By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) – Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: that the Prophet was a man, not God, and that portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah.
“It's all rooted in the notion of idol worship,” says Akbar Ahmed, who chairs the Islamic Studies department at American University. “In Islam, the notion of God versus any depiction of God or any sacred figure is very strong."
“The Prophet himself was aware that if people saw his face portrayed by people, they would soon start worshiping him,” Ahmed says. “So he himself spoke against such images, saying ‘I’m just a man.’”
The prohibition against such portrayals was on stark display Tuesday, as mobs in Egypt and Libya attacked U.S. compounds in response to a film that vilifies the Prophet Mohammed, who founded Islam in the 7th century. The attack on the U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, was orchestrated by extremists who used the protests as a diversion, U.S. sources told CNN Wednesday.
The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi killed J. Christopher Stevens, Washington's ambassador to Libya, as well as three other Americans at the compound.
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The film that’s believed to have inspired the violence depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester, womanizer and ruthless killer, going a big step beyond violating the basic Muslim prohibition against depicting the Prophet, even in a favorable light.
There are questions about who is behind the movie. Initial reports identified a supposedly Israeli-American real-estate developer named Sam Bacile, but it's unclear if that person even exists. A member of the film's production staff told CNN that the producer's name was listed as Abenob Nakoula Basseley.
In Sunni mosques, the largest branch of the faith, there are no images of people of any kind. The spaces are often decorated with verses from the Quran.
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Mohamed Magid, an imam who leads the Islamic Society of North America, says the Muslim prohibition on depicting prophets extends to Jesus and Moses, who Islam treats as prophets.
“Pictures and images are prohibited from being worshiped,” Magid says.
There have been historical instances of Muslims depicting the Prophet, says Omid Safi, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina who has studied the issue.
"We have had visual depictions of the Prophet in the form of miniatures and pictures in the Iranian context, the Turkish context, the central Asian Context,” says Safi, author of the book "Memories of Mohammed." “The one significant context where depictions of the Prophet have not been image-related has been in the Arab context.”
“As you go farther east, away from the Arabian Peninsula, you find depictions of the prophet in art,” said Johari Abdul-Malik, the imam for Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. He noted that images of the teachings of the prophet were sometimes used to bridge gaps in illiteracy.
But even depictions of the Prophet by Muslim artists has been a sensitive issue.
Akbar, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Kingdom, says that Muslim artists in the 15th and 16th centuries would depict the Prophet but took pains to avoid drawing his face.
“It would be as if he was wearing a veil on his face, so the really orthodox could not object – that was the solution they found," Akbar says.
In a Muslim film called “The Messenger,” which circulated throughout the Muslim world in the 1970s and 1980s, the Prophet is depicted only as a shadow.
Adbul-Malik said that in the Quran, there is “no statement from the prophet requesting his image not be recorded.” The passages relating to a ban on creating images of the prophets come from the hadith, recordings of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed and his closest companions. The hadith is not viewed on the same plane as the Quran but as important to understanding the Quran.
Scholars of religion say Muslim opposition to portraying Mohammed wasn’t generally violated in earlier centuries because of a gulf between much of the Muslim world and the West.
In the age of globalization, non-Muslims and critics of Islam have felt free to depict Mohammed, including in offensive ways.
In 2006, a Danish cartoonist’s depiction of the Prophet wearing a bomb as a turban with a lit fuse provoked demonstrations across the world.
Akbar says that until relatively recently, depictions of Jesus tended to be reverential, but Christianity has had a decades-long head start in dealing with negative portrayals of Jesus in film and art.
Why is it that every time I go to CNN it seems the main story is explaining or defending Islam?
not sure, but Islam is and evil influence of people
Islam is a religion just like any other. It has good and bad qualities. All religions should be respected whether you like it or not.
Cut any aid to these countries from the US.
It's pretty simple. Leave Muslims alone, don't attack their religion and they won't attack us.
that not how it works.....they will steal go after westerner until we all convert
the fact that you're not a muslim offends them. Better convert now to be safe.
