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My Take: Why Islam needs Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert at the 'Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear' in Washington in October 2010.
April 15th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

My Take: Why Islam needs Stephen Colbert

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Quick question: When you think of Buddhism, whose name comes to mind?

What about Islam?

A few nights ago, I spoke at the University of North Alabama on an interfaith panel that included a rabbi (Micah Greenstein of Memphis, Tennessee), an imam (Sheikh Ossama Bahloul of Murfreesboro, Tennessee) and a Protestant minister (Bishop William Willimon of Birmingham, Alabama).

During the spirited dinner conversation that preceded the event a group of us got to talking about the important role that high-profile public figures can play in breaking down religious stereotypes.

At the local level, for example, getting to know your town's rabbi can undercut prejudices you may have toward Jews. Having dinner with your Muslim neighbor can debunk stereotypes about Islam. At the national level, though, public figures control the conversation.

One reason Buddhists are accepted more often than they are feared in the United States is that when we think of Buddhism we think of the Dalai Lama and his trademark smile.

When we think of Islam, however, many of us think of Osama Bin Laden and his AK-47.

As aficionados of The Colbert Report have doubtless heard, Stephen Colbert has given up Catholicism for Lent. He became a Jew for a while but he liked that so much he guilt-tripped himself into giving up Judaism, too.

So a couple weeks ago he invited me onto his show to serve as his personal religion shopper.

I told him a little (you can't get too many words in edgewise) about Quakers and Hindus and Shakers and Jains, but when I tried to sell him on Islam he responded, “It’s got kind of a PR nightmare on its hands.”

Last week, however, Colbert converted to Islam in an effort, he said, to prove that moderate Muslims really do exist. It’s a gag of course, and he’ll be back to being one of America’s most beloved Catholics as of Easter.

But this gag does raise a serious question: where are the Muslims to whom Americans can look without fear or trembling?

There is Muhammad Ali, of course, and Yusuf Islam (the former Cat Stevens) but their heydays were in the 1960s and 1970s. And there are some current NBA players and international soccer stars who practice Islam.

But these are all B-list celebrities, at least in the United States. There isn’t anyone here like Stephen Colbert (who, by the way, has probably done more than any other celebrity, to repair the public image of Catholicism in the wake of the sex abuse scandals, at least among young people).

Until there is, Islam will continue to suffer from its "PR nightmare."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Interfaith issues • Islam • Opinion • TV

soundoff (369 Responses)
  1. Colbert Nation Member

    All I want to know has Stephen Colbert still not announced if he is running for president yet.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  2. mseikeh

    You got it right MY GEORGE. YEP. ENOUGH WISHFUL THINKING.

    I am not saying burn the Quran. I am saying one needs to stop wishing for a fairytale ending and confront Muslims.

    One mush make it clear that, those who claim to be moderate Muslims, HAD BETTER SHOW IT BY TALKING THEIR NOT SO MODERATE FELLOWS into stopping their violent acts, rather than banging on the Western democracies door making demands.

    I'd like to hear of a Pakistani doing something to explain to those who burn American flags and who are ready to kill an american on sight, explain to them that perhaps the Americans are here because PAKISTANI AND AFGHANES have left them with no other choice.

    I bet if you seek the populare opinion of those Pakistanis and Afghans you'd quickly find out, they are fully convinced. Bin Laden never done anything wrong, it was all an American plot to attack them. They are dead serious when they would say it is all the crime of America.

    Astonishingly, I still hear of naive stories of dinner and meeting between rabbi, imam and priest. Come meet me...

    If we ever to get anywhere with this bloody problem, it will be when Christian and others, Jews, Hindo, all, ... when we confront Muslims. Now burning their Quran or drawing a cartoon of their profit is just silly and childish. When I say confront, is to ask them to SHOW HOW THEY ARE WORKING TOWARD Piece.

    It might even help solve their own shiite suni bloody conflict and they might stop bumbing each other musque.

