August 22nd, 2010
11:16 PM ET

California school aims to be country's first accredited Muslim college

As controversy swirls around a proposed Islamic center near New York City's ground zero and a handful of other mosque projects around the country, students will arrive this week at a California school that is aiming to become the country's first accredited Muslim college.

Zaytuna College hopes to the train a generation of Islamic clerics and professionals in a Western Islamic tradition that school officials say is ill understood by many of the foreign-born imams currently working in the United States.

"There's a triumphalist view that's not conducive to the type of religion we need to see," said Hamza Yusuf, chairman of Zaytuna's trustees board, describing many foreign-born imams. "American Muslims can help change a lot of the Muslim world to create the potential for conviviality."

The school, located in Berkeley, will offer just two degrees - Arabic, and a combined Islamic law and theology major - when it opens its doors Monday to the 15 students in its first freshmen class. The class includes eight women and seven men.

But its leaders say they plan to expand to around 150 students in the school's first four years and that they want to eventually train young people for careers in U.S. law, journalism, academia, and other fields.

First year tuition is $11,000 plus room and board, according to the school.

The school has yet to generate much controversy, but Yusuf, a co-founder who is the public face of the school, said he expects such criticism will come.

"I think the American people that are criticizing the ground zero mosque... are also criticizing us," he told CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday. "It's par for the course right now. Islam is an acceptable target. To be prejudicial towards Islam is politically correct."

But experts on American Islam say that the strain of modernist, mystical Islam espoused by Yusuf, which draws on Sufi traditions, might be more controversial among conservative Muslims.

"The young look up to Hamza almost as a sort of pop star," said Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor who has just completed a nationwide study of Muslims in the America.

"But he has expressed discomfort with some of the things that immigrant Muslims do and say," Ahmed said, "and many of the literalists see people like him as compromised or as having crossed over."

Ahmed said the failure of many foreign-born imams to relate to a younger generation on issues such as drugs and sex has provoked some Muslim young people to seek guidance from radicals abroad, feeding the phenomenon of homegrown American terrorism.

Zaytuna's website echoes that concern.

"There are very few Muslim scholars who can meet the religious and pastoral needs of a rapidly expanding Muslim community in the West," the site says. "...much of our younger generation has become alienated from the mosque and from religious culture."

Yusuf said he expected some criticism from fellow Muslims. "This is a growing pain for our community but it's a step in the right direction," he said.

The school has operated for more than a decade as a seminary but is now seeking accreditation from respected higher education boards, including the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Though Zaytuna has received little attention outside the Muslim world, many American Muslims have been watching the project closely.

"It is hugely significant," said Eboo Patel, a prominent Muslim activist who focuses on youth organizing. "Part of what America is about is that people from diverse background build on traditions that are inspired by their heritage but that serve the common good, in the same way that Catholic universities or Jewish hospitals do."

"The big story right now is the integration of Muslims into America," he said, "and the establishment of Zaytuna is an important milestone in that arc."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Education • Islam • Muslim • United States

soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Prof Ramesh C. Manghirmalani, Geneva

    Lets us not make any assumptions, Muslim have equal right under constitution given by founding fathers. So what if the open university-Christians have it too .Let us not create lies or sarcasm against Muslims, Being Hindu from India , we should learn level of tolerance, love, peace and care.

    August 23, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  2. Smartone

    So now we are allowing terrorist training camps right here in the U.S. This is a sad day for america. Islam is evil, there only intent is to convert or kill those who won't. That is there only intent. If you think otherwise you are extremely stupid. We should not allow this to happen, and should tear it down. When are the liberal idiots going to figure this out and stop molley codling islam. I'll tell you when , when its too late, and there signing up to be islamic rather than get there head cut off. this should not happen, not in america. But the democrats/liberals are allowing it to happen to us all.

