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My Take: Defending TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ against Muslim complaints
Samira Amen, who's featured in "All-American Muslim."
November 28th, 2011
02:38 PM ET

My Take: Defending TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ against Muslim complaints

Editor's Note: Khurram Dara is the author of "The Crescent Directive: An essay on improving the image of Islam in America," coming this winter (Tensile). He tweets @KhurramDara.

By Khurram Dara, Special to CNN.com

For the last decade, Islam has been under a lot of scrutiny, and understandably so. When you’ve got terrorists all over the world declaring war on America and the West in the name of Islam, it’s only natural that people will have questions.

But this reasonable concern has rapidly turned into irrational suspicion, with anti-Muslim groups seizing on the opportunity to paint all Muslims in America as radical-loving, violence-approving foreigners.

The problem is that the response from American Muslims has been about as effective as Herman Cain’s PR strategy in the face of sexual harassment allegations. Instead of pooling our resources to combat radicalism, or taking a more active role in our communities so that other Americans better understand us, we’ve resorted to defense tactics.

We tell people that the Quran is being taken out of context. We focus on efforts to try to “educate” the American public. And we desperately cling to the idea that if people just had a better grasp of the facts on Islam, they wouldn’t buy into anti-Muslim propaganda.

Unsurprisingly, none of that has changed Americans' view of Islam.

So when I heard that TLC was doing a reality show about several American Muslim families, I was intrigued. The show wasn’t going to feature scholars refuting the (ridiculous) claims made about Islam. It was going to show regular Muslim families living in America. It was going to show, rather than simply tell, people about Muslims and Islam.

After three weeks of airing, “All-American Muslim” has done just that. Whether it was Mr. Aoude prepping his pregnant wife for that hectic hospital trip, or newlyweds Jeff and Shadia worrying about how their families will get along, it has shown viewers the single most important truth that will change the perceptions of Muslims: We are just like everyone else.

There has been widespread praise from TV critics, calling the show "intimate and heartfelt" and "as good as it gets" and praising TLC for how it has "upended the conventions of reality television."

The show’s premiere had 1.7 million viewers, making it the No. 2 program in its time slot among key demographics and scoring TLC's best Sunday prime time performance in more than a year.

Predictably, the show was also met with harsh and unfair criticism. Anti-Muslim groups wasted no time citing this as another example of Muslims trying to “take over” America.

This was expected. What wasn’t expected was the reaction from some other American Muslims.

“The families aren’t Muslim enough.”

“They aren’t good role models.”

"They don't represent all American Muslims."

Is the show a perfect cross-section of the American Muslim demographic? Are they the most religious families? Is it full of people you aspire to be one day?

No, of course not. It’s reality TV. It’s entertainment. We American Muslims ought to look at it in the grand scheme of things instead of just criticizing the show by saying it “doesn’t represent me.”

You’re right. It doesn’t represent you.

That’s because no TV show, no organization, no movement is ever going to represent you better than you can represent yourself.

“All-American Muslim” is not going to change the image of Muslims on its own. But it’s got the right idea. It’s premised on the fact that people judge a group not just on its beliefs, but also on their interactions with members of that group.

So if you don’t think “All-American Muslim” represents you, then go out into your community and show people what being Muslim is all about, from your perspective. Whether it’s a book club or a basketball league, we can all have our own “All-American Muslim” moments.

The most important take-away from a show like “All-American Muslim” is that we Muslims should focus our efforts on showing average Americans that we share far more in common with them than some would like them to believe.

And you don’t need a TV show to do that, you just have to have the courage to break out of your shell and share in those experiences with your American brethren.

Don’t treat TLC’s reality show as the only hope for changing our image, or as our one shot at showing America what Islam is all about. Don’t treat it as needing to be a flawless, immaculate portrayal of Muslims in America.

Treat it as a first step. Consider it a new approach. Look at it as the beginning of the long journey we have ahead, in changing the negative stereotypes about Muslims in America.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Khurram Dara.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion • TV

soundoff (2,050 Responses)
  1. jim

    Is anyone out there stupid enough to believe "reality" shows are true representations of anyone? They are on the air because they are dirt-cheap to produce, and experience has shown that Americans will watch ANYTHING.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  2. Alice

    I am Christian and have no problem with the vast majority of Muslims in America, who I believe are just as sincere and decent as the vast majority of Christians. Radicals and extremists are not about religion. They just "use" religion as an excuse, whether they are Christian extremists or Muslim extremists, it doesn't matter which. I am appalled by extremists of any flavor, just as I am appalled by the intolerance of some of my fellow Christians toward Muslims. Some will just say it is human nature, to be afraid of people we don't understand, but that is just an excuse. But a very poor excuse, really. American Muslims don't separate themselves from the rest of us any more than Jews or fundamentalist Christians or various ethnic groups. How we can judge others without seeing that we ourselves are not fundamentally any different ( or any better ) amazes me.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Gavin

      100% right Alice.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Jamie

      Well said!

