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.
Pastor should be released if he has not committed any capital crime. IRAN behaving like LAPD
The writer is scripting some baloney here. Sorry to say that Iran although shiaa is NOT islam in my opinion...prosecuting ex muslims for converting to christianity are totally the teachings of Islam and Islam did that in the beginning of its era because of military reasons...deserting the army of islam meant death. Its a practice that the US had as well until the 60s...deserting the army in a moment of war meant death and it is still prosecuted as a crime in the US....Keep in mind that Islam is not only a religion, it is a Military system...: from a muslim that speaks arabic believes in Peace and loves america and its people but what can you do.
All monotheistic clergy should be treated equally, and jailed everywhere for fraud and tax evasion...
FREE Pastor Saeed Abedini!!!!!
I think secularists, atheists and darwinians should all be banned from using cash or any legal tender. (In God We Trust) They should also never be allowed to testify in court as they cannot swear on a Bible.
Swearing on a Bible is not a prerequisite to testimony. But you already knew that.
"in god we trust" is not a remnant of the founding of this country. try again.
Well, unless you know exactly what God is you are being a blind full to trust something you don't know
What a moron you are, Elliot. You think swearing on a Bible makes people actually tell the truth?
Oh, by the way, if you actually knew the Bible, you would know Jesus forbade oaths (Matthew 5:33).
And putting God's name on money is a sacrilidge, isn't it?
FREE Pastor Saeed Abedini!
Why would a Darwinian object to racism? Survival of the fittest and all that. If man were the answer, why would a Darwinian be in favor of abortion? We could be aborting the person who finds a cure for cancer, or better yet (here's some red meat for you libs) AIDS.
interesting strawmen, yet with no basis in actual fact.
Great non-answer. Don't bother next time.
Answer to what? What is the question?
It wasn't a non-answer. He correctly classified your entire post as a jumble of straw men arguments. You just didn't like the answer.
Uh, hardly. Go to youtube and see the video on Andrea Bocelli and abortion. His mother was faced with the decision and made the correct one. Nothing straw about it. Perhaps MLK's mother could have made the wrong choice and blacks, bylibs definitions, would be set back another 100 years. You just don't want to consider these scenarios. Don't be lazy, better yet, its best not to respond with nonsense
Elliot is not interested in truth. He is only interested in abusing atheists, as the Bible tells him to do in "Turn the other cheek", uh, or maybe it's "Do unto others", uh, "Let he who is without sin", uh, "Judge not, lest thou be judged", uh . . .
Okay, apparently Elliot is directly rejecting the Bible as he champions it. Kind of a hypocrisy thing. No surprice.
no takers yet....*crickets* just the usual name calling...expected nothing different.
elliot, as with all abortion debates, i think you will find that no one is a "proponent" of abortion. abortion is simply a byproduct of the rights of women, which we many are the proponents of.
So you want us to some play What Would Darwin Do fantasy imagination game based on your mistaking Evolution with Social Darwinism?
All you have done is show your total ignorance of science and debate.
Religion is the biggest hoax on humanity that ever was. Your people think there is a magical man living in the cloud s. Yet u call ppl crazy for voicing an opinion against a government I sounds as though ppl need a wake up call. I had mine two yrs ago. I died twice ( my heart stoped twice) from a motorcycle accident, when I died the first time I felt my breath get shorter and my head got heavy, all I remember is a ringing and black. No pearly gates no light (as some have claimed) just black and emptyness. I was a baptized Lutheran and attended church regular. I don't anymore because I was told when i die in going to heaven, I saw nothing
and it is apparent you still see nothing. Basing your beliefs on experience, rather than Truth, will cause you to be the arbiter of all things. And it just isn't that way.
You seem pretty sure you were headed to Heaven then, eh?
elliot, your "truth" is simply the indoctrination you have received. it is based on nothing tangible.
If there is no objective/absolute truth in the universe, then truth is what I say it is. Right?
and Snowjob, what you believe, if anything, isn't based on anything tangible either. Great strawman :)
I was told as a young child that Jesus died for my sins, I could go to heaven if I went to church. A drunk driver hit me doing 70mph I now have one arm and have to miss in a bag, if there was a true god then he would have accepted me and not have allowed me to live my life in agony,and pain.
elliiot, what belief have is espoused in these comments? please explain exactly how it is tangible or not.
I was also christened a Lutheran...as time went by, I eventually became an agnostic. I cannot critique an experience so personal as you describe, but had it been me, I would not be able to live with such a dark vision of life. I don't believe in bearded men in the sky, but I do think there is some sort of spiritual or timeless quality to life. Some say life is only driven by the force of evolution, but evolution in itself (not to mention our understanding of it) is a wondrous thing! I still believe that life is a miracle, and even if it is the only miracle, it is the one to which we owe our existence. Though we die, we are all connected through the miracle of life, and even if we stop breathing, our spirit lives on in our brothers and sisters and all our children, even those yet to be born. Unfortunately, right now it seems our society is not worried with our children, only with money (at the expense of everything else).
patrick, if by spirity you mean memory, sure.
US Air Force Veteran, Finally Allowed to Fly Into US, Now Banned From Flying Back Home
Secret, unaccountable no-fly lists are one of many weapons the US government uses to extra-judicially punish American Muslims
by Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian, Feb 9, 2013
democracy against islam and muslim people. I bet middle east is watching how you treat your own people because of their faith. Why you worry about Iran.. look at your own govt here and your comments on CNN.