    Cheers,

    April 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  3. landrygirl

    This is what I would like to know: Why is anyone taking Colbert seriously? He's a SATIRIST-not a real political journalist (there's certainly not many of those left anymore). It is ridiculous that people get their infomation from him...RIDICULOUS

    April 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • landrygirl

      information

      April 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Rick

      They do not get their information from him, they get their understanding of the issues from him. When some clown of a politician lies and then claims his lies were not meant to be factual statements, it's one thing, you already have the information. When Colbert starts tweeting lies about that very politician and then claims they are not meant as factual statements it gives you a better sense of the real issue. Too bad that all seems to be a bit over your head regardless of how basic the idea of satire might be to most people.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  4. Losing my [non-religious]faith in humanity

    It's sad that the author suggests the fate of Islam's popular perception rests on the number and caliber of celebrities in America who practice (or pretend to practice) the faith. It's also sad that much of the debate within the commentary revolves around the same. If you insist on making the mistake of trying to characterize an entire religion, why not make a big deal about the billion-plus peaceful Muslims worldwide who aren't famous? The proof's in the pudding – not the pudding's spokesperson.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  5. SameMuslimPre&Post9/11

    Love the editorial. Answer to the question " where are the Muslims to whom Americans can look without fear or trembling?" they are exactly where they were before September 2001==> next to them. The same Muslim who was your doctor, your accountant, your coffee maker at DD, your cab driver, your NEIGHBOR before 9/11 are still the same Muslim in April 2011. Only thing that changed is time and the realization that non-Muslim Americans really need to get to know their conterpart Muslim-Americans. Nothing has changed really folks. I'm pretty sure all of us read in grade school FDR saying "Only thing we should fear is fear iself". So when you're scared of Muslim or Islam, just go upto your Muslim neighbor, your Muslim coworker or just walk into a mosque and speak with Americans who speak the same language, drinks the same coffee and watches the same Simpson and tell them "Hey, I'm scared of you/your religion, and I don't want to be, so tell me about your religion and why I should NOT be scared of you just because you're a Muslim."–SIMPLE AS THAT! Lets not fear conquer us, lets conquer our fears.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  6. amust

    ISLAM does not need PR , today most populous country in the islamic world was never attacked by Muslims of the Arab or South Asia, rather it was Muslim Arabs honesty in trading/transaction that won the hearts and mind of the nationso of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and many in Phippines, Thailand
    the type of PR what westerners or modern man has become acussotmed in anti-islamic in many ways. American PR talent is not dout in great demand, many politicians form foreign countries often hire US PR firms to up the image in their own country or like Qadafi hring US frms to up his image in US. however, Islam best PR is Good Muslims, and that has proven all too often throughtout islamic history.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Fundad

    Islam is indeed more a political idiology than a religion and they have more than just a PR problem. Wherever they are in any significant numbers there is murder, terrorism, persecution, torture, and enslavement. They have no tolerance for any other belief or religion and will kill anyone who does not believe as they do. Just look @ their wave of terror sweeping virtually every country in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and now Southeast Asia. Their wave of terror is spreading so fast because they are taking advantage of the good nature & tolerance shown by the rest of the world's religions. They are using that good nature against us and every other civilized country in the world & its time the we wake up and begin to deal with them in a forceful manner before its too late. Thank God King John sent the troops to stop them when he did or there would be no Europe or America as we know it today. Charles Martel where are you when we need you?

    April 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Losing my [non-religious]faith in humanity

      Wow, thank god the Christians kept those bad, uncivilized Muslims away back then. Otherwise, western civilization would've fallen victim to "murder, terrorism, persecution, torture, and enslavement". With all its murder, its history of slavery, and growing intolerance, I estimate that more than half of the US population must be super-secret Muslims...

      April 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Rick

      The problem with your post is glaring. That being that during the crusades the Islamic world was more advanced than the Christian world in every way including their acceptance of other religions.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  8. MY MAN

    repent and accept jsesus as my savior = heaven (or don't and enjoy hell), suicide bomb= heaven and virgins (pervs), question, who has it right? Neither of you extremists... Live a good life an love one another. Our technoligy and prejiduces equal disaster for all. Please accept the fact thath no matter what your religion, fearing, judging or hating other religions makes you part of the problem.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Alex

