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My take: What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran?
Saeed Abedini, with his 4-year-old son, was sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison.
February 9th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

My take: What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran?

Editor’s Note: Qasim Rashid is a national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Follow him on Twitter @MuslimIQ.

By Qasim Rashid, Special to CNN

When will Iran's government and clerics stop running from the truth that their religion - which they call Islam - would be unrecognizable to the Prophet Mohammed?

On the mere allegation that American pastor Saeed Abedini evangelized Christianity, Iran threw him in front of a member of its Revolutionary Court, whom many have called a “hanging judge.” Abedini now faces eight years in prison, which is nothing short of reprehensible, immoral and cowardly.

If Iran’s purpose was to protect what it thinks is Islam, it has failed.

In 1902, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, courageously declared, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its weakness in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

Thus, in using force to counter Abedini’s alleged evangelism - an oppressive act alien to Islam - Iran’s religion cuts only its own throat.

If Iran’s purpose was to silence Abedini, it has failed. More people worldwide now know of him, his message of Christianity, his struggle and his passion than ever would have otherwise. Iran has given Abedini a loudspeaker that he never could have built on his own. Thus, while trying to silence Abedini's message, Iran’s religion silences only itself.

If Iran’s purpose was to honor Prophet Mohammed, it has failed. The message it has given to the world is one of intolerance and fear, characteristics alien to Mohammed's example of love and pluralism. Iran’s act does more to dishonor the prophet than Abedini ever could. Thus, by cowardly, hypocritically and ignorantly demonizing Christianity, Iran’s religion makes only itself look hideous.

As a practicing Muslim, I’m not sure what religion Iran practices, but it has nothing to do with the Islam that my Prophet Mohammed taught.

And what exactly did Mohammed teach?

My Mohammed declared in writing to St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai, “This is a message from Mohammed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. … The Muslims are to fight for them. … Their churches are to be respected. … No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant until the Last Day.”

My Mohammed championed the Quranic commandment to protect all houses of worship, including churches. “Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made - because they have been wronged. … Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is God’ - And if God did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of God is oft commemorated” (22:40-41).

My Mohammed returned to Mecca peacefully and victoriously and, citing Prophet Joseph’s noble example, graciously forgave all his persecutors. While Mecca exiled Mohammed only for his faith, Mohammed now protected the rights of all to stay in Mecca regardless of their faith. But with one condition: that freedom of conscience remain free for all people, Muslim or not.

Had Iran followed Prophet Mohammed's Islam, no such “hanging judge” would exist, no such eight-year prison sentence would exist, and no such restrictions on Abedini’s peaceful preaching would exist.

So give it a rest, Iran. You’ve been running long enough. Your so-called religion honors neither Islam nor Prophet Mohammed, nor will it ever silence other faiths.

Stop running, Iran, or you’ll bleed yourself dry.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Qasim Rashid.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Faith Now • Iran • Islam • United States

soundoff (568 Responses)
  1. Mohammad

    The Qur'an says to convert or kill all non-believers of Islam.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mohammad responding to fake one

      Better learn the context of the text before jumping in the frying pan of ignorance that a billion did not choose to jump into.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The old "you took that verse out of context" trick. Spoken like a contemporary Christian. How odd.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Edwin

      The Qu'ran clearly says that non-believers do not need to convert. That is why in the Middle Ages, when Christianity was burning Jews and Christians (amongst others), Islam was not. The Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) were under muslim rule for centuries, and they actively tolerated Christians and Jews. It was not exactly a free society, but non-believers were allowed to practice their faith without fear of forced conversion.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  2. Kregg

    who cares what that knuckle dragging cave dwelling pedophile moohammud would do?

    February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Mohammad

      I would care if you think about what will happen to you for eternity in the heavens or hell.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  3. philip

    mohammed would have beheaded all Christians in Iran the way he beheaded 700 jews in a single day in Khyber, saudi Arabia.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • History

      Philip, very simple question to you. Do you know why those Jews were punished by Muslims? Do you know the Historic facts? or should I say Did you know that those Jews broke the truce and try to hit Muslims from back! Please read history completely than make a comment here

      February 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  4. Mohammad

    The Qur'an says to behead all non-Muslims.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Educated idiot

      Because he found out westerners and Africans have a bigger package. That's why he created a religion based on putting women down so his child bride might not find out 4 inches isn't avg. or at least that's my theory.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mohammad responding to fake one

      Why do you think a billion plus muslims from different parts of the world from all races and countries will follow such a man with such a devotion?

      February 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • not a moment too soon....

