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March 21st, 2011
01:16 PM ET

UK cleric leaves mosque over evolution

By Andrew Carey, CNN

London (CNN) - Usama Hasan has led Friday prayers at Leyton mosque in East London for 20 years.

Back in the early 1990s, his sympathies lay with what became known as the global jihad and he was an active supporter of extremist causes.

Over time, however, he warmed to Britain and started questioning the idea that the West was always acting against Muslim interests.

Now, his message is different. In recent years he has used his position as an imam to tackle issues like terrorism head-on.

But it’s his views on Darwinian evolution that have landed him in trouble with some fellow Muslims. It’s been two months now since he says criticism over his support for the theory of evolution provoked him to stop leading Friday prayers at his congregation.

Besides being a religious scholar, Hasan is a scientist who has studied theoretical physics at Cambridge and who is a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University.

Two and a half years ago he wrote an online article decrying what he called the "appalling state of science in the Muslim consciousness."

He described the belief that Adam was made from clay, as the Quran suggests, and then made a living human after God breathed life into him, as a "children's madrassa-level understanding" of the origins of man.

The remarks prompted some in the community to turn against him.

“People weren't reasoning with me,” he says, “rather, they would say, ‘you're no longer a Muslim, you're an apostate, you're an infidel.’”

According to Hasan, his opponents started seeking fatwas, or religious rulings, from clerics overseas to denounce his support for evolution and, he says, to declare a death sentence.

Hasan says that clerics in Pakistan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia issued such decrees.

Leaflets started appearing at the mosque calling for Hasan’s removal and making thinly veiled suggestions that his "apostasy" might ultimately sanction his execution.

A public meeting aimed at calming the situation only increased tensions. Recently, Hasan says he started fearing for his life.

“Given the fact we have many young Muslims in this country who have taken law into their own hands, with terrorist plots, with a plot to murder an MP last year, I do feel that somebody young and impressionable may feel it their religious duty to kill me,” he told CNN.

Last November, London student Roshanara Choudry was found guilty of trying to kill Stephen Timms, a member of parliament, by stabbing him with a knife. It emerged during her trial that she had been influenced by extremist Muslim clerics online, including the U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

Police confirmed to CNN they are investigating alleged threats against Hasan.

But recent weeks have seen campaigns launched by fellow Muslims to support Hasan.

Tehmina Kazi of the group British Muslims for Secular Democracy started a Facebook group that garnered eight hundred members in its first 24 hours.

And a senior group of Muslim clerics and activists signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper decrying Hasan’s treatment.

One of the signatories, Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, told CNN he was very worried at how the practice of "takfir" - declaring individual Muslims to be apostates - had taken hold in some elements of the British Muslim community.

“There have been volumes and volumes written to regulate this kind of behavior,” Mogra said. “It's not for any Muslim to go about and declare (an apostate) ... judgment is for God.”

Earlier this month, Hasan issued a statement on his website dialing back some of his statements on evolution.

"I regret and retract some of my statements in the past about the theory of evolution, especially the inflammatory ones … I do not believe that Adam, peace be upon him, had parents," he wrote.

"Some of the things I said in public went too far, and without meaning to, had been quite inflammatory,” he told CNN.

“What I would like to point out now is that religious scholars, in the main, are opposed to evolution, they believe it is blasphemy, it is against the Quran," he said. "Whereas scientists say that evolution is a scientific fact, or a scientific theory with overwhelming evidence."

"There exists this gulf, this impasse," Hasan continued. "And at some point people may have to address that issue, but only when the community and the religious scholars are ready.”

Mogra, who does not share Hasan’s previous position on evolution but supports his right to discuss it, is worried about the debate.

“This is a critical issue for us - if we fall at this hurdle then who's next tomorrow?" Mogra said. "If we are going to allow ourselves to be intimidated like this and publicly retract and say things we don't actually believe in, then that would be a great disaster for Muslim scholarship and for the freedom that we enjoy in this country.”

Hasan says that he hopes the current tensions dissipate and that he can return to what he calls his favorite mosque in London to join in prayers.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Britain • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Europe • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Ituri

    Different religion, same disregard for reality.

    It always comes down to "I believe." You can add whatever you like to the end of that statement, but the reality is that anyone can be led to believe any number of ridiculous things, and quite easily at that.