    August 23, 2010 at 6:03 am |
    • Duh

      Oh smartone, what a clever name. You're far from intelligent, you must be the stupid one to say that Islam is a religion with an intent on killing, honestly, only an idiot would say that. You have the internet, no scratch that it's already showing through your writing that the internet isn't doing you any help. You have books, pick up the Quran, read it with an open mind (that might be very difficult for someone like you) and maybe you might see what Islam is really about. It's people like you who latch on to the news and take in whatever bs the media is feeding you and feed your ignorance to the point where it's humorous.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:19 am |
  3. Emilio

    A world without religion is a sane world in which people can look at problems they face in a more rational, non-magical way. Instead of calling on an imaginary being for assistance, especially during times of crises, just take the rational steps that are in accord with your aims. Those whose "prayers" go unanswered when seeking magical outcomes should not then turn-around and blame their deity for not giving them their desires, after all these deities exist purely in the fertile imaginations of the delusional.

    August 23, 2010 at 5:53 am |
  4. Emilio

    Religions are just hierarchical structures designed to subjugate believers into doing the bidding of their betters.

    August 23, 2010 at 5:43 am |
  5. Emilio

    Why don't we just forget about all these so-called religions and concentrate on making the world a better place for all living things? The fact is that no one has the right to impose their beliefs upon another. By all means, let your beliefs be your own private affair contained within the temple of your soul, but please respect of sacredness of another soul whose belief system is their right.

    August 23, 2010 at 5:40 am |
  6. Omar

    Jesus was a humanist not a self righteous religious fanatic. The verse below tells what Jesus told the Jews in his time. You will find that Old Testament Judaism is identical to fanatical Islam. Muslims still do today what Jews did in Christ’s time. Christianity was a move forward and anti religious for its time. Jesus would be sick today if he knew Christians were using his name for prophet. PLEASE READ THE BELOW VERSE. THIS IS CHRISTIANITY NOT THE SAME AS OLD TESTAMENT JEW (MOSAIC)/MUSLIM (SHARIA) LAW.

    JOHN Chapter 8:3-11
    3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    August 23, 2010 at 4:23 am |
    • Concerned American

      You love everyone, but yet want us to hate disregard Jews and Muslims. You hardly sound like a follower of Jesus. But of course you will arrogantly boast how you are following his true teachings. You're arrogant.

      August 24, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  7. filmore

    triumphalist = excessive celebration of the defeat of one's enemies or opponents

    So, they didn't like the way foreign imams wanted to kill everyone so they're training their own imams to be happy. I find it interesting that over 50 percent of the students are female. Hopefully there is a 'protestant' type revolution in the religion that focuses less on hate.

    On a side note: America, please start taxing churches as the businesses they are.

    August 23, 2010 at 4:02 am |
  8. Hector

    We need John Wayne to come in here and kick their ass out. Can you imagine the peacefull world we would have without religion. We could concentrate on getting rid of dictators and war lords, we could feed and house the needy around the world. People don't need to be religious to be kind and I still believe that most people are good.

    We are not a world of nations, we are merely a world of tribes. Just like thousands of years ago. Instead of attacking the neibouring village we attack the neibouring country still for the same barbarick reasons of religion. Religion is becoming the most evil reason of conflict around the world. Look around, Bosnia, Ireland, Afghanistan, Pakistan, middle east, Israel, palatine and on, and on. Discusting.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:44 am |
    • Student on a Mission

      Hector, I love your thought process here. If you think about it, religion has sparked so many controversies throughtout the span of the human race. If we took out religion, the world would be lacking many issues. However, would we, as humans, ever be satisfied? Would we discover other reasons to fight and bicker? I love the idea, but wonder if it could truly work.

      September 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  9. Joe

    The thing that coach lew fails to understand is that Iran, Saudi Arabia all never claim to be country's that allow freedom of religion, where as we do.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:38 am |
  10. Raymond

    Hamza Yusuf is an amazing person and I encourage everyone to attend or watch his lectures on youtube.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:31 am |
    • Chopchopkillkill

      Isn't he the one who has the infomercials about those ginsu knives? Yea its amazing how they stay so sharp after all those heads he's chopped off with 'em!