      Really you believe this crap that if u believe in Jesus you will go straight to heaven
      so in This case Hitler,Jeffery Dahmer or Moussolini are going to heaven , no judgment or hell form and only cause they believe in Jesus.I don't want to be part of this religion.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rick

      Wow, you TOTALLY misunderstood his point. His point is that the ridiculous Muslim heaven idea is no more ridiculous than the ridiculous Christian heaven idea. Try reading more than the 1st 4 words of a post before you start babbling about it.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  9. Shazia Arain

    I couldn't agree more . I am a Muslim, a moderate one. And love stephen Colbert and jonstewert and trust me a LOT of my fellow moderate Muslim Americans adore these two figure. I don't know why we have not seen a figure like those two in Media who is also Muslim.. people like Asif Mandvi (Daily show w JOn Stewert) do exist but no one is going to give hima show of how own!. I wonder if the authro saw REza Arslan when he was a guets at Steph COlbert show. I think he was superb. I think that is where as a a policy allthe major media outlets need to stop fearing the back lash and give a Modern , good humored Muslim a chance to build a better PR w rest of America. Most of major Media channels woudl be afraind of the back lash of R wingers like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin etc.. who will out cast that poor channel.

    If some one will only give a chance to a moderate, articulate, educated and fuuny Muslim a show!

    April 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Rick

      Find me a Muslim comedian in a Muslim country. No? Didn't think so. The problem is not with moderate Muslims in the west it is that there are so few in Muslim countries.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  10. Chris

    They need a renaissance.

    Repeating the tired mantra of " all religions are violent blah blah blah" doesn't do anything to deflect proper blame that is being placed at the feat of those who follow this religion.

    The fact of the matter is, only one religion's followers will kill you for drawing a cartoon, and it's not Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhs, Zoroastrianism or Wicca.

    And stating facts doesn't make anyone a bigot. Calling someone an islamophobe means you lost the argument.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Dean

      Your first sentence is the only one that makes real sense. The problem with radical Islam is lack of education, for the most part. Educated Muslims are generally peaceful (except for those, like bin Laden, who have other issues). Christianity was very similar in the middle ages (the Inquisition, the Crusades, killing of heretics, etc.) for the same reason. The Renaissance is what really changed Christianity, IMO, which is why I say your first sentence is the one that makes sense.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Losing my [non-religious]faith in humanity

      So what are you going to do if suddenly a minority of Christians start committing crazy atrocities in the name of Jesus (I know it's a stretch, but just try to imagine), while the rest of you guys keep living your normal peaceful lives? Should you feel responsible for launching a PR campaign to defend public opinion of Christians? Should you quietly accept Congressional hearings on how radical Christianity is getting?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • tuffgong71

      Losing my [non-religious]faith in humanity are you kidding! What should we do IF Christians become violent. What about the dead abortion clinic doctors! What about the KKK defending the Bible by hanging blacks and beating gays? Where have you been. Your closed minded comment offends me.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  11. Ann Marie

    I am so sick of men telling me to accept men as my religious leaders and superiors and at the same time to accept Islam as valid when it clearly is an enemy to women worldwide. Why don't you write an article about Islam accepting women as HUMAN BEINGS!

    April 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • JustSayin'

      Rejecting religion altogether is the answer.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  12. Greg

    This author suffers from PC; a really bad case of PC. What he wants is a liberal Islamic figure to come forward. That's a death threat...

    April 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  13. Mike in NJ

    I appreciate your sense of humor, Mr. Prothero. Keep preaching moderate views, maybe someone from the (pick your own lunatic fringe here) will hear you.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  14. alboze

    "where are the Muslims to whom Americans can look without fear or trembling?"
    Fear doesn't come into it; Muslims would love to be feared, hence the many acts of terrorism. I think there is growing frustration and resentment around the world at the lack of action by so called peaceful muslims against what they call a small group of extremists using Islam to carry out their acts of terror. They are condoning these acts by not making a physical stand against them.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • amust

      i am msulim, have been in US since 1989 and now proud US citizen, but since 9-11 keep hearing american gripe over "why muslim leaders not come forward and mention taht Islam is not threat to america, or why peaceful muslim not stand up and make a voice known ..." I do not understand what are Ameican reading and listening....countless msulim have done that. and it is time that average Aemrican do not ask this, but ask what has America done to Msulims families all over the world