    So long as these uneducated hicks think science is up to a belief, they will continue to turn their head in denial of reality. These religions teach NOT to accept science actively as well, because an educated person is 10x harder to keep "in the faith." Educated people far more easily see through lies and misdirection.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      >> Educated people far more easily see through lies and misdirection.

      see Hitler and Nazi Germany for a prime example!

      March 22, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  2. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Isn't it comforting to know that our Christian right has the same reaction to the teachings of evolution as muslim extremists? Isn't it comforting to know that our Christian right wants to follow Islam's outlawing of evolution?
    Maybe they aren't so different after all...
    They both denounce evolution. They both denounce liberalism. They both denounce the media. They both think abortionists should be given the death sentence. They both follow the teachings of their respective religious leaders unquestioningly. They both think tehir respective holy books are inerrant. (and yet both of them cherry pick those books to support their narrow views, while disregarding other teachings in the same book) And most importantly, both of them believe that killing in the name of God is okay.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  3. Kelly

    Well, honestly, these weirdo views of creation are not the sole possession of radical Islam fundamentalism. This is the same nutball crap that some fundamentalist Christians believe. Good to let people know how nutzoid both sides are. Ecchh.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  4. Peter Wolfe

    Islam, judaism and christianity alll hold similar opinions for the most part on evolution. Mainly this is cause of the Genesis book of the Bible, howeve, some like the catholic church (e.g. Pope's) have said that evolution formerly evilution think that it can be considered. The main thing to get frtom creationism is how primitiv people are in natural sciences like the belief of evolving fromapes isn't disgusting nor against religio just a theory not a law. Hs anyone called it a natural law? No, you have a proven tested hypothesis its a theory perhaps one truth of many for those of you religious zealots. By the way, I used to believe in christianity of baptist, nondenominational and the catholic varieties and they all speak of the sam old rubbish just over an over again with different words. Religion dumbs you mind from thinking critically instead of philosophy, we need science, mathematics and some liberal arts just not philosophy of the origins of the universe.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Kelly

      Actually, I think that the Catholic Church's view on evolution is that it is not contrary to the Bible's description of Divine Creation. According to the Catholics, God doesn't hate science (since he created it).

      March 22, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      >> Religion dumbs you mind from thinking critically instead of philosophy, we need science, mathematics and some liberal arts just not philosophy of the origins of the universe. <<

      actually religion frees your mind from wasting time and effort trying to disprove God and indulging in science that is fruitful to mankind and not simply a means to create the latest and greatest weapons systems that can kill more and more human beings and otherwise, if it can save a human, how can the MAXIMUM profit be made from it.

      Science without religion is Hitler, Stalin, Mao. Science with religion is Maimondis, Newton, Avecinna.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  5. Abu

    Why do hipocrit muslims drive cares and use computers and use western technology when they hate the west and all it stands for? Why do muslims migrate to western countries then criticize the western countries?

    March 22, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      Why do hipocrit westerners drive tanks and use computer guided missles and use western technology to kill muslims when they do not hate the eest and all it stands for? Why do western weapon systems migrate to eastern countries then criticize the eastern countries?

      March 22, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  6. Brian

    "I believe in the True Religion – all 324 of them." – Mark Twain

    By the way, my psychology professor said "religion is a form of masturbation."

    March 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Sam

    Islam is in the Dark Ages just as Europe was hundreds of years ago. This is unfortunate, because at one time science was plentiful in the Mid East. Astronomy & mathematics in particular. Now, HUMAN CULTURE says to the Islamic countries: "What have you done for me LATELY?"

    March 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      >> Islam is in the Dark Ages just as Europe was hundreds of years ago.

      some would argue that Europe is in the Dark Ages NOW! Kindly tally up the number of people that have been killed in wars and genocides in Europe in the past 100 years and tell us with a straight face that you consider this to be enlightened!!

      what have muslims done for you lately? they did nt gas millions of jews to death in custom made gas chambers. nor did muslims give the world AIDS or atheism, or communism. that in itself is a 100 – 500 million human lives saved right there!!

