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August 10th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Tennessee mosque opens after 2 years of controversy

Editor's note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over a mosque in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" airs on CNN at 8 ET/PT Sunday night.

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN)–Saleh Sbenaty was asked more than once Friday how he slept the night before. He didn't.

How could he when a longtime dream was about to be fulfilled?

Friday afternoon, Sbenaty and other Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, entered a brand new mosque, Tennessee, and fell in prayer to their knees.

They'd waited more than two years for the opening of their new Islamic center, delayed by legal wrangling and anti-Muslim sentiment that surfaced through protests, arson and vandalism.

Friday, Sbenaty, a mosque board member, struggled for words that adequately captured his excitement. So did his daughter, Lema.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"Oh my goodness it's gorgeous. It's gorgeous," she said entering the prayer room for the first time Friday.

It was sanctuary.

She bowed her head to the red carpet in prayer pose, tears filling her eyes, her voice quivering.

"We've come such a long way from where we were to where we are now," she told CNN. "And I mean this is the fruits of our labor. It's emotional because we never thought we'd be here this fast. It's absolutely overwhelming."

Others streamed in at 1 p.m. for afternoon prayers.

A sign says the maximum capacity is 636. Saleh Sbenaty expected between 400 and 500 on the first day.

No more were they crammed into one room of a small building. They took off their shoes and placed them in rows and rows of racks and entered the prayer room. Among them were non-Muslim visitors who came to show their support. One wore a T-shirt sporting a slogan saying as much.

Saleh Sbenaty sat among the men on the front row as the imam began the prayers by recalling all that has happened. He reminded his congregation that no challenge in life was too great to overcome.

Not once in the long and stressful process to build the center had Sbenaty given up hope, though sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel seemed woefully dim.

"We never had doubt," he said. "We are citizens of this great country. We are believers of the constitution."

The 12,000 square-foot center next to Grace Baptist Church on Veals Road is still not fully furnished and is lacking an audio system. But it was important, Sbenaty said, to have Friday prayers inside the new facility during Ramadan, Islam's holy month, which ends August 19.

The center plans a grand opening in a few weeks when everything is in place.

Murfreesboro's Muslims had outgrown their older and much smaller space tucked away from a road in the southwest part of town. In 2009, they purchased 15 acres of land for a new Islamic center a few miles to the east. Construction began the following year.

The plans were to eventually grow the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to 52,000 square feet and will include the mosque, school, gym and a swimming pool.

But from the start, the new center divided this small city 35 miles southeast of Nashville that has 104,000 people, more than 140 churches and one mosque.

Opponents of the mosque protested, citing zoning concerns and worries about radical Islam.

Proponents cried religious intolerance.

Early on, Kevin Fisher, who led the protests, said opponents are going to contest "every brick that's laid."

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey didn't mince words, either.

"You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it," he said during his failed run for governor.

A fire at the construction site destroyed an earth mover and damaged three other vehicles. Authorities determined it was arson.

A sign announcing the new center was vandalized. The message said: "Not welcome."

Some residents filed a lawsuit to stop the new mosque. Later, a local judge stopped the permitting process. Then, a federal judge stepped in and ordered the construction to continue.

The Muslim community in Murfreesboro was in shock. Some had lived in the area for 30 years. Their kids were born there, raised there.

"The last two years were exceptional, as the sentiment of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim in this country was growing," Sbenaty said.

But he said that sentiment was not shared by the majority of people in Murfreesboro.

The excitement about Friday's prayers was palpable in the Muslim community - after being under the microscope for so long.

And there was a collective sigh of relief, although Sbenaty said security concerns remain high after everything they have been through and after a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground earlier this week.

"Yes, we are very concerned because we have been also the subject of vandalism, arson, bomb threats, intimidation, bullying," Sbenaty said. "You call it. Every single act of intimidation, you know, was actually inflicted upon us."

Lema Sbenaty said she had heard about plans to build a mosque since she was a little girl. She hoped that now that it was finally open, the house of worship could serve as a place to heal.

"Certainly there are lot of issues to be dealt with in our community," she said. "Perhaps we can start to build bridges."

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And yet another member of the Muslim community, Essam Fathy, said he was proud to be living in America.

