of Muslim countries and practice. This tour should be named the "...calling the kettle black" tour.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  8. AL

    there is nothing that can change my mind about how evil the muslim religion really is. No amount of sugar coating, comedy or any other thing can change the fact that IT IS EVIL, INTOLERANT, AND DANGEROUS.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • jsl123

      The sad thing is we are all supposed to be looking at the same god. Humans are so stupid. This is not the way it is supposed to be........

      August 14, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Tomás de Torquemada

      Of course the irony of what you wrote would be missed by such a rock thrower as yourself. As some useful home work, you could google the name I used in this post. I leave you with this saying. Those who throw stones should not live in glass houses.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • AL

      @ jsl i dont think cristians and muslims worship the same god.
      @ Tomás de Torquemada the person you mentioned existed in the 1400's that is a long time ago. ITS IN THE DISTANT PAST. focus on current events please. live in the present not the past.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  9. faberm

    More stereotyping of the south and its people. Leave us alone already.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Spunky101

      If you actually read the article instead of picking and choosing what to pay attention to, you will see that they state “We have a feeling that they’re not actually uniformly sitting around hating Muslims.” in reference to the comment on the Southern stereotype. They mention the stereotype yes but only in reference that they think it is incorrect and want to go see for themselves if they are right. At least they are not uniformly labeling and stereotyping the people of an entire region.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  10. Reality

    Why the topic group should not be invited to your town:============================

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about "peaceful Islam" and the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    Just a few examples of Muslim "humor":

    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.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • mullah hajdar

      and all this is still much less than the number americans killed in muslim countries

      August 14, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • whereisthelove

      It is also considerably less than the deaths caused by people practicing Christianity as well. Notable examples include

      The Crusades-- 3 million Jewish and Muslim deaths at the hands of Christians
      The conquest of the Americas--15 million native peoples killed at the hands of Christians
      The Atlantic Slave Trade--19 million killed and millions more displaced at the hands of Christians
      Thousands of Jews were killed during the Black Plague (burned to death) by Christians because Christian churches blamed them for the spread of the plague
      Hitler was not a devout Christian but he did use Christianity to urge others to follow his doctrine and many of his followers were Christian and the death toll was between 11 and 19 million depending on estimates.
      Most hate groups in the United States (KKK, WAR, Neo-Nazis) claim Christianity
      Timothy McVeigh sited Christianity in his justification of the Oklahoma City Bombings
      The recent bombings in Norway were perpetuated by a Christian in the name of Christianity

      And before you refute all of this by saying that I am just trying to give Christians a bad name or that I belong to another religion, I am a practicing Catholic and identify as Christian. This is a reality of our religions history that we must recognize and stop saying that other religions are inherently violent because then we must say the same is true of our own.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @whereisthelove

      Your comment may comprise some historical truth, but is pointless nevertheless.

      Just compare Western countries and Islamic countries: The Muslims can practise their belief in our countries and nearly nobody harms them for that. In contrast would a Christian start to preach the gospel in Islamabad, he probably would get beheaded.

      The Christians may have made mistakes, but despite Islam must be condemned, because it promotes lie, murder, selfishness, proud, longing for honour, etc..

      We regret our mistakes now, but the Islam will never regret any murder. Murder is the essence of their belief.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • joe

      white male christians have killed more people and have used terrorism for centuries. the list would go on for years....

      August 14, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)---------------

      The Muslim Conquest of India

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

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      August 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    Many people on this CNN Blog try to defend the Muslims and would like to integrate them in our society. They reason their opinion by claiming that a lot of Muslims behave correctly in everyday life.

    On the other hand there are people like me warning of the Muslim threat, whereby I always remarked that I want to love my Muslim neighbours, despite their outlandish belief.

    One thing we should not forget: We live in a world, which has become quite secular. Not only Europe, but even the USA. Most people in Western societies are concerned about keeping their job and struggle not to be demoted. In our time religion has become totally secondary, here in the Western World, and to a large extent to the Muslims, which live here.

    Thus, the place where Christians and Muslims meet each other today is the world of work and the world of education. Economical conditions have become so hard that both must behave disciplined, no matter what they believe. In addition there may be some pressure by the Western authorities to get a long with each other, in order to make sure economical efficience of the population, which the today politicians see as a flock of cattle, from which they can gain tax revenue.