      March 22, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • papia

      Hey Osama, muslims will remain muslims – ignorant, madrasa-taught, hugely uneducated, cruel, trecherous, untrustworthy and so on. Did you ever read history, how muslims barbarians pounded eastern asian countries for a millenium like locusts, Turkman empire devastated half of Europe? Now Industrial revolution gave Europe the power to combat muslim barbarians. Now it is time for payback but you are lucky, non-muslim modern society doesn't attack innocent people like you do, it attacks only the killers.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  8. JLS639

    These throwbacks are saying evolutionary theory is fiction? Who do these Muslims think they are? American Christians? Lol.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  9. Jania

    Anyone laughing at religion should laugh at themselves. At least religion is an organized body of doctrine through it's holy book and religious practices. It's an integrated body of thought. That is exactly what science endavors to be some day. Yet, science is simply observations, theories and tests of hypothesis of one kind or another.It has no integrated boy of thought about human existence, human life or its intended purpose. Religion encompasses that which science cannot do: Develop an unified body of thought of human existence and purpose.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Andrew

      Science shouldn't be a body of doctrine and of antiquated practices. Science NEEDS to be fluid, it needs to be able to constantly update itself, otherwise it holds no power.
      Religious dogma and doctrine is claiming certainty when none can be asserted, science is a hell of a lot more candid a process than that. If you want to understand what is real, you look towards science, if you want to feel good about being a human, make your own damn purpose, but don't simply assert a god exists and it's the god of some old dusty book unless you can properly support that claim with evidence.

      If you can't, why on earth should anyone believe you have "truth"?

      March 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Abu

      You and your comments are laughable!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Jeff White

      Jania I think you need to go back to when you stopped believing in Santa Claus and reflect just how fallible your post really is. But some how I bet you had to be told by your parents rather than coming to the realization on your own. So this probably will go right over you.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • JG

      Jania, you need to go die in a fire, asap. The burning of your body would be a far better use of oxygen than your continued existence. Thanks!

      March 22, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • SconnieGuz

      You could just smoke a bowl if thats what you want...then you wouldn't have to run around talking about the invisible pervert man and his virgins in the sky and wearing underwear on your head.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  10. Abu

    This UK cleric is brilliant and led islam prayers...but know some loser muslim will murder him.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  11. Abu

    I know that islam stinks!

    March 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      or perhaps you are just smelling yourself while reading about Islam on the internet!

      March 22, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  12. Jania

    Science is manufactured by people so it stands to reason that those who buy into it hook, line and sinker are unable to objectively evaluate it. Science is not based on truth as it is limited according to what humans can see, discern and understand at any given ppoint in time. In other words, what science believes true today is subject to be untrue tomorrow. The ultimate truth is in the possession of humankind's Creator and not science. Evolution is a theory and nothing more. No such thing that it's been "proven." It suggests a manner of human existence. But that's all it does and nothing more.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Reality

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous programs are availabe for curing Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Pagans.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Andrew

      Other "theories"
      Germ theory of disease, quantum field theory, plate tectonic theory... yeah "theory" is the highest obtainable status in science, hardly an educated guess.

      This whole "what we believe today might be untrue tomorrow" nonsense comes from people who reject science just cause they think they do so with some firm epistemological stance. "I accept god, god's word is the bible, clearly I'm more in possession of truth than someone who just studies science for their lives, with all those mindless experiments".

      Isaac Asimov had a nice thing to say about those who reject science cause it might be untrue tomorrow.

      "The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proven to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about out modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong.

      The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. "If I am the wisest man," said Socrates, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing." The implication was that I was very foolish because I knew a great deal.

      Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my correspondent would realize this.) This particular thesis was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time.

      My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

      So yes, science may be wrong, evolution may be shown to be false, but probably only in a minor way. If you really are rejecting the entirety of modern evolutionary biology, you are an idiot. I don't just buy into science hook line and sinker, I question it, but I also bother to learn it. You can say that what I study may be limited by what humans do, but you sell yourself short if you think all that is knowable can be found in an old dusty book written by some guys a few thousand years ago.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Pete

      A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Brad

      Gravity is a theory "and nothing more."

      When people who speak of science–who obviously know nothing about science–display the type of dogmatic behavior that causes these radical actions in the first place.

      Nothing in science is sacred. Science strives to falsify their theories in hopes of recognizing flaws in the way things are viewed. From Netwonian physics to Einsteinian to quantum mechanics and onto the future, nothing is sacred and nothing is dogmatic.

      Evolution is a "theory" because it has been rigorously tested in the lab, observed in the fossil record, and observed in our lifetimes and has yet to be falsified. If another theory is found to be more robust, science will accept it. Are the religious folks in the house prepared to do the same?

      The only endeavor that truly seeks to understand our world is science. Religion blindly accepts.