      August 23, 2010 at 4:38 am |
    • Mahir

      Chopchopkillkill you are by far the most ignorant, uneducated person on this site! Go read something and stop listening to media! Read history and get educated you idiot.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:06 am |
    • whut


      if I'm not mistaken chopchopkillkill was lampooning Raymond's lame attempt at spam. I avoid stupid links and movieclips in a blog.

      You should too. That ring in your nose looks like a shiny booger to me.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  11. ybs

    All religions are one big pile of dung! Justifying eating it however you want, the putrid stench lingers!

    August 23, 2010 at 3:02 am |
  12. Coach Lew

    How about Mme starting a College teaching Christianity in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, China, or Iraq. How long do you think my school would last, 10 minutes or less. So why are we tolerating the teaching of Islam here in our country. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:53 am |
    • Kate

      Those countries don't have "FREEDOM of RELIGION"–one of the amazing and wonderful things we have in the U.S.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:12 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Is this a serious question, are you saying we should adopt the same laws as these other countries?

      August 23, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  13. mar chirol

    My my my what a great country we have, can I ask anyone a question, how many mosques do these people need, after this one, when is the next one going up... I heard new york has 220 mosques already, do they need one at every corner, wake up america and canada, we dont need an islamist state, remember bosnia...

    August 23, 2010 at 2:47 am |
    • Jacob Murphy

      Roughly one-tenth of the city is Muslim (800,000 residents). Christians number about six million.

      There are roughly 6000 Christian places of worship in the city – about one for every one thousand Christians.

      There are roughly 100 Muslim places of worship in the city – about one for every eight thousand Muslims.

      I think there's a bit of room for some more Islamic centers of worship.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:45 am |
    • IBRAHM

      That is the exact problem with people like you. How many churches do we need? There are about 8 within a mile radius from where I live. As for the mosques, any space where Muslims can pray gets classified as a mosque. I have one about 2 miles away in a basement of a shopping center. Barely 40 people can fit in that room but it is a mosque. Build bigger ones so all the small ones can be consolidated in them.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:49 am |
    • Mahir

      What about Bosnia? I'm Bosnian what exactly do you have to say about Bosnia?

      August 23, 2010 at 6:02 am |
    • Duh

      There are about ten churches in the area where I live, but it's funny how they parking lots are always empty whereas the mosques across the street from the churches are always full and people barely have room to pray let alone breathe, and parking is another issue in of itself. I rarely see anyone go to church, except for Sundays where it magically becomes overpopulated.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:25 am |
    • whut

      hmmm? Oh, that old argument. Killed by a horde of Starbucks, wasn't it? Do yo see a muslim under every bush?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:07 am |
    • David Johnson

      @mar chirol

      You said, "I heard new york has 220 mosques already, do they need one at every corner, wake up america and canada, we dont need an islamist state, remember bosnia..."

      In my state, we have a Circle K on every corner. So far we haven't become a convenience store state. My state is racist, but that's mainly because of the Republicans that are in office. LOL

      August 23, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • jay

      Well lets look at how many churches there are?

      You can't handle having more mosques? i am sick of all your hate, you ignorant retard. Why dont you pick up a book and read about Islam.

      August 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Concerned American

      Remember Bosnia? Wow.

