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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

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

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Jim Anderson

    I believe that is naive to suppose that the Israelis and American Jew traitors do not foster Islamophobia in the US for their own purposes. The film maker was originally identified erroneously as a Jew. However, what about the people who funded the movie? Were they also erroneously identified as Jews? Or did they see a dupe who would do their bidding so Israel could, North Korea like, continue its activities under a super power's suffrage?

    September 17, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • getreel

      Hey JIM; AAHHHHHHHAH!!!!!! I'm a Christian Jew American Capitalist....AHAHAHAHAHAHH!!! I love you!!!

      September 17, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      Well, Jim, as a Muslim, let me just catch you up. CNN (if you believe them) reported that the producer of the film "said" he was Jewish and "said" he had 100 Israeli donors, but the reality is, when interviewed by the Police, he admitted the money came from him own wife's family, in Egypt. :-( So, turns out, Jews had nothing, and I repeat NOTHING to do with the film, that we know of. So, anyone abroad that burned the Israeli flag... you just fell into the hands of a fool–who is trying to play on your anti-Israel, pro-Palestine sentiment. As a Muslim, I would say then, if you did that, you are DEAD WRONG. Muslims, wake up. People play us. Don't be played!

      September 17, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Jessica

      2.5/2.7% of the total population of these sheors, are about to hoist the black flag of Islam upon us all – are they?It's pretty sad the extent to which British society caves in to such a small minority.. The Muslims must laugh at the craveness of the Brits.Islam is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is a complete system.Islam has religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious component is a beard for all the other components.Islamization occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called religious rights.'When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to the reasonable' Muslim demands for their religious rights,' they also get the other components under the table. Here's how it works (percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness:United States Muslim 1.0%Australia Muslim 1.5%Canada Muslim 1.9%China Muslim 1%-2%Italy Muslim 1.5%Norway Muslim 1.8%At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs:Denmark Muslim 2%Germany Muslim 3.7%United Kingdom Muslim 2.7%Spain Muslim 4%Thailand Muslim 4.6%From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.They will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves along with threats for failure to comply. ( United States ).France Muslim 8%Philippines Muslim 5%Sweden Muslim 5%Switzerland Muslim 4.3%The Netherlands Muslim 5.5%Trinidad &Tobago Muslim 5.8%At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions ( Paris car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats ( Amsterdam – Mohammed cartoons).Guyana Muslim 10%India Muslim 13.4%Israel Muslim 16%Kenya Muslim 10%Russia Muslim 10-15%After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:Ethiopia Muslim 32.8%At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare:Bosnia Muslim 40%Chad Muslim 53.1%Lebanon Muslim 59.7%From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:Albania Muslim 70%Malaysia Muslim 60.4%Qatar Muslim 77.5%Sudan Muslim 70%After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:Bangladesh Muslim 83%Egypt Muslim 90%Gaza Muslim 98.7%Indonesia Muslim 86.1%Iran Muslim 98%Iraq Muslim 97%Jordan Muslim 92%Morocco Muslim 98.7%Pakistan Muslim 97%Palestine Muslim 99%Syria Muslim 90%Tajikistan Muslim 90%Turkey Muslim 99.8%United Arab Emirates Muslim 96%100% will usher in the peace of Dar-es-Salaam' the Islamic House of Peace there's supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:Afghanistan Muslim 100%Saudi Arabia Muslim 100%Somalia Muslim 100%Yemen Muslim 99.9%Of course, that's not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then start killing each other for a variety of reasons. Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world and all of us against the infidel. Leon Uris, The Haj'

      October 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  2. Jake

    The reality for liberals is that the United States is a Christian country, it always has been, it always will be. Muslims understand that, liberals do not. Christian values and Christian culture will always be apart of the US and nothing can change that. Liberals can preach this multi-cultural non-sense all they want, there isn't a problem with Islamaphobia, there's a problem with the multicultural world liberals want that cannot possibly ever exist.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • MoodyMoody

      No, the USA has never been officially a Christian country. It has been predominantly Christian, yes, although even that is changing. But Washington and Jefferson were Deists, not traditional Christian, and Thomas Paine was an atheist.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Here here Moody, my post wasn't allowed, suppose I put something in that wasn't kosher... but well said.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • I wonder

      guru,

      You probably said const'itution or doc'ument, or one of the other fragments that the filter reacts to.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  3. more2bits

    The way of Christ is the way of all religions–a myth. Talk talk talk. Nothing substantive. No proofs. No scientific facts. Just conjecture plain and simple. Just ignorance. Just gullibility. Just foolishness. The way of all religions is just more of same and the reason why planet Earth will never have peace. Wars over resources? Sure they exist just like animals when a starving wolf catches other wolves devouring their prey they will try to sneak in and get a bite. Religions are like that–bite you when your down to convert you and then brain wash you.