      April 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Jose

      Thats great Amust... but why we want to see Muslims stand up and say this is wrong is so that we can see that they exist. You say they do.. we dont see it. All I see is Muslims who say that they are being sterotyped, but I dont see those same people complaining about sterotypes actually telling the 'minority' they are wrong for being violent. Why dont they get on cnn and say "Yes the Burka ban in France is wrong. We must fight this... It is because of the actions of evil men like Osama Bin Ladin we have to remind people we are not violent. Osama bin Ladin and the other members of evil groups who massacre people are UNISLAMIC" You never hear that.

      So until we do, you cant blame people for thinking that either the moderate Muslim doesnt care about the radicals that much... or they kinda agree wtih them. Whatever happened to protecting Christians and Jews....

      April 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  15. This Just In...

    Stephen Colbert is Allah!

    April 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  16. David P.

    I'm afraid the author needs a reality check regarding Cat Stevens. Back in the late 80's when he converted to Islam, he publicly (on several interview shows) endorsed Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa and death sentence against Salman Rushdie. After it was clear he created a PR nightmare for himself, he tried to backtrack but it was clear he was sincere at the time. I was there when it happened and I've never forgotten it as I was a big fan until this happened. Perhaps we should serach for other examples of B-listed celebrities?

    April 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Religion is simply a mechanism for simpleton followers of society to cope with the horrors of their pitiful lives.
    Take a stand and lead for once. Educate yourselves by learning the disciplines that the rest of the educated world (who is flying by us) are educating themselves with like science, math, philosophy, etc. instead of simply relying on "belief." WAKE UP!!! GET OUT OF THE STONE AGE!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • E-man

      I think its more accurate to say GET OUT OF THE MEDIEVAL AGE!! being that there were no organized religions in those days and well..historically speaking thats when religion had absolute power. other then that i agree with you. =)

      April 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  18. JonathanL

    If he really converted to Islam, he is not allowed to convert out of it. That is apostacy in Muslim law and is considered a capital crime. He runs the risk of having death fatwahs issued against him by all the authoritative IMAMs. I hope this is not true that he will convert back. There could be a whole slew of bloodthirsty Islamic murder mobs set loose to punish him, running amock through the streets killing innocent babies and mothers and destroying and burning everything in their paths, and even those who are within 50 feet of him. I will make sure to stay at least 50 miles away from him. This is one reason I would never convert to Islam or commit suicide. There is no return. There is no second chance. There is no way to back out. You can't change your mind once you do it, even if you want to.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Dean

      Ah. You have proven the author's point – you rely upon stereotypes to shape your worldview. Sadly, you probably cannot see this.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Jose

      Im not sure its a sterotype. These incidents are too common.

      Is it a sterotype to say that Islam is a violent religion when, as a responce to a insult (Koran being burned), mobs rise up in the middle east and murder dozens of people?

      To me I see – insult us and we will kill you. If you live among us and are different, we will kill you. If you are in the same physical location as someone we want to kill, even if you are a devout muslim, and we will kill you but thats ok as you will go to heaven. Who cares about families starving.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  19. Mars

    The question here is about perception, not facts. All religion will always have peaceful and violent factions. True or not, the biggest perception problem of Islam is the belief that murder is acceptable in Islam as long as you're killing the enemies of Islam and you even get a straight ticket to heaven. It might not be true but too many Muslims believe that. I'm sure you'll find a handful of Christians or Protestants or Buddhist that will kill you for the sake of their religion but they are very few and even then these people consider this as sacrificing their soul for the greater good rather than an express lane to heaven.

    It doesn't matter how many Muslims follow the "true" path of Islam, but as long as a significant number of Muslims believe that murder is good way to go to heaven, then they will have a PR problem.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Ryan

      @Mars: Incorrect. Not all religions have their violent sects. I challenge you to find me a violent Quaker or Jain. Don't worry, I'll wait.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  20. RossTrex

    Stereotype: a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly

    The author has missed what a Stereotype is... Muslims have not been inaccurately depicted in the news or otherwise here in the US. From our Government to the Press, Islam has been treated with the utmost respect... unlike Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism. The US government burned Bibles recently in Afghanistan as part of a military directive regarding what to do with trash in a warzone (no joke look it up). Another directive orders US military personnel to treat the Koran as "a fine piece or artwork". Articles like this one ASSUME a prejudice instead of giving real examples.

