'Adopt a terrorist for prayer,' site urges
Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is among the people listed on the website for prayer 'adoption.'
February 25th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

'Adopt a terrorist for prayer,' site urges

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

Could you pray for people who planned bombings, carried out shootings and terrorized civilians? A movement in the U.S. is asking Christians to do just that.

At atfp.org, Christians are asked to “adopt a terrorist for prayer.” A quote from the Bible on the site urges visitors to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

"Where is the Christian response to terrorism?" the site says. "If the struggle against violence done in the name of Islam is primarily spiritual, then defeating it requires a spiritual response."

Adopt a Terrorist For Prayer (ATFP) spokesman Thomas Bruce tells CNN the site's main goals are to teach people how to pray for their enemies and to spiritually reform the terrorists.

The site was launched in 2008, with the interactive adoption feature being added in 2009. Bruce says 603 people have registered to prayerfully adopt a terrorist.

While the idea of praying for your foes isn’t new, Bruce says his team created the site in hopes of transforming the war against terrorists.

“We’ve been fighting this for about 10 years with material means, and it hasn’t really changed the nature of it,” Bruce says. “By bringing spiritual perspective to it, and as the Lord answers some of those prayers, it could and should hopefully have a profound change on the viciousness of the conflict we’re in.”

The ATFP site lists 165 people available for “adoption,” most of whom are designated by the FBI and State Department as terrorists or sponsors of terrorism. Just sign up, scroll through the list and choose which individual you’d like to pledge to transform through prayer. CNN could not verify the authenticity of all the names listed on the ATFP site.

Some terrorists have more sponsors than others. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been adopted by 13 people, while Detroit underwear bombing suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab has just eight. All of the people listed have ties to Islam.

We ask Bruce why that’s the case. He says while he’s considered adding Christian or even eco terrorists to the list, they “aren’t a big threat to national security, our way of life, or our freedom. We should pray for them too, but the movement doesn’t threaten existentially our existence the same way the Islamic terrorists do.”

Bruce has been intimately involved in the conflicts of the past decade. While he was toying with the idea of the site a few years ago, he was called up as a U.S. military reservist. His passions collided when he was sent to northern Iraq to work for one year as a chaplain.

“It’s really important to service personnel to do their service for their country without dehumanizing the people who are trying to hurt their country,” Bruce says. The perspective Jesus brings, he says, can help soldiers deal with the enemy with dignity and treat them as fellow human beings.

And that’s the thought that carries over to his work with ATFP. “Even once someone is captured, they might not be a threat nationally any longer but they still have value to God, and we’d still like to see them changed,” he says.

But ATFP has its critics. Some people say terrorists don’t deserve their prayers, and others just mock the idea.

“I think the ridicule comes from people who don’t believe that spiritual things are valid, and prayer is a valid way to address problems,” Bruce says of critics.

The former military chaplain says he would like to see groups in other nations start similar initiatives, but that for now he just hopes this movement spreads throughout the United States.

“It’s not just the terrorists who are in bondage to an evil system. Christians can be in bondage to an evil system, too," he says. "Part of the struggle is to be liberated from that evil system, and that’s what we believe Jesus Christ helps us to do.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief • Christianity • Terrorism • Violence

soundoff (688 Responses)
  1. Erick

    All religions are different paths that lead to the same place.

    February 26, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Muneef


      All religions are different paths that lead to the same place.

      Well yes they lead to the same place but towards different directions (Three Diections);

      Al-Fatiha sura 01:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful (1)
      Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, (2) The Beneficent, the Merciful. (3) Owner of the Day of Judgment, (4) Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. (5) Show us the straight path, (6) The path of those whom Thou hast favoured. Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. (7)

      -Path of favored.
      -Path of thine anger.
      -Path of Stray.

      February 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And that place is Nowhere, and/or back to a more primitive time when men and the charlatans ran things...

      February 26, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Muneef


      So now you are a fortune teller? Or Prophesier as Nostradamus?

      February 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • HotAirAce


      Or a fake prophet like mohamed, and in anticipation of your probable response, yes, like jesus christ and all the other alleged religious prophets you care to deflect to.

      February 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Muneef


      It is your life and you may screw it up as you wish but don't stand against the door of others finding their right paths unless you are a tool of Satan and doing as he promised God he would do to mislead the sons of Adam as he mislead him before...after all Satan was created from the fire of poisons and you seem as well hot and poisonous ?!

      February 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      It seems that an inability to read, comprehend and remember go hand-in-hand with child abuse – you know, of those 10+ year old "ripe" girls that islam says it's OK to marry off... By I digress...

      There are no gods, not even just one, no satan either. No angels, fairies, pink unicorns, santa claus or easter bunny (with apologies to the concepts of fairies, pink unicorns, santa claus and the easter bunny 'cause they at least appear to hold to "do no harm").