    If this wasn't so I DARE. I double DARE all the world's religions to stop at once ALL Brain washing of our kids until they have reached age 21 and allow their more mature minds to make up their own mind before they are brain washed.

    You won't, and you know it because you depend on this "NAZI" technique to keep the money flowing to your coffers and your waste one your churches–300,000 or more in the USA alone.

    We could build 10,000,000 condo's out of the same materials and eliminate the homeless by converting all those churches.

    Wasted money. Down the drain. Fools all.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  4. david

    THe whole problem with this entire arguement is religion itself. Some body already mentioned there are (2) types of Muslims, well, there are (2) kinds of Christians, and (2) kinds of Jews, and (2) kinds of Shintos, and (2) kinds of every religion, those that follow their teachings, and those that invent their teachings to justifiy how they were raised. All of you pointing fingers need to look inthe mirror first, there's your problem.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Jake

      Religion is largely cultural. Its not about what some book written 2000 years ago says, it's all about the culture and traditions of groups of people. In the US, many of those who are not even all that religious still have very conservative beliefs.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • john117

      The problem isn't that people won't look in a mirror, the problem is that they're not looking at anything in the first place! Instead they close their eyes shut, cover it with their hands to be doubly sure and then blindly believe whatever their imams/clerics/tribal leader tells them.

      An anti-Muslim video was made by ONE individual American with NO TIES to the government at all? Obviously America hates Islam, we must therefore invade their embassies and murder their ambassadors!
      Muslims kill several thousand Americans under the aid and protection of the (then) Taliban government of Afghanistan? Nonono, that wasn't done by Muslims, the Afghan people or representative of Islam at all; how DARE you invade Afghanistan and depose the government!

      September 17, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  5. Reality

    Only for the new members:

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include Mormonism:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    ضع kibosh / "جوجل" على أساس الدين لتشمل المورمونية:

    • ربما لم يكن هناك أي أسس إبراهيم اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام هي غير موجودة.

    • ربما لم يكن هناك أي موسى دعائم اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام ليس لديهم قوة العزيمة.

    • • مشكله في بلاي
    ظرف: بالتأكيد تقريبا، بقدر ما أحد يعرف أو يمكن أن أقول.

    • لم يكن هناك أي فشل غابرييل الإسلام كدين. فشل المسيحية جزئيا.

    • كان هناك أي فشل أي عيد الفصح المسيحية كدين تماما.

    • لم يكن هناك أي موروني المورمونية هو ليس أكثر من عبادة الأعمال.

    • المقدسة / التبجيل الأبقار، الآلهة القرد والطوائف، وبالتالي التناسخ الهندوسية كدين فشل.

    • الدهون بوذا هنا، جسد جديد نحيل تماثيل بوذا هناك، في كل مكان يجعل بوذا للا على البوذية.

    وأضاف التفاصيل المتاحة بناء على طلب خطي.

    بحث سريع وضع kibosh على أي مجموعة أخرى تطلق على نفسها دين.

    على سبيل المثال الطاوية

    "أصول الطاوية غير واضحة. تقليديا، يعتبر لاو تزو، الذي عاش في القرن السادس ومؤسسها. الأسس الفلسفية لها في وقت مبكر والمعتقدات والطقوس في وقت لاحق طريقتان مختلفتان تماما من الحياة. اليوم (1982) الطاوية يدعي 31286000 أتباع.

    تقول الاسطورة ان تصرف بطريقة صحيحة ولدت لاو تزو بواسطة نجم اطلاق النار، وقاموا في بطن أمه ل82 سنة، وولد

    September 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  6. pete

    Mohammed, your arguments are logical and sound. I hope there are many Muslims like you out there that are trying to show the true face of Islam to the West. I, like you, worry that the continued violence against westerners in the Middle East will eventually lead to backlash in the West. Many innocent Muslims might be harmed. The cycle of violence must be stopped because there will be no end to it. Violence begets violence and all reasoning people must acknowledge this truth. I lived and worked in the Middle East for many years. I know that most Muslims are family oriented people who want to live their lives in peace. However, there is a large group of Muslims who cannot see the world in any terms other than that defined by their religion (as many Christians cannot). These people are trouble and must be controlled. It is the responsibility of Muslim nations and responsible peaceful Muslims to make sure these radical Muslims do not hijack your religion and turn it into something all non-Muslims hate. Like Mike in SA, I do not see this happening. Perhaps this is just because the media does not report on it. Hate speech and religious violence must be stopped whether in occurs in the West or the Middle East.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Naseer