      August 24, 2010 at 2:08 am |
  14. S. Ja'afar

    I have seen this movie or narrative espoused by so-called imam, Hamza Yusuf, it is called Euro-islam. No wonder he is a darling of the West and one time adviser to pres. Bush the 2nd. Thanks, but no thanks, I pass.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:25 am |
    • William D

      This is precisely why Hamza Yusuf is a good fit for the US – he teaches an Islam compatible with American and European culture, which some Muslims disapprove of. As Bob Dylan said " the time they are a changin. "

      August 23, 2010 at 6:36 am |
    • you're right

      You're right. His friendly version of Islam is bogus. This is exactly why he's so hated amongst the majority of the online Islamic community. See Youtube, yahoo answers, blogs about him written by other imams and on and on. Yusuf really sugarcoats Islam and he's doing a disservice to those who listen to him and believe his view represents the true Islam. It's sad such a poisonous religion has men like him to afford this smokescreen to have us believe Islam is peace. It's miles away from peaceful. It's no coincidence that Islam is all so often associated with terrorism. For all the good Muhammad did do, it will never make up for those he murdered, those of whom he issued assassinations of, the women he sent to their deaths, the heads he cut off, the caravans he raided and his shrew activities. His crimes were many. Just read the Hadith and Sunna from either denomination. From the most trusted Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim to Tahdhib al-Ahkam. It's all there and documented. Muhammad was crazy. I'm sorry Islam but you're not fooling us.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:40 am |
    • S. Ja'afar

      Good for the West and really bad for Hamza & his belief. Contrary to Dylan's, nothing will ever change since prophet Adam, disbelief and hypocrisy go hand in hand.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  15. wow...

    i thought america was built on freedom of religon and speech. one can practice any religon as they choose?
    we americans are worrying about our freedoms being takin away but what about the muslim amercans? just bc their muslim doesnt mean they arent americans. They deserve the same respect as you and me. Its like saying hey you cant build that cathloic/christian church by ground zero

    August 23, 2010 at 2:20 am |
    • hey smarty

      Hi there! Umm...I don't know where you're getting the impression that Muslims don't have rights. No one is saying they can't build there or worship whomever or however they wish. People just don't want them to build right there. They still have every right to build there though. No one is taking that away from them. Please familiarize yourself with the issues so you don't appear so foolish.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  16. Nsenga

    Folks, please do yourself a favor and read the Holy Quran and/ or Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources written by Marlin Lings http://www.amazon.com/Muhammad-Life-Based-Earliest-Sources/dp/0892811706

    Give yourself the opportunity to learn about Islam for yourself, and then you will get an idea about what an Islamic University would hope to teach. Be peaceful.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • hjc

      Thanks for the book recommendation. While I am not religious, I would like to know a little more about the basic tenets of Islam.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:26 am |
    • shawn

      I'm looking for a comprehensive reading about the prophet. Does anyone know if this is biased by any chance? Like does it include his assassination orders, beheadings, caravan raids/piracy etc. or does it hide/mask the very bad things he did?

      August 23, 2010 at 8:15 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "I'm looking for a comprehensive reading about the prophet. Does anyone know if this is biased by any chance? Like does it include his assassination orders, beheadings, caravan raids/piracy etc. or does it hide/mask the very bad things he did?"

      Bad things? You mean like the insane desert war god of the King James? LOL

      August 23, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • kulsoom

      I have read this book and would say that it has a devotional tone but is unapologetic- meaning, it does not attempt to be politically correct to suit modern sensibilities. Basically, it just uses the oldest sources to sketch out his life as early Muslims viewed it (hence the devotional tone and the lack of political correctness), so you'll read about everything from miracles to caravan raids to his family life to the wars in which he engaged. I would say it's worth reading.

      August 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  17. Caias Ward

    Reality, I feel dumber for reading what you have written. The time I took to read what you wrote are moments of my life I will never get back.

    And isn't the Bible the same inside and out the USA? Why do we have Roman Catholics, Westboro Baptist, Anglicans, Pentacostal, Greek Orthodox, and so on? Oh, wait, it's called different traditions and interpretations. And if they can build a moderate and accepting tradition of Islam at Zaytuna College, that would be great. Seton Hall and Kings College don't teach how to oppress homosexuals or reject science whole cloth, I don't expect to find bomb building at Zaytuna.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:07 am |
  18. Hector

    Religious cults are outlawed for various reasons, they restrict their followers the right of free speach, supress womans rights, brainwash their people, they commits acts of violence against their people, you know stupid things like stonning to death or purposely severing on'e spinal cord as a form of punishement. They arm themselves to mumders those that dont believe in their thoughts and following.