      February 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Muneef


      Haha you make me laugh!! Who in the world is capable up to that level to say so that "There is no God" ??
      God said in the holy books that he is here and that he hears,sees and all knower then that is enough for us Muslims and true believers to believe, only those with fake and faint belief would love to believe you or any ignorant that claims no existence to God Allah....
      Poor guy feel sorry for your loss...if do not read more and judge for your self rather than dragged by the wave of disbelieve.


      February 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  2. Walk_D_Plank

    .....adopt who? Wishful thinking you idiots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2011 at 3:41 am |
  3. hope

    My wish for 2011 is that all religions will go the way of the Greek myths and take their Gods with them. Admittedly, that's only wishful thinking for 2011, but it will happen. As each generation passes, a smaller percentage of the youth are infected by religion. Our grandchildren's grandchildren will start to see a true age a reason emerge. Their grandchildren will begin to see the positive changes in a world free of religion. And their grandchildren will live in peace and view religion in the same realm as slavery and other evils of past generations. There was a time when religion had a place in a barbaric society, to keep calm the mobs which are part of humanity when reason is absent. Our job as parents is to keep our kids in school. Education is the best path to insure a religion free world. A 95% college graduation rate for our youth (around the world) will in itself free the world from the 'divide, sort, break' which is at the heart of religion. Next Sunday pass on church and donate you time and money too your local university.

    February 26, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • The Truth

      ***@hope: My wish for 2011 is that all religions will go the way of the Greek myths and take their Gods with them. Admittedly, that's only wishful thinking for 2011, but it will happen. As each generation passes, a smaller percentage of the youth are infected by religion. Our grandchildren's grandchildren will start to see a true age a reason emerge.***

      Yep, yep, yep. The ultimate irony is that these people who are so desperately clinging onto antiquated beliefs, will be in the minority. When I talk to the intolerant on issues such as gay marriage, I get to tell them:

      >>And do you want to know the best part of it all? The best part is that in the end (pun intended), no matter how hard the gay haters fight, I along with the other Patriots on here fighting for equality for all Americans, will still be on the winning side. And do you know why that is? It is because the older, less tolerant generations will die off and the new younger generations who display far more tolerance and education will gain voting clout and gays will be able to actively serve in our military openly along with being allowed to marry legally. So those xenophobes are just fighting a losing battle. These would be the exact same xenophobic people which had they lived back during the Civil Rights movement, would have insisted that society would collapse if blacks and white shared the same drinking fountains, bathrooms, hotels, restaurants, etc. So best of luck to all of you on the other side and make sure to enjoy the moment when ho-mose-xuals get the rights described above (military and marriage) sometime within the next decade... I know those of us fighting on behalf of equal rights will be enjoying the last laugh.<<

      The same is true for many items like this. In the case of religion, the biggest change is the Internet. No longer can Churches brainwash people with such ease as our youth now have a wealth of information at their fingertips. When they compare the various religions of the world side by side, the ridiculous nature of all the organized religions will become apparent.

      ***Next Sunday pass on church and donate you time and money too your local university.***

      LOL... wouldn't that be nice? If I may, I'll suggest an alternative: Next Sunday pass on church and enroll at your local university.

      Outstanding post hope!


      February 26, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  4. hombre8

    It's already been proven that prayer has no positive effect whatsoever. It's BECAUSE of religion that these terrorists are doing what they're doing.

    February 26, 2011 at 3:01 am |
  5. SatanSlayer

    May the poison that has filed the hearts and minds of those who blindly follow those who would claim to kill another human being in the name of God be spilled back to the hell it came from. For those who lead the poisoned ones, the voices heard are not that of God but only their own voices reflected in their temporal lobes. God is not speaking to them, because they are not listening. God let the, find the wisdom to recognise your voice, and listen carefully to your words. All humans are created equal. Amen.

    February 26, 2011 at 2:13 am |
  6. Muhammed

    Well, I decided to use this site and pray for G.W.Bush and Dick Cheney, but I couldn't find them on the list. Are they so hopeless they haven't even put them on the site!

    February 26, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  7. Khalid

    The idea of doing prayers for even bad people isn't wrong. However, this site seems to be a propaganda site as they ignore those who belong to some faith other than Islam and have committed terror. They are looking for some cheap publicity. I would like to include them in their own list of the ones who need prayers. So, please "adopt" this site for prayer also.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  8. squid757

    I believe in the US Navy's brand of ATFP: Anti-Terrorism Force Protection. We need to stop being politically correct and stop treating terrorists with kid gloves. Part of the problem and reason terrorists are able to dupe young men into doing the atrocious acts of violence against innocent civilians they're able to is religion. Society needs to start teaching people to view death as an inevitable end to life and stop trying to soothe the masses with the opiate of religion. Stop the BS fairy tales and stop trying to convert people to your religion or get them to pray for these animals. All the dumb things terrorists do should just shed a light on all the analagous things religious people in our country do.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  9. Robert

    Let's stop with the hating, and start with the loving.