Mohammad would simply behead the pastor. Quite simple really.
Onot after raping his family and mutilating them would he let the pastor beg for death, then our "hero" mohamed would return home to his 8, 9yr old wives
I am God. I am the One.
who the f*** is Mohammad anyway?
Never will I be able to understand why 2 religious factions who worship the same almighty Creator who is all things GOOD can be at such odds against other. It goes back even to the Crusades. Like why can't both live in eternal peace, respect, tolerance, and love. You know why ?? Because the influence of the Devil is in the mix. If you believe in God you must also believe in the Devil.
lard, after reading any of the old testament it astounds me that anyone could label the abrahamic god "good".
The two religions as you call them, DO NOT worship the same God. Allah is the moon god of the Kaaba and the God of Christians is the God of Israel, Jehovah. The God of Israel had a Son. It is blasphemy in Islam to claim that Allah had a son.
Mohammad killed the Jews because they would NOT surrender their beliefs and submit to Allah.
islam, like all other religions is a remnant of more ignorant and supersti tious times. religion thrives in the places most devoid of education.
Well thought out comments in light of the founding of our country. Tell me, did you ever receive a days' worth of edumacation OUTSIDE our public system?
islam taught prophet Mohammad to read. So how can the religion be spreading ignorance? You such full of it. You cant stand islam because you cant stand the truth. What is denial?
Elliot, America was founded on Enlightenment ideas, not religious ones. The Enlightenment was, to a great extent, a rejection of religion due to the failures of religion to make the world a better place. The Founding Fathers well knew the results of theoracy from the Puritan totalitarianism under Oliver Cromwell, and they well knew the centuries of religious war that had wracked Europe.
Nice try. Totally wrong, but that's what comes of embracing propaganda that tells you what you want to hear, instead of what truly happened.
elliot, this country was founded on the principle of individual liberty by people of a diverse religious backgound. denying that fact is being willfully ignorant.
Religion is a neurological disorder, especially Islam.
You are wrong. It is a cancer of peace.
Securlarism is a neurological disorder, especially Darwinianism
elliot, only in secularism can liberty thrive. the first casualty of theocratic rule is liberty.
People use God for good and evil, it's time people stop lying to themselves and put a face on "God" , this can be achieved by looking in the mirror...
People who do not use toilet paper do not deserve to live anyway.
Oh, I forgot my original thought. This guy knew the laws in Iran and he still went there. I feel bad for him but that is how it goes. As Americans we always say people from other countries should assimilate to our culture and culture/laws. Well he should have done the same thing. He was from Iran and knew full well what the deal was. When you swim with sharks and you are bleeding you will have serious problems. This guy has serious problems.
are you comparing muslims to your cat and dogs?
So by which method do you plan to "off " yourself?
i recently read that nearly 80% of the worlds population does not use TP.
They have cleaned for centuries and still clean their body parts with water your body parts are full of chunks of S*it, try taking a shower using toilet paper...they knew soap toothpaste and daily showering when your ancesters lived in caves in england and germany.
I should say the same for the waste of space who brought your sorry behind into this world...
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a wise man.
Well, where did all this Islam Religion go wrong ? It went wrong like all religions, when the zealots get hold of it and forget the tenants of their faith. I'm not a man of religion, but I am a man of faith.
Were the tenants just renting the tenets ?
Truth be told, the media is the one that hijaked it after giving too much air time to the bad apples of muslims. Where the a billion muslims kept watching the same media with surprise and the whole world portray islam as such. What a sad era.
Religion is the mind going wrong and inventing invisible being to explain natural phenomenon. It happens right at the beginning: it instantly goes wrong. And when in the normal course of events knowledge shows religious explanation to be wrong, religious people get belligerent and, like Live4Him, start flailing around to say the true knowledge actually doesn't say what it says.
Religion needs to be abolished for mankind to continue to evolve, religion inhibits mankind. Just look at how awful the middle east is.
Why would CNN invite a non muslim to defend islam? Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was a self proclaimed prophet that has no bases in islam, Quran or the original teachings. Just like mormonism.
I bet he isn't a real Scotsman either.
This is an opinion piece, not an article written by CNN.
We Christians have been getting used to CNN's modus operandi. Non-Christians always telling us what we believe. Thanks.
Prophet Muhhamad (no peace after him) promoted nothing but hate to the infidels. He would have either killed the Christian preacher on the spot, or told him "convert or die" as he did countless times during his life.
while i may agree with the author to some extent, his belief system is very similar to how a mormon is to christianity. The Ahmadiyyas are considered non-muslim by majority of the muslim community (both Shia & Sunni). Although they may sound tolerant & nice, their belief system goes against certain cores of islam. This shows up in their thinking as well. Take for example how the author not once says Peace be upon him (PBUH) after the name of the Prophet (PBUH). They will pick and choose certain hadith.
Elliot, you do realize that for many centuries, if you did not believe what the Christian church told you, you were repressed or executed, right? You do know that it is Christianity that has for centuries done what you claim CNN and seculars are doing to you?
Religion enslaves the mind.
Don't bogart that joint, my friend. Pass it over to me.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” [Quran 1:256
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.