      To paraphrase, nothing in science makes sense without evolution. It is truly the glue that holds our understanding of our world together. To be so closed-minded as to not truly seek to understand natural selection and call it merely a "theory" is showing an ignorance of what science is.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Sam

      @ Andrew: AWESOME post. I'm copying that one and saving it! Always LOVED Isaac Asimov, but I don't remember reading that before. Thank you!

      March 22, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • kyle

      Jania, I'd like to point out that in science the word "theory" refers to an hypothesis that you have evidence to back up–the more evidence you gather in favor of your theory, the stronger the argument is that it's true. (Gravity is also a theory, and as far as I know even the most extreme Christian or Muslim fundamentalists would not deny its existence.) You should also know that since the advent of molecular biology and modern research in genetics evolution has been proven without a doubt to be a very real and true phenomenon.
      I’m sure it will take some time and much debate from within, but the major religions of the world will eventually have to come to accept evolution in the same way they had to accept that the earth is not a flat disk at the center of the universe.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Jeff White

      I always love this religious nut jobs that come on here bashing science, but at the same time enjoying the fruits of the labor. Jania what the heck do you think is powering that computer that you are using to criticize science. Last time I checked there was no instruction manual in your beloved book to build a computer. Also i am sure you are probablythe first to go to the doctor when you get a cold or aren't feeling well. Why don't you stop and think of all the things you do in a modern society – most if not all is bettered by the scientist that took the time to learn something to better the world. Stop being so lazy and contribute to the world rather than be a parasite enjoying the sacrifices of others.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Jeff White

      I always love this religious nut jobs that come on here bashing science, but at the same time enjoying the fruits of the labor. Jania what the heck do you think is powering that computer that you are using to criticize science. Last time I checked there was no instruction manual in your beloved book to build a computer. Also i am sure you are probably the first to go to the doctor when you get a cold or aren't feeling well. Why don't you stop and think of all the things you do in a modern society – most if not all is bettered by the scientist that took the time to learn something to better the world. Stop being so lazy and contribute to the world rather than be a parasite enjoying the sacrifices of others.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • papia

      Jania, Religion is also manufactured by human beings albeit the primitive ones. If somebody gave you a transportation system made 2000 years ago and a plane made in 2011 by Boeing to travel to Australia, which one would you think you will use to travel? Maybe you should read some science books and learn to question everything? At least now you can see and validate what work is going on in the science world but you neither saw nor anybody you know alive can validate what happened 2000 years ago. How could you believe the latter?

      March 22, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • papia

      Jeff White, you are so right. These people are always bashing science but you will see them buying the very newest gadgets, convenience and so on made by science. They will use science to spread non-scientific stuff and bash science. They never think, I guess.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  13. Lineman

    The real issue here is whether you believe the bible should be interpreted in an absolute literal sense or whether the message is more important. In Genesis are Adam and Eve individuals actualy created by God at once or do they represent humanity at that piont of evolution when when man obtained knowledge and understood the difference between good and evil. Concepts that animals have no grasp of in their fog of instinct. They ate from the tree of the fruit of knowledge but knowledge does not grow on trees. They realized they were naked when they obtained knowledge just as each individual child realizes they are naked as they grow up and obtain knowledge. A literal interpretation of the bible is only one theology a person can have and most have other theologies. Problems only arise when one side demands that others think as they do. Of course if the authority of a nations rulers depands on everyone following their religion then obviously you can't have freedom of religion.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  14. OC25

    Well, now the fundamentalist Christians and Muslims have something in common.

    I suggest they hold a conference at Dinosaur Adventure Land.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • JLS639

      Fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims have been working together for years on issues involving women's rights, family planning and issues on religious freedom. I will leave it up to you to figure out the common ground they find together.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  15. Cally

    You obviously know nothing of islam. this is no different from Chritian creationist. Will they also be shot down?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • JLS639

      I agree. As an atheist, I find Christians and Muslims shouting at each other to be silly. It would be amusing if it did not cause so many problems.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Sidhartha

      Ill take it a step further. The Old Testament Religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam ultimately fail in modern times because the belief structure is so strong. If you dont believe in creation you are are a sinner. If you dont believe in this exact god you are a sinner. While the eastern religions (Buddism, HInduism, Taoism) are ok if you believe something else. While all Easter religions have their own crazy myths about man's creation – you would be hard pressed to find a Buddhist or Hindu that actually believes in the myth – they believe in the symbolism of the myth. In fact you wont be able to find ONE educated person out of 3 billion that does not believe in Evolution. However in Christianity, Islam and Judaism there are many educated people that still debate evolution. This divorce from reality is why these religions will ultimately fail. If I lived in the west I can see why so many spiritual people are forced to call themselves atheists – which of course there is nothing wrong with....