    If we would practice the simple rule of "doing to others what we would want them to do to us", we would be tolerant and nice and good neighbors, good friends, good human beings.

    Religions are 90% the same, so let's find what we agree on:
    – We shouldn't murder
    – We shouldn't steal
    – We should be kind to other people
    – We shouldn't covet what other people have
    – We should be faithful to our spouses
    – We should love and honor our families
    – We should be honest and tell the truth
    – We should honor God (whatever we believe him or her to be)

    So let's find the common ground, be tolerant and respectful, and stop the hateful talk and the killing.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • HotAirAce

      All good, even to this atheist, except the last. But in the spirit of progress, I could agree to honoring god(s) to the same extent we honor santa claus, the easter bunny, etc, etc.

      February 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  10. Chamin

    Given thw Christian response to innocent people such as Gays, girls who need an abortion, children who visit churches, etc, I am scared to imagine the response to terrorists.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Out of the approx 4000 abortions each day, exactly how many are "needed"?

      February 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Walk_D_Plank


      February 26, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Lily

      @Steve: Out of those 4000 a day, how many are your business? Zero.

      February 26, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      @Steve: Out of those 4000 a day, how many are your business? Zero.
      Sorry that you are wrong. It is my business because:
      1. Planned Parenthood is government funded as in my tax dollars!
      2. Innocent humans are dying
      3. God cares about it!
      4. Understand now how it is my business?
      1. nnso

      February 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Steve (the unreal one)

      Most abortions are for believers. If your tribe merely lived according to your rules, the number of abortions would be dramatically reduced. With respect to taxes, anyone can find something they don't think their taxes should be used for, and if everyone "opted out" the us government would grind to a halt. It's called give and take. Me, I don't think *any* branch of government should pay for *anything* related to religion (no chaplains anywhere, for example) but am willing to let that go for other things (better medical care, for example). Finally, any time someone says something like "the law should say ... because my tribe's shaman says so" they are wrong – wrong because they are trying impose their myths on others, and wrong because there are no gods!

      February 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Reality

      The reality of the abortion and S-TD epidemics:

      o The numbers, the calculations and two "bottom liners":

      "Facts on Co-ntraceptive Use


      January 2008


      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]
      • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a contraceptive method.[2]
      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use contraceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]


      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had inte-rcourse have used at least one contraceptive method.[2](and men?)
      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)
      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inter-course; or are not s-exually active.[2]
      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.[2] (and men?)
      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.[2] (and men?)


      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice contraception use reversible methods, such as oral contraceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]


      Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unplanned pregnancy (a few examples)
      Method Typical
      Pill (combined) 8.7
      Tubal sterilization 0.7
      Male condom 17.4
      Vas-ectomy 0.2
      Periodic abstinence 25.3
      Calendar 9.0
      Ovulation Method 3.0
      Sympto-thermal 2.0
      Post-ovulation 1.0
      No method 85.0"
      (Abstinence) 0
      (Mas-turbation) 0

      More facts about co-ntraceptives from


      Con-traceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002
      Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users

      Pill 11,661 30.6
      Male condom 6,841 18.0 "

      The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).
      0.087 (failure rate)
      x 62 million (# child bearing women)
      x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
      x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =
      1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of pill use.

      For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level):

      1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

      The Guttmacher Insti-tute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
      (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

      o Bottom Line #1: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      Bottom line #2-
      Currently, a perfect barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-ma-sturbation or mutual ma-sturbation are highly recommended for hete-rose-xuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

      February 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      @Steve (the unreal one)
      Most abortions are for believers.
      You have proof that 'most' abortions are for believers? I know that believers have abortions and it makes me sick!

      wrong because they are trying impose their myths on others, and wrong because there are no gods!\
      You used wrong twice in one sentence, I'm just happy to use it once, like right now...No gods, correct! No one true God... here it comes...WRONG!

      February 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Steve (the real one)

      Simple arithmetic and logic: The USA is overwhelmingly a nation of believers and there are not enough non-believers to account for a majority percerntage of abortions therefore most of the abortions are for believers. But! If you do not like my non-quant!tative estimate, you can go to http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html for data such as:

      USA: Who's having abortions (religion)?

      Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

      So, my estimate appears to be correct and you believers have a mess on your hands. Again, I suggest you clean up your backyard before worrying about the rest of us.

      February 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Reality

    A favorite prayer of Christians starts off with "Angel of god, my guardian dear". It is all part of

    the Great Angelic/Satanic Con Game:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around) and his jinn.

