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March 26th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

How Islam shaped one rap artist

Editor’s Note:  CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T. April 2 on CNN.

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) — It’s noon on a Friday, and the parking lot at Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in North Philadelphia is quickly filling up.

One of Philadelphia's best-known rap artists, Freeway, jumps out of a black sport utility vehicle and dashes through the pouring rain to the prayer hall inside.

Islam has been a part of his life since he was a teenager.  Yet it wasn’t until adulthood that his faith changed who he was an artist.

“My faith means everything to me; it’s the thing that keeps me going every day,” the father of two said. “It’s my core, it’s my soul.”

When he was 14,  Freeway - aka Leslie Pridgen - took Shahada, the Muslim confession to faith. 

Since then, he's had to balance his Muslim faith and his credibility as a hip-hop artist. 

Freeway jump-started his career a decade ago at Roc-A-Fella Records under the tutelage of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Today, the independent artist has collaborated with the likes of Mariah Carey,  producer extraordinaire Jake One and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon.

When Freeway first hit the music scene, his pithy lyrics were laced with rhymes about hustling drugs and other aspects of ghetto life. But his approach to music has changed as he evolved as an emcee and matured as a man.

 “The fans can get more out of my music now because I have more of a message,” he said. “I’m more conscious about what I say now because in Islam we believe that you’re going to be held accountable for everything that comes out your mouth.”

Misogyny and the perils of street life have been a part of hip-hop since its inception, and Freeway is no stranger to the urban grind.

He lost a cousin and close friend to gun violence and had his own run-ins with the law, having served jail time for drug possession.

The life experiences the self-described “reality-rapper” so adamantly declares over heavy beats are what have shaped Freeway into the man, the father, the artist and the Muslim he is today, he said.

“I’m definitely not in the same situation I was in when I first started, when I was still in the streets running around doing a bunch of crazy stuff,” he said. “Every day is a temptation, every day is work.” 

He's not the only rapper balancing a devotion to Islam and trying to maintain a hard edge on his music, said Amir Abbassy, Freeway’s manager.

“Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip, Mos Def - they’re all openly Muslim,” he said. “In the music culture, anybody who has a little bit of fame fits that rock 'n' roll persona.”

Freeway was speaking at a Philadelphia school’s bullying workshop on the same day the controversial congressional hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans led by U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, were taking place in Washington.

Freeway said he felt the hearings unfairly targeted Muslims.

“It’s foolishness, it’s nonsense,” he said of the recent hearings conducted by the New York Republican. “You can’t judge a whole group of people for a few people making mistakes.”

Freeway got up that day at dawn for his first prayer of the day. In total, he will take time to pray five times throughout the day, a practice called salat, performed daily by many of the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.

Why Muslims pray five times a day

When Freeway is done rapping, his faith will be there, his manager said.

“His faith - that is his life,” Abbassy said. “ He doesn’t wake up with a microphone in his hand. He wakes up and prays."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Music • Muslim

soundoff (874 Responses)
  1. someoneelse

    Rap and religion, two things the world could easily live without.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • JohnR

      Or with, depending on one's own individual choice.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Our Gazette staff want to educate the world on the good news gospel of Obama in which he will be God on December 21, 2012. We can be happy to know of Obama being God.

      April 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  2. XujVamVZhopu

    It looks like CNN is trying to make profit (or is outright paid) to subvert the American people and make them an easy pray to islam. What a shame!

    March 26, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  3. Maya

    Let them say Islam is a religion of hate, judging a whole group by the actions of some. It's like blaming all whites on slavery and how they tortured blacks in America and elsewhere...

    March 26, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • PeterVN

      Personally, I'll settle for saying that Islam is an uninteresting collection of fictional stories, just like every other religion is.

      Get with the modern times and toss your imaginary sky friend crutch aside.

      March 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  4. Name*get over yourselfs

    You know what the ignorance that you are displaying is right crazy.....how about all your ancestors that held slaves, tore apart families and mistreated blacks for years...all for selfish reasons....

    March 26, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Pacoatemiami

      Slavery had nothing to do with religion. Radical Islam has EVERYTHING to do with religion.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Nearly every culture in the world has at one time practiced slavery. Slavery is not a only a 'White' crime. In fact, slavery still exists in Sudan and other parts of Afrrica. 9 out of 10 people on the planer are descended from slaves if you look back far enough.

