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Pastor's possible execution reveals nuances of Islamic law
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani preaches in a file photo.
October 7th, 2011
06:55 PM ET

Pastor's possible execution reveals nuances of Islamic law

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - The possible hanging of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for converting from Islam to Christianity has exposed a division among Islamic jurists on whether Iran would be violating Islamic law by carrying out the execution.

According to some of these scholars, the Quran not only outlaws the death penalty for the charge of apostasy, but under Sharia law, conversion from Islam is not a punishable offense at all.

"Instead, it says on a number of occasions that God prefers and even demands that people believe in Him, but that He will handle rejection of such belief by punishing them in the afterworld," wrote Intisar Rabb, an assistant professor of law at Boston College and a faculty affiliate in research at Harvard Law School, in an e-mail to CNN.

But Rabb also acknowledges that there is a more nuanced view to Islamic law, too.

Clark Lombardi, an associate professor of law at the University of Washington, said there is more room for interpretation because the Quran is not the only source of Islamic law.

"Most Muslims look past the Quran and say the Quran needs to be looked at in the practice of the Prophet. So they look to see what rules the prophet laid down," Lombardi said.

And, according to Lombardi, if you look at literature about the life of Mohammed, "then apostasy is clearly something very bad. And there are examples of apostates being punished."

What emerges from this is a complicated division between whether apostasy is punishable in the first place and, if it is punishable, for what reason.

"Most Muslims, most but not all, believe that apostasy is a deep and terrible sin," Lombardi said. "The question of whether the state should punish deep and terrible sins is in fact something that Muslims do disagree about."

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed. Though news reports from Iran have indicated the pastor is now charged with "security related crimes" and is no longer charged with apostasy, briefs obtained by CNN from the 2010 Supreme Court case show the pastor's original charge was solely apostasy.

"He (Nadarkhani) has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the Supreme Court brief. "During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir - olvasileh."

Harris Zafar, national spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, does not mince words on the subject, stating in a Huffington Post opinion piece that "Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy."

"Chapter two of the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating 'there shall be no compulsion in religion," writes Zafar. "This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice."

Mohammad Fadel, associate professor of law at University of Toronto, said that there is a difference, though, between just being a nonbeliever and being someone who is actively preaching a religion other than Islam. Fadel said Nadarkhani's preaching "may be viewed as a kind of treasonous comment."

"Even for people who reject Islam religiously, many still identify them with the religion culturally, even if they aren't religious," Fadel said.

According to Rabb, the idea for punishing apostasy stems from medieval times, when your religious affiliation was the basis for your citizenship. Renouncing your faith was also announcing your intent to no longer regard yourself a citizen of that community - in effect, treason.

But as time went on, your religious affiliation is no longer closely tied to your citizenship. "Now, we have an era of territory-based citizenship," Rabb wrote.

"The problem in the modern period is that contemporary states apply medieval rules in unreflective ways that do not often match the classical Islamic legal tradition to which they are trying to adhere," wrote Rabb.

But Lombardi points out that Iran is formally known as the Islamic Republic of Iran and "being Muslim is part of full citizenship in Iran." Though he couldn't speak for the Iranian justice system, he said there are two grounds for which Iran could give to put Nadarkhani to death for apostasy.

"One of them would be to say traditionally in Shiite Islam, people have interpreted the scripture for apostates to be put to death," Lombardi said. "The other one is that people who apostatize have committed a sin and they are real threat to the Muslim community and as a threat, they are punishable as someone who is a traitor to the country."

The website islawmix, a project through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, was created to be an authoritarian voice on the nuances in Islamic law.
Made up of 13 scholars and founded by Rabb, along with Umbreen Bhatti and Kaizar Campwala, the website looks to connect "news readers, media producers, and legal scholars with credible, authoritative information about trends in Islamic law."

Bhatti, a practicing civil rights lawyer, said the nuances of Islamic law are not unique; the same sort of nuanced opinions are regularly found in American law.

"The reality is the 13 scholars on our sites could give you a variety of different responses," Bhatti said. Islamic law has a "rich legal tradition and it is important for us to not convey something definitive or to suggest there is one answer."

The overriding opinion of each scholar was simple - the complication of Islamic law makes it somewhat difficult to predict what Iran will do.

Lombardi recalled a story in Afghanistan, where a man's neighbors hauled him to court for leaving Islam.

"The judge takes a look and says this person is an apostate and therefore the crime should be putting them to death," Lombardi said. "But then the judge said, Islam is such great religion, you could have to be crazy to have to convert from Islam. And therefore, I think this person should get off on ground of insanity."

