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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. Reality

    It goes way beyond a "PR" nightmare:

    As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    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.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    April 16, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Sadat Anwar

      If I played the same game as you and took the number of Muslims killed by American ammunition, bombs, cluster bombs, missiles, sanctions, depleted uranium, etc., etc. and divided that into numbered points featuring the victims in groups of 50, 60, or 100, I'd be giving you a MUCH longer list of Muslim victims of America than the list of victims of Islamic terrorism that you provided to us here.

      The way I see it– the terrorists who kill are perpetrating a killing which itself is in response to a much larger killing that is being perpetrated by civilized, clean-shaven, so-called progressive westerners like yourself. How about getting the f-- out of Muslim countries and just TESTING to see if that might actually improve the situation in any way??

      April 16, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • BG

      @ Sadat Anwar

      And let you destroy yourselves along with all the oil?

      Nah. Can't have that.

      April 16, 2011 at 2:41 am |
  2. Reality

    What Steve C would say:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians:
    There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity.

    Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    Added details upon request.

    April 16, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  3. Evan

    I'm a Christian, but I fully believe we should be respectful towards Muslims. The majority of Muslims are pious, humble people. It's the "Osama Bin Ladens" that ruin Islam's image. Christians are not innocent either, I admit: the crusades for example. Atheists aren't innocent either: eugenics. None of us are perfect, but that doesn't mean we still can't get along.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  4. Adelina

    Do self-obsessed hedonistic Americans need a religion? They like Buddhism because it says whatever you do is okay. Americans should go to Bhutan and live there, never coming out.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  5. Maziar

    Wrong Hypothesis

    By Maziar Aptin

    Modesty is a great human characteristic. Usually our good fortunes, such as our physique, wealth, education, intelligence over others, etc. will cloud our minds and create arrogance in us, which is an ugly human characteristic.

    Arrogance in our culture, due to our higher intelligence, was injected by the theory of creation introduced by Ibrahim (Abraham) thousands of years ago. The same hypothesis has changed man’s behavior toward women, which created male chauvinism through spiritual teaching. The hypothesis indicates that “God” created the world in 6 days and rested on day 7 (Book of Genesis put this as recent as 4000 BC). It continues saying that “God” created “Adam” as his prized creation, put him on Earth and made the Earth the center of the universe. “God” then created “Eve” from Adam’s rib to keep Adam Company. Then “God” created everything else that exists on Earth to serve and comfort humans.

    This hypothesis, flawed in every way and as imaginative and shallow as it may appear, has captured the imaginations of billions of people for almost three thousand years through indoctrination from the time of birth. The result is a culture that discriminates against other animals, has disregard for the environment, created hatred against people of different beliefs and cultures, and has created constant sect oral wars from the day of its emergence.

    In recent century’s religious fanaticism and religious animosities among people has been declining due to advances in science, technology, system of communications, system of government, and the emergence of modern economic and trade systems in the world.

    Even though that religion has promoted ethics in human societies, which has served humanity fairly well, the above hypothesis has created problematic culture in human societies, which is harmful to animals, environment, and humanity as a whole.

    Mankind needs to carefully examine the use of the hypothesis in question, analyze its performance during the last several thousand years, pinpoint and estimate the damages caused to Man and environment, then try to devise a sound and profound ethical standard which embraces the universe as a whole and create a culture that does not revolve around humans in general and man in particular; a culture free of religious fanaticism, individualism, nationalism, or racism.

    We humans must act maturely enough to see ourselves as one of the products of the universe with an equal right to resources, not as a privileged, one-of-a-kind, and preferred creature. We must eliminate this culture of arrogance; a culture which is abusing other animals, the environment, and creating hatred and constant wars among people; a culture by which people are made to believe that the whole universe has been created to serve them, the human animal.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Evan

      Maziar, Christianity should end wars, not start wars. Christianity should bring us closer, not farther apart. Christians over the years have abused Christ's loving message over the years.

      Atheists aren't innocent either: eugenics, the belief that certain races do not deserve to live because they could hinder the evolution of the human species.

      You may say "Well, not every atheist believes that". My point exactly: not every Christian (in fact, a large marjority) believes that they are more important than anyone else.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  6. Maziar

    Two great inventions

    The greatest invention made by human is “wheel” which improved quality of life for humans allover the world. First it was invented to carry carloads, but now it is found in; from delicate watches to giant factory equipments.

    The greatest mistake that human has made is the invention of god and religion which brought so much destructions and miseries for mankind.