      Read your history and out down the ideological junk.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  5. Omsaje

    One thing i want to ask is that, if Islam is religion of peace why Mohammed went to war twice???.
    If Mohammed didn't involved in war twice during his tenor the rest of muslim won't believe in killing anyone who doesn't believe in Islam.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      sometimes in life, to have peace, you need to go to war. See your grandpa Hitler for a perfect example.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  6. shayne

    This is an article about Freeway the rapper, not a forum 4 U all to express pages of your thoughts. And by the way, I listen to Freeway and his crew and all they still rap about is Drugs and Hoes And killing people for MONEY!He has NOT CHANGED. peace.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  7. Mr. Davidson

    What do you call Radicalized Christian american troops and the murderous campaigns against sovereign nations of Iraq Afganistan Pakistan ,assistance in the seige of Gaza.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • XujVamVZhopu

      I call it fighting the evil of islam.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  8. Random

    I wonder how much "Keith", "Reality", and "Jack" are being paid to go around posting hate and bigotry every time they see a positive story on Muslims?

    March 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • XujVamVZhopu

      I wonder how much and by whom the CNN is being paid for whitewashing islam for Americans.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  9. Ki

    Great story. The rest of the comments are divided into trolls like @Keith and idiots who ramble on about historical events but fail to mention let's say the crusades; or cannot distinguish between Islam and terrorists. They lump them together and their ignorance glows.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Royal

      Thank you! Finally someone with a grasp on reality!

      March 26, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • XujVamVZhopu

      islam has trained people in this country to think this way about it. Instead of calling people bigots, muslims should look inside themselves and try to understand what it is that they are doing that makes people thing about them in a certain way.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  10. Pup

    So, he converted from singing about slapping ho's and selling drugs to slapping women and selling heroin? Not much difference, IMO.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  11. AGuest9

    From "popping a cap" and "beating a ho" to blowing yourself up in a supermarket. Fantastic!

    March 26, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  12. jen

    I guess some of you think it's perfectly ok to kill people in the name of Christianity or (choke choke) Democracy

    March 26, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Our newsteam want to tell you that God is always the spirit of love and president Obama will be ruling the world under God's leadership on December 21, 2012. That is the GOOD NEWS GOSPEL OF OBAMA AND GOD!

      April 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  13. Richard Mavers

    CNN sure has been focusing on Islam a lot lately. No problem with that- but why not highlight other religions as well, you know how many religions there are in the world, and CNN just keeps pushing one on us? Since 9/11, not a day has gone by where Islam wasn't featured in the paper- I think we've heard enough for a while.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • FromOtherSide

      Because nobody said 'Churches unwelcome' lately. Because nobody dared burning Bible, Sita or OT lately. Because nobody had to draw Christ, Moses or Ram or hurl insults towards them in an organized manner. Because nobody created hate-Christians, hate-jews and hate-Hindu pages and blogs. Because nobody calls them terrorists even though they have done acts of terrorisms too. Because no Peter King is conducting hearing on them . That is why. I hope you try to understand that CNN is helping us be tolerant and acceptable towards each others.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Richard Mavers

      FromTheOtherSide- are you crazy? There are countless anti-Christian web pages/blogs, and every time you turn on the TV, you see anti-Jewish demonstrations in the middle east.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Our Gazette news staff wants all of you to know that there is good news coming in which president Obama will be God on December 21, 2012 and that we can enter into Obama's new Heaven on earth which is the White House downtown on December 21, 2012 too. THAT IS THE BEST NEWS FOR US TO GIVE TO YOU!

      April 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  14. Sheldon

    All of these recent Muslim-tolerant "belief blogs" are clear signs of CNN's liberal agenda.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • JohnR

      There are worse things in life than pro-tolerance agendas. And yes, that is a "liberal" agenda item in the classic sense of liberal, less so in the modern sense. Islam is probably my own least favorite religion, the worst of a bad lot, imo. But the secularism I do support requires tolerance for all faiths and certainly no demonization of one religion's sins while those of others are blithely excused. Besides, Christianity's own growth away from witch burning barbarism occurred under secular pressures. Let Islam co-exist with secularism and may, just maybe it will grow up some, too.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • tonythetiger

      well.. for racist people, there is always Foxnews. they have an anti-Islam article everyday. I guess you should go back there instead of reading real news 😛

      March 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Our news team at the Gaithersburg Gazette wants to deliver the good news and the good news is that president Obama will be our new Lord on December 21, 2012. We plan to put the new articles in the newspaper soon so the citizens can learn of the GOOD NEWS GOSPEL OF OBAMA AND GOD!