"Of course, you question your beliefs, you question your faith when the opposition becomes so vocal," he said. "No matter what happened, God had his way."

He went on to talk about the power of the U.S. constitution. It was the freedoms afforded to people in this country that allowed the mosque to rise.

It was not just words, he said. It was real. As was the domed building where he said his prayers Friday.

CNN's George Howell and John Murgatroyd contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Mosque

soundoff (657 Responses)
  1. Ken Best

    Soon they'll demand displaying the Koran in the state houses and Sharia law.
    At least they can help bring back stoning and decapitation, cheaper than electric chair or drugs.

    August 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  2. common sense needed

    Better a smoldering crater filled with ash and rubble than an idolatrous mosque

    August 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is it really too difficult for you to post something original instead of the same sh!t ad nauseam?

      August 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      Tom Tom the Pipers Son
      Stole a pig and
      Went to a doctors office
      Sat down with the pig on its lap.
      The pig says
      Doc can you remove
      This cancerous lump from my ass?

      August 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  3. Simran.M

    While everyone is so busy bashing up Islam, let us also look at some good things that Islamic civilization brought to the world.

    Islamic civilization flourished in what is sometimes referred to as the "Islamic Golden Age".[109] Public hospitals established during this time (called Bimaristan hospitals), are considered "the first hospitals" in the modern sense of the word,[110][111] and issued the first medical diplomas to license doctors of medicine.[112][113]

    The Guinness World Records recognizes the University of Al Karaouine, founded in 859, as the world's oldest degree-granting university.[114] The doctorate is argued to date back to the licenses to teach in law schools.[115]

    Standards of experimental and quantification techniques, as well as the tradition of citation,[116] were introduced to the scientific process.[117] An important pioneer in this, Ibn Al-Haytham is regarded as the father of the modern scientific method and often referred to as the "world’s first true scientist."[118][119]

    The government paid scientists the equivalent salary of professional athletes today.[116]

    Discoveries include gathering the data used by Copernicus for his heliocentric conclusions and Al-Jahiz’s proposal of the theory of natural selection.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  4. Skorpio

    Arab Christian churches should build churches next to mosques around the world including Murfreesboro and Joplin. Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs share the same language, culture and traditions except religion. I believe Middle Eastern Christian churches should be the bridge for understanding between Muslims and Christians. If Muslims have the opportunity to exchange ideas with their fellow Christian brethren I am quite sure a much better Muslim integration could happen.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Simran.M

      A very good idea, but how many will be mature enough to appreciate it?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  5. sn0wb0arder

    one thing is certain with regard to the innumerable deities, religions and doctrines today and throughout history. man is very adept at creating god.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  6. San Deigo

    Did they find out what really happened to the poor Iraqi San deigo woman who was killed in her home?

    August 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • saggyroy

      The media is only interested if she had blond hair and blue eyes. Kinda like Nancy Grace's missing white girl of the week.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    I could imagine that some of the Muslim worshippers of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, really seek the God which has made heaven and earth, the Lord, the eternal God. So, if this is the case, I appreciate their efforts to find God.

    Dear Muslim believers, your are welcome here in the West. You are welcome, because you are just human beings like any other Westerner. Yet, please accept my apologies when I have to tell you that altough you are highly welcome your religion causes frowns. Your religion, the Islam, is not perfect, to say it kindly.

    You, dear Muslims, regard Jesus as a mere human being, or as one of many prophets, even lower than Muhammad. You guess that Jesus was an Imam, and teached the Islam. Like the pupils of Abraham and Moses, you assume, also the pupils of Jesus, peace be upon him, had turned apostate, and became lousy infidels or Christians.

    Dear Muslims, you regard Christianity as a harmful pseudo-faith of people which have apostatised from the alleged Religion of Truth, called Islam. Indeed, historically seen Christians have made some serious mistakes which gives cause for complaints. Yet, the cause for the Christians mistakes was not their faith, as you assume, dear Muslims, but their lack of faith in Christ, or a complete absence of faith in Christ.

    It is not the Christian faith which corrupts people but an evil germ which they have inherited from degenerated Adam like you.