      The same reason 2 billion Christians follow their brand of the same god..... With Islam is a little different though....believe or die, believe or be a slave, are still standing rules in much of the Islamic world ...kind of not an option to disbelieve if you are born in these regions of the world.

      Its all about power, control and money....and they dont have to worry losing you anytime soon, eh?

      February 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  5. IsalandAtheist

    Get Jesus laid.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Southernsuga

      Who is mohammed? Who cares what he would say?

      February 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Sharia Law

    Ban God and Guns

    February 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Mohammad

    Behead those who insult Islam.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  8. Stephen Daedalus

    What would mohammad do? Why wonder, read the Quran... he's shtup a 14 year old, marry her, and found a religion. I can really see why people seek to emulate him. lol

    February 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  9. Brett

    Mohammad would have had him beheaded. He is an evil Anti Christ and the son of Satan, same as Obama

    February 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Matt

      Your argument is so compelling....

      February 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  10. Dallas

    Mohammed is scary

    February 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Mohammad

      boo!

      February 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • GetReal

      Muhammad was a thief, a liar, a plagiarist and a pedophile. He took the words from the Christians because he saw it was powerful and twisted it to his own meaning. They stole some hut from the idol worshipers and stuck a poop covered asteroid in it. Yes, crazier than the Scientologists.

      February 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  11. him

    Why should you believe in god, because someone tells you, this is your argument, it has no solid ground on which to build. The difference this man finds with Iran's interpretation, exists with all religions. Who wrote. The books upon which religion is built? Not god, men wrote these books, not gods. If you feel the need to have the liturgy support you, then use it as your support, just don't ask the next generation to support your calls for voodoo worship, filling children's heads with tales that separate them from others. Look at the ground upon which you stand, it came from the physical universe in which you live. Next time you feel sick ask god to help you and don't bother going to a doctor. See which one works, the man with real world experience and knowledge or god. I'm sticking with the doctor, without his help I'd be dead already. Lastly why is it all the books of faith are written by men? This is the history we live, a world where for the last 3000 years, mankind sought to build a good world with only half of the whole, 3000 years of a one armed builder, no wonder so many mistakes have been made, no balance.

    Peace

    February 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @him : Why should you believe in god, because someone tells you, this is your argument, it has no solid ground on which to build.

      Here is the solid ground upon which I build my belief in the Biblical God / Jesus.

      Natural Origins or Supernatural Origins?
      __ a) Matter, energy and time exist. Where did they come from? There are currently not naturalistic explanation
      that only has supporting evidence for this issue.
      __ b) Life exist. Where did it come from? There are currently not naturalistic explanation that only has
      supporting evidence for this issue.
      Therefore, this implies some supernatural being or event is necessary.

      Which supernatural being or event answers the above issue?
      __ a) Multiple religions address the creation of life, but only three begin with the creation of matter, energy
      and time.
      __ b) Given the Biblical account that begins with the creation of matter, energy and time,
      __ c) Given no other religions (other than the Abrahamic branches) begins with the creation of matter, energy and
      time,
      Therefore, only the Abrahamic religions answer both of the basic issues.

      Did the Judaism God Do It?
      __ a) Given accurate transmission of the Jewish Bible,
      __ b) Given the fulfillment of foretold specific prophecies (incl: Eze 37) in the Jewish Bible
      Therefore, the God of the Jews is a viable contender.

      Did the Islamic God Do It?
      __ a) Given inaccurate transmission of the Koran Bible,
      __ b) Given the factual inaccuracies (i.e. members of the Trinity)
      __ c) Given the lack of specific prophecies in the Koran
      Therefore, the God of the Muslims is not a viable contender.

      Did the Christian God Do It?
      __ a) Given accurate transmission of the Christian Bible (i.e. Jewish / OT and NT),
      __ b) Given the fulfillment of foretold specific prophecies (incl: Eze 37, Rev 13) in the Christian Bible
      Therefore, the God of the Christian is a viable contender. Since it includes the Jewish beliefs as well, it is
      the better answer.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • God: a Barbie doll for the mind

      That is solid evidence to you? You fail right at the first line.The existence of life, time, matter and energy may not have complete explanations yet, but they IN NO WAY hint, imply, or show even the tiniest hint of supernatural elements or origin. You are making a massive and absurd non sequitur leap, based on NO EVIDENCE, simply because it is what you want to believe.