Moral of the story, according to Lombardi: "There are all sorts of grounds for pardoning someone."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Iran • Islam • Islamic law

soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. prosper

    If both chritains and moslims are fools, then what do we have to say about other religious groups like "church of satan"?

    October 8, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • HotAirAce

      All religions are bullishit.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  2. calso

    Nuances? what nuances are we talking about when it comes to the fundamental 'right' of a human being?

    October 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    Two apocalyptic monsters: The Islam and papacy.

    When at last do we get able to condemn the Islamic doctrine? Do we still live in the dark age? Do we not want to overcome the dark age?

    Two plagues have tortured the mankind for centuries: The Islam and the papacy. Both the Islamic doctrine and the doctrine of papacy belong to the dark age (Middle Ages, 600 a. D. till 1500 a. D.).

    What made life so unpleasant during the dark age?

    Answer: The impact of papacy and Islam. Both are founded by the devil himself.

    Beginning with Emperor Constantine the civilized world (Roman Empire) became Christian, that means beginning with Constantine Christianity was protetected by the state and the most acknowledged religion of the Romans (equal to today Westerners). Constantine lived around 300 a. D.. Until 600 a. D. the Christian Church in the Roman Empire did not know any papacy and was autonomic (state and church were friends, but ruled two different realms, independent from each other).

    602 a. D. one of the greatest calamities of history occured: The wicked criminal Phocas became (Eastern) Roman Emperor. He didn't rule according to the Christian tradition of his predecessors, but was a very cruel godless ruler and committed a lot of crimes. The actually Christian Eastern Roman Empire was ruled by an anti-Christian tyrant (that is equal to Hitler's rule over the actually Christian Germany) for 8 years (from 602 to 610).

    Phocas' armies probably committed a lot of crimes in Near East (Syria, Palestine, Arabia). At this time Muhammad lived in Arabia. He has surely heard of the crimes of the Roman armies (whereby it is nearly sure that in Muhammad's eyes a Roman was a Christian and a Christian was a Roman). Thus, Muhammad got a very bad perception of Western Christianity and started to invent a new religion, called Islam (the Koran sees Christianity as a degenerated faith, which had corrupted the genuine faith of Abraham, which was Islam in Muhammad's eyes. Thus, Muhammad felt obliged to bring back mankind to the Religion of Truth or Islam). Of course, Muhammad made a big mistake, because the reason for the bad behaviour of the Romans or Westerners was not Christianity, but their disbelief (many Romans were baptized, but did not follow Jesus in daily life). Muhammad condemned the only religion, which can improve human lifes: Christianity.

    Furthermore Phocas established papacy: He made the Roman See the hightest on earth, which was a heavy crime, because God wants all sees to be equal. By this crime the Holy Spirit or God himself was displaced from the Roman Catholic Church and she corrupted totally, because she had no more divine teacher (the Spirit). The ridiculous pope became the "teacher" (better seducer) of the Roman Catholic Church. By the popes mislead the RCC has become a P I S S P O T of heresies and is guilty of the spiritual death of billions of people.

    Thus, Islam and papacy are the consequences of the crimes of one of the worst tyrants of history.

    How long do we still want to get fooled by the wicked Phocas (the devil incarnate)?

    It is high time to abolish Islam and papacy together.

    Of course our secularism is no substi-tute, but true Christianity. It is highly probably that the true God sent papacy and Islam as a judgement on the mankind, because we didn't want to accept true Christianity.

    The only way to get rid of Islam and papacy is it to believe in the true gospel, then God will stop his judgement.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ: Jesus has borne our sins on the cross. Believe it and get baptized (infant baptism is valid and mustn't be repeated; just refer to your infant baptism). At baptism the power of Jesus death and resurrection is dedicated to us. Our old man of sin dies together with Jesus and we resurrect together with Jesus (these are spiritual realities). By Jesus' divine power we can start a life in righteousness: Loving God and our neighbours. Details of Christian life we find in the Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew 5-7).