      Agree and support you 100%. I think media also has a very strong role to play. Instead of highlighting only the bad news, they should also highlight people who are trying to build bridges.
      There are people in all religions and races who are extremist and full of hate. Unfortunately their voices are loud and easily suppresses the mild tone of the silent majority.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Ignorance

      As humans we must get to the tipping point and realize that all religions are just a propagation of false ideas written to control populations. No one can deny that "infidels" are "the other guy" in Islam. In Christianity there can only be one God. Theirs. Until "Us and Them" can become "We" this race and planet are doomed. I hope that humanity can pass this test.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Steve Lyons`

      The true face of Islam is on the nightly news and it is ghastly violent.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Aliens

      I know people who believe in Aliens and Ghosts who are very kind and do nice things too.

      No one can deny that the books people claim to be written by God are full of hate, killing and prejudice. We don't need them.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Topher

      God Himself said there is only one god, so why shouldn't I believe Him?

      September 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      @Pete: I am Muslim, and I agree 200% with Mohammad. The Prophet wasn't perfect, (pbuh). He was a human–and Muslims do not believe he was God. I can confirm that we believe that we say "Allah" because Allah is the word for God in Arabic and we pray in Arabic–even if we are English speaking and born in the USA. Pat Robertson is not 100% wrong in all he does–but he is 100% wrong in all he does toward Muslims. He has repeatedly spread falsehoods about Muslims and so have many Evangelical ministers–eager to justify why God loves Jews more than Muslims (supposedly)–even though they point to other scriptures that clearly state that God is no respecter of persons. Anyway, I fear another Holocaust, as the American media constantly bombard Americans with horrible images of Arabs. Even 100 or 200 or even 1000 protesting is hurting us, as they burn OUR flag too. The one thing I hate the most is trying to explain that in those countries, while it is horrible that some people burn and kill, people that don't burn and don't pillage and don't kill are in the MAJORITY. They are not exciting to report on, but the Arab feed on my Facebook page is FULL of Arabs who denounced this nonsense–even though the said they were offended. THey simply could not approve of burnings. Those of you who think Arabs only burn and pillage, God help you to meet one. My son and daughter, 5, and 7 are Arab and growing up in an America they LOVE. I could wait a little longer before telling them the truth - that they are now the most hated people on the planet–even as much as Jews once were hated. Sad. History DOES repeat itself.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Ummmm, 'cause there is no proof that any god exists or that The Babble is anything more than a collection of poorly written fiction?

      September 17, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Mohammed

      Pete I agree with you on all you said.

      Off Course Muslims like me who do acknowledge that there are major problems in the Muslim world. Every time there is an article about terrorism or crime I cross my fingers and for it not to turn out to be from a Muslim. Unfortunately reality is, 90% of the time now a days it is. This is depressing. But while people like you and me might understand what's behind the ignorance of Terrorism, many people here don't and its feeding those who want to spread hate on both sides.

      The problems in the Muslim world as you might know it is way to many and it reaches well beyond Islam as a religion and teaching itself. The Muslim world today and ever since the fall of the Ottoman Empire has been mixed with Politics, wars, colonization, extreme poverty and off course with that comes very low education. All these are what causing problems right now. For example if we take most hotspots you will find them to be in Afghanistan, rural Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan Chad, mali etc. One must look at the GDP in those areas to understand how these areas are affected by extreme poverty. These areas are under served and almost always extremely uneducated. And just as they are uneducated in reading and writing how can one expect them to be educated in Islam itself.

      Other Areas such as Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Syria etc, have been either under harsh dictatorships, or colonization and wars. Violence is the language they have been taught regardless of their religious beliefs.

      Then we look at the suddenly wealthy Wahabi country (Saudi Arabia) and we tend to forget that Saudi Arabia just recently became wealthy (as recent as 1970's) and did not reform yet from its pre-wealth tribal mentality.

      The Middle East is a Mess and we can't fix that in a day. But I agree with you, As Muslims we have to stand up and we have a responsibility to stop those who have hijacked our religion. However, it we do not want to stop one group of people to end up facing a group of bigots and racists who are preaching against us as well.

      Islam does not condone murder. Islam, like any other religion does have stories of wars, however, just like Christianity if you misconstrue the true teachings behind it, you may end up using any religion as a weapon.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And the 10 commandments says there are other gods (that don't actually exist either).