Maybe in your dream world. Islamic fundamentalist hate and I mean HATE the US and the western world . The Quran calls for Muslims to convert others of the Bood (Jews, Christians and Indidels) and if they will not convert then the Quran calls for all "good" muslims to kill those who will not convert. Do just a little research and you will learn this about the Muslim faith.
I would much rather fight them over there than to have to fight them in our schools, our play ground, at our sporting evnts or in our churches. If we just leave them alone then they will soon be here in our country killing us in the name of "God".
The world has been making fun of Joseph Smith for years and you don't see a bunch of Mormons burning down buildings or killing people.
agreed. Only Islam practices systematic, widespread atrociities. You won't find endemic and popular violence among Christians, Jews, Hindus, or Buddhists. Only muslims.
Don't care. Muslims grow some balls and take criticism like everyone else in the world. I for one will not pander or coddle you.
DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM
A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves..
Pause a moment, reflect: These events are actual events from history..
They really happened!!!
Do you remember? Gee...I didn't know this...did you???
1. On 6 June 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
2. On 5 September 1972 at the Munich Olympics, 11 athletes were kidnapped and brutally massacred by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
3. On 4 November 1979, the US Embassy in Iran was taken over and 66 Hostages were held captive for 444 Days by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
4. During the 1980's scores of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
5. On 18 April 1983 the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was bombed by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
6. On 23 October 1983 the U.S. Marine Corps. Barracks were blown up and destroyed, killing 241 Marines by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
7. On 12 December 1983 the U.S. Embassy was bombed by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!.
8. On 7 October 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
9. On 14 June 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens and a US Navy Diver (Robert Dean Stethem) while trying to rescue passengers was tortured and murdered by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
10. On 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed, killing 259 people on board and 11 on the ground by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
11. On 26 February 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed for the “FIRST” time, killing 6 and injuring 1,042 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
12. On 7 August 1998, the US Embassy in Kenya was bombed Killing 212 and injuring over 4000 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM!
13. On 7 August 1998, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania was bombed, killing 11 and injuring 85 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM!
14. On 12 October 2000, the U.S.S. Cole was blown up killing 17 US Sailors by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
15. On 11 September 2001, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers killing over 3000 Americans by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM.
16. In 2001, the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan with 1,935 dead and 17,025 wounded against DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!.
17.On 23 January 2002, reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and BEHEADED by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
18. On 5 November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWER OF ISLAM killed 13 and wounded another 32 AMERICANS in a Massacre at Fort Hood Texas!
19. On 9 August 2012, an United States Soldier, Army Pfc. Naser Jason, a MUSLIM and DEVOUT FOLLOWER OF ISLAM, was convicted of collecting bomb-making materials for what he told authorities would be a "massive attack" on a Texas restaurant full of AMERICAN SOLDIERS was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
And now we can add the attacks on our Embassy's and the Death of our Ambassador !
and you've really only scratched the surface. Atrocities are committed daily by mustims, not to mention ongoing oppression of religious minorities in their countries.
*As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples
were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
*Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
*Examples of destroyed Temples the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea,
the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the
*Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis
were famous as "temple destroyer." [DA468] *Pagan services became
punishable by death in 356. [DA468]
*Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed,
because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
According to Christian chroniclers he "followed meticulously all
*In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
*In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on
demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]
*The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to
pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a
Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
*Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church
taxes between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain
5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
*16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and
civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable
beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common
of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing." One of
the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother
of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what
sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte
off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche
side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused
"greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde
fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
*First Crusade 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
*Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish,
muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
(In the words of one witness "there [in front of Solomon's temple]
was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood
of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people
marched to our Saviour's tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of
*The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote "It was impossible to
look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay
fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the
blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies
and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of
all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the
victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous
sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that
within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels
*Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following
summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of
decomposition". One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
*Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered "in the
name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]
*Fourth crusade 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims
unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
*Rest of Crusades in less detail until the fall of Akkon 1291
probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas
Note All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.
*Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus
and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]
*Manichaean heresy a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice
birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics)
was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between
372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]
*Albigensians the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians.
The Albigensians (cathars = Christians allegedly that have all rarely
sucked) viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept
roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
Begin of violence on command of pope Innocent III (greatest single
pre-nazi mass murderer) in 1209. Beziérs (today France) 7/22/1209
destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Victims (including
Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbours and friends)
*Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed.
*subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half
the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were
*After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search
and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the
stake 1324. Estimated one million victims
*Other heresies Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and
many others. Most of these sects exterminated.
*Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada alone allegedly responsible for 10,220
*John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was
burned at the stake in 1415.
*University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna.
*Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for
seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori
(Rome) on 2/17/1600.
*from the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several
*in the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars
several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or
*15th century Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
*1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all
English as slaves of Church
*1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million
rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain.
*1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope
Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee.
*17th century Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader.
After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, "cutting off
his head, his hands, and his genitals... and then dumped him into the
river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for
the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left ...
to the gallows of Montfaulcon, 'to be meat and carrion for maggots and
*17th century Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany roughly
30,000 Protestants were slain. "In a single church fifty women were
found beheaded," reported poet Friedrich Schiller, "and infants still
sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers."
*17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant) at least 40% of
population decimated, mostly in Germany.
*Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by
*In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed
on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The
first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river
Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388.
*17. Council of Toledo 694 Jews were enslaved, their property
confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized.
*The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities' Jews, who
would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed.]
*First Crusade Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000
total. Places Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons),
Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund,
Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations
Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech)
*Second Crusade 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully,
Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France).
*Third Crusade English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
*Fulda/Germany 1235 34 Jewish men and women slain. [
*1257, 1267 Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton,
Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated.
*1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed.
*1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51
towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
*1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two
thousand) burned. [DO41]
*1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly
burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians
in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
*1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
*1391 Seville's Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were
slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made
easy by the brightly colored "badges of shame" that all jews above the
age of ten had been forced to wear.
*1492 In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than
150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way
*1648 Chmielnitzki massacres In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain.
*Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy
Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as
a means to propagate Christianity.
*Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered
in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people
who, he said, "ought to be good servants ... [and] would easily be
made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no
religion." In average two thirds of the native population were killed by
*Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England's most esteemed
religious leaders, in "1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts
Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to
purchase and train large packs of dogs 'to hunt Indians as they do
*Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington,
a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church ("I long to
be wading in gore") had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women
and children, gunned down despite the chiefs' waving with a white
flag 400-500 killed.
*Surpisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II
were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years
1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by
Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveliç, a practising
Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even
concentration camps exclusively for children!
*In 1994 in the small african country of Rwanda in just a few months
several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a
conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. 10/10/96, in the newscast
of S2 Aktuell, Germany – a station not at all critical to Christianity –
the following was stated
"Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having
actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain
Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda's capital
Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family
and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is
reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his
cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking
shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many
Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because
to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the
slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda
that has not seen refugees – women, children, old – being brutally
butchered facing the crucifix.
*The killings by the K K K
Islam has always been about violence – Mohammed founded the religion through threats, violence and intimidation – and that is how it is maintained.
He was a thug and they worship him. This shows how brainwashed even in masses can be
Quit catering to radical muslims. In civilized countries we don't prohibit free speech, period.
If they are offended, they need to turn the other cheek, just like members of other religions do when their deities are mocked.
How about "backward Barbarians""" Covers it all
Ok, so the movie intended to showcase that Islam is a hateful religion. Now what's with the mobs in Cairo and Libya? Are they trying to disprove the movie or confirm it?
"portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah"
Even mocking portrayals? Silly religious literalists. Silly religious.