      April 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Suleiman

    All the hate and lies and curses shows the real character of the non-Muslims. No wonder people are converting to Islam, because the Shariah law is against mocking, hating or lying about other peoples faith or beliefs. My experience with talking to non-Muslims has led me to the conclusion that they are not even sincere about learning the truth about Islam. They come on forums and start cursing. Stuff like this only makes the ignorant hater become more hateful and the sincere non-Muslim a convert to Islam and the Muslims into stronger believers in Islam. So it is always a win-win situation for Islam.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • mat

      Mulisms are only forbidden to lye to others muslims Sule. By making such a statement you lie to veryone reading this. Sinnner. lol. CNN should probably runs articles trying to get their readers to stop hating christains and jews. They already love the blood hungry muslims.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Matt

      >>>> All the hate and lies and curses shows the real character of the non-Muslims.

      Yes, you can just see all the hate. Its horrible. Next thing you know we'll all be cutting off the heads of Muslims. Um. . . oh wait. That would be role reversal.

      >>>> No wonder people are converting to Islam, because the Shariah law is against mocking, hating or lying about other peoples faith or beliefs.

      Right. Shariah is just for killing those that don't submit to Islam. Oh, sorry its also for allowing men to b-slap their women, marrying up to 4 women at one time, forcing your women to cover themselves head-to-toe. Stoning people to death and killing those that choose to convert from Islam to other faiths.

      >>>> My experience with talking to non-Muslims has led me to the conclusion that they are not even sincere about learning the truth about Islam. They come on forums and start cursing. Stuff like this only makes the ignorant hater become more hateful and the sincere non-Muslim a convert to Islam and the Muslims into stronger believers in Islam. So it is always a win-win situation for Islam.

      I think people are starting to learn the truth about Islam and that's why you are getting that reaction. Keep talking and digging a hole.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • LEADER

      LIFE IS FULL OF LEARNING !!!

      LET'S LEARN TO LIVE AND LEARN TO RESPECT EACH OTHER !!!

      GUIDANCE TO THE RIGHT WAY IS FROM THE ONE CREATOR OF ALL CREATION, THE ALMIGHTY, THE ALL-KNOWER, THE MOST-MERCIFUL, THE ONE AND ONLY GOD.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • d

      How Islam shapes the rest of us with its koranic/mosque/imam driven acts of terror and horror :

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan. 3/2011

      take a GOOOD HARD LOOK...and deal with that...till then save the it

      March 26, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Granger

      brainwashed, carpet-sniffing goon

      March 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Pacoatemiami

      We have good cause to hate Islam, Suleiman. It is a violent repressive cult with a goal of world domination.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Obama is our good christian man and his Muslim spirit is good too. We must worship and praise Obama real well so we can enter into Obama's new Heaven which is the White House downtown on December 21, 2012. Hey, as a news reporter for the Gaithersburg Gazette, I can tell the citizens of Gaithersburg, Md. that we have good news. If interested, call us at 240–632-9883 or 301–598-1925 to speak to one of our representatives for the new Obama Christian Campaign. Thank you for your interests!

      April 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Jack

    Does CNN have any idea when Shug Knight and Snoop will convert to the religion of peace?

    March 26, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • The Gaithersburg Gazette staff

      Snoop dog is a good dog but to get to the point, there are now many Gods and will soon make them into our government system. Obama will be God on December 21, 2012 and on that date too, the White House will be the new Heaven on earth too. There will be a 666 Mark Of The Beast One World Government which means that we have to dump our bank accounts and give all our money to the Obama Christian Campaign for a good christian society. That is the GOOD NEWS GOSPEL OF GOD AND OBAMA!

      April 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Jack

    Ok let's pull up our chairs and get a bag of popcorn to watch todays death toll by the religion of peace killing their own.. I onder how long a rapper would last in Pakistan ??When will CNN play that tape of innocent people jumping top their deaths from the WTC on 9-11 or is that not permitted..