      September 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  7. Bubbaray

    The issue is not Islam nor Christianity it is fundamentalism of all degrees and beliefs. Fundamentalist Muslims are over stimulated by a poorly made film and currently Christian creationists are over stimulated by a recent Dr Pepper ad. Fundamentalist Muslims fly airliners into office buildings, fundamentalist Christians blow up family planning clinics and murder health care workers. Both believe a book gives them God's permission to do so. The threat to enlightenment, peace and compassion is fundamentalism, the threat to the world is fundamentalism.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Close, but no cigar

      All "people of faith" propagate this violence. If only the "fundamentalists" had this delusion, they would be cast out as psychopaths for their belief. But when 1 billion people support the delusion that "their God" is all powerful, they are given the power to kill.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Close, hate to tell you man, but if it were not for the secular laws of this land, there would be Christian goups out there JUST as radical as any Muslim group. We don't want to admit it, but there are Christian Fundamentalist groups right now who are just as well armed and just as ready to die for their Jesus.,

      September 17, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      Guys, have to point you to comments by Farid, Muhammad, and myself. We are all Muslims, out here to utterly condemn the actions of those who burned and killed in Libya. If the 19 who did this think they did it in my name, they did not. If they think they did it for Islam, they did not. They are ignorant fools, and those that follow them are fools. Luckily, there are billions of Muslims who were NOT "with them" We may not get a prime time slot on CNN, to renounce those who BURNED OUT EMBASSY, and killed OUR ambassador, but we feel it, nonetheless. Muhammad, below, makes an interesting point about the history in these countries that contribute to the violence - and not necessarily the religion. Religion gets blamed for a lot that religion doesn't even teach. ;-)

      September 17, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  8. Just say no

    Beware of God.

    Until all religion is gone, there will be murderous fighting. The kindest people I have met in my life are atheist. A belief in the supernatural is unnecessary.

    The Koran, The Bible and The Torah are all filled with love and hate. So is Alice in Wonderland.

    Just say no and free yourself from this delusion.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  9. Naseer

    We do not blame all the Christians for the genocide committed by Hitler.
    We do not blame all the Christians for the millions perished in the two world wars.
    We do not blame all the Christians for the atrocities committed against innocent civilians by allied forces.
    We do not blame all the Christians for the crimes committed by some British against native Indians.

    Yes, we do denounce any and all extremism and terrorism. We do believe in the freedom of speech, but we denounce people insulting and hurting other's beliefs through cheap movies or cheap attempts to make money.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Hamm

      So, if it was an expensive movie insulting Muhammad you'll be OK with that?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Nasser, it isn't completely about Muslims what some say on here, it is about hatred and fear. Some people are so full of hatred that they are no better than the terrorists they rail against. We live in a world that has gotten smaller with technology and we find ourselves having to live with others who do not think as we do, or act as we do, or worship as we do; this causes fear on both sides and it is those who fear who cause the bulk of the trouble.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Islam ism, self centered, Muslim's believe in fundamental clause of Sharia, Al, the La, limit H, most high or absolute 180* we trust, and every Muslim believe in takia, an art of lying, makes us fastes growing truth absolute, filty self centered American Consti tution, denier of truth absolute. for more for more visit limitedisthetruth.com/blog.html and click on word Takia to open file, but turn off virus protection first.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      @Hamm: Have you renounced (yet) the Christian Extremist, who looks like he did this and blamed Jews, in order to inflame people against Americans? Are you OK with that? I'm not, and I while I value free speech, I also believe that those who incite others to violence hold responsibility for the actions they take in their life–just like I believe that Hitler had more responsibility for what happened in Nazi Germany than, say, a guy in the GErman army, who believed the lies, but did not carry out the sick plan. The guy who did this was a little mentally ill, if you ask me, but who has stepped up to condemn him, now that people have died? And it's hard to find him, so I know it's hard to protest, but people expect us Muslims to go protest guys that live in foreign countries or that get arrested here for plots... when we are tied in much of the same way. We don't support them and think they are loony tunes, but finding them and paying for the travel to go confront them seems about as futile as finding a guy named "Sam Basil" that may or may not even exist under that name! We do condemn them, but it's tough to "show" people just how much condemnation has gone out–unless they attend Friday Prayers to hear it! CNN, are you interested in giving us Muslims a voice to issue condemnation? Or not just Muslims–but ARabs.... Go talk to the Media Director for the ARab-American Anti-Discrimmination Committee. They have lots of people who can speak very well on the subject of Islam... who don't mince words... but does anyone really want to hear a Muslim condemn a terrorist? If you do, like I said, come to Friday Prayers! I hear it all the time!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  10. mr grim reaper

    @ religion is the disease more people are murdered for religous thoughts than any other damm religion.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  11. mr grim reaper

    i hope all of you rotten muslims burn are flamed by surtur.murdering
    pedophiles.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      How do you feel when Muslims say these kinds of things about you? I bet you are angry, then why do you think they should not be angry at YOU?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • KristaSeddique