    The truth is that Jesus was the Son of God or God himself. He did not teach the Islam but Christianity. That later the Christians made even horrible mistakes was not caused by the teachings of Jesus, but just by their natural intrinsic evil which is even yours, dear Muslims. The evil germ dwells even in you, dear Muslims, and I fear that Islam even nurtures that germ instead of dampen it.

    Dear Muslims, you are mutilaters of Christ, in so far you deny his divine sonship. You reduce Jesus to a mere man. This has serious consequences. First, it is blasphemy, secondly you know no redeemer which could free you from your intrinsic evil.

    The nature by birth of any Westerner is not better than the nature of any Muslim Arab or Turk, it is only the true faith which could make a distinction. It is a pity that many Westerners are only nominal Christians, and don't really know the Redeemer Jesus. Yet, dear Muslims, don't blame Jesus for the disbelief of some Westerners. Jesus doctrine was perfect, but it must be connected with faith, in order to improve life.

    Dear honest Muslims, keep on seeking the invisible God, but be honest, and admit that the commandments only increase your passion to sin, but do not reduce it. Don't be sad know, this is the very purpose of the commandments to show people that they are not in a blissful state of health, and need redemption. Dear Muslim, you are still invited to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God or God himself, and to get delivered by him from all your sinfulness. Through Jesus you can return into the confident community with the Lord, the eternal God who has made heaven and earth. In this sphere of life your germ of sin and death will die step by step, and you become people which please God.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    August 11, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Simran

      "The truth is that Jesus was the Son of God or God himself. " – You confuse me even further – there are 2 parts to this statement (1. Son of God, 2. God himself), now which of them is THE TRUTH? Can somebody please tell me. In an earlier post, some really brilliant follower of Jesus tried to show me the light, but ended up only concluding – You know, it's complicated!!!

      Nope, me not a Muslim. Actually after being on this page for 2 days, I choose Atheism, and join to built a Darwin Temple>

      August 11, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Simran

      There are things beyond reason. To these belongs the Holy Trinity. Concerning the Holy Trinity we depend on the statements handed down to us by the Apostles of Christ.

      According to the New Testament which is a collection of the teachings of Christ and his Apostles the Triune God consists of three Persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They all three are God but never act independent from each other as if there would be three different God's. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are always and at every moment united in the Godhead. The Holy Spirit which was sent at Pentecost teaches us the same things which Jesus has teached us according to the decision of the whole Godhead. Or assumed the Father had become man (only an assumption) he had teached the same doctrine like Jesus. The three Persons of the Godhead are in perfect unity now and for ever.

      Decisive is that only the Son became man, and has borne the sins of the whole mankind, even of you and me. If we believe that, we get a second nature Christ which overcomes our old nature which we have inherited from the degenerated Adam.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Simran

      "It is not the Christian faith which corrupts people but an evil germ which they have inherited from degenerated Adam like you." – Now you sound more like a SCIENTOLOGIST (sorry got to say I love Tom Cruise) – who say aliens poisoned our minds. Do you also have lie detectors and stuff???

      August 11, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Simran

      Okay, so you say there were 3 persons who formed the Holy trinity and were united. See, number is 3, not one.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Simran

      "Concerning the Holy Trinity we depend on the statements handed down to us by the Apostles of Christ." – depend on looks more like we cant think for ourselves. Pretty much why I am inclining towards atheism.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Simran

      "Dear Muslims, you are mutilaters of Christ, in so far you deny his divine sonship. You reduce Jesus to a mere man. " – . Wow, this is now sounding more and more like a hollywood movie plot. If Muslims are mutilaters of Christ, I am surprised that God OR SON OF GOD is vulnerable to mutilation??? Isn't he God?

      I feel so safe in the world of a God so vulnerable!

      August 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Assume you had no notion of what a simple cake is. Now, one would tell you some eggs, some flour and some butter had become one. You would tell him that three different things cannot be one but only three things, and it would be outside your imagination that three different things can become one.