      November 29, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • SImsom

      Reading your comment restores my belief that people can be rational and understanding in a world full of bias... Thank you...

      November 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • NickZadick

      Well said indeed! now take the extra step... and realize that religion is a man-made invention that is not needed to be kind and tolerant to your neighbor!

      November 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  3. Jack B

    II have Muslim friends. One is virtually a member of my family. Several of those are not very 'good' Muslims, that is to say they're not terribly observant – they drink booze and eat bacon with their eggs. I also know a few observant ones, who just want to lead their lives and provide for their children. Finally, I know one or two who collect money for jihadist organizations, and who would like to introduce sharia law in this country...And that is the problem – there are wonderful people among Muslims, and then there are the militants, and it is very difficult to know what you're dealing with unless you know them well.

    The main problem is Islam itself, as well as the fact that most people haven’t got a clue about it! I do have a clue, because I have actually studied it for several years. And I know that, far from being a 'Religion of Peace' as Western apologists tend to call it, it is in fact a 'Religion of War', I know about the distinction between the 'Dar al-Islam' and the 'Dar al-harb', between the 'House of Islam' and the House of War'.

    Let me give you just one of many, many quotes from the Koran, (and please don’t bother with the old ‘don’t-quote-out-of-context’ ploy):

    Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures [Old and New Testament] were given as believe in neither God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle [Muhammad] have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith [Islam], until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued. (Koran, 9:29)

    November 29, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • AlanW

      "They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman."

      (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

      We can play this game all day, moron. The fact of the matter is that specific passages cherry-picked out of these "Holy Books" counts for exactly nothing. Billions of Christians would reject that piece of Biblical law just as billions of Muslims are able to see the 50 peace-promoting passages of the Qur'an for every 1 violent one as indicative of their religious duties in life being peaceful ones.

      November 29, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Miguel Caron

      Alternate Translation (Abdullah Yusuf Ali version):
      Fight those who not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been by Allah and His Meesenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. – Repentence 9:29

      As an athiest, when I read the copy of the Qu'ran I own (I like to collect religious tomes, especially older copies) I see the term "fight" being more on par with "resist" given that the chapter's name is Repentence.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Alex

      Hey buddy if you know one or two people who collect money for jihad you should report them, not use them as a cute example of the broad spectrum of the muslims you know

      November 29, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Gavin

      Exactly Alan. Every holy text is internally inconsistent. The bible has truly awful things in it – totally inconsistent with the overall message of Christianity. The Qur'on contradicts itself between Medinan and Meccan surrahs. MOST of both of these texts are about peace and love and goodwill and all that, but as usual, as humans we can't help but add our own geopolitically motivated agendas into the mix, which are of course, usually taken far out of context hundreds or thousands of years later.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      @AlanW: The problem with Islam (and with Christianity) is that both are "exclusive" religions. You're either with them, or you're against them.

      And that, in a nutshell, is the problem.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Robert Salaam

      I'm not even going to point out that you didn't list which translation you are using which is important: i.e. Pickhall, Shakir, Yusef Ali, Assad, etc. what I want to point out is how easily people such as yourself can easily show your refusal to read in context. Not some theological dissertation, but the very chapter you claim to quote. When you cherry pick like this it only proves your agenda to disstort the obvious.

      9:3 points out that this entire chapter is about a single event
      9:4 clearly states that any non-Muslim who isn't currently at war with the Muslims during said event and those who have agreements with the Muslims are exempt
      9:6 states that even among those that they were fighting, if any seeks protection from the Muslims they are to give it to them
      The rest of the chapter is a continuim of theological ideals and prounouncements. However almost every other verse makes it crystal clear that this chapter is referring to a specific event at a specific time such as
      9:94 which talks about how Muhammad is to respond to those who didn't join in on the aforementioned campaign whe he got back
      etc. etc. etc.

      One doesn't even need to know Arabic. All one needs is Google. The whole chapter is readiliy available if people read the whole thing, they wouldn't fall for such trivial madness that presumes that one isolated verse out of 129 could explain not only the whole chapter, but the entire book and religion! LOL

      For the record I used Muhammad Assad's translation to highlight my points it can be found at islamicity.com/quransearch

      November 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Robert Salaam

      @Julie in Austin "The problem with Islam (and with Christianity) is that both are "exclusive" religions. You're either with them, or you're against them."