      @GrimReaper: Wishing me to hell does nothing to solve the problems? And when I'm gone, there will be another Muslim to deal with unless you propose a "Final Solution" like they did, ultimately with Jews. Now, at least I know how Jews in the 1930's began to feel when they could do nothing "right." So, are you going to give me a crescent moon to wear next? Do I get to ride a train to Kansas–where I will never be heard from again too? Jeez, people, wake up. Do Grim REaper's comments have any place in American Society–any more than Bin Laden? Why does Bin Laden's words trump MINE, as a muslim? B/cause his sold papers. Who wants to listen to me console Christians and Jews and tell them that they are great people!?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  12. Richard

    I want people to consider a situation where white westerners become a very small minority, that the people of the other countries control the World, set the tone. Then shudder.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Farid

      Richard, that was actually the case for most of the world's history. World civilization did not begin in the 20th century. With all good that the USA and "White Westeners" as you call them do. The last century saw 2 world wars and almost a 3rd that cost more lives than any Muslim terrorist ever could achieve. If you are fair Richard, you will concede that this Islam hate started after the fall of the USSR, leaving the US military complex looking for its next enemy or face downsizing. I do not ever remember Islam vs. West wars before this unless you go back to the Crusades.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Richard

      If it weren't for the West, we'd be living the same as they did during the Crusades...

      September 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @Richard. Define WEST... it was actually the Muslims who gave us a LOT of the science and astronomy we use today. When the Catholic Church was killing people for using science and trying to understand a world that differed from what the church wanted taught, it was the Muslim world that was working well ahead of the "west" So be careful when making some claims.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Hamm

      Farid
      I think the current cycle of Muslim hate comes from the Arab Oil Crisis and the Iranian Hostage situation, well before the fall of the USSR.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • I wonder

      Yes, guru, then Islam came in and put the kabosh on Arab science progress. Religion ruins stuff.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Farid

      No argument Richard. The West has contributed immensely to the great standard of living that we enjoy today, but they did not do it alone. They built upon the knowledge of Greeks, Romans, Egyptian, and yes, even Arab Muslims who contributed greatly to many fields of Science. True, the Middle East has digressed since then, but there is hopefully a new Arab Spring which will wipe away many of the dictators and fanatics of the past, but this will take time and hard work.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Hamm, if we stayed OUT of the politics of the region, instead of trying to control the politics of the region for OIL, this would not be happening.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Steve Lyons`

      Farid, then you do not understand why Thomas Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Farid

      Hamm, the Arab Oil Crisis was the result of the founding of Israel and the displacement of millions of Palestinians, including my family. As for the Iranian Hostage situation, that was the result of the USA supporting a tyrant (the Shah) that murdered and tortured his own people, neither of which is directly tied to Islam. The people only turned to a more radical version of Islam because the mullahs promised the people change from their current situation.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • pepsee

      islam started destryoing the world right from its inception. Read history.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Farid

      Steve, Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli because of pirates raiding commercial ships. I do not think anyone would argue that those pirates were criminals. Even if they justified their "pirating" as ok because Muslims were pirating other religion boats, this is not acceptable. Jefferson would be the first to admit that he did not send Marines against Muslims, but against criminal pirates. I would hardly call this a war of religions.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • I wonder

      Someone posted this a couple of days ago - a quote by an 11th century Syrian:

      “The world holds two classes of men—intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”

      - Abu'l-Ala-Al-Ma'arri

      (Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri born AD 973, died AD 1058) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.
      He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth. –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ma%CA%BFarri)

      September 17, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      @SteveLyons: Steve, why bash Muslims for the Barbary War? Do you honestly think Islam teaches stealing is OK? WHY? People, as a Muslim, I don't know whether to be more angry at fellow Muslims for thier ignorance or AMericans–or more mad at AMericans for their ignorance or Arabs / Muslims? As for Thomas Jefferson, my only comment is that he made a treaty with the North African Nations and wrote, "in his sixth annual message to Congress in December 1806 that in addition to the successful completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition, "The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship." So, Steve... he ultimately MADE PEACE. So, what was your point again to Farid?

      September 17, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  13. hacham14

    I think the main problem is that you have two types of Muslims. Not the typcial Shia, Sunni schism but between peaceful Muslims and more extremists. The first type of Muslims are those who go about their business. They pray five times a day, follow most of their rituals, go to work and provide for their families. They understand that there are other religions out there and are willing to live with these people.