      March 22, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • nepawoods

      1) Most Christians are not creationists.
      2) I know of no Christians calling for a death sentence on other Christians who are not creationists.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • toxic_haiku

      WRONG!!! Christians who do not believe in Evolution don't go around threatening to kill those who do.

      The same South Park Cartoon that couldn't show the Prophet Mohammed because of the very real risk of Islamic nut jobs coming to kill Trey Parker and Matt Stone, depicted Jesus Christ snorting lines of Coke.

      Why were Parker and Stone able to show Christ in such a demeaning way, but couldn't even show a neutral image of the Prophet Mohammed? The answer is that Parker and Stone knew they have nothing to fear if they offend Christians. Laugh at Christians all you want, but their collective maturity level is a lot higher, and as a result, they are better able to take things in stride.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • joe

      As an atheist myself, I find Christians much more mature. I'd say they've progressed hundreds of years past Muslims. I have had Christians shoot at me when I was waiting for the bus, as a kid, though. My crime? My parents didn't go to church.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  16. Martin

    All religions are a joke. They are what causes the most pain for people in this world. Your god is better than my god. If religions around the world would just realize how much hate they actually create then we would be a better world for it. This will never be the case. I am not a religious person whatsoever. Don't tell me how I should think, I can do that all on my own thank you very much.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • papia

      Seriously, where do all you folks come from? I didn't think in USA so many people believed in Evolution theory. I was getting disgusted to see so many even highly educated engineers believe in hocus pocus. Only in this message board I see some people that think scientifically as far as origin of life goes.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • JG

      Yes, there's A LOT of inbred, backwater troglodytes in the USA that are utterly convinced that some big bearded man in the sky just willed the Earth into being and created dinosaurs and man at that same time.

      However, there are quite a few of us out there that think outside the storybook. Chances are you're in what's known as the "bible belt" of the US. It's a strip of territory that runs along the midwest near the Appalachian mountains in Ohio, W/ Virginia and Pennsylvania. Most people there are highly uneducated (and those that get educated generally leave the area really quickly) – and they just believe whatever Grandma and Grandpa tells them to be the truth.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • toxic_haiku

      And those American Christians who do not believe in Evolution don't go around threatening to kill those who do.

      The same South Park Cartoon that couldn't show the Prophet Mohammed because of the very real risk of Islamic nut jobs coming to kill Trey Parker and Matt Stone, depicted Jesus Christ snorting lines of Coke.

      Why were Parker and Stone able to show Christ in such a demeaning way, but couldn't even show a neutral image of the Prophet Mohammed? The answer is that Parker and Stone knew they have nothing to fear if they offend Christians. Laugh at Christians all you want, but their collective maturity level is a lot higher, and as a result, they are better able to take things in stride.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • papia

      Toxic_haiku, you are right. Even though I don't believe in any non-scientific ideas but I think islam is the most cruel and destructive and a terrorist breeding religion of all times. In modern times we consider Christianity as the established religion of the West and all others are immigrant ones. Of them except for the muslims nobody has any terrorist incident associated with them – 100% of the terrorism is commited by the muslims. Why don't others have any problems with the rules of the West but they do? We all know why. Islam is the cancer of human civilization.

      March 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  17. CMC

    There is no reasoning with religious fanatics of any order. They are all blind worshippers and scientific facts mean nothing to them. Whether "Adam" was made of clay as Muslims suggest or "Eve" was made from a rib as Christians suggest, it's all a bunch of crazy hogwash.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  18. Opie

    Sunni Islam does not have clerics, Shi'a Islam does. Stating that an imam is a cleric means that when I am "imam" at home I am a "cleric". We don't have intermediaries, there's no "Pope of Islam". How can you tell the public anything if you guys don't know ANYTHING about Islam?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  19. jude

    this is why we in the west enjoy such a comfortable modern scientific life while the middle east is essentially a black hole. regardless of these fools beliefs evolution is and will remain a basic fact of life.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Mike

      How is the theory of evolution a basic fact of life? You don't seem to realize that you're doing exactly the same thing you are trying to rail against. Silly.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Abu

      Mike,you're a stupid moron! You're not smarter than anyone else!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Andrew

      "Changes in gene frequency of a population over time", that is the definition of evolution... to deny this is to deny a basic fact of life.