    That system could work for centuries, but at the moment we experience that there is something wrong with the system and it gets more and more cough attacks. Maybe it will collapse soon.

    What happens, when the Western World loses it's supremacy? Military is extremly expensive and a declining economy directly causes a declining military. On the other hand other countries arm (China is about to build a powerful fleet). Recently Saudi Arabia has bought 200 high tech tanks from Angela Merkel. It is clear, their is an armament race between the countries, which will be won by the richest and economically successful contries.

    How to face that problem?

    At any rate we must embrace Christianity again. It is the Almighty, who can protect us against our enemies. If we would live the Christian life, God would fight for us. We should hurry to believe in Christ and to get baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the power of Christ's death and resurrection we could overcome our sinfulness and live the life, which God gives us at baptism. Come to the Holy Fountain and get set free!

    An abating USA will cause a destabilizising world. This development has yet started. I guess, we are about to enter an apocalyptic age.

    You and me, we can hardly stop the ongoing decline, but at least we can put our personal lifes under God's screen.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • MiddleFinger

      Mr. Braendlein: What's so ironic is that your apparent "Christian" religious beliefs are every bit as inflexible as many Muslims. I'm guessing you place the blame on "demise" of Western civilization on "The Enlightenment" and Darwinian evolution.

      Better to follow and live by the words of Jesus Christ, rather than belong to and follow a "humanized" artificial construct called a relgion.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • skarrlette

      What we need are intelligent well educated logical feet firmly on the ground individuals running the world. We don't need religion anywhere near the mix. Religion is not the answer all religion does is create violence it doesn't work hat has been proven and its currently being proven right now. Time to move on to better strategies.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Regarding the Muslim threat:

      Above, I said that secularisation is the reason for similar behaviour of Muslims and Christians. Hence, in everyday life there is nearly no visible difference between Muslims and Christians. This situation can fool us. There is a gorgon amongst us, but currently he sleeps.

      The problem is that the Muslim Gorgon can awake every moment. Muslims may be behave friendly at the moment, but by any impacts their behaviour can change very quickly.

      What said bishop Sophronius about the Muslim raid against Jerusalem, which started 634 a. D.?

      Answer: They came unexpected!

      Let us be on the guard! How Muslims behave, when they have the majority of population, we see in Pakistan, Iran and many other countries. Does someone of you want to live in Iran? I guess, nobody.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • TJCIII

      How about you all start practicing your religion in the privacy of your bedrooms and let people just live without any religious hatred and bigotry.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • David

      @MiddleFinger – Anyone who would even attempt to compare Islam with Christianity shows they neither:

      1, Understand the Bible nor its dispensationalism.
      2. Know the reason for the advent of the Christian Messiah.
      3. Know or have not read or understood the Koran.
      4. Know or understand the history of the Christian church or the nation of Islam (globally).
      5. Know or understand the historical system of Islamic assimilation or its processes.

      You have what is called acquired ignorance. You have “acquired ignorance” by listening and believing someone elses tired and worn out accusations about things you really don’t know anything about. You have heard countless times that Islam is as bad as Christianity and visa versa. Please offer an original thought of your own! But do some serious research and study first.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  12. Jason Goldtrap

    They are not funny. I don't care what your beliefs are if you're not funny then you're not funny.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  13. El Gordo

    This was pretty lame comedy. What it seems to prove is that there is nothing funny about Islamic fundamentalism, just like there is nothing funny about Evangelical fundamentalism. They are both scary, oppressive philosophies.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • popseal

      I'll believe that Islam and Christianity are morally/spiritually equivalent when a Baptist youth group from Kansas goes on a mission trip and starts blowing up people to make converts.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  14. Chuck Steak

    The little bit they showed really wasn't all that funny. Sorry

    August 14, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  15. James

    It's all a fun comedy tour until the entourage comes out with suicide vests on !

    August 14, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  16. yannaes

    Asatruar: You beiieve that your statement is of "higher thought?" How easily we deceive ourselves.

    August 14, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  17. yannaes

    Do you remember when the Muslims attacked Jerusalem, murdered, pilfered the Jews, prior to the Crusades? Or did you know this, meaning if you are going into historical levels of thought, might I recommend that you look on the other side of the slate.

