May 21st, 2010
03:39 PM ET

Crash course in Islam from Miss USA

Who would have guessed that Americans would be receiving a crash course in Islam from Miss USA?

A lot of what Rima Fakih, who was crowned on Sunday, has to say about her faith counters stereotypes about Muslims. Check out what she told CNN's Octavia Nasr last night about her faith:

Fakih: During my time in Lebanon, we did not live in Southern Lebanon, we lived in the mountain area of Lebanon, which is predominantly Christian-base. That was a safe area of course because of the war and also because of the fact that the majority of my family is diverse, it’s both Muslim and Christian.

CNN: So, you represent even more than the Muslim Americans, is that how you feel?

Fakih: I feel more Arab-American is the more correct name

CNN: With no religion attached?

Fakih: Religion does not identify me, I would like to say that. My family is more of a spiritual family rather than religious. We’ve never been religious, we’ve been never known to be religious, and on top of everything, we celebrate Christmas, I went to a Christian high school. We are Muslim, however, we appreciate and admire all faiths.

The takeaway: not all Muslims define themselves by their faith - some have mixed religion families and even celebrate Christmas. Has Donald Trump done more for mainstreaming American Islam than anyone in recent memory?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Alejandro

    I don't know what is the big issue here. A lot of self-defined Christian women wear bikini and participate in beauty pageants. Conservative Christianism is not different from other religions on this matter. Why conservative Christianism of Carrie Prejean was not a problem for anybody when she decide to contest as Miss California and Miss USA on 2009 but moderate Islamism of Rima Fakih causes so big dicussion on 2010? In every cultural or ethnic group there's always people more strict or fanatic that others. The problem is that we get the image of the group from the people who makes more scandal (usually, fanatics), and not the wholle picture.
    By the way, it was very unjust what happened to Prejean. But that's another case.

    August 25, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  2. cajun man

    Yall ever herd of te name secular muslim?
    We all shoud be grateful that the moslem girl wore tat bikini
    It shows thr islam itself, it shows that not all moslm wear ninja clothes, shouting alakbar and planning to blow everonne up!
    To moslem, please don't condemn her, she is just movin on, she aint no in middle east no more, she's young and she has ambition.
    Ans she's smokin'

    August 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  3. USA

    She is who she is....A young woman who appears to be open minded and proud to be American. I am baffled by the ignorant comments posted by some of you .... Its like you guys are flipping out because she does not conform to popular beliefs of Muslims. If you want to hate on someone, dont hate on a woman.. especially a young girl. Hate on someone your own size. Grow a pair, huh !

    May 28, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  4. Bob

    It saddens me that she does not concider herself an American but a Hyphenated American.

    May 28, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  5. LB Colorado

    Miss "America" my foot. Arabs ARE NOT AMERICANS, no matter how you slice it. Mr. Trump, you should probably go where your heart is. Making way for "muslims" should be done in their own land.

    May 28, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • antarctica

      I bet you are a native American, therefore, you call yourself a true American. Or, are you a descendant of the people who started to invade America starting from 1492 and killed millions of indigenous people to own their land and resources? I really wonder your reply.

      June 13, 2010 at 4:05 am |
  6. Ben Cooper

    Hey! Here's more evidence of this peaceful religion we all know and care about so much!

    LAHORE, Pakistan

    LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Suspected Islamist militants attacked two mosques packed with hundreds of worshippers from a minority sect in eastern Pakistan on Friday, laying siege to one center in a standoff with police, officials and witnesses said. More than 70 people died, and dozens were wounded.

    Isn't that great? And I'll bet those lovely Islamic murderers kissed every bullet before they opend fire because this is a religion of love! What a bunch of animals. Firing on unarmed civilians. Reminds me of the others in Pakistan that threw hand grenades into a Christian church to again show their love and tolerance of others' beliefs. Yessiree, that Mohammed is certainly someone to look up to...a crazed power-hungry lunatic whose laughable and deluded claims and writings have created some of the greatest mass murders in history. Islam! The religion of peace! Uh...pass the plastic explosive, please.

    May 28, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  7. chuky

    You have have it all wrong. religion is nothing but insurance policy against hell. everybody wants to go to haven ..we humans have the most ridiculous belives. the prove is that there are hundres of religions ..all claiming to have a direct passage to haven. of course, you most be willing to demonise, hate , and kill all that don't agree with your views. miss America seems to be a dull person but its not. we can see the lack of commitment to a religion. that itself gives me a indication that she is not so sure about the "truth" of Islam or any other religion. lets not critize or demonize this woman because she is beautiful and doesn't belive on a bunch of lies that millions of people buy every day. better... enjoy her beauty and pray you look or marry someone like her

    May 28, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  8. James

    If she goes to Iran, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, they will stone her or rape her and give her 200 lashes for baring her body.