      Enormous fail. You are saying "incomplete explanation = my god". Silly, absurd, and delusional.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Weed smoker

    Islam is a cult of evil.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Saeed

      Keep smoking that weed obviously it has wracked your brain cells, and rendered you devoid of any level of edification.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Weed smoker

      Religion enslaves the mind, and gives people a reason to justify war, this world would be better off without Islam, Judaism, or Christianity. Religion is a hoax.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • JCK

      I disagree, Islam is a mental illness.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  13. Saeed

    This author is not a real Muslim, as far as majority of Muslim scholarship is concerned ahmadiyyas are not true muslims, nothing but a fringe group of people unfortunately fooled and manipulated by propaganda.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  14. Weed smoker

    Islam is the worst religion, all religion is bogus, but Islam is just plain violent. Humans are meant to be atheist.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Mohammad

      Was the son of Adam violent (what did he do to his brother?). Was hitler violent? Was vikings violent? Was muslim responsible for Jesus death?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  15. believer

    Heres my take, both Bible and koran are modified versions of Hinduism bhagwadgita the book which existed 5000 years before. Bible refers to Satan whereas Hinduism Shaitan, Koran believes in fasting, it was a common practice in bhagwadgita.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Mohammad

      too bad we did not keep polyandry in our religion.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  16. God: a Barbie doll for the mind

    The cool thing about an imaginary friend is that you can give him whatever characteristics you want. It's like a Barbie. You can have "Nice Mohammed Barbie" if that is what you want to imagine, you can have "Kill Everyone Mohammed Barbie," you can have Tolerant Of Other Faiths Mohammed Barbie," and you can have "Slay All Infidels Mohammed Barbie" if you want.

    Because it's all your imagination. Just like Jesus Barbie and YHWH Barbie and Thor Barbie.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm pretty sure that the Barbie Doll folks got the idea from religions.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mohammad

      Have you thought if the "Hell Barbie" came to be true, and you stuck with that one barbie, how you would feel for eternity?

      February 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • God: a Barbie doll for the mind

      Hell is nothing but a terrorist threat that your religion uses to force you to obey. It isn't real.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Weed smoker

    Mohammed was a pedophile, who killed innocent people.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Mohammad

      I heard the same about your roman pope and modern govt alike. Is it true?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  18. Louie

    That's right. Muhammad was a false prophet who was just looking to get a following for vein glory. In other words, the guy was proud and lied to get people to follow him, and then later when people tried to correct him, he became a blood thirsty murderer to remove anyone who opposed him. In other words, Muhammad was a son of the devil no better than Judas. In other words, Muhammad was no prophet to be revered. Rather, he was an arrogant liar and a murderer. He should have been treated as a criminal and executed for his crimes.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mohammad

      Too bad you kept your head in the hole. You missed a great opportunity and you would have been in history and famous. TIMES named him: The World's Most Influential People. You are coward and jealous.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • mason

      All the monotheism "prophets" are false con artists who preyed on the ignorance of humans before the dawn of science and reason. The Abrahamic idea of blood sacrifice of a son is a complete moral disconnect. "Justifiable Homicide" -D. Aughinbaugh, Kindle books

      February 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Mohammad

      mason – we are warned of people like you as you follow the jewish tradition of ignorance and rebellion against your Yahweh.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Educated idiot

      I love how Muslims claim people are cowards yet they portray the most cowardly acts. Haha Mohammad = L Ron Hubbard of the 7 th century err l Ron could write so um maybe a little lower than him.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Matt

      Exactly Mason...

      They are trying to prove who has the correct magical sky daddy.

      It is embarrassing...

      February 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Chuck

      Repent and kneel to the almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster

      February 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Salih

    The writer of this article is from Ahmaidiyya faith, they have been unanimously declared non-Muslims by 99% of Muslims. Therefore, he can't represent the muslim viewpoint with his opinion.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mohammad

      so much for people barking the wrong tree

      February 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Louie

      You cares about the Muslim view point? It's just wrong. Would you care about the view point on physics from a bunch of people who couldn't pass third grade math? Don't get me wrong. Many Muslims are very nice people, but on religion, they are just wrong, and when the stand before God, they will fail the utterly final exam.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • mason

      thanks for the insight Salih

      February 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Mohammad

      Louie – you wanna bet? we just have one life to take a chance.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Matt

      LOL!

      Louie and Mo arguing who has the right god...

      "No your wrong because Allah said so! ...No your wrong because Christ is true!...You wanna bet??"...

      Sure lets bet on who will win the afterlife battle!! ROFL.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  20. Lauren

    What would muhammed/mohammed (sp?) do? He'd probably just kill him

    February 9, 2013 at 3:43 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.