      Now let us go back to reality which really knows tasty cakes. Eggs, flour and some butter make a cake, that means three things have become one. If you eat a piece of a cake you can no longer decide between egg, flour our butter but they "reveal" themselves to you as cake.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Simran

      Hmmh... the CAKE! If 3 different things can blend to form a yummycake, well 3 different persons can become God. But then why dont you also make room for Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva – the holy trinity of the Hindu religion??? A cake can be made using more than 3 ingredients you see. Or may be they the 3 versions of the same trinity! You see my point here. Now, if we go by timeline, Lord Rama, the avatar of Lord Vishnu was here 5000 yrs Before Christ. So, by that parallel, the Hindu religion seems to be older.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Simran

      Now why should Hindus not claim that theirs is the only religion in the world? Islam, Budhism, Sikhism and several other religions believe God never took form. Seems to make more sense to me.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      In fact Christianity existed yet long before Christ, only that it had another name before Christ.

      Yet Abraham got saved throug faith in the Lord which once had visited him as three visible persons. Certainly Abraham did not know that his Redeemer was Jesus, but simply called him Lord.

      We can be sure that Abraham was not silent about his faith, but spread the "gospel". Hence, some sects and cults from long ago may have derived from Abraham's community which became Israel under Moses.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Simran.M

      Someone's trying to block my posts here

      August 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Several other religions donot recognize Jesus as god. Well practically, 70 % of the World doesnot believe what you say. So you have issues with all of them???

      Jainism rejects the idea of any creator, mentor or destroyer God. If godliness is defined as the state of having freed one's soul from karmas and the attainment of enlightenment and a God as one who exists in such a state, then those who have achieved such a state can be termed gods. Thus, Mahavira was God but he was not the only God, there were many other Gods too. However, the quality of godliness is one and the same in all of them.

      Jump to: navigation, search

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      Gautama Buddha explicitly denies that the universe had a start by the act of a creator deity,[1][2] refuses to endorse any views on creation[3] and states that questions on the origin of the world are worthless.[4][5] The non-adherence[6] to the notion of an omnipotent creator deity or a prime mover is seen by many as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions

      Sikhism believes in One Universal Creator God, The Name Is Truth, Creative Being Personified, No Fear, No Hatred, Image Of The Timeless One, Beyond Birth, Self Existent, By Guru's Grace.

      Now by saying that God was present before Jesus, you accept he could have taken other avatars. The Holy Trinity of Hinduism could be the same as yours.

      Well that is exactly my point here dear friend – Call God by any name, recognize god in any form or without form as you like – every road leads to salvation. SO STOP JUDGING OTHERS FOR THEIR FAITH.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Several other religions donot recognize Jesus as god. Well practically, 70 % of the World doesnot believe what you say. So you have issues with all of them???

      Jainism rejects the idea of any creator, mentor or destroyer God. If godliness is defined as the state of having freed one's soul from karmas and the attainment of enlightenment and a God as one who exists in such a state, then those who have achieved such a state can be termed gods. Thus, Mahavira was God but he was not the only God, there were many other Gods too. However, the quality of godliness is one and the same in all of them.

      Gautama Buddha explicitly denies that the universe had a start by the act of a creator deity,[1][2] refuses to endorse any views on creation[3] and states that questions on the origin of the world are worthless.[4][5] The non-adherence[6] to the notion of an omnipotent creator deity or a prime mover is seen by many as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions

      Sikhism believes in One Universal Creator God, The Name Is Truth, Creative Being Personified, No Fear, No Hatred, Image Of The Timeless One, Beyond Birth, Self Existent, By Guru's Grace.

      Now by saying that God was present before Jesus, you accept he could have taken other avatars. The Holy Trinity of Hinduism could be the same as yours.

      Well that is exactly my point here dear friend – Call God by any name, recognize god in any form or without form as you like – every road leads to salvation. SO STOP JUDGING OTHERS FOR THEIR FAITH.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Simran.M

      And for the sake of Jesus Christ, stop making a mockery of your own religion by posting comments like Islam is a mutilater of Christ!!! You dont sound any better than some Muslim fanatics (only some, coz had 37 million Muslims been as evil as you say, we would have all been either banished or converted to Islam by now).

