home
RSS
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 • Iran • Islam • United States

soundoff (568 Responses)
  1. Skorpio

    Islamic clerics and most devout Muslims, as opposed to any other religion, are the most perverse, violent, irrational, intolerant and discriminatory people. These rats are the main instigators of all evil and the new inquisitors of modern Islamic societies.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • snowboarder

      religious extremism in any form is equally abhorrent.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  2. snowboarder

    at this time we can only suppose that there is a genetic predisposition to religious adherence and spirituality, probably not significantly different than a genetic predisposition to an attraction to a member of ones own gender.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Greg

    Mohammed would have murdered this infidel for not converting to Islam........but then again Mohammed was a pedofile......lunatic and fraud........boy I hope this comment fiesnt cause a riot in Benghazi!!!!

    February 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • snowboarder

      as was the source of any modern religion.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  4. Sean

    This is a beautifully written message. Follow a prophet or don't ... but reason and freedom of conscience for all trumps everything.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  5. fastball

    The only difference between an Islamic fundamentalist hardliner and a Christian fundamentalist hardliner is their accents.
    Both of them suffer from intolerance and unyielding, unswerving adherence to a single WRITTEN philosophy....which bears little or no resemblance to the SPIRIT in which it may have been meant.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Ramez

      Tell me when was the last time a conservative Christian made u pay a tax for being atheist ? Or Jew or Muslim? Tell me where did a Christian foudamalist kill you or your family or persecuted you for not believing in Christ ?? Not tell me how many Muslims did this to my family's in Iraq ..

      February 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • lolwut

      Except that Christianity has created a civilization that has taken the reigns of power away from its religious zealots and blazed a path out of the dark age the followed the collapse of the Roman Empire, wheras Islam seems determined to follow its most violent and oppressive zealots over a cliff into a new dark age.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      ramez, the only thing keeping fundamentalist christians from extracting taxes on nonbelievers is the laws of this secular nation, for which i will always be thankful.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Christ was a pacifist so when you get extremists they act like the Amish. Mohammad was a terrorist mass murdeing warlord. You do the math.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Consequence

    it appears unlikely that even Mohammed followed Mohammed. With seven hundred years worth of Christian development throughout the Maghreb, the Near East and around the Mediterranean, it is notable the only areas which remained Christian are the areas never conquered by Muslims. Putting their shrines on the shrines of sites Holy to other religions, Islam built their Dome of the Rock on Judaism's most revered religious site – the remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and established a giant Mosque in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the greatest Byzantine Cathedral, a Christian place of worship for over a thousand years. Where Muslims conquered, hardly a Christian remains and that did not happen by respecting and protecting another man's religion. To be sure, Christians did much the same, especially in Iberia, but where Christ himself never taught to kill anyone, Mohammed did.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  7. AustinITguy

    Mohammed married a nine year old and is a pedophile and murdered. NO ONE should care about what he thinks anyone should do.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  8. Booya Bible

    I don't know much about the prophet Muhammad, I'll admit, but I do know that he took up the sword to spread his religion. Likewise I know that, for however much Christians want to paint Jesus as this great, wonderful guy, said some pretty horrendous things, mostly involving people burning alive for not believing in him.

    Fundamentalists, read psychos, of any religion are said to not represent the "true" religion, but how would you know? Sam Harris makes a good point that it's not hard to extrapolate the theology that Osama Bin Laden came up with from the Koran. And it's not super difficult to extrapolate the theology that Terry Jones and Westboro Baptist use as well from the Bible. It was no small jump for Christians in slavery days to justify owning other human beings using their Bible. Likewise I have read some absolutely disgusting verses from the Koran that are really hard to paint with the oh-that's-not-what-that-REALLY-means brush. Apologists, however will do what it takes to make the crazy in their books seem palatable to the modern, moral mind.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  9. TheAntiChrist

    He would go hide in a cave. Then cry as the world he saw is scary and ruthless.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  10. Ramez

    What mouhamned do ? The same thing he did to those who opposed his views . Go read the quran and it's tafsirs ...he and hitler are very similar

    February 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  11. James

    Are you talking about Mohammad the fable, bible fictional character or Mahammad Ali the boxer?

    February 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ramez

      Bible ? Are u cracked out ? Mouhamned is in the real book called quran that had the autobiography of one of earth most notorious killer of innocent man

      February 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  12. Glenn Zeyher

    Great article. Too bad there is so much hatred and ignorance in the world, as evidenced by the majority of comments made about it. Peace and love, acceptance and forgiveness, tolerance and turning the other cheek...those are the attributes this world desperately needs more than ever.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ramez

      Turning the other cheek is no where to be found in the quran .. Matter of fact it says an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth ... Stop calling comment ignorant when u never read the quran ... In arabic and hat book has nothing but hatred .. Truth hurts ? Suck it up

      February 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • JCK

      In the world that we now live in turning the other cheek will result in two bruised cheeks.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • snowboarder

      ramez, an eye for an eye? i thought that was the bible?

      February 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ramez

      The
      Old testement demanded an eye for an , Christ preached turn the other cheek ..