    Read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which is an interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount and much more.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • DN3

      God sent Islam and papacy to punish us? Hardly. Who needs God to do this?? Humankind is more than capable of doing this all by themselves.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Bert

      This is a very sane and balanced reply. It gives history without stirring hatred. There will always be evil influences (like Phocas or the Pharisees of Christ's day), but the example of Jesus is a model of a response that could be possible only if guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Humbly, it makes us realize how much we need God to save us from ourselves. Then, we will respond according to Christ's example of love and forgiveness instead of reacting out of offense, leading to crusades and jihads.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Anon

      Keep your mythical Jesus to yourself.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Todd

      To the Original Poster: You are in error to conflate the papacy and Islam. Christianity – and Catholicism in particular, have undergone both the process started by Martin Luther with the Reformation, and more importantly, the Enlightenment (Jean-Jacques Rousseau et al). We are freely able to criticize Christianity and the Catholic Church because they have been reduced in power by secularization of society. No such thing can be said of any aspect of Islam. It is a very complete guide to every detail of how believers should live, and is quite particular in detailing that it is to be taken both literally (no wiggle room for interpretation or "reform") and chronologically (later, more violent passages cancel out earlier, gentler ones). The analogy between Islam and the papacy is so flawed as to be beyond serious consideration.

      October 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  4. danny

    All i can, islam is mediaval religion with religious bigots with no tolerance and all sorts of interpretations to suit their whims and fancies

    October 8, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • silkmaze

      I agree. Only some medieval or primitive religion would allow the killing of civilians (re. Afghanistan – bus loads of women and children killed by the Taliban) and celebrate it as fighting for Islam.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • ahr

      Christianity predates the middle ages by 800-1200 years, depending how you define medieval–so what is your point?

      October 8, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • religionisevil

      i couldn't help but feel sorry for your statement where you said "islam is mediaval religion" I sthere any other type of religion?! Do you actually read what you write?...

      October 8, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  5. DN3

    The reaction of the Islamic jurists is completely hysterical....well, except that a man's life is at stake. OK, right, let God punish people in the afterlife (never mind that muslims, jews and christians believe in the same God). Please don't take it upon you own narcissitic self to do it. Why do people continue to do outrage things in the name of God? How narcissistic is that?

    I disagree with many people who equate the religion with the people who claim to practice the religion. Please note the difference. Practicing religion does not equal being a good person and one does not have to be religious to be a good person. Ironically, those who claim to be atheists but are good people follow the will of God more closely than some people who claim to be deeply religious but have their heads in the sand.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  6. j

    Forget executing converted Christians.

    Execute anyone of any faith.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • DN3

      While you're at it, also execute anyone who paints every religious person with the same brush.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • firedude52

      Why not lol, we'll even give you ticket #1

      October 8, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • firedude52

      Ah, he's just a troll lol 😉 I don't give much time to trolls nor feed them much. Just enough to paint a picture on their foreheads lol.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • DN3

      But sometimes it is fun to poke the troll 😉

      October 8, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Dave

      Athiest to troll ... quit being such a theophobe. Any ideologiy (which your athiesm has apparently become) can degenerate into a pathalogically murderous obsession.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Better Muhammad had judged himself and not presumed to be the judge of the mankind!

    Muhammad was a false prophet, and the Islam is a delusion. The angel Gabriel, which gave Muhammad the revelation of the Koran, was either a disguised demon or Satan himself.

    Muhammad is not allowed to presume to be the judge of the mankind or the Westerners. The true divine judge of the whole mankind is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God or God himself.

    Little Muhammad will finally get judged by Jesus Christ like all other Muslims and all other human beings.

    Both Muslims and Westerners should put in every effort to obey the true God, who is the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • erf

      hahaha.. there is NO GOD BUT ALLAH and Muhammed is His prophet . same like Jessus. he is our prophet. read bible to know the real truth. jessus never considered himself to be Son of GOD,

      October 8, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @erf

      Jesus made blind men seeing, lame men going, deaf men hearing. He even raised people from the dead.

      Jesus obviously was more than an ordinary man.

      What did Muhammad perform?

      Nothing at all!

      Why?

      He himself was possessed by an evil demon.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  8. j

    More proof that anyone of any faith is a complete and total moron.

    If you profess faith in any God, you are a self-delusional fool. You are a dangerous and incompetent ignorant incapable of rational thought. You should be stripped and unburdened with the ability to influence the world in any way.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • firedude52

      Yes you are a self-delusional fool and I am happy to see you capitalize "God".