Because they are retarded...who care what they think about their so call GOD....only though Christ
The so-called pastor who is behind this offensive material should be arrested. Free speech only goes so far. Look at the havoc this one person has caused around the world, while we are trying to build bridges, he is undermining it all. He should be prosecuted by our federal government. Americans are offended also.
It's too bad we have this thing called the 1st Amendment so that won't happen.Sorry to disappoint you. BTW, you should educate yourself because the "pastor" is not behind the film. He didn't make it or produce it.
I know thousands of people who are offended by the color pink. If you wear pink, you should be imprisoned. Sounds stupid? So do you...
We are learing more and more about this movie. The person who suppossedly made it does not exist, the actors who played in it were told it was an Arabian Nights Adventure movie, the dialog they used was dubbed over. It appears that it was possibly made by Jihadists/Salafist in order to incite violence (which it has) in order for them to gain foot holds in these various locations. Two of which recently despossed their leaders and are open for exploitation.
Listen, hippie, you clearly don't know how freedom of expression works, so let me explain it to you: Free speech to the extent that it is not an outright threat or a cause for imminent danger (like calling out fire in a crowded theater) is protected by the first amendment. Go read a book before you spout such ignorant, LSD induced ramblings.
1) If we prosecuted everyone who ever said anything or did anything offensive, then everyone would be in prison.
2) with some small acceptions, like speaches specifically designed to cause panic and create chaos (like shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre or "bomb" on a plane) free speech has no limits, should not have any limit and cannot have any limits. Otherwise you would be in jail for expressing the offensive opinion that we should bend to the childish outbursts of religious fanatics. Every time someone offends the primatives, they throw a fit then the bleeding-hearts say, "shhhh.
3) When a two year old doesn't get it's way and throws a tantrum, you don't humor it. You sit back and let it burn itself out or you paddle it's @$$. But you don't give it it's way. We should treat Islam the same way. They want the respect of the rest of the world, let them earn it by acting like they deserve to be treated as though their culture is equal 1st world cultures.
Amazing how much time people have to waste on this stuff and never get ahead in life. #1 reason the ME is a 3rd/4th world status and will never advance beyond that.
Everyone out there that knows anything knows that Mohammed is a false prophet that liked to molest young boys, AND that Allah is nothing more than a FALSE PAGAN GOD.
That traces it's lineage to Abraham, you know, the guy that's kinda credited as the father of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, hence the term Abrahamic religions. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle
"Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: that the Prophet was a man, not God, and that portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah." – this so-called central tenet may justify the Muslim practice of not depicting Mohammed, but it does not justify some Muslims being willing to kill or maim if non-Muslims depict Mohammed. In fact, the opposite is true. The only reason they would react so violently to such depictions, whether positive or negative, is that they have deified Mohammed in direct contradiction of their own religious principles.
I don't understand these protests then. The movie in question doesn't show Mohammed as a God.
They were brainwashed as children and taught not to question anything about their religion.
No surprise then that they react irrationally.
However, as silly as not depicting a prophet may seem to us, the western religions are just silly with things like god impregnating a virgin to give birth to himself so he can die for the sins that god made possible. Silliness all around.
Time to get out of the middle ages and stop believing in fairy tales.
Uhm...you're actually quite wrong. Muslims are among the most fervent debaters about their religion.
The vast majority of their conversations stem around their religion and all of the most minute details.
Just as there are significant differences between Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians, there are significant differences between Sunnis, Shi'ites, and other branches of Islam.
It is not irrational to be thoroughly upset when the founder of your religion is portrayed as a child rapist and other horrific descriptions...imagine the reaction in the Christian world if Jesus were portrayed in such a manner.
TinKnight, it IS irrational to go on a killing spree just because you're insecure about your pedophilic prophet being mocked. Reason again why Islam is a terrorist religion and needs to be wiped off the face of the earth. The best way to do this is to nuke mecca and medina. And then systematically cleanse the world of muslim infestation.
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.