    The second kind of Muslim, the more extreme ones, believe that their life and everyone else's should revolve around Islam. They follow Islam to the letter, partake in "honor killings," riot when someone criticizes or pokes fun of Muhammad (although they regularly make caricatures of other religions), fly planes into buildings, upholding dhimmi, etc

    The issue arises when people use an umbrella name Muslim to describe all Muslims, when they are not all the same. Much of the criticism should be levied at the latter group and not so much the former group. The former group should only be criticized for not doing enough to separate themselves from the latter group of Muslims, the more extreme, and taking actions to stop these radicals. However, there are those who do speak against radicals and try to keep them out of their communities. The issue is that in many areas where the radicals operate, they have significant power, and trying to tackle these groups brings the risk of death to oneself and to one's family.

    The conclusion is, that we should all stand together against radical Muslims and we shouldn't protect them my calling those who oppose them, Islamaphobes. I know there are people out there who dislike Muslims, or even those who look like Muslims, no matter what flavor they come in, and that behavior isn't right. To their credit, however, it's not like people wear signs that say I'm a terrorist. Anyway, we need to stop protecting the Islamic extremists and their supporters. If you want to protect these people, then prepare to meet the wrath of the world!

    September 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Kat

      muslim criminals are hiding in caves and kept in jails, many have been tried and sentenced to death in terror charges whereas radical and extremist Bible believers win elections in the US and claim to speak to God who tells them to forge evidence, lie, wage wars that kill millions in the name of Armgeddon, Messiah, and some $ changing temple in Jerusalem.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Farid

    My fellow Muslims, please remember what the Quran says, we do not worship Muhamad (p.b.u.h), we worship God which means we should follow righteousness even when it pains us to do so. If we do follow God, then we would ignore those who try to inflame us or use us to justify their actions against us. Please have the wisdom to do as our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h) of withstanding prejudice, persecution, threats, and insults by showing compassion and discipline even to those who hate us. That is being a true Muslim. That is the real Jihad.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Thank you Farid. Very well said. Thank you for showing the truth to our faith

      September 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • KristaSeddique

      Brother, what I was thinking is exactly what you've stated so nicely. Thank you. Your reflection, as a Muslim, encourages me in the midst of seeing my flag burn... and at the same time, being Muslim–having to listen to insults about my religion because of fanatics abroad that are anti-American to being with. You are right. I don't at all have to burn anyone or anything just because Mohammad (pbuh) was insulted. His life was a better example than that.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • pete

      Our Father who art in Heaven, haloed be thy name
      Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.
      On Earth as it is in Heaven
      Give us this day our daily bread.
      AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US
      For thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.

      Amen.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  15. pditty

    So the movie is on youtube for months then on 9/11 Americans are attacked and killed and the focus is this youtube movie.... I don't buy it.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Hamm

      It not only took the hate-monger in the US to make the film, it also took the hate profiteers in the Muslim world to distribute it enough to stir up the mobs. Whatever would these small groups of militants do without Western filmmakers, cartoonists, and Qu'ran burners to provide the insults needed to really outrage the people over there?

      September 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  16. LOYAL NORTHERN DEMOCRAT

    The nice thing about Rag Heads is that when you pour gas on them and set them on fire they look like a birthday candle when their towel lights up.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Kat

      and it is muslims who teach such hate and murder fantasies, right?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      You are a fool and very possibly could be someone who would cause more violence. You sir, are an asshat.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Larry L

      I'd guess under-educated, ill-informed Southern Teavangelical... These religious articles flush out all of the right-wing roaches too hateful to be anything but losers and too ignorant to say anything meaningful.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • KristaSeddique

      @Kat: Had to laugh... as a Muslim, sometimes, I have to read things twice to figure out if I'm reading a Christian extremist or a Muslim extremist's words. They all start sounding alike to me, except one or two key words or phrases. ;-(

      September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Army in Afghan

      @ Larry L

      and this whole article was supposed to be about the evangelicals and their 'islamaphobia' how about your 'southernaphobia' or 'christaphobia' or 'republaphobia' or how about the fact that your post was insulting to whole groups of people. But you know what is not going to happen? Riots and murders in the street because of it. There is a difference between western culture and predominatly islamic culture and many people want to call pointing out those differences 'islamaphobia'. Call it what you want it doesn't change the truth.