    Maziar Aptin

    April 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  7. Raji

    The author was looking for examples of contemporary Muslims, although obviously not practicing in the strictest sense, both Dave Chappel and T-Pain are Muslims.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  8. Brian Macker

    "Having dinner with your Muslim neighbor can debunk stereotypes about Islam."
    What stereotype, that it is the religion of peace?

    "Yusuf Islam (the former Cat Stevens)" called for the murder of Salman Rushdie. Not exactly my idea of someone not to fear.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • TurkAm

      Check that Brian. Yusuf Islam said that under Sharia law Rushdie would be put to death. He did not say he would do it or anyone else would/should do it.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  9. Brook

    What about Keith Ellison?

    April 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • BG

      @ Brook

      Boo- Hoo. Sob. Wimper.

      C'mon ! You're supposed to be a Muslim ! Buck up! Don't let the infidels see you cry !

      What? Oh, I see.. It's working already?! NPR's reporting that you're having a breakdown, and it's the bigots' fault. I see.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  10. Mac4Brains

    for the people that do not remember the TV show "The west wing" they did a special show for 9/11. I was surprised by a statement made by one of the actors. "Islamic extremists are to islam as the KKK is to Christianity" How would Christians fell if the KKK became the example to the non-Christian world as the christian stereotype? We need to ponder this more.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      It IS a fair comparison. Personally, I like it, as it IS defensible, as the US HAS essentially crushed the violent KKK and only a reborn version exists today that has not engaged in violent acts, like their predecessors do.
      One can also bring up other violent Christians, such as the abortion clinic bombers, who are arrested and sent to prison.
      Hence, WE manage to reign in our zanies who commit violent acts and can point TO that dirty laundry that is cleaned up, when speaking to other nations.
      OUR habit of airing our dirty laundry and the cleaning of it IS something that they do not understand, but when we point out that we're admitting our imperfections and showing the world, as well as ourselves, that we're cleaning up those aberrations, they begin to understand. They'll not emulate it in such a public manner, but as long as they do privately, is that not as good?
      Let's face it, MOST of these problems are direct fallout effects from the cold war. Without the USSR and US pressures to keep the troublemakers bottled up and directed, they're loose cannons.
      It will take time to whittle down the tree of violent extremism. The cutting instrument is now what it always was, providing education and opportunity for advancement in life over the lack of both that is current in the troubled areas.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mac4Brains

      I 'believe' in The West Wing episode you speak of they, and it's been a long time since I saw it, but they were implying the 'radical fringe murderous' elements in terms of their comparisons.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      April 16, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  11. Maziar

    Religion is easy to sell to naïve and weak-minded people because it promises eternal life and provides a shoulder to cry on. Intelligent and strong-minded people do not need religion to be good

    April 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • todd

      One opinion that makes any sense to me, out of hundreds, that's sad both for muslim and christian civilization... why one has to turn to some farytales characters and holy books in order to live a normal, productive and moral life? That's is ridiculous ...

      April 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  12. Abdul

    Your thinking is flawed for many reasons: 1) religion, especially Islam, is not a popularity contest 2) as a Muslim you live for Allah and not man, when you do good it is for Allah and Him alone 3) being humble is the nature of a good Muslim.

    Right now in our political environment and in the news (that's why you wrote this article) mentioning Islam gives you brownie points and throwing Islam under the bus triples those points. I'm not going to try and tell why this is all I will say is remember: "...Allah is the best of planners"

    If you want to learn more about Islam visit your local masjid...step outside your normal circle of friends...chance is you probably already know a Muslim he is just not throwing his religion down your throat ( see my first sentences for the reasons why )

    April 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Nice words. The problem is not what a Muslim will say to a non-believer. It's what a Muslim says to another Muslim. Privately, for example, almost every Muslim will tell (other Muslilms) that Israel must be destroyed. This is true of American Muslims as well. Of course you will never hear this said publicly.

      The face of Muslims to non-believers is not the same face presented to followers. Muslims are directed by Hadith to lie, steal, cheat or do anything to promote Shariah and Islam. So what you say here is basically a lie. You say entirely different things to your Muslim family and friends.

      Most Muslims think Americans are stupid about Islam. You think we never heard of Hadith, Dhimmihood or Kafirs. Surprise. Some of us DO know what Islam means. It means the death of Western Tradition, art, science and freedom.