      Maybe Christianity which doctrinally and dogmatically states in almost every sect that if you don't believe Jesus is your lord and savior your going to hell.

      Islam on the other hand states:

      2:62 (Asad) VERILY, those who have attained to faith in this divine writ (Quran), as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.

      Therefore, doctrinally, dogmatically, and scripturally, Islam unlike Christianity does not fit within your assessment. Just thought I'd point that out as it's a common misconception when people do the comparative religion thing.....

      November 29, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Kay

      How can we *not* argue that you're taking things "out of context" when, indeed, you are quoting things out of context????

      Had you said something like "In addition to reading several translations of the Quran and reading a wide variety of scholarly and philosophical articles about it, taken classes, and talked with scholars, I also have attended a number of mosques in an effort to understand the religion" – THEN you could be said to have "studied" Islam.

      But you didn't even hint that you'd done such a thing. Rather, you did exactly what countless Christians have done after *they* claim to have "studied" the Bible...and simply tossed out a quote out of context as if that were meaningful.

      Interestingly, studies have shown that an enormous number of Christians who claim to have "studied" or "read" the Bible have actually never read the whole thing. (And, if you ask if they have read each and every line in the Bible from start to finish in order, they will admit that they haven't.) Rather, these folks get together in "study groups" and talk about this-or-that verse...and honestly think that they've been "studying" the Bible.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Ashayacatl

      @Alan, what YOU forgot to mention when posting that biblical passage was that it was taken from the OLD TESTAMENT. Christians follow Jesus' teachings. The Old Testament represents the old covenant that God had with His people. The NEW TESTAMENT is what truly matters to us Christians. Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount modified the Old Covenant, the 10 Commandments, that were given to Moses. He asked of all of us to love each other, to love God (JESUS CHRIST), and to pray for our enemies. Jesus Christ never, ever, asked of people to kill one another. Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

      Therefore, without insulting you, read the Sermon on the Mount and then post your comments.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  4. jack

    The Muslim side of my family came here in the early 1900s. My grandfather was born here in 1913 and all 4 of his brothers and my grandmother's brothers served in WWII. To say that Muslims have not been part of America, is ignorant and insulting to those who fought for this country and contributed to this country for generations. While I am non-religious, I can only hope that one day my children will be part of an American society that doesn't thrive on ignorance, fear, or hate. The Muslims I know are more American than anyone on here spewing their hatred and ignorant beliefs, and if God does exist, then you should be very afraid, because he will know those feelings you have in your heart for a population of over 1 billion that believe in him like you do.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  5. A

    This is why I like pagans. They really don't care if you call your god by a different name or live your life in a different way. Just live and let live.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  6. mn guy

    Hippyppet I thought hippys loved people Why the Hate Of Christians. To much pot smoke

    November 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  7. Ace

    I don't believe a majority of Muslim Americans are bad people or terrorists, but I believe a lot of them look the other way when it comes to ratting out the bad ones. If Muslim Americans want to be treated with respect and not be profiled then they need to start watching out for extremists and terrorists who mean to do harm to Americans. No more playing the religion card if you're not willing to expose those willing to destroy the freedom you have in this country to be a part of whatever religion you choose.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Kay

      What is it with people like you, Ace? Do you *really* expect that "these people" are going to take the time to report directly to *you*? To let *you* know...personally and directly...what they're doing?

      The truth is that American Muslims look out for terrorists to the same the degree that *you* do. Of course, the question now becomes "so how come you don't think that's good enough, Ace?"

      November 29, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Edwin

      Ace: *ALL* people turn a blind eye to crime. A murder can happen in broad daylight in New York City, yet there are mysteriously no witnesses. That is not a muslim issue - it is an issue for ALL people,

      BTW, most of the would-be muslim terrorists caught in the United States were actually turned in by American muslims... just thought you'd like to know.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  8. IdahoPlant

    Nice article. It is a good step in the right direction. If American Muslims can be good role models and improve their image in America, perhaps America can improve our image to Muslims overseas. If American Mulsims are good role models for peace, perhaps some Muslims overseas will want to follow their lead. I am a Christian, and I can certainly say that not all Christians represent me.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  9. MommaM

    When I heard about the show I decided to take the opportunity to watch it to see if it could help me understand the culture. What I have learned so far is that they are just like us and in many ways similar to the Conservative Christians who seem so threatened by them. I applaud TLC for airing this show and hope to learn more. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the familiies.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  10. kuksup

    I kill you!