    While I agree that the majority of Muslims are peaceful. The Author neglects the reality that the peaceful Muslims are fighting stereotypes but not fighting the "radicals" in their religion.

    Some examples:
    How much money has been donated by muslims to victims of Islamic terrorism? Do we have any hard evidence that ANY money has ever gone from Muslims to the families of the victims of terrorism? Any aid to: Hindus, Buddhists, Christians or even Muslims that profess a counter version of their faith? None that I have ever heard of.... giving aid publicly would be one very solid way Muslims could dispel the negative stereotypes.

    Muslims who stand against jihad end up dead themselves.... I don't think I need to site examples here.... we see this almost daily the most recent example though was Moulvi Showkat Ahmed Shah killed on his way to lead prayers. Making Public announcements of support for the victims of terrorism and statements of rage against the terrorists would be another way to counter the Stereotypes. Go to any Islamic website and or Mosque and you will find minimal statements (if any) regarding the victims of Islam. More often than not you will find narsistic statements about stereotypes and how the world is persecuting Muslims.... Never mind that in every single Islamic State they have NO freedom of religion, limited freedom of the press and little to no gender equality.

    The US and other nations are enabling these stereotypes by placating Islam... President Obama has made numerous statements in support of the Koran and Islam. These statements seem to have done nothing to embolden the "peaceful" muslims..... quite the opposite it appears that they now wait for the west to deal with the radicals instead of actively stopping terrorism. I understand that we have a method to this madness but to placate Islam while burning bibles and enabling Islamic States to persecute religious minorities (Pakistan, Afghanistan are good examples) is counter to our cause no matter the reasoning.

    I am fully aware of the "peaceful" muslim here in the US but looking across the globe we see in Muslim majority countries, nothing but failed states and or dictatorships with one thing in common: religious persecution. The US and others have attempted to stop the Islamic States becoming like Iran by supporting dictators but this is a short sighted strategy that will only end in more bloodshed. Islam is the problem across the globe. Islam has bloody borders and it is unlike any other religion, it should be classified as an Ideology with religious and political components and should not be given a special status in the press or by our government.

    I know the real reason why the US Military burns bibles and handles the koran like a fine work of art..... Christians turn the other cheek and Muslims will kill over any provocation..... we are enabling the murder while spitting on (or outright enabling their deaths) those who would be peaceful.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Occam's Razor

      @ RexTex – fantastic post. Well said.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Dean

      I read somewhere that Islam today is about where Christianity was in the middle ages. I thought this was an insightful comment, because the 'extremism' that both experienced were the result of controlling leaders and lack of education of the masses. The way to fight radical Islam is not to persecute, ignore or 'fight back' – but to work to bring education to those who do not have it. Yes, this is a very tall order, but I would suggest that the peaceful Muslims in industrialized countries are mostly peaceful because they are educated. Just my $.02

      April 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Your full of It

      The US Military burns bibles?? Exactly when and where? Never witnessed it or heard of in my 5 years in the service.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Andrew

      Go to the Vatican website, go to catholic websites, you'll find they don't go promoting aid to the victims of s-xual abuse either. It doesn't really matter the religion, no religious group really wants to talk about the evils committed under the religion's name. Moderates are always simply try to distance themselves from the extremists, in an attempt to say "they're not true believers", if you're expecting some onus on the muslim part, you're expecting something not often seen in any religion. How often would you hear Christians standing up and apologising for the influx of creationism in our public school systems?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Good points

      Everyone seems to dismiss the fact that there is not a single muslim country that is "peaceful" and honors what we consider universal human rights. The most "muslim" countries are the most backward (afganistan) and the least muslim are the most well-adjusted. Of the current conflicts going on around the globe, almost all (90% or so) are in Islamic-countrolled countries. Sure, there are peaceful Muslims. But is Islam a religion of peace? No. It was born in violence and it continues to live in violence.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Abe