      I feel more confident in evolution than I do gravity, and I'm a physics major. Our basic conception of gravity can still be utterly thrown out the window with a new model of quantum gravity... we have a lot of radically different ideas... but evolution, though there are some kinks, like lateral gene transfer, is astoundingly well established.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • nepawoods

      @Mike: Evolution IS a basic fact of life. The answer to the question of how, the evidence, the proof, is so voluminous that it would be ludicrous to even begin to discuss it in this forum, but it is all readily available to anyone inclined to seek, and not inclined to reject prior to seeing.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the middle east is essentially a black hole, because all the FRUITS OF YOUR MODERN COMFORTABLE SCIENCE end up being SHIPPED THERE. Yes, I am talking about BILLIONS of DOLLARS of your weapon systems!

      March 22, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  20. Allen

    This is not 'radical' Islam. It is MAINSTREAM ISLAM. The miniscule number of decent muslims are the anomaly in the world of Islam and quickly put to death by the mainstream Insane Islamists. Abandon this barbaric cult, all decent muslims out there, before you're shot down too.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Opie

      And you're able to comment on this how? What are your credentials? Robert Spencer's blog? Pamela Gellar's blog? Don't make me laugh. You apparently believe that Islam is some sort of monolithic "organization" with a sole orthodox point of view. Apparently, we're all headed by some "clerics" (which we don't have... Shi'ites do) who somehow have been imbued with the power to make us into terrorists.

      Grow up, read a real book written by people with scholarly credentials on Islam or even the Qur'an itself instead of some snippets you read online at ProphetofDoom or some other laughably inept site.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Abu

      Allen is able to comment cause he lives in a free society...you muslim creep! Kurans should be burned and mohammed should have his own Saturday morning carton show.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • papia

      You are so right, Allen. Do you see that, those muslims who believe in real science, called Evolution theory are afraid to say so in public because they fear that they will lose their lives. No other religion has so massive number of cruel people. Seeing is believing – politically correct version is, seeing and turning a blind eye.......... All religions have a few local nutcases but islamic nutcases are international and huge in number.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • JG

      They supported this man – a holy mouthpiece for their sacred Allah – the whole time he was trying to encourage people to turn to terrorism. But he starts teaching them basic science and his "superiors" in the religion call for his death. Yeah, these people are really stupid.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      >> Allen is able to comment cause he lives in a free society

      what you actually mean is that Allen is able to talk total carp "cause he lives in a free society"

      March 22, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • SSampson

      40% of americans do not believe in evolution. They believe the whole Genesis thing as truth rather than ancient man trying to explain what it did not understand at the time.

      Over the years all religions have done evil things... To believe fo a second that the majority of Muslims are violent shows a high level of ignorance. There are people that are using Islam as a shield by stirring up support through a misinterpretation of the Quaran... If you read the Christian Bible – including the Old Testament – you will be able to find just as many calls to violence (when taken out of context) as you can in the Quaran...

      Remember that religious books are often recording historical events. Often these events were handed down for years as oral tradition before they were recorded on paper. Due to this,some writings include the opinions and interpretation of the original transcriber.

      We really need to get away from making assumptions before we do some research. Taking BLOGs and te majority of media as the de facto source for understanding others will usually lead to misunderstanding.

      Many of the people who fight under the misguided interpretation of the Quaran do so because they are easily swayed by leaders that control those 'educated'. For some, the only education they get is from these radicals.

      Do you thing that Warren Jeffs rules his community from a logical interpretation of the Book of Mormon?? He raises his followers from a young age, controls what they read and hear and turns them into blind and brainwashed followers.

      Perhaps this is why a broad education is required. If we spent as much on foreign aid for Education, food, water and medicine as we do on weaponry maybe we could prevent radicals from subverting people to begin with.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • jim

      religious dogmatics wanted to kill galilao for saying the sun was not the center of the universe.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • joe

      Well, I've read the Koran and it's evil tripe. To be fair, the bible is as well. The Koran is much more boring though.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Joe Helfrich

      It may be mainstream muslims, but it's also mainstream christians. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution Face it: talking to your imaginary friend ROTS YOUR BRAIN.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • margot707

      What about the Christian Fundamentalists who want Creationism taught in public schools and think evolution is a hoax? It's not any different than what most Evangelicals believe.

      March 22, 2011 at 2:14 am |
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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.