      "If we lose to Islam, we lose everything."

      sanjosemike

      April 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Mikey, if you are right, WHY is it that our listening devices NEVER heard such things as you speak of?
      You speak of things with certainty, even calling a man a liar, a man you do not know. Your mother obviously did a lousy job raising you, as you were never taught respect of others.
      I speak of our listening devices for a reason, I DID spend nearly 5 years deployed in our war zones. We DID employ such things. The vast majority of people we dealt with WERE honest. They said nothing "to their brothers" that they didn't say to our faces. So, frankly, YOU are the liar. For, everyone who knows me knows that *I* speak the truth, I refuse to lie, too much maintenance on lies to be worth it.
      So, based upon a GREAT DEAL of experience in the field with Muslims and considering YOUR ignorance and refusal to accept the first amendment, I'll accept Abdul's word over yours, every day of the week. I'd not believe you now were you to tell me that a building we were both in is afire.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Richard the Lionheart

      sanjosemike – I cannot LIKE your commenet enough!

      LIKE LIKE LIKE

      April 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Richard the Lionheart

      please pardon my typo-misspelling

      April 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • BG

      @ sanjosemike

      Good for you, well said. Now tell all your friends and family. Education is key.

      @ Wzrd1

      " Mikey, if you are right, WHY is it that our listening devices NEVER heard such things as you speak of? I speak of our listening devices for a reason, I DID spend nearly 5 years deployed in our war zones. We DID employ such things."

      And what about that non-disclosure statement that all military staff involved in surveillance and intelligence are required to sign? If you were (and I'm betting you weren't) involved in surveillance activities you aren't allowed to discuss them irrespective of whether your stories are accurate or not.

      "The vast majority of people we dealt with WERE honest. They said nothing "to their brothers" that they didn't say to our faces. "

      Oh, for christ's sake. How much of this horseshi1 do you think people will swallow?

      "So, frankly, YOU are the liar. For, everyone who knows me knows that *I* speak the truth, I refuse to lie, too much maintenance on lies to be worth it."

      I'm calling you a liar to your "blog face'. If you were standing in front of me I'd tell you to your human face. And btw, my mother raised me just fine, thanks. I didn't know 'yo mama' jokes were so popular in the ME.

      "So, based upon a GREAT DEAL of experience in the field with Muslims and considering YOUR ignorance and refusal to accept the first amendment.."

      Tell us about the 1A, Mohammad. You sure f'd up the 9th.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      Hello my friend...

      I saw another article on 'Islam' and I said to myself... 'Holy Sh-it' !!! Hopefully -BG is not going to leave a lot of dead bodies around the blog 😯

      Anyway, you seem to be in your element.

      Hope that you are well... BTW ...?

      Interesting postings per usual.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      April 16, 2011 at 5:00 am |
    • Wzrd1

      BG, again, what I mention has been reported BY THE GOVERNMENT, in open source. Again, no specifics, which are not only NDA covered, but still classified. Again, I mentioned NOT, methods. Again, experience in matters that CAN be spoken of and what cannot be spoken of.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I made no "Yo Momma" joke, but simply made an observation. As I am NOT from the Middle East, but from Philadelphia and indeed, am not very far from Philadelphia right now, I'm acquainted with both.
      I made an observation regarding how someone was raised. You seem to share an incivility with the poster.
      You wish to discuss this in person, feel free to stop by and we'll discuss it. I'll happily meet you near Philly international airport.
      But, should you persist in calling me a liar to my face, the conversation will most certainly degenerate rapidly into things less civil.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I mentioned the ninth amendment for one reason, one cannot use ones free speech to disparage the right of free religion of another. YOUR case law point was totally off of the mark, but I suspect I was unclear, if you went to THAT case law for precedent.
      Was I clearer this time around on my grounds for the ninth amendment?
      The first amendment being regarding freedom to practice one's religion unimpeded vs the poster's wish to disparage that right through expression of HIS faith (that of atheism) and speech.
      In civil discussion and debate, allowable, but hinting of removing a right to practice a religion due to his lack of belief, illegal.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • BG

      @ Peace2All

      Hey Peace! How you doin? It look like we've got a live one here, eh? By now you know me well enough to know that I'm not easily agitated... (wipe that milk from outta your nose...) but this bozo hit my tripwire. I just can't tolerate people that pretend to have been soldiers. Kind of a cardinal violation of decency. You -do- know how to tell a faker, right? Here's the rule:

      People who have been in combat do not talk about it. They don't 'use' their experience as a soapbox. Combat transcends reality or rational thought. Combat is... unexplainable, and thoroughly unforgettable. So you don't try to relive it. You move on, or you're eaten alive by your memories.