      Some good points made, but overall a bit too simplified. For one thing, I'm a Christian and from what I've seen many of the most outspoken Christians are the whiniest about any other faith getting a good word. We are supposed to be the turn the other cheek crowd. Unfortunately, in the USA, Christianity has been hijacked by the far right... the same far right that somehow finds a way to use Jesus to support war. Sadly, these extremists have given Christians a bad name. Granted, we aren't super violent as a group, but just as a couple of examples: Timothy McVey was a Christian as was the Olympic Park Bomber, as are abortion clinic bombers and doctor killers. Of course, that's not all Christians. Again, those are the extremists. What I call Old Testament Christians who maybe didn't get the word that there's a New Testament full of love your neighbor and judge not lest you be judged. Oh wait... I do belive there's an OT commandment about killing isn't there?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • baller23

      you said Muslims battle stereotypes but not the radicals. I disagree. We gave up our lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechniya, in Palistine and Israel alike, on 9-11, as fire fighters and police officers, as soldiers and the family of soldiers, as children, spouses, and parents of deceased loved one. We are no different than you. We're leading protests while looking down the barrel of guns and tanks supplied by your country to our dictators. We're not doing enough? If what we're not doing is not enough, then what is? What more would you have us do?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • tuffgong71

      RossTrex, you sound like a Christian. So you have taken your own advice and donated to the victims of the KKK and the Jonesboro Baptist Church?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Fortes

      @Goodpoints

      Don't make up facts. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population and it has experienced productive and peaceful times in the decade since the Bali Bombings, actively committed to redressing a long history of human rights abuse and repairing once-frayed bonds with modern neighbors like Australia and New Zealand. A majority of Islamic countries need total reform but Indonesia is one we should respect.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Jay W.

      Reading what you (and some of the commentors) have been saying has made me sick to my stomach. I have Muslim friends who are more forgiving, loving, and kind than it seems many of you are. If you think that they should be held responsible for what others who happen to practice a misguided version of their religion do, then there are many things that you yourself oughta be responsilbe for that people belonging to groups you identify with have done.

      You think that Muslims should start donating money to the families of those who have been hurt by other Muslims? And you expect them to do this in some sort of prideful publicity stunt to make you forgive them for what people they don't know have done? Why aren't you calling for Catholics to talk about their scandals on their websites or for Catholic people to donate money to victims of widespread and systematic abuse by Priests?

      Christianity has been the state religion for a number of repressive regimes throughout history. Many Christians are currently avid supporters of war, the death penalty, and using their political power to enforce their beliefs upon others. The Christian and Mormon right has been on a crusade against gay marriage. This is only one example of Christians using their political power to enforce their beliefs upon others from recent American history. Don't talk about what leaders of other countries have done in order to rationalize your hatred for Muslims.

      You think that Christians turn the other cheek? Not sure that I know of many that do (although I do know of some, and I have much respect for them). Jesus turned the other cheek, but it seems that Christians in America aren't too fond of doing so. They actually were more supportive of Bush's invasion of Iraq (which he claims he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do). That is not turning the other cheek; in fact, the Iraq war was actually an example of us hitting our enemies cheeks even before they hit ours.

      American Christianity is a disappointment to the example Jesus has shown us. Jesus calls us to love our enemies and hangout with the lowest and most unloved members of society. I hope that one day you can get off your high horse and learn what it means to truly love those that you find it hard to love and show your enemies that you have a love more powerful than any weapon.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mudassar

      I protest the suttle insults in your post.You used the term "victims of Islam" instead of victims of terrorism. And the word "islamic terrorism" should be terrorism only. Terrorism is just terrorism regardless of the Religion prefix used before it. If you don't understand what Mars has posted on his/her b;log then you don't get it. Some people get a high by killing innocent civilians and terrorizing other people and use religion to jsutify it. I am a Muslim and contribute to all charities that serve our communities whether it is diabled veterans, the police, St. Jude's, ADA, Doctor's w/o borders, Neighbohood Health centers and so on. You hide your hate behind soft words but it is still hate.

      April 16, 2011 at 8:52 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.