      And remember, a MUSLIM can't draw an image of the prophet, I can draw whatever the hell I want.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  17. truth1111

    Islam is a cult created by a psychopath. It cannot be reformed. It must be eradicated. Islam must be eradicated not because the Quran says Earth is flat or the shooting stars are missiles that Allah fires at the Jinns who climb the heaven to eavesdrop on the conversation of the exalted assembly. These stupid tales could even amuse us. Islam must go because it teaches hate, it orders killing of non-Muslims, it denigrates women and it violates the human rights. Islam must go not because it is false but because it is destructive, because it is dangerous; a threat to peace and security of humankind. With the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Islamic countries, Islam has become a serious and a real threat to the survival of our civilization.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Kat

      people like you should go. I bet if Zionazis like you stopped hijacking our foreign policies and turn our country into a war machine for the benefit of israel, then we would never hear about Islamphobia or terror in the world

      September 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Truth, the problem with what you claim is that, as a nation that believes in the FREEDOM of religion, we are by our own founding prohibited from doing just what you claim we should do. A paradox if ever there were one. Also, you too, are an asshat.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Ben Harper

      Funny how much Christianity, the Mormon cult and Judaism are so similar to Islam. All based on crazy fables promoted by sinister opportunists and followed by the incurious and gullible. Mohammed was a pedophile, Smith was a pedophile and polygamist, Catholics accept pedophilia among their priests, Jews prefer inbreeding and Evangelicals believe Mary was a virgin. And who would have ever thought there are people in this country that want to elect a candidate that fervently believes in the Angle Moroni, Kolob and Lamanites. What a twisted mess. Roll it back folks. Vote against the Mormon cult or don't vote at all.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  18. Mike in SA

    Gee...I wonder why ANYONE would be an Islamophobist? I mean, after all, since 9/11/01, there have only been a few attacks by radical, hate filled Muslims, right? I mean, there have only been over 19,200 deadly attacks by Muslim terrorists.

    Yeah...I think we can be a bit afraid of these idiots. Go to thereligionofpeace.com A whole different outlook to all of the Muslim apologists here.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Low n slow

      How many bombs have gone off in Muslim countries, having been launched from US drones versus how many have gone off in Western countries due to terrorism?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Kat

      go too loon watch to debunk religion of peace war propaganda.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  19. Mohammed

    Mr. McLaren,

    I am a Canadian Muslim who is very impressed by your article. You have shown that civilized people do exist in the "civilized world". Unfortunately, media outlets have been turned from a voice for freedom of speech to voices of hate and counter-hate messages. Muslims like me who denounce and condemn terrorism every day are the unfortunate one who have to listen to bigotry and hate by those who turn their anger on us. Reality is, all those terrorists hardly read the racist comments on here, its Hard working American and Canadian Muslims like us who have to listen to people like Pat Robertson spewing and inventing lies and stories about Muslims. For example in one of his speeches on his website, Pat Robertson actually claims that "Allah" stands for Hubal the pagan god of the moon. This is not only a lie, its purposefully done to miss inform his followers about Islam. Instead, he failed to say that Allah is the Arabic word for God, just like Yehwah is the Hebrew name. He failed to mention that Muslims believe in the same religion and god of Abraham, Isaac, David, Moses etc.

    Aside from politics and wars and all that. The majority of American and Canadian Muslims are hard working people and should be treated as equal citizens. There seems to be a growing culture of hate on comment forums such as this and especially on Yahoo news comments and they are unstopped. Media outlets seem to be allowing hateful bashing against Islam and Muslims under the cover of "freedom of speech". While I cherish and encourage freedom of speech, the line should be drawn when it offends, abuses and assaults others. When Hitler wrote his book and he blamed the Jewish for all the downfalls of Germany, it eventually incited people to hate Jews and we all know that this ended up real bad when the Nazis made the Holocaust that killed 6 million innocent Jews. My fear, is that the more America allows people to write hateful and untrue messages blaming Muslims as a source for all evil, the more people might think that it is OK to Abuse and assault innocent Muslim and Arab Americans or Canadian and eventually this might turn as bad as what the Nazis did.

    Media has a role to act responsibly because it is the source of people's information, or as it seems nowadays miss information.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Mike in SA

      Hey..."good" Muslim. How many times have you denounced the radicals? How many times has your Imam denounced the radicals? How many times have you hidden you head in the sand and hoped these radicals didn't think you "Muslim" enough for them?