      October 8, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • DN3

      @firedude: hehe. This 'j' person has the same depth and width of vision and understanding as people who he/she claims are morons! How ironic! 🙂

      October 8, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Amee

      Glad to know your's is the only opinion that matters!! You know opinions are like a--- everyone has them lol, I am not a moron, am capable of rational thought, imagine that?? But, people like you that think their opinion are the only opinion are the dangerous ones. In your opinion there is no room for any other thought.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • firedude52

      @ DN3..... so very very true

      October 8, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • firedude52

      Amee he's just a troll. Trolls have no brains or actually opinions for that matter. The only thing they know how to do is make fools of themselves and I/we get such a kick out of it 😉 We need some humor in today's world and at least some trolls provide it for us. Albeit I hate laughing at someones shortcomings and ignorance, but sometimes it's very rewarding lol.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Hugh Allen

      I'm not sure that God iks a nice chap, seeing what he puts us through in the name of achieving worthiness, but it's very hard to argue that there isn't somehting at work, if only because ikt's otherwise impossible to explain the material world. After all, where did it come from? So, before you throw around lumpen abuse so freely, engage first your doubts, then give us all your explanations: but first, some civility.

      October 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  9. Michigan_Joe

    Isn't it funny how people look to religion to save their lives, here and the after life, but yet will kill in the name of that ideology that is used to preserve life? It's a ball of gum, it gets stickier the longer you chew on it.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  10. firedude52

    Gotta love Islam..... In places like Iran your executed for denouncing Christianity and/or turning your back on Islam yet here in the U.S they expect tolerance and respect? They come here and are allowed to build their places of worship, the Imams say we should respect their "peaceful" religion yet try going to Iran and others and see if you get the same we offer here. There's an imbalance of nature here folks. We offer freedom of religion and faith here yet there? You want respect and tolerance from me you had better be ready to offer me the same or your fingers will get caught in the car door! As they have here try going to Iran and build a Christian church. If they don't execute you for apostasy they simply charge you as a spy and kill you. 2+2 equals 4 and always has..... Peaceful religion? Kill someone for deciding their own faith? Now that is real peaceful eh? If we took that route (which would be wrong) maybe we wouldn't have many of the problems we have.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  11. Edd

    Lets trade all our islamic converts to iran for their Christian converts. We would all be better off.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Mark9988

      you're free to go at any time

      October 8, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • calso

      Mark from Iran that is exactly what we wanna hear from ya!

      October 8, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. Chris Honry

    The fact that there is even a debate about whether to execute someone or not for changing beliefs shows how evil people poisoning their faith have control and that the non-evil people need to TAKE control. Come on, all you GOOD Muslims who keep saying your prophet and religion is GREAT, make it GREAT, now is your chance!

    October 8, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • PRISM 123

      @Chris
      I agree!
      Let's see them come out and take a stand ! ! !

      October 8, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Kojo

      This is the not first instance of persecution by the muslims, they have repeatedly continued with their intolerance towards people of other faith and it needs to be stopped NOW.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • DN3

      The good muslims are afraid of being called bad muslims by their countrymen. Or even worse, killed.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  13. PRISM 123

    It's really pathetic how the blind who stumble in darkness in their blindness do call those who see "delusional" !
    YOU are to be pitied, dear souls, NOT the one who is about to loose his life because he won't deny the light he knows is real, and the Lord Christ who him who gave him sight!
    You yourself are miserable creatures, but the saddest part of it is, you don't even know that you are blind and that the road you're on is more dark and dense then Black Hole!
    How can a blind man know what the sky , mountains, the flowers and the trees look like? So to you their beauty and worth is meaningless, but to those who see them, and recognize the fingerprints of the Creator who made them in them... to them they are priceless... So it is with you. To us He is precious, but to you HE is the stumbling stone, over which you stumble and fall, in your self induced darkness!

    October 8, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Anon

      Ah, the good old, "god made the universe perfect" sales pitch. Sorry I'm never going to buy it.

      The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

      -Richard Dawkins

      My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'.

      -David Attenborough

      October 8, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • DN3

      Oh boy. I think you have been reading the Bible a bit too much. You're starting to sound like the Bible.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • PRISM 123

      @Anon
      No, friend, there is no sale's pitch in my comment.....I don't sell anything, nor does the TRUTH, i. e FACT, REALITY has to use them. It's SELF_EXISTENT, not depending on any schemes, nor any man's opinions.

      But although the quotes of two men you posted have reasonable questions in them, there is really no mystery to them... We live in the world that is cursed, and subjected to corruption, caused by mankind's rebelion and sin that came into the world through it(rebelion) . It is evident all around us, and this fact is undeniable. There is much more to this subject, but one has to be in certain frame of mind, and the right condition of heart to recognize this truth and recieve it.... Otherwise it is waste of time.

      October 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • PRISM 123

      "I think you have been reading the Bible a bit too much. You're starting to sound like the Bible."
      An where does YOUR 'truth' come from?