    I was talking about Rev. Jimmy Jones or Wacco in Waco but this sounds more like islam. AND YOU GAVE THEM A SCHOOL TO EDUCATE THEM IN THIS PROCESS. What the hell are you people thinking of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 23, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • me

      We should ban any religion that believes in ritually sacrificing virgins such as Christianity
      "At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, "If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
      "So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory. He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. "My daughter!" he cried out. "My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back." And she said, "Father, you have made a promise to the LORD. You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin." "You may go," Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah's daughter." (Judges 11:29-40 NLT)

      August 23, 2010 at 2:35 am |
    • Lily

      Cults are not illegal in the US in & of themselves. When they break laws, leaders and members can be prosecuted for those crimes, not for operating or belonging to a cult.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • Hector

      Lily, I agree, but what I said was cults are outlawed for reasons, and maiming and killing people in the name of Mahammed or Allah is illegal in this crountry. Belonging to a group that wants to overtrow our goverment bacause their holly book says that success of their religion is to impose sharia law is wrong and any other such group would be thrown in jail.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:24 am |
    • AAO

      Mr. ME, please stop using old testament allusions, not even Jews find them relevant to modern society

      August 23, 2010 at 4:12 am |
    • Jdhaus28982

      Hector, you really need to educate yourself.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:17 am |
    • Jdhaus28982

      AAO, why should ME do that? People like Hector take the Koran out of context in the exact same manner to declare Islam a religion of hate and violence. If you read BOTH the Bible and Koran in by their literal meanings, then they are BOTH books that promote violence, hate and division. You can't have it both ways, and claim that the Bible is being taken out of context by doing that but that Islam is still a book of hate. It's a revolting double standard.

      If Islam is a book of hate and violence due to the actions of 19 people 9 years ago, then the Bible is a book of violence and hate due to the actions of Timothy McVeigh, KJm Jones, and David Koresh.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:26 am |
    • Jdhaus28982

      AAO, why shouldn't ME do that? People like Hector take the Koran out of context in the exact same manner to declare Islam a religion of hate and violence. If you read BOTH the Bible and Koran in by their literal meanings, then they are BOTH books that promote violence, hate and division. You can't have it both ways, and claim that the Bible is being taken out of context by doing that but that Islam is still a book of hate. It's a revolting double standard.

      If Islam is a book of hate and violence due to the actions of 19 people 9 years ago, then the Bible is a book of violence and hate due to the actions of Timothy McVeigh, Jim Jones, and David Koresh.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:27 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "We should ban any religion that believes in ritually sacrificing virgins such as Christianity"

      Christians haven't sacrificed virgins since the '60s. With the invention of the pill, virgins became scarce.

      Lambs were substituted in about 1962. This also failed, when it was discovered there were no virgin sheep in the bible belt. *sigh*

      August 23, 2010 at 10:03 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "We should ban any religion that believes in ritually sacrificing virgins such as Christianity"

      Christians haven't sacrificed virgins since the '60s. With the invention of the pill, virgins became scarce.

      August 23, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  19. jo an

    I would say the same to them that I say to Franklin Graham...WE ARE ONE...The same sun shines on all of us...when are we going to concentrate on what unites us? There is as much 'hate' in the Christian Bible as there is in the Koran...Look at history..Christians have killed many as have Muslims. Take a look at what Jews are doing in Palestine. No religion has a 'corner' on hate...I will work to be a bridge. I don't believe FUNDAMENTALISTS in any of the religions. Now is the time for the spiritual people to lead the way and ask the religions to stay in their 'temples'...LET THE SUNSHINE IN....