    November 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Sam

      At least someone has a sense of humor. lmao

      November 29, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  11. some_dude

    Unaffiliated people may or may not get offended when someone tells them that they have to take their head covers off. Try to ask a Muslim woman to take her head scarf off – you are a racist.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Edwin

      To that women, the scarf covers a private part of the body, much like the rest of us cover the area where our legs connect to our torso.

      To a nudist, your desire to wear underwear and pants is as ludicrous as the muslim woman's desire to wear a head covering. Unless it is very cold outside, there is little physical reason to cover *any* part of our bodies - sure, if you plan on sitting on leather, or if you need somewhere to put your keys, but otherwise, why wear clothes at all?

      If you went up to a typical American woman and asked her to remove her top, or her panties, you would get far worse than an accusation of racism! Why is it so hard for you to imagine or accept that, to some people, the "personal, private" parts of the body are not exactly the same as they are to you?

      November 29, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Kay

      And, of course, you are so utterly clueless that you can't see the difference between asking someone to take off their baseball cap which they're wearing simply because they like wearing a baseball cap...and asking a woman to take off her faith-based scarf or an Amish man to shave his faith-based beard or a Sikh (which is *not* a Muslim faith) to take off his turban or a Catholic priest to take off his cross...well, if you can't figure out the difference yet, there's no hope for you.

      November 29, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • some_dude

      I am an atheist – I do not care about any faith's religious head attire. All religions are equally ridiculous in their weird traditions. However, Islam is the most militant about theirs (we do not have any Buddhist suicide bombers yet). Also, there is no show "All American Sikh".

      November 29, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  12. Marie

    The show is a misrepresentation of Muslims in Dearborn. Yes, there are progressive, assimilated Muslims who have marriages built on mutual respect, women who don't cover or who just wear the scarf, etc. These are mostly second or third generation American Muslims. But what the show does not cover is the large population of fundamentalist Muslims and the parts of town where signs are only in Arabic, shops are unwelcoming to women and police turn their eye from abuse to women and children. You don't see the nine year old girls given in marriage, children with disabilities locked in basements, women not allowed to leave the house, girls sent back to their homeland to be killed (honor killing), men with one family in Dearborn and another family in Yemen, the Imam who harasses children at lunch time telling them not to eat their free lunch because it isn't Halal, etc., etc. I'm all for educating the rest of America and helping Muslims be accepted, but this tv show is insulting to anybody who knows what is really going on in Dearborn.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • AlanW

      You have obviously never even been to Dearborn.

      Did making that small-minded, petty little comment make you feel better inside?

      November 29, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Marie

      Alan- I grew up in Dearborn, worked in the South End with Muslims (mostly those women locked in their basements), in fact I just returned from Dearborn yesterday.

      November 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • GreenWoman

      I'm interested in how you could have worked with women who were locked in their basements.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Edwin

      Marie: how large is this underlying population, exactly?

      And one other question: if you knew of nine year old girls being married (which is against U.S. law), why did you not report it? For that matter, you could have told somebody about the girls being sent to another country to be killed - that is called conspiracy, and those involved would like have jail time.

      Utah also has some extreme religious people - in their case, mormons (well, branch sects). These groups also practice young marriage and isolation. It is illegal there as well as in Dearborn, and those who are caught are generally put in jail.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Kay

      Hey Marie...you might want to get your stories straight. In your first post, it was children with disabilities who are locked in basements. In your second one, it was women.
      Look...you didn't tell us how old you are. For all we knowing, "growing up" there refers to 50 years ago. The standard treatment of people with disabilities 50 years ago was vastly different from the standard treatment today.
      In addition, you're talking about a Muslim population of around 30,000 people...and, like it or not, *you* don't know them all. Or most of them. Or even a huge number of them. Had you said "I know of several families"...we could believe you. But you didn't. You grossly exaggerated, and lost all credibility.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Marie

      Maybe rather than determining that I am exaggerating, lying, old (lol!), or whatever you conclude, you ask TLC to focus on other communities in Dearborn, specifically the South End. Or look into it yourselves. I'm simply pointing out that the show is lopsided and should give an accurate portrayal of the culture (the entire spectrum) in Dearborn.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Canus

      I think by the latest stats, at least 75% of the US population still claims Christianity as their faith. I suspect that if you took spousal and child abuse statistics in the US (and account at least a little bit for what goes unreported), you'd probably find that the spectrum of our "Christian" nation doesn't exactly have a lot to brag about either (but of course anyone who abuses children or spouse can't POSSIBLY be a "true Christian" ...and I hope you see the irony in that remark).

      November 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Kay

      No, Marie...you weren't called old, and you darned well know it. I simply pointed out that, since you wrote that you 'know' certain things because you "grew up" in Dearborn, the times you grew up in *could* be very different from what they are now, so your description *could* be very outdated. Laughing off a legitimate point doesn't bode well for the accuracy of any of your claims.