    August 14, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • nick

      are you kdding me, I think you got it all wrong, it was the Israeli's that invaded Jerusalem and killed many innocent Palestinians, this is why we have a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but the sad thing is that the American-Jew media has brainwashed most of you fools

      August 14, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • yannaes

      I apologize, but also the Muslims killed numerous Christians.. Does this justify the Crusades, NO, but this is what people, unfortunately do and we have not come that far from the beginning of time.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • yannaes

      Are you kidding me.. This conflict was long before there was a "Palestine State" Need to look into ancient history and look beyond the 1300's, way beyond that factorization..Good luck in your search..

      August 14, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • joe

      christians have killed more people in the name of jesus or god than any other group in history.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

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

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      August 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • lindy556

      I think you got it all wrong, it was the Israeli's that invaded Jerusalem
      =============
      The JEWISH King David founded and named Jerusalem and jews have been living there continuously for 3000 yrs and the arabs/muslims came THOUSANDS of years later!

      August 14, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  18. John

    If its free then whos paying for all of this?

    August 14, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • Dont trust 'em

      The only question that needs answering here. Probably paid for with Taliban money earned from poppy plantations. Poison the west, kill the west, try to divert their attention through "open discussions" to understand their culture – I call BS!

      August 14, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  19. Jay

    The generalization that people in the South are intolerant and unenlightened is both arrogant and misguided. I live in Gainesville, Florida and find it painfully obvious that those responsible for choosing the city for the opening night of this performance don't know us at all. Although Gainesville was openly criticized for the comments and action of a single religious zealot it is also home of one of the largest universities in the country with a large International population and a well-liked openly gay mayor. If you want to assume that the entire population of a city or region are as ignorant as the puritanical wackos that make the news for being out of touch with humanity maybe you should have looked more closely at Kansas.

    August 14, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Asatruar in NC

      Jay, you may want to re-read the article. It states that they're going to the towns that they're going to specifically BECAUSE they don't think that those places are what the stereotypes are portraying them to be.

      Sheesh.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • Spunky101

      I assume you can read where they state that they DON'T believe the stereotypes of the South are true. Secondly you sit there on your high horse and say "The generalization that people in the South are intolerant and unenlightened is both arrogant and misguided." BUT then turn around and say "If you want to assume that the entire population of a city or region are as ignorant as the puritanical wackos that make the news for being out of touch with humanity maybe you should have looked more closely at Kansas."

      Yeah.... you make a lot of sense there buddy. Sounds like you're the one that's arrogant and misguided.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  20. YoureStupid

    why do you people so conveniently forget the crusades? you know, when christians ran around killing people who didnt believe what they did. dont act like christianity is perfect, you have extremists that kill people for their religion too.

    August 14, 2011 at 5:44 am |
    • Asatruar in NC

      Forget it my friend, Christians are required to check their higher thought processes at the door.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • yannaes

      Actually, the correct form for Youre is: You're. Yes, I am stupid!

      August 14, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • You're stupid too

      Good grief

      August 14, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Various Authors

      First off, the Crusades was a Catholic endeavor. Catholicism really has nothing to do with true Christianity. If anything it has a LOT more to do with paganism. Secondly, the Crusades was a European response to the Muslim attack and expansion coming from the south, which was initially stopped in France by Charles Martel.

      August 14, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Lou

      I think were trying to be more "up to date" on facts instead of relying on history from several hundred years ago.

      August 14, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Random

      Have you studied the crusades? The people you clam were invading were instigated by the annexation of small outlying villages. Also they were not the ones that started the black plague by launching infected corpses into fortified structures. Don’t forget the Iron Horse.
      Our currant conflict seems just to be an extension of the old one that was never finished.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • El Gordo

      Various, Catholicism and Christianity were synonymous for 1500 years. Every podunk church in a strip mall claims to be the only source of TRUE Christianity. The truth is that Christianity is 1,000 religions. It's just a coincidence that their gods all have the same name.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • MiddleFinger

      El Gordo. You are spot on. But don't think your comment has any effect on conservative Christians (there's an oxymoron). Most Christians that I know are so brainwashed they think that Jesus hated the poor and loved the rich.

      Read the Gospels and you'll see the real Jesus Christ not what some ministerial manipulator wants you to believe. Some things never change.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:41 am |
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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.