    August 23, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • Josh in NC

      The only hate in the Bible is is God's hate for sin..He wants nothing but for us to come to Him and believe and trust in Him and live according to his word!Wake up WORLD!!!Times are getting worse!!!!Take a look at how much, especially in America has changed in 30, 40, 50, years...when families went to church and feared God and families weren't as broken as they are now.......Sin is taking over rapidly and people are blind to the truth!There is only one true God!!!And he will place judgment on this Earth and every single person in it!!!The end times are near!!The Bible speaks of it plainly!!!Nation will rise up against nation...famine...war...disease...pestillence....Look at all the natural disasters!! Powerful !Earthquakes!!!Hurricane Katrina!Home of Mardi Gras ( A huge sinful abomination city!) God is angry with the wicked everyday!!!People need to WAKE UP!!!

      August 23, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • me

      The Christian bible commands us to kill all non-believers.
      "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

      August 23, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • AAO

      Your so right Josh from NC, God only hates sin. But wait, didn't God make a promise to world after he flooded it to never do it again? Wasn't that the whole purpose of Jesus, so we wouldn't die an eternal death? Tone down the whole God wrath man, because as history shows us accurately is that shit happens in life. Paul believe Jesus was coming back at that time, during the dark ages people believe God was coming, a hundred years ago people believe they were at the end of days. As I recall the bible says no human is perfect and that the wage of sin is death, so Josh you should be dead because your sinful. But Jesus ate with sinners, and he told us to LOVE our neighbor, not condemn yo death because we don't understand their life style. Stop being a hypocrite and self righteous christian and learn to love your neighbor.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:09 am |
    • Omar

      ME would you stop linking "CHRISTIANITY" with Old Testament Jewish law. You are correct in that the sick inhuman stuff done in the name of God by Jews is in the Christian Bible it was put there by the Roman government of the time. It has nothing to do with what CHRIST taught his followers. Read some of the "REAL" teachings of Christ. Don’t quote the Jewish bible and label it Christian as the Torah or (the books of Moses) go hand in hand with radical Islam.

      Christ commanded his followers to love all mankind as if they were neighbors.
      Here are some key Scriptures (Bible verses) on loving your enemies:

      A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).

      But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

      Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

      We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).

      Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

      Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

      Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (1 John 2:9-10).

      August 23, 2010 at 4:41 am |
    • Disgraced

      Wasn't it the christians who brought down the Roman Empire....talk about setting humanity back several hundred years, we'd be settling on Mars by now and much more advanced than we are today. Only in America can religion mean more than a college education.

      August 23, 2010 at 7:22 am |
    • Jim

      So, Omar...you are saying we all should ignore what is in the Old Testament. Guess the things it says are inconvenient for you. Contrary to what you claim, the Old Testament was NOT put there by the Roman government of the time; it was the Christian Church that made the decision as to which religious writings were to be included in the Bible.

      And as much as I would love to ignore the Old Testament (and all religious books), the unfortunate truth is that the Old Testament has consistently been used by Christians throughout the ages to justify all sorts of atrocities, from the Crusades to the Witch Hunts to slavery, and even today is used by Christians to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians.

      The "Holy" Bible is indeed an evil book. It contains justification for genocide, even, when the Lord commands entire peoples be wiped out.

      August 23, 2010 at 7:32 am |
    • American Patriot

      The sun shines on a dogs a– as well, does that make it good.

      They will come for you

      August 23, 2010 at 7:34 am |
    • asher

      Man, I gotta move out of NC... :/

      August 23, 2010 at 7:34 am |
    • PEACE TV

      Omar and Josh in NY by blaming Christian violence on Jewish Bible, you can not change the history of Christianity. watch "The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross" made by Christians themselves. Barbaric acts committed by crusaders in the name of Christianity while answering Pops call to carry the cross, puts even Barbarians to shame. Muslims, Jews and even Christians were brutalized on the commands of the Pope in the name of the Christianity.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:02 am |
    • Reality

      The Old Testament has been rewritten by the rabbis of the 1.5 million Con-servative Jews in the USA. Abraham and Moses are listed as myths in this New Tor-ah for Modern Minds.