      So, no, Peace, I'm not bringing my 'scorched earth' policy out of retirement, but tactical strikes aren't off the table for the deserving.

      btw, how come you've been so quiet lately?

      Regards

      April 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • BG

      @ Wzrd.05

      "The first amendment being regarding freedom to practice one's religion unimpeded vs the poster's wish to disparage that right through expression of HIS faith (that of atheism) and speech."

      Why don't you give us a little case-law example and save us the guesswork of what you're talking about?

      " .... In civil discussion and debate, allowable, but hinting of removing a right to practice a religion due to his lack of belief, illegal."

      Again, an example, please? Where's that pesky 9th Amendment when you need it... Again, you miss my point. I'm not talking about removing a right to practice a religion, I'm talking about re-classifying the alleged religion's tax status and prosecuting the followers for sedition. Big difference.

      Course that's just one man's opinion.... for now.

      April 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  13. John Richardson

    I don't know what Islam needs, but this blog needs fewer idiots among its writer stable.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  14. V Saxena

    Wonderful article, Mr. Prothero You are a cool Christian or Catholic or whatever :-).

    April 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  15. sanjosemike

    This is not a joke, despite this guy "Colbert's toying with Islam. Some Muslims regard it a capital offense to switch to another religion after you convert to Islam. Most Muslims will regard this "conversion" as a sham, and interpret it as "making fun of the Prophet" rather than a serious effort to understand Islam.

    Colbert needs to understand that these people are serious to the point of insanity about their religion. You just don't "play" with it and expect to get out unscathed. Mark my words, we haven't heard the last of this yet....

    "If we lose to Islam, we lose everything." sanjosemike

    April 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      I thought the exact same thing! The penalty for renouncing Islam, historically, is death. Today, in places like Indonesia, you get locked up in prison if you convert from Islam to anything else. This stunt may prove to be another South Park fiasco. Colbert is probably aware of all this, though, so I do admire his guts.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      First, they'd probably consider it fitna, not apostasy, as he did not state before another (preferably Muslim) Shahadah, which is declaring that he believes there is no God by Allah and Mohammad is his prophet.
      Hence, it'd be recognized by most as a publicity ploy and ignored, for others, treated as either a bad joke of the worst taste and for the zanies, who are offended whenever I am flatulent, the sun rises and sets and the wind shifts direction, would be incensed. As the zanies are not in this nation, the few who were are behind bars or deported, it is a moot point.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  16. 264712

    Let me just ask one question: Can we PLEASE start the debate in the country about how "God", "Hell", "Heaven", "Satan", "Muhammad", "Jesus", "Angels" "Ghosts" "Demons" and "Spirits of the Dead and or / Nature/ Mother Earth " do not exist in any rational form as the way they are presented throughout world history? Maybe Jesus and Muhammad existed as people in ancient cultures but not in any way as divine beings or messengers or sons of someone's God. This spiritualist nonsense HAS to stop! There are no guardian angels or demonic possessions or flying people. Thank you

    April 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      AMEN BROTHER!!!!!

      April 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Mike Breen

      What ?...No flying people?...And I suppose you don't think superman is real either....

      April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Consult the first amendment for when that discussion would be permitted. Consult also, the ninth amendment.
      Your rights may NOT disparage the rights of others. Ever. So saith the almighty ninth amendment. 😉

      April 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • BG

      @ Wzrd1

      You're a blowhole. What's more, you're an inaccurate blowhole. Apparently your "27 years" in the military taught you to shoot off your mouth first.

      9A The enumeration in the Consti-tution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/consti-tution/amendment09/

      In Griswold the Supreme Court was asked to review the consti-tutionality of a Connecticut law that banned adult residents from using Birth Control and prohibited anyone from assisting others to violate this law. In the majority opinion, Justice william o. douglas, writing for the Court, rejected the notion that the judiciary is obligated to enforce only those rights that are expressly enumerated in the Consti-tution. On several occasions in the past, Douglas wrote, the Court has recognized rights that cannot not be found in the written language of the Consti-tution.

      Only briefly discussed in Douglas's majority opinion, the Ninth Amendment was the centerpiece of Justice arthur goldberg's concurring opinion. The language and history of the Ninth Amendment, Goldberg wrote, demonstrate that the Framers of the Consti-tution intended the judiciary to protect certain unwritten liberties with the same zeal that courts must protect those liberties expressly referenced in the Bill of Rights. The Ninth Amendment, Goldberg emphasized, reflects the Framers' original understanding that "other fundamental personal rights should not be denied protection simply because they are not specifically listed" in the Consti-tution.