      February 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Bob spelled backwards

      I have never net the Christian who has turned the other cheek. Nor have I ever met a Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Christian. Really, of the many many Christians I have met and known, I have never met one who is even trying to live up to Christian ideals. All were/are only interested in pointing fingers at others.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Ramez

      And this is where we all fall short of Christ ... But now tell me how many Muslims have followed mouhamned teachings ? Many

      February 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      ramez, i work with and am friends with many muslims. an educated populace will not persecute its fellows. only ignorance can foster the religious intolerance of both islam and christianity.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      What are you talking about. The Quran is such a vile book it makes Mein Kampf look tame by comparison. Hitler didn't openly call for extermination of the Jews in his book the way Mohamad did of the polytheists in his. Not only that Mohammad defames the Jews in his, and practiced ethnic cleansing on both the Jews and Idolators having eliminated them from the Siani Peninsula in his lifetime. He was a successful Hiltler.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • snowboarder

      brian, you say that as if the old testament didn't do an equal amount of "ethnic cleansing".

      these religions are repugnant. all of them.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  13. Mohammad A Dar

    What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran? - probably the same.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  14. irlmwookie

    Because Religion is a means, and a servant, to power. Just like Rosetta Stone dialects, people can interpret Islam and any religion in one dialect that allows freedom & equality for Women, drinking, dancing, and tolerance toward Jews & Christians; or stringent enough to support a dictatorship.

    It is not the issue of whether Mohammed would recognize Iran's interpretation of the faith but any modern interpretation of Islam. For instance, if the Prophet was alive today, I'm sure the Prophet would have a Twitter account with an abstract Portrait. The real question is would the Prophet support the use of Islam to crush a people so they may as well pray to Allah just to avoid being put to death by overzealous Morality Police? Or to not create art, or sing, or dance in joy for the lives they were given? Or to let the wealthy and powerful prey upon the poor in order to maintain an obscene economic disparity?

    That is the real issue with Iran. I suspect the Prophet would not like Iran's system of Gov't very much. Nor the Taliban.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • snowboarder

      an intersting thought.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Not every religion has violent teaching that have to be ignored. It really doesn't matter what nice things Mohammad had to say once he started advocating murder and other crimes. The Jains don't have this proplem of skeletons in their closet. Ethical Humanist also do not have this problem. So no, not every religion has passages that are evil.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  15. Seth Hill

    This is an interesting article. I'm curious: what did the prophet Mohammed say about pagan religions? Did he say to protect them also?

    February 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Ramez

      This article is filled with lies ... I'm arabic and I've read the quran .. I can pull up verses left and right that are straight forward ... KiLl all enemies of Allah !! And a enemie is defined as the unbelievers ! Those who do not believe in Allah .. Matter fact if u don't believe in Muhhamed in a islami state did you know your ordered to pay a tax to keep your dignity ? Actually u have none because the tafsir of the quran calls nonbeliever a sons of pigs

      February 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  16. rivercityrat

    We're talking about the mideast. The area isn't known for modern thinking.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • snowboarder

      unfortunately, in previous decades the middle east was as progressive as any part of the world, but the religious conservatives have taken over the governments and relegated them to the 14th century.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Ramez

      Islam has no modern thinking .. Matter of fact it still calls upon stoning of adultery ...

      February 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  17. peewee

    Shhh be quiet now, close your eyes, breathe deeply...Now imagine a world without judgement of others or yourselves, freedom from oppression thoughts, freedom to be who you want to be in this world, freedom to feel and express yourself the way that you want to not the way other's tell you, freedom to live your lives without fear or restriction, freedom to embrace in humanity and nature's bounty. Now, open your eyes...all better now?

    February 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • snowboarder

      unfortunately no. reality still persists.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • SFTony525

      "freedom to feel and express yourself the way that you want to not the way other's tell you"...Some serial killers feel that they are only 'expressing' themselves while carrying out their heinous deeds.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  18. Jay

    Mr. Rashid and I disagree on his prophet; we wholly agree that people of all faiths, and those who claim they are of no faith, must respect and work to preserve the rights of those with whom they disagree. We are free to persuade, but never to coerce, in matters of belief. Excellent piece, well worth the read.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  19. Nasr

    If the Ahmadiyyas are "not muslim" how come their practice is closer to what Muhammad did, than what other so-called muslims are doing? To compare Ahmadiyya with Mormons is a demonstration of profound ignorance. The Ahmadiyyas are the torch-bearers of the true Islam irrespective of the propaganda of the Mullahs and the attention-seeking anti-Islamic "imams". Isn't it true that Muhammad (pbuh) wrote and said what the Ahmadiya man attributed to him? Is Iran and others practising what the Holy Prophet preached or playing politics in the name of Islam?

    February 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Ramez

      When you say pbh ..do you mean peace be upon him? If so stop missleading peopl you lieing hypocrite .. The true word is allah Salah aleh ou salim !! Meaning: god prayed upping the prophet .. And a good proof of that is in your own quran when god ordered the Angels and himself to pray for muhhamed ... God prays ? TO MuHAmed ??? Don't you ever say peace be upon him that is not the correct translation !! .. You liar

      February 9, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Bhooshlong

      My friend Nasr !! why is that every time an Ahmadiyya person tries to defend Islam he has to bring up the name of the false prophet, Mirza? is the intention to defend Islam or Promot Ahmadiyya? How could anyone believe in a prophet that said he used to be visited by an angel named "Tichi Tichi"? Are you serious? We all know the muslim world is not a good representation of the Teaching of our beloved prophet, Mohammad, but to bring the name of Mirza, who was clearly a british agent, with endless false predictions that never came true. That man, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was questionable at best !!

      February 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ramez

      Ure beloveied prophet also loved Ayesha .. She was 9 years old when he was over 45 .. Go read your tafsirs

      February 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  20. DAT67

    What would Mohammed do? – kill the infidels!

    February 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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