      The Age of En-lighten-ment has been with us since the likes of Albert Sch-weitzer began to evaluate the historical Jesus in the 1800's and early 1900's. What has been determined from exhaustive analyses of the known scriptural and non-scriptural documents from the first to third century CE is that Jesus was not deity but a simple preacher man embellished by the likes of Paul et al into some kind of mes-siah.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:31 am |
    • Reality

      The Old Testament has been rewritten by the r-abbis of the 1.5 million Con-servative Jews in the USA. Abraham and Moses are listed as myths in this New Tor-ah for Modern Minds.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:33 am |
    • David Johnson

      I agree with you. If people must have a god, let's have only one god. This god will love us, without conditions. Cheers!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Josh in NC

      We have always had natural disasters. We always will. If science can get a handle on predicting earthquakes etc., we will save lives. God doesn't cause these disasters.

      Every generation, for the last 2000 years, has believed Jesus was coming back in their lifetime. They saw the signs, they did the math. Even Jesus thought he would be back by supper.

      Stop using caps. It's dumb. Cheers!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • David Johnson


      I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!

      Rev. Jerry Falwell in "America Can Be Saved," Sword of the Lord, 1979, p.52

      August 23, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Sydney Australia

      Deuteronomy 13:13-19: that is old testament, the church doesn't teach that people following false Gods should be put to death, or committing any sin should be put to death.
      That's not the message of redemption.
      Under the old covenant the sovereign God saw fit to give just punishment to such offenses.

      It is the new Testament that is taught in church's today. That is the story of redemption and peace. The Christian Bible has evolved using the birth of Jesus. The Koran is still a bloody conquest manual. To those of you who argue the Christian religion is still as bloody and intolerant as Islam – you are not telling the truth. To the idiot who claims they are going to a Catholic University and all their classes are on how to kill witches.... you are a troll.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • I Yusuf

      Jo, you did make your point with all the passion of a typical preacher. However you forgot that the SUN "did shine" in the last century.. well, almost, and still we had two major world wars, the holocaust, the invention of WMDs, etc. More than hundred million people were killed as a result. Only a small fraction of the 20th century wars could be classified as "religious wars" proper. Perhaps we should come out of our "enlightened" caves and take a look at history then may be we could see things in thier proper perspective.

      September 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  20. Reality

    "Zaytuna College hopes to the train a generation of Islamic clerics and professionals in a Western Islamic tradition that school officials say is ill understood by many of the foreign-born imams currently working in the United States."

    Hmmm, is not the koran the same all inside and outside the USA? And does not this operating manual of terror and horror dictate male Muslim control of the world by any means? So exactly what are they going to teach at Zaytuna College? Bomb building, explosive construction, remote control devices, all in the name of Allah ?

    August 22, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Reality

      1) Islam is the religion of peace as its very name can be translated to and the Quran (not Koran) is a book that preaches peace, tolerance and the worship of One God! This can be examined in the life of Prophet Muhammad and the early Muslim Civilization which flourished in its Golden age while the western world was in the midst of its Dark ages.
      2) this Quote your referring to is speaking to the adaptability of Islamic values and teaching to all social environments, cultures and places. You can be a Muslim in America and many of the virtues of which this county was built upon are shared with Islam.. A proof of his is the bill of rights which was written in the example of the Medinan Constitution which prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself developed when he was in the City of Medina. Also its a well known FACT that Tomas Jefferson had a copy of Muhammad 'bill of rights' and used it as a blueprint to create the American Bill of Rights.
      3) You have a lot of misconception that you should address by doing some unbiased research about a topic you are obviously ignorant about. You never judge an idology based on the actions of some people.. think of what Christianity would be if its long and bloody history was used to define its beliefs.