      August 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to love and serve God.[1][2] Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets.[3] They maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time,[4] but consider the Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God

      See, the divine revelation has been made before. They only state that the information has been CORRUPTED OVER TIME (by humans who claim to be clergy) – pretty much plausible. In the same breath, let us also just believe that the religious fanaticism shown by some Muslims is also an act of corruption of their own sacred text. (So called preachers in my own religion also sometimes poison minds of ignorant people by their own stupid interpretation – and some nut heads just go by their word, not of the text!!!)

      LIVE AND LET LIVE. BE KIND, REWIND.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Simran.M

      "Some sects and cults from long ago may have derived from Abraham's community which became Israel under Moses" –

      I am sorry for a late comment but I just read this. You know my Hindu brethren will be pretty offended by this. Lord Rama lived here, in India. He was recognized as God, no evidence of influence of Israel here. And there is no comparison or any similarity between the two religions at all.
      The Hindus had a rich heritage of the 4 Vedas – the oldest of the sacred texts. They are the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda. Sadly however, bcoz of the ephemereal nature of the manuscript (initially in the vedic period it was passed by memory from one generation to next, and then preserved on birchpark or palm leaves – now this is an age when there was no paper okay), much of the knowledge has been lost.

      And so this religion in its present form also stands corrupted.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • gosh

      *cough*cough*cough*evangelist *cough*cough*cough*

      August 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "There are things beyond reason"

      Yep, there are Rainy's delusions

      August 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Omega

      You are free to choose how many ever gods you want to believe in.

      The truth at the end of the day is that only Christ demonstrated his love for mankind and could redeem men from eternal sinfulness.
      There is only one path to eternal life and that is only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      August 12, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Simran.M

      "There is only one path to eternal life and that is only in the Lord Jesus Christ." – So says who???

      August 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • James

      There is only one path to eternal life and that is only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      John14:6

      August 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  8. tallulah13

    Allahakbar! inchallah this land will will become majority Muslims one day and we will build mosques

    August 11, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Shayna

      Name one majority Muslim country that's free.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • collectivedementia

      The militant Muslim goal of world dominance reminds me of the Borg in the Star Trek series......
      YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED! RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!
      Y'all keep going with that dream.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  9. Ran Herti

    There is another angle here. H1B visa holding workers in the Knoxville tech corridor. That is the real issue.
    Americans in the Tech field are, in my experiance, much more interested in payday then they are in putting out any real product. So we have to import tech workers.
    The local masons will allow the church. Think, you can be moslem and a mason, as only a belief in God is required. By local mason I am refering to the clan.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • collectivedementia

      This country was founded on the principals of the Freemasons, George Washington was a high ranking officer of that quasi-religious group.
      By the way....the recent words of our President concerning immigrants and thier children would also apply to Muslims and thier children.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    August 11, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Beverly

      If prayer changes things than why are their so many killings and hateful people in the middle east? The only countries that are very peaceful are the ones with very little religion. Check out the facts. Religion has caused more violence and turned people against people. There has never been any genuine proof that god exists. Humans have made it up long ago to make themselves feel better.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • kindless

      Actually, atheism is wonderful for children and all people! Prayer as it turn out, is just a time-sucker-upper. Who would've thought. Meditation is ok for collecting one's thoughts, but it's best to keep all the make-believe characters to one's self.

      Atheists have strong minds and encourage people to take responsibility for their actions within society instead of having their misdeeds excused and often hidden within their religion (comforting their weak minds, but simultaneously disserving society).

      Break the matrix of deception by all religions. Break the fallacy of revelation.

      If the thought leaving your imaginary friends behind is just too much, or makes you want to go p00py, then try Atheism Lite™ (agnosticism) for a period of time to ease your way into a much more rewarding, peaceful life.

      It is written. RIF

      heavenSnot

      August 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Beverly, I would LOVE to see our little troll respond to that challenge! Why is it that Sweden and Denmark are the places that always do so well in surveys and studies that measure satisfaction, happiness, and peace, yet they are almost devoid of any significant religious influence whatsoever?

      Apparently, prayer is not only not healthy for children and other living things, it's detrimental.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is an act of communication with God. allah is not God allah is an idol a false god and a contributor to the problems in the middle east. God bless

      August 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Atheism allows people to think for themselves, to see reason and logic. Religion does the opposite – religion only wants you to believe.
      Yup, it is easier to just believe and live life in delusion – So take the easy road. The easy road has to be the better one!