      Until you control the evil that has taken over your religion world wide, please...spare me your indignation. Until YOU and the other "good" Muslims stand against it, you will all be painted with the same brush.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Mike in SA,

      You seem to think you know me. I have denounced and condemned terrorism every single time it happens. But reality is, you cannot associate every Muslim to a crime made by other Muslims. Just like I cannot associate a christian to any crime created by other Christians. And for your information in the mosques I go to every Imam speaker denounces terrorism.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Kat

      that is the Islamphobes goal. They want to continue to use the US as their war machine to maintain Israel's hagemony, illegal colonization of Palestine, and its racial supremacist apartheid regime. Google "fear inc" and see the background of all islamphobs supported with millions of $'s.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Naseer

      Just like we do not believe all the Christians for the genocide committed by Hitler.
      We do not blame all the Christians for the millions perished in the two world wars.
      We do not blame all the Christians for the atrocities committed against innocent civilians by allied forces.
      Yes, we do denounce any and all extremism and terrorism.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Mike, you are a hatemonger, and I bet a Christian, too. Your view of the world isn't a healthy one and in reality you are no better than the people you rail against. Think about it.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Mike, YOU come on here and seek to destroy another person's religion, one I am sure you do not understand at all, and you claim that YOUR hatred is justified while there's is not? Come on, man... think...

      September 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • ehcanadian

      I'm also a Muslim from Canada, and I agree with you Mohammed.

      Hey, Mike, how about you stop every single evil act of a Christian? If you're so pious and good, you'd be able to stop all of the evil in the world, all the murdering, raping etc. If all the good people had absolute control over all the evil people in the world, like puppets, like you wish us Muslims to do, there wouldn't be evil people.

      Really annoying when people ask me to go and stop the evil acts of other people, as if I can just up and go take a plane and cast a spell. Seriously? Grow up.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      It is a shame that all of us are held hostage by those who twist their religion to justify hate. Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Jenkins, and others promote a extreme form of Christianity that endangers both fellow Christians and Muslims. Extreme Christians pulled the "trigger" with this vile video and the Islamic extremists provided the action. The result being that good Americans and Libyans were killed and wounded. Add the destruction of trust and the spread of lies and misinformation, we have ourselves a tremendous mess. Unfortunately, both mainstream Christians and Muslims are unable and/or unwilling to confront these "people" and do something about them.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • KristaSeddique

      @Mohammed, from Canada: I'm America–born in America, and I have the same problem. People always tell me that I don't "denounce Muslims who are radical" when I'm out on Yahoo or CNN, but they don't interview me. I feel that Muslims in American media have no voice. If a Muslim is shown, he is a ranting lunatic from abroad. I dare you CNN, allow us to speak. Put some of OUR intellectuals on TV, like you interview other "experts" on the Mid-East. How about interviewing a few Muslim-Americans when stuff like this happens. Really, Farid Zakaria and Christian AManpour can only cover so many topics and though they are great to take on a lot of subjects, you need to interview Muslims. HELLO.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • ryan c

      Mohammed. The unfortunate burden here lies within your religious community and your faith. Its your religion being subverted and getting smeared. Any outsiders trying to ferret out the bad guys are bound to use a broader brush than needed. It doesn't mean you personally know a terrorist but it does mean some Muslims do. If your community doesn't accept the responsibility of purging the ranks then people like pat Robertson will keep spewing bile. We just had an 18 year old out here in Chicago throw his life away as a wannabe carbomber. Just think what positive intervention could've saved him from getting into. Instead the feds had to do it and now hes got a bag over his head for life.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Jake

      Cordoba Initiative's Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said on 60 Minutes that the United States and their policies were an accessory to 9/11. The issue Muslims have with the US press isn't the media coverage but that Americans aren't believing the spin. CNN and NBC News can have a spokesperson on from CAIR every day, it's not going to change how Americans see things. Americans support Israel, when you have Muslims saying things against Israel and in support of terrorists like Hezbollah, then there is a problem. CNN can report a dozen times a day that Muslims are peaceful, it doesn't work when Muslims are killing our ambassador to Libya and murdering troops from within in Afghanistan. Americans understand facts, not spin. What Muslims really want is for it to be politically incorrect to report the facts. The American media should only report nice things about Muslims, not tell Americans that Muslims are killing Americans or rioting in the street over an amateurish youtube video

      September 17, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      Mohammed,

      The only problem I have with your main comment is that you are not forced to listen to anything on TV or look it up on your computer and listen to it. I am a Christian and don't even listen to the stuff you listen to...THAT is free choice, and God/Allah gave that to us all to use wisely.

      If you are offended by something someone is saying, don't listen. If you are offended by a cartoon depiction of your Prophet, don't read it. That is what freedom of speech/expression is all about. You have the right to say or depict anything you want, but others have the right to not listen or look.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  20. Ralph M

    Islamophobia , no. Being aware and careful because of the unbalanced, fanatical things they do at the drop of a hat..yes.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • King RedNeck

      Ralph

      Are you my Memphis dude? You are so right. I love this board – all good christians are on this board tonight. Please tell everyone we don't need to read facts. We watch Fix news, the channel of god. All facts all the time.

      Both if us dropped out from school but look at us. We are the smart Christians. Keep hating brother!

      September 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.