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day Dem-on of the De-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty/ugly wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  12. mytwoscents

    I have an idea, perhaps praying works for some. But why don't we try to understand things
    from their perspective? Why not read the Qu'ran and study the Islamic faith. Let's try to do that.
    The best way to defeat something is to understand it. We need to try and see things from their perspective and ask: why do they feel that terrorism is the only way to communicate with the world?
    I really believe if we read the Qu'ran and looked at Islam from a different perspective we might better understand the driving force behind the terrorists. A fundamental problem is that Americans like to believe that all Muslims are terrorists.
    It seems that these men are terrorists who happen to be Muslim, and they feel the only way to communicate with the world is through pure violence.
    Isn't it interesting that the Islamic and Christian faith share Adam and Eve and the many of the same holy texts?
    Without understanding each other, we divide each other more.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • john

      Why not look Qur'an? Hmmm..., such a great idea. Why don't you ask them? the terrorists, they choose to be terrorist after read the same book that you read. Ask yourself, find WAFA SULTAN on You Tube, you will know better

      February 26, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • The Truth

      @John: "Why not look Qur'an? Hmmm..., such a great idea. Why don't you ask them? the terrorists, they choose to be terrorist after read the same book that you read. Ask yourself, find WAFA SULTAN on You Tube, you will know better"

      That statement is so naive and xenophobic it isn't even funny. Congressman Keith Ellison recently got sworn into office using a Qur'an that was owned by the great Thomas Jefferson himself because the Founding Fathers believed in religious freedom. Jefferson must have been an idiot for owning one.

      Intellectuals study ideas and concepts different from their own, xenophobes do not.


      February 26, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • George

      @The Truth I couldn't agree more

      February 26, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • john

      The Truth
      @John: "Why not look Qur'an? Hmmm..., such a great idea. Why don't you ask them? the terrorists, they choose to be terrorist after read the same book that you read. Ask yourself, find WAFA SULTAN on You Tube, you will know better"

      That statement is so naive and xenophobic it isn't even funny. Congressman Keith Ellison recently got sworn into office using a Qur'an that was owned by the great Thomas Jefferson himself because the Founding Fathers believed in religious freedom. Jefferson must have been an idiot for owning one.

      Intellectuals study ideas and concepts different from their own, xenophobes do not.



      I bet, I know Quran better than you, Wafa Sultan knows better too. You tell me, why there are people like Osama, HAMAS (an organization), Taliban etc. and they are millions.

      Are they could be wrong? If wrong, why they are so many?

      February 27, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  13. adilson

    kill osama and his friends

    February 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  14. wow

    I want to hear achmed the dead terrorist's take on this. Who's with me?

    February 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Lily


      February 26, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  15. Bapidada

    Amanda Huggenkiss,

    True, nothing fails like prayer.

    But it is the LAST HOPE!

    February 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  16. RussH

    The only good terrorist is a dead one. Destroy them now. Also our government needs to change their ideas to help American Citizens or there will be a revolution here

    February 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  17. Amanda Huggenkiss

    Nothing fails like prayer.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Anglican

      Amanda. Prayer is man's way of talking to God. Try it. If you ask for a million dollars, you probably will not get it. Ask for peace and strength, be sincere, and see what happens.

      February 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  18. 4chris10s

    There is biblical precedent for using prayer to change God's mind and I believe He does do that if we cajole Him enough (which there is also precedent for). As for those who do not accept spiritual solutions, well you are just casting pearls before swine who would just grind them into the mud. Prayer on!

    February 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Amanda Huggenkiss

      What's your point? There is biblical precedent for dashing the heads of children against rocks. That book is not one we should consult for guidance.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      An all-powerful god can be cajoled?! You're going to have to explain that one...

      February 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      You need to check your last sentence above 'cause as written, this atheist agrees with you! Atheists casting pearls (the truth about the non-existence of god) before swine (believers) is unfortunately a waste of time. But if we can prevent a single person from succ-umbing to the stupidity of religion, it's worth the continued effort.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Sorry, second last sentence in your original post.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  19. Moby Gustafsson

    There is no REAL Islam and real Christianity.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      Tell you the only real thing in this life is that there is God who looks upon us with mercy and need us to be on the straight path,the direction to that path are found in the holy books,take out them what you can and aim to satisfy God and leave behind religion if that complicates things for you...

      February 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      You are needed to worship God and not Religion therefore borrow from religions their worship and not politics.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think Muneef is saying that all religions should condone the marrying off of "ripe" 10+ year old girls as he and his sick religion does. Of course, any right thinking person knows that this so-called religious practice is really simply child abuse, that should be unequivocally condemned by all.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      Man you must have through a tough experiences,feel sorry for you.

      February 26, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Muneef

      Man,you must have went through a tough experiences during your religous times,feel sorry for you.

      February 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  20. Nicholas Voss

    What a great idea! I will start today!

    February 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • SatanSlayer

      Look out miscreants, Nicholas has your number.

      February 26, 2011 at 1:49 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.