      (PUN INTENDED)

      August 12, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • atheism is

      The raw sewage of modern life

      August 12, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!* .

      August 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  11. prayfat

    If Christians in Murfeesboro, TN had succeeded in undermining religious liberty protections for Muslims in order to halt the construction of that mosque, then they would reap a whirlwind of discrimination for everyone. http://religiouslawnetwork.com/news-information/civil-discourse/conflicts/item/356-destroying-religious-freedom

    August 11, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  12. Shakira

    I love all you keyboard warriors talking all kinds of crap in the safety of their own home. Why don't you go and meet a Muslim in person, visit your local mosque see what these people are really like and then judge. Until then you are bigots and a blight on humanity.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • BG

      Here's a list of people that "met" a Muslim in Fort Hood, Texas:

      1. Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, Havre de Grace, Md.

      2. Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, Woodbridge, Va.

      3. Cpt. John P. Gaffaney, 54, San Diego, Calif.

      4. Cpt. Russell Seager, 41, Racine, Wis.

      5. Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow, 32, Plymouth, Ind.

      6. Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, Kiel, Wis.

      7. Spc. Jason Hunt, 22, Tillman, Okla.

      8. Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, Mountain City, Tenn.

      9. PFC Aaron Nemelka, 19, West Jordan, Utah

      10. PFC Michael Pearson, 22, Bolingbrook, Ill.

      11. PFC Kham Xiong, 23, St. Paul, Minn.

      12. Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, Chicago, Ill.

      13. Michael G. Cahill, Cameron, Texas [civilian]

      The last words they heard were Allahu Akbar!!

      August 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Aastha

      Shakira, you are right. Humans have this tendency to get prejudiced against others, to find fault with them – this just reflects their own insecurities. But wait, how can they look within themselves -it is way too difficult to find faults inside yourself and then correct those faults. So, we enjoy mud-slinging at others. People will always be ready to throw their garbage at your house – lazy idiots I will call them. All those people who spread hatred towards other faiths are cowards darling – they never ever have really read their own scriptures. So let their comments not bother you. In their own language, God forgive them for they know not what they say!

      I for one take pride in knowing some Muslims, I have heard some really wonderful interpretations of the Holy Quran by really knowledgeable people and I was impressed. Sadly, some fanatics have brought disrepute and sadly Islam has had a history of waging wars – but I visualise those events as politically motivated. A sheer misuse of religion! But then, people of all religions have done the same – refer to Christian Crusades, Witch-hunts, the Holocaust against Jews, Hindu Sikh riots, Hindu Muslim riots etc etc. So everyone should share the blame. But now, why I should I accept any blame for one Sikh who went insane and shot the Prime minister of my country – it was his issue, not mine. So what if a few stupid Muslim terrorists attack my country – they are really a shame to their own religion.

      When I look at all those Muslims who invaded my country, in the same breath I take pride in remembering that Akbar once ruled my land. I take pride in the fact that one of the Seven wonders of the World The Taj Mahal, a pride of my nation, was built by a Muslim emperor. I take pride in the rich heritage of Sufi music in my country.

      So Shakira, keep your chin up.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If I were to judge Muslims by the texts they follow, the last thing I'd want to do is make personal contact with them. I value my life and freedom. Ditto for all Abrahamists.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sister Shakira keep those posts coming we need good muslims from our side although it means that we are all one and the same by that you exactly know what I mean

      August 11, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • saggyroy

      @BG Now make a list of all the people who "met" a christian.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      saggy–very good point. I'd like to see that list, too.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Beverly

      If I wanted to meet a mulim at a mosque I certainly would not want to be in Iran or Saudi Arabia to do it. Just being a peaceful christian in the middle east you would be killed. Yea, real nice religion!!