    May 28, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  9. JetsFan

    I am surprised that no fatwas have been issued as yet about this beauty contest being un-islamic. The fatwas will start in a day or two 🙂

    May 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  10. Gene

    Crash course in, like, whatever, from Miss USA.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  11. ray

    her statements are full of contraditions and plain stupid. one can understand and appreciate other religions, but a faith does DEFINE who a person is. she is essentially saying that she's just confused – DUH, a muslim girl does not strut her 'ass'ets and show half boobies, she is a disgrace.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  12. Ed

    My mother was Christian and my father was Jewish. There are a lot of families with religious mixtures and the religious beliefs become "blended." She may sound confusing to some, but I can relate to her because I was raised in the same kind of family including the extended family. Religion is not all or nothing. It like living in a home with a republican and democrat. You see individuals that see the same things differently.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  13. robli143

    How is this a crash course in Islam? It isn't even a crash course in Miss America's beliefs – going to a Christian school or giving gifts at Christmas doesn't mean her faith is dual. Does she believe anything from Islam? Christianity?

    May 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  14. OmegaMann

    Another hand out to minorities... say hello to jihad jane...

    May 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • watchwhatyousay

      First of all, the person or persons who invented the word "minority" must have been drunk or on drugs, because there is nothing "minor" about human beings. Stop being so prejudiced. It's not gonna get you anywhere in life.

      May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • XPATKW

      ohh Jeese, give it a rest..please!

      May 28, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  15. Frank

    Thats good – it would be a shame if someone as beautiful as her blew herself up for that horrible religion.

    May 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jim

      Which religion are you talking about 😉

      May 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  16. Huh...

    Each article I read in the "Belief Blog" is not impressive. CNN is not equipped with writers who can handle actual belief matters. I honestly don't feel moved to have a deep discussion about Miss USA's perspective.

    May 27, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  17. Kurt

    Someone said 'it sounds like shes secular'. I'd agree in part. To me, she sounds confused. Having 'faith' in a belief system, whether it be Islam or Christianity, etc. has never been comprised of a little of 'this', a little of 'that'. Even more important is the fact that the blending of the Christian faith, when practiced correctly and the Muslim faith, when practiced correctly, can never be. Although throughout history, the Christian faith has been scarred, probably more so by the Catholic church, than any other faith due to the ignorance of the people in blindly following the Pope and his edicts. Not many people know that at the time, most could not read. Those that could read did not have access to the Bible to compare what the Pope/King was telling them to do (go to distant lands and if they don't convert, kill them more or less). When the bible was first opened to the public, there was one copy and people would wait for days in line to read it. Their hunger for a God they knew deep down inside was there all the time, and their desire for Him in their lives made them easy fodder for the evil will of the Roman Catholic church. Today, that ignorance has been removed. You won't find true, Bible believing Christians mounting horses and spearing those that don't want Jesus. If they follow Christ, their only reaction to resistance will be praying for that person. The muslim faith? Resistance to conversion more or less follows the same tactics the crusades followed...yield or die. These two faiths in the same family only tells me there is no real 'faith' there at all. I believe based on what Miss A. has said is that they basically have remnants from both faiths lingering in their family and noone cares to follow either with any real desire.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:02 am |
    • Stan

      "Even more important is the fact that the blending of the Christian faith, when practiced correctly and the Muslim faith, when practiced correctly, can never be."

      So how exactly does one go about practicing the Christian faith (or the Muslim faith for that matter) "correctly", Kurt? I'd love to hear from you since you obviously have the definitive answer on this that humankind has not been able to discern with any sort of agreement over the last 2000 years.

      May 28, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  18. AJ

    Hmm...the white kind. Reading this reminded me of the movie "Search for the Holy Grail" you know, the part where they say..."What have the Romans done for us?" "You mean besides the roads, the aqueducts,, the laws......." Look genius, all cultures have done harm to others. The flip side of this is what have cultures done for others? Hmmm...usually killed the one next to them. Or enslaved them. Out of all the culutures you might find that, on a whole, the USA has done more to promote stability. Not perferct, that is for sure, but no where near what others have and are doing now.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  19. Skeetmi

    Slavery started in the African and Arabian part of the world. It was used by many tribes, kingdoms and nations throughout history. These tribes had varying skin type but all most assuredly it started with the darker skin tones, since that is where man kind came from............

    May 27, 2010 at 6:00 am |
  20. IlyaKralinsky

    Where's the rest of the article? Did I miss something? Is that it? I remember when Miss USA used to be televised, Miss America used to be televised, people thought it was some kind of big deal - now it's a footnote even on a slow news week. Who gives a damn? These gals are such practiced carbon copies that they've now simply begun choosing them based on the controversy they can generate. Another who cares - next!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:39 am |
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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.