      The fact remains that, for all we know, you don't really know anything about Muslim life and families in Dearborn except for what you've read in the newspaper/seen on TV news. Sure. You may very well have some Muslim friends in Dearborn. I'm certainly willing to believe that. But that doesn't mean that they're the exceptions. Or that the people written up in an article about locking their "disabled child" in the basement are the rule. Or that this TV show "misrepresents" the Muslim population in Dearborn because, as I said before, you simply don't know the Muslim population in Dearborn. There's no way you could.

      Heck...you claim that, in some parts of Dearborn, the signs are only in Arabic. Well...I took your advice and looked into it myself. And I discovered that this claim of yours is simply not true! So much for generalizations.

      Look...you call for portraying "the entire spectrum". But you miss the point. Being "representative" does not mean "all-inclusive". There will always be exceptions. There will always be extremists. But that doesn't mean that they need to be included as anything other than a footnote.

      November 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  13. tom

    Any attempt to stereotype, whether positive or negative, is a form of propaganda.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  14. Gregory Faith

    America is a melting pot that our fore fathers planned. What they had no idea of is that when the others who have different religious teachings put this country in grave danger. The spread of non peaceful people to American soil will eventually be our downfall. Remember, if you don't convert, you will die by their hands. Just saying!

    November 29, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  15. Mike Smith

    what islam is all about ...

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

    November 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • AlanW

      What Christianity is all about...

      http://www.evilbible.com/

      November 29, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • raj

      True picture of Islam
      http://www.faithfreedom.org/

      November 29, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Edwin

      Let's be honest: anyone who has a link to the "truth about religion X" is almost certainly trying to spread propaganda against that particular religion.

      If you REALLY want to know the truth about Islam, there is pretty much only one way:
      1) talk to some actual, live muslims;
      2) check out their holy book, and perhaps a few supplementary books (translated into English, unless you read Arabic);
      3) then go to a few of their services and watch and learn.

      It will take time, but you will actually learn about what Islam really IS, not what some website or propaganda merchant says. Neither Fox News nor CNN nor even TLC can give you as much information as (1), (2), and (3).

      ...no muslims in your area? Then travel. There ARE muslims in lots of places in the United States. Find the nearest mosque, and plan a trip to visit.

      BTW, the exact same goes for finding out the truth about Christians, or Jews, or Hindus, or Mormons, or any other group. Find out by actually spending time with some of them - not by reading blogs or websites or TV shows.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  16. John

    I think the old adage "Why can't we all just get along?" fits well here. I'm not exactly the warmest and fuzziest of individuals myself, but as long as nobody robs me of my Christmas season and Christmas tree, I prefer to remain rational and to "live and let live." I know little about Islam and I have no interest in it, either, but as long as everyone gets along, I don't see why they (the Muslims) can't just be left alone to live and let live as well.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • tom

      If only.

      November 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  17. horsesmouth

    al LALALALALALALALLAALALA

    November 29, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  18. Sam

    I agree these showes are stupid and I never watched any of them. but I guess watching the kardashians, or jersey shore is alot more educational, If I was forced to watch any of that junk, I would choose this one, at least they can get your attention without having to get naked and spread their legs all over town just to make a buck... these people got over 1 Million watching and talking about the show without showing their skin, just by showing how they actually live in a country where some IDIOTS are trying to teach us if someone looks different or acts different than us we should be scared of them and they are out to kill us.
    More power to anyone in this country that will take the time and effort to teach us not to be scared of them or hate them just because we don't understand them.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Kay

      Thanks!!

      November 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  19. Bob

    fred, you still haven't escaped the question, after all your dodging. Here we go again. We're on to you:

    Do you condemn the eternal torture that your god metes out for even minor transgressions during a short mortal life?

    Answer up time.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • AlanW

      That would be the most minor of "God's" crimes, according to the Old Testament. Personally, I like sticking with a story everyone knows.

      Remember Moses, Pharaoh and the Plagues of Egypt? God specifically hardens Pharaoh's heart so he will reject Moses again and then kills every firstborn CHILD in the land of Egypt. This is something we teach as a life lesson to children in Sunday school.

      Mind-boggling.

      "And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died."

      (Exodus 12:29-30 NLT)

      November 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  20. peccary

    Both Quran and Bible have instances where they call on the followers to kill 'unbelievers' . Those who take it seriosly are extremists. Jews revisited their teachings in Talmud (I believe). Isn't it the time to revisit Quran?

    November 29, 2011 at 10:43 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.