      Gimmee a break! Don't tell me all the muslims are here to live in peace. We are not stupid. However, with our freedom of all religions here in the USA we have no choice but to let you build your mosques but believe me most Americans don't trust your beliefs.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Shakira

      Did I say got to Iran or Saudi Bererly , no I said meet a Muslim here in the US. I love how some of you bring up other countries, what is happening there is wrong but this the US, not there. No I can not say all Muslims are here to live in peace just like you can't say all Christians here in the US want to live in peace with non-Christians. There are fanatics in every religion period and thy are all wrong for killing innocents. Many people who hate Muslims and Islam get their information from Fox News or Bachmann and believe.
      When I found Islam it gave me the peace of spirit I had been searching for and made me a better person. None of you have ever met me in person, spent time with me and my family yet you hate me simply because I am Muslim. I have been told to "go home" by some which I reply ok Ill go back to Modesto. Stop grouping all Muslims together, there are over 1.4 BILLION of them. I would never group all Jews or Christians together that is ignorant.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Shakira

      Like others have said can I see a list of people who have "met Christians" from you.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  14. Abdul Rafeh Iqbal

    my fellow beings.
    when ever there s a discussion on a certain topic, or a variety of topics.
    there are always two sides to a coin.
    it is considered an intellectual maturity to consider and evaluate both sides of the coin and then present an opinion.

    we unfortunately, do not take into consideration the detail of each side ad rather present our opinion which is pragmatically just our consensus based on hear-say, exaggeration and the media. which we all know by now is controlled a number of families and very influential.

    i say simply this.
    while there is a coin which supports the agression and hatred.
    there is another which promotes peace and co-existence.

    i think we should follow that.
    because believe it or not, our beliefs do lead us back to a pinnacle point where peace, co-existence, and tolerance was encouraged and appreciated.

    if we all try our best to be in such a manner.
    i believe that we all may live together and understand one another in a very mature manner.

    my regard and respect for all human beings.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  15. Kaitlyn

    Can't believe the hatred and bigotry both in the comments on this page and in this TN community. It is great that the Muslim community got the federal intervention they needed! Live and let live!

    August 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Shakira

      What is sad they needed Federal intervention to simply open a house of worship. Shows how some think Freedom of Religion should only apply to Christians or any faith other then Islam.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. zubair

    WE WILL TAKE OVER AMERICA AND TURN ALL CHURCHES/SYNAGOGUES INTO MOSQUES!!!!!

    The more islamophobia there is, the more fundamentalist we get!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • hinduism, denial of truth

      No need to get in to argument with hindu's, ignorant s, America was founded on truth of Islam, as much as, founding fathers did not recognize hinduism, divide of truth absolute in to two or more but witnessed to truth absolute as God. truth absolute, every one in opposition to it is a hindu, traitor and not American, regardless how much hinduism, absurdity he spew's against truth absolute.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • collectivedementia

      Sure...and the Dome of the Rock will become the new Jewish temple, complete with animal sacrifices. Then the Pope will move his papal seat there to complete the abomination. The Peacetalker will then make war against the two witnesses, and Armaggedon will follow.....

      August 11, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  17. Frank

    Ask yourself and answer yourself. You are responsible for the questions and the answers. Are all matters of fact true? Is truth ever false? A matter of fact is a statement that may be true or false. Truth could not be false. Thus, God. as a fact, could be true or false. So both atheists and theists have valid beliefs about a 'fact of God'. Unfortunately, we humans cannot ascertain truth as such, but we can have unwavering faith in truth. From now on I shall capitalize Truth. Facts can be activated, but not created. God, Who is Truth, created all facts and the possibility of all things true. God is the denier of all that is false. Even God would not, or could not, do the impossible. All evidence points to a lack of a will of God that could be decisive, to chose to make truth false. God could not chose to kill Truth. Neither could Truth bring Truth into existence, because Truth is the existence of God. I remind that anything truly false, could be truly true, with logical validity. However, Truth could not be false. God creates and never destroys. Facts are activated within the boundaries of Truth, but could not be activated in any state of impossibility. Consider God as Truth that could not be false, not as a matter of fact that could be true or false.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      A very hard FAIL!

      August 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      I love how this guy gives a good point and all you can say is epic fail!! Will you actually listen to him!!!