      October 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  14. Free the Pastor

    Show us that you are Humans and not barbarians!

    October 8, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  15. Maude

    May allah have mercy on your soles. Such disrespect can only come out from the mouth of an American. How can you people fart at night !

    October 8, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Maude

      Muhammad was a false prophet, and the Islam is a delusion. The angel Gabriel, which gave Muhammad the revelation of the Koran, was either a disguised demon or Satan himself.

      Muhammad is not allowed to presume to be the judge of the mankind or the Westerners. The true divine judge of the whole mankind is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God or God himself.

      Little Muhammad will finally get judged by Jesus Christ like all other Muslims and all other human beings.

      Both Muslims and Westerners should put in every effort to obey the true God, who is the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • j

      Hi pot, kettle here.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Kevin

      @Maude: «May Allah have Mercy on your soles»? Soles? What does god (or «Allah») have to do with foot care? Or are you hoping «Allah» will shine someone's shoes in exchange for their words of truth against Islamic silliness?

      October 8, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Anon

      Both religions are equally retarded.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • o.k.

      Well Maude, I find that rolling over on my side helps.

      October 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Scott

    The biggest difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christians do not call for war on non-believers anymore. Sure, at one time this happened but they have progressed and now they pray and help to change and assist those in need. How many Muslims do you see helping the homeless or hungry? None.

    Islam is still working the same old tired tricks and philosophies. Instead of showing compassion toward all, they still insist on killing others that do not believe in their religion. This is why Muslims do not get respect nor will they ever. They still think like they did 500 years ago. Christians have progressed since and do not kill anymore. It's one thing to have acted a certain way back then but to still do this?

    October 8, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • ItsAnAmazingWorld

      Scott, I agree, most Christians no longer make war on non-believers, or on those of different faiths, but that does not seem to hold true for the ultra conservative, born again, right wingers who it seems would be just as happy to do away with those who do not agree with them. Just listen to and read the writings of some of their leaders and you will see what I mean. Some would be comfortable in the ranks of the Taliban with their intolerance and hatred.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  17. Drew

    America assassinated Alwalki for attemtping to convert people to Islam....same difference. Those fools who are trying to use America for dirty work, are the criminals. If the Fed didn't have such sand it its' p*ssy, it would go after China for murdering and executing innocent people based on their beliefs. You know your not the 'world police' or anything like that, when you are robbing third world countries, and ignoring those who break the law and carry a big load with it. AMerica has become a chump.

    October 8, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Chris Honry

      The American GOVT. is the chump- the govt of the rich for the rich by the rich doing what it takes to keep the rich rich. 99.9% of Americans disagree with what this rogue govt is doing.

      October 8, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • lalos

      You are totally deluded

      October 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  18. Hoofleau

    Iran is a totally wacked out country based on a wacked out religion. I follow the books of Dr. Seuss, myself. He truly knew the way to salvation. Roast beast anyone?

    October 8, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Drew

      Tell us, how is Iran wacked out? AMerica is afraid of them so they are powerful it seems. They have one of the fairest democracies in the world. And they have lots of fair friends like China, Russia, Brazil, and so on. So...who's wacked? They aren't flying around paranoid bombing people in everycountry...

      October 8, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • PRISM 123

      Drew, When you say THEY have one of the greatest democracies in the world, who do you mean by "THEY"?

      October 8, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  19. James

    Christians, Jews and Muslims....all a bunch of religious freaks. You cause all the trouble in this world. Peace on earth is a world without these religions.

    October 8, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Hoofleau

      It blows you away doesn't it? The sad part is that people die for these opiates. They give up their only chance on this earth for some old story from centuries ago. Religion is a caveman's way of thinking. To think of the time and energy wasted on this stuff. Think where we could all be without it. If I was forced to pick a prophet, I choose John Lennon.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  20. NorCalMojo

    I don't see any Islamic outrage.

    I've seen them mobilize about teddy bears and a crazy pastor threatening a book, but they seem ok with this.

    October 8, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Aezell

      Indeed. People always like to whine "but MOST Muslims aren't extremists." Yeah, that may be true, but there is a level of indifference and complacency amongst Muslims toward this type of thing.

      I think Christians are deluded fools who believe in magical sky people as well, but in general I will say their brand of stupidity is toned down a bit. At least people are upset when jerks like Westboro start raising their ugly head.

      Muslims on the other hand seem quite content to sit and let their neighbor blow someone's head off and then say, "hey well I'm not violent at least."

      October 8, 2011 at 10:24 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.