    March 26, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • d

      Maybe you should have 'freeway' go to youtube and look up blacks in pakistan..then he can go to the recent Saudi Prince sodomy conviction and murder of his African SLAVE..then you can google Darfur or Sudan...or you can scroll up and look at Reality's post and tell me...whos the psycho again?

      March 26, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  18. theoldadam

    Islam asks it's sons to die (often kill) for Allah.

    In Christianity, God sent His Son to die for us.

    What a differenence between their god and our God.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      CORRECTION:

      – Islam asks it's sons to die (often kill) for Allah.
      – In Christianity, God sent His Son to die for us.
      – In Christian America, we send our sons abroad to kill Allah worshippers.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  19. Kay

    Wait, I thought music was off limits in the 7th Century Dealth Cult called Islam. No wonder it appeals to rappers they can beat all the women they want and it's all fully sanctioned Islam activity. Funny to watch CNN and their pretzel logic as they try to present Islam as some benign religion.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Dolce21

      Be it known that they will do anything to get to the public to make them seem peaceful, and just a wonderful change for them, and yes it is against islam to rap, to dance, to do a lot of things, but they want money also. They need to further their cause. So they make exceptions. This is very obvious in their language of the quran! Or whichever way you chose to spell it!

      March 26, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • I Paid Attention In Science Class

      Typical rap lyrics denigrating women and bashing gay human beings. Typical Islam teachings denigrating women and executing gay human beings. The two go hand in hand....pure ignorance and pure evil.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • mike seattle

      don't worry about it darlin . Islam is more then that

      March 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  20. Reality

    How Islam shapes the rest of us with its koranic/mosque/imam driven acts of terror and horror :

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan. 3/2011

    March 26, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Granger

      But, wait...you're using actual facts...that's not fair; liberals don't wanna believe...

      March 26, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Plead the Fifth

      THAAAANK YOU!!!!

      March 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Sick of morons

      We should ignore the 12 million people killed by a christian germany i guess (including 6 million jews)..

      March 26, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Sick of morons

      oh we should also ignore the enslavement of millions of blacks again by "christians"

      March 26, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Sick of morons

      oh and lets not forget the killing of hundreds of thousand Native Americans.. oh and then all those pesky indian tribes in South America killed by Catholics back in the day

      March 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Sick of morons

      Your facts should be all inclusive

      March 26, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      From: http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      20 million Joseph Stalin 20C

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans)

      8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      March 26, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Pacoatemiami

      Sick of Morons... got any atrocities a little more recent.... like in the last 50 years, and maybe something committed IN THE NAME OF a different religion than Islam?

      March 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Oh Gawd

      How about the Holocaust and WWI and WWII. They were all started by the Christian Germans? How about the enslavement of Africans in North America? or the ethnic cleansing and eventual wiping of the Native Americans. Give me a break.
      The US alone has had been involved in a war every decade since its inception.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Who was it that said kill the Jews? Hint it wasn't Christ so I doubt Hitler was following his advice. Why would a Nazi follow the advice of a Jew? No Mo on the other hand ...

      March 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Simple "Oh Gawd" Christianity doesn't instruct those Christians to do those things. The message of Jesus was pacifism. Mo.. on the other hand instructed his followers to force convert polytheists and if they didn't cooperate to slaughter them. So the atrocities in India pretty much followed his game plan. That's the difference, and that's why we can ignore your "What about Christians ..."

      March 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • mike seattle

      Yet We (islam) keep on dispite that. what dose that say, mashallah i saw the light and would never go back.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Lone

      Sick of Morons, you've labeled yourself and missed the point. You realize that you can claim a religion, or any affiliation for that matter, but not actually practice it right? Nazi Germany was not a religious movement, but one of political and later racial/ethnic ideology (all those 'undesirables'). The genocide and displacement of the American Indian occurred for similar reasons, though with less emphasis on the later.
      Go ahead and read the New Testament, you won't find a lick of violent intention or rhetoric in it (and don't dare try to misappropriate the Old and apply it to the New like all anti-Christians sorts love to do. The books are legitimately labeled as such for a reason).

      March 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
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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.