      August 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Dang, no offense, but that has so many holes in it, that the holy water came flying out all my usb ports.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • hinduism, denial of truth

      Truth absolute, "HIMSELF IS THE GOD", rest of your post is your hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, IN secularism, hindu Atheist, self centered filthy pig.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Premise:

      "Consider God as Truth that could not be false,"

      Needed firstly to go on with said premise... prove that any god exists.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      The Theist makes the claim a god exists, an Atheist merely disagrees. The difference between what science calls truth and what the theists call truth is that science tests and can be verified. Theists base their facts off of one book in most case, science uses numerous peer reviewed studies and unlike theologians, when science is wrong it admits it and corrects it.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  18. Reality

    As the koranic/MOSQUE -driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    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, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, 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 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. 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.

    23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

    August 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT AVOID

      August 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • THE POPE

      Fine , now give us a report of what we Christians inflicted on our self and the Muslims .

      August 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • gager

      Hey POPE, what the Christians did is not the topic and it excuses no behavior.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • hinduism, denial of truth

      A hindu terrorist, deserves nothing but his his own medicine, hinduism, terrorism, Muslims have done nothing but have fed hindu's deniers of truth absolute, their own medicine, hinduism, terrorism. If a hindu criminal does not like his own medicine of hinduism, terrorism, he need to get out of business of hinduism, terrorism, justified by his hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secularism and learn to live by truth absolute, to have peace, Islam among humanity.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      From: 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. Christians)

      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 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Beverly

      Nice religion. All other religions have had and still have biased people against people just because their "different".
      Makes me want to become an atheist.

      We're living in an awesome advanced technological age but still can't respect other humans and live in peace. What a shame. I bet it will take at least another 1000 years to happen.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Huebert

      Please demonstrate your claim.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • just sayin

      You are here. God bless

      August 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things,
      Proven

      August 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Huebert

      Only a coward or a liar would take a position and then shrink from defending it.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      Don't be so hard on yourself hubie, the Truth is before you no one can make you accept it. If you cannot see sorry about you. God bless

      August 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Huebert

      You can't support the statements you call "truth" therefor they are not "truth". Well I'm done for the day see y'all later.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And just sayin is still unable to actually provide evidence to back his assertions, as I always ask him to do. Oh well, what else can you expect when there isn't any evidence.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • just sayin

      Same to you hawaii the Truth is always before you but you will not accept it, you are here, prayer does indeed change things. God bless

      August 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven conclusively

      August 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @just sayin

      You are obviously incapable of understanding what I have pointed out many times. That being that reiterating your assertions is evidence only of how shallow and vapid your argument is. No evidence is equal to no evidence, and until you can provide evidence, it won't matter how many times you say "there is there is".

      August 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      Nope you are here prayer changes things proven and effective., You refusing facts are irrelevant to the question. God bless

      August 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @just sayin

      Provide the facts. Oh wait you can't, that's right. All you can do is repeat the assertion like the little sheep you are. How nice it must be to be completely devoid of rational thought.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • just sayin

      Fact = YOU ARE HERE. God bless

      August 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      just sayin, YOU ARE HERE. Proof positive that prayers have no effect whatsoever.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @just sayin

      Me being here is merely proof of me being here. Nothing else. Useless assertions is all you're capable of it seems.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only thing our being here proves is that our parents had s3x. At least once.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things.
      Proven

      August 11, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Jesus

      You're a proven liar. Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!* .

      August 12, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  20. Wake Up

    Christians are being persecuted in Muslim countries, and they have burned down churches. Lots of churches have been converted into Mosques 😦

    August 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • tekstep1

      So we should do the same to them here? We are America. We are better than that.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Shakira

      Its not happening here in America, so why should those here be held accountable for something they have no hand in there.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Aastha

      So, you want to say that all Mosques should be converted to Churches now??? How is that any better?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Wake up.. why would Christians burn down their churches? I think you mean that the muslims burned down the Christian churches..this really goes to the core of how any tolerance between religions is a veneer and a sham, and we see the results every day.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Shakira

      @Evolved DNA, Christians used to burn down black Churches for a long time, so it does happen and has happened.

      August 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Shakira...I would not be surprised it sounds plausible. It would be more of a shock to find that religions actually get along One group is persecuting another, another one is slaughtering some one else...and on it goes.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
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About this blog

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