      August 23, 2010 at 12:23 am |
    • DarkLogic

      Yes, the Koran is the same. No, it is *not* a "manual of terror". A few extremists building bombs and attacking civilians in the name of a religion doesn't mean that everyone is the same. So please, get your facts straight before posting your stereotypes.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:08 am |
    • Deen

      Hey Reality if your comment reflects your intelligence then you should agree with this statement – Catholic Churches only teach how to molest little boys and every "Father" should be a registered sex offender.

      Stop watching Fox News and learn the truth!

      August 23, 2010 at 2:21 am |
    • Hector

      Dark Logic, does the Koran and the book of Mohammed not claim that islam can only succeed under sharia law, yes or no.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:21 am |
      • Donavon

        Hector, you seem to be a bit confused about what the Koran actually says. Perhaps you should read it before making assumptions as to its contents.

        August 23, 2010 at 5:05 am |
    • mlichti

      The Christian bible is also interpreted the same way in modern America as it was in the dark ages. I go to a Catholic University and all of my classes are on how to burn witches and stone adulterers.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:23 am |
      • Hector

        But we civilised people abandoned does archaic nonsence hundreds of years ago, how can you compare todays christians to a scociety that wanted to stone a woman to death two weeks ago, two weeks ago. What school do you really go to and are you really a christian ?

        August 23, 2010 at 2:26 am |
      • spado

        That's a flat out lie or sarcasm. The Bible talk over and over again about love and forgiveness, freewill, faith in God, loving one's enemies, God' love for us as a father loves a child or a shepherd loves his sheep. The Bible says that the meek shall inherit the earth and the the "most shall be the least and the least shall be the most". Anyone who actually reads the words of Jesus cannot help but see the goodness in them and the value in any human being who would hope to emulate what he taught.

        August 23, 2010 at 3:00 am |
        • Jess

          Sorry, Spado. I'm not sure we've read the same biblical stories... either that or you're cherry-picking out the bad stuff and replacing them all with love and forgiveness. Sure, Jesus (if he existed and if what was recorded is true) did have some nice ideals. However, this is also the same person that said: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me" — Luke 19:27. Sounds like a super guy to me.

          August 23, 2010 at 6:19 am |
        • Omar

          Jess, you quoted Jesus telling a parable not giving a commandment. By taking the words out of context you have misled the ignorant. Now some poor uneducated person may think that what you quoted was Jesus message. Grow up man. Jesus was both anti religion and anti violence in general. He only preached letting God judge not man or even his disciples. The following describes what he did when he knew he was going to be executed.

          Luke 22:49 When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
          51But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

          August 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
      • hjc


        August 23, 2010 at 3:27 am |
      • Percy

        You must be sleeping in class and having bad dreams.

        August 23, 2010 at 3:44 am |
    • Reality

      Just some of the passages in the Zaytuna College teaching manual called the koran that give credence to Allah-approved Islamic terror:

      Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. – Sura 2:98

      Unbelievers are the curse of Allah. – Sura 2:161

      Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. – 2:191

      Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. – Sura 2:193 and 8:39

      August 23, 2010 at 8:17 am |
    • Reality

      Close inspection of Luke 22:49 – 51 by most contemporary historical Jesus exegetes resulted in the findings that said passages were not historic but were added by the non-witnesses Luke, Mark, Matthew and John to enhance the crucifixion story. Some of these exegetes: Crossan, Borg, Funk, Vermes, Mack, Doherty, Ehrman, Eisenman, , Ludemann, Macoby, Sanders, Freke and Gandy, Horsley, Johnson, Strauss, Reimarus, Holtzmann, Bultmann, Kasemann, Robinson and Schweitzer)

      August 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
1 2 3
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.