      Justices hugo l. black and Potter Stewart criticized the Court for invoking the Ninth Amendment as a basis for its decision in Griswold. The Ninth Amendment, the dissenting justices said, does not explain what unenumerated rights are retained by the people or how these rights should be identified. Nor does the amendment authorize the Supreme Court, in contrast to the president or Congress, to enforce these rights. By reading the Ninth Amendment as creating a general right to privacy, Black and Stewart suggested, the unelected justices of the Supreme Court had subst-ituted their own subjective notions of justice, liberty, and reasonableness for the wisdom and experience of the elected representatives in the Connecticut state legislature who were responsible for passing the birth control regulation.

      From legal-dictionary the freelegaldictionary.

      Gaah. I'm really getting sick of -you-

      April 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      BG, you completely glossed over the disparagement of religious rights by atheists enforcing THEIR rights. Hence, your entire detail of case law in THIS instance is specious, I suspect I was unclear in my rationale for invoking the ninth in protection of the first.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • BG

      @ 'Sarge'

      ".... you completely glossed over the disparagement of religious rights by atheists enforcing THEIR rights."
      No, I didn't 'gloss over' it, I didn't even address it. It was never even under discussion. And exactly why would we discuss atheists enforcing their rights by ridiculing the religious right? Look up 'disparagement'. The restate your... whatever it is. I don't even know or care about what it is you're trying to say anymore.

      "... I suspect I was unclear in my rationale for invoking the ninth in protection of the first."
      I suspect you were, are, and probably will continue to be.

      "specious?" Again with the 'specious?' Learn a new word.

      After 27 years, you were what, an E-10 or 11?

      April 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  17. orionian

    I'm not an American Muslim but I'm a Muslim from Nigeria. I live in the U.S.A with my family. I went to a madrassa and I learned the Quran for 13 years from the age 5. I attended all the Muslim schools and meetings. I was never told to kill anyone by my teachers or Imam. they used to teach me how to live with others in peace. the day came when the Christians and Muslims had an argument in politics. we used to live side by side in peace for thousands of years but things have changed and am sure its not my Quran because Quran doesnt change with what you guys do. some games have started and i believe it has started in the 60ies. dont be fools. the Quran doesnt say kill anyone. it tells me if i kill one soul for no reason, its like killing all human beings.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I disagree. The Quran DOES say that killing in war is acceptable IF a force is attempting to suppress your right to freely practice your religion. It is quite narrowly defined when that is acceptable and is NOT considered acceptable for what terrorists do, THEIR practices are haram and shirk.
      What is funny is, I am a Christian, but HAVE read the Quran, as part of my security evaluation for our installation when I deployed.
      An example of how well I know the Quran and the various Hadiths.
      I was sitting with two Saudi men, one of whom is a very close personal friend. He had a friend he grew up with from Saudi in for a visit. His friend related this really cool youtube video of an Egyptian man, who slaughtered 19 camels in 19 seconds.
      I exclaimed that it was was haram! My friend paused and asked me what I meant.
      I reminded him that no animal was to see the slaughter of its fellow, as that was cruel and forbidden (haram). His friend was denying it initially, as my friend thought. He agreed and spoke the verse in Arabic.
      His friend apologized profusely. I simply told him, he should take that up during prayer, as I was not the one who may be offended.
      We god along famously after that, where he was a bit stiff with me before.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • BG

      @ Wzrd1

      "but HAVE read the Quran, as part of my security evaluation for our installation when I deployed."

      Fat chance. You may have been given a 'Cliff's Notes' version or been briefed, but the military doesn't isn't going to wait and give you all the sweet time you need to read and comprehend the Koran. Besides, again, on the verrrrry odd chance that this has even a shred of truth to it (and I'd put good money against it) you -cannot- talk about security measures, at all. No one ever does, with good reason.

      Re; your 'example', I've seen you post this repeatedly for the last several months. It is inaccurate in that the 'law' you quote only applies to Halal slaughter in the process of killing animals for food. I think your muslim 'friends' probably had a good laugh at your expense (behind your back.)

      If you're retired military them I'm an Abrams tank. Nobody, and I mean nobody, spends a career in the military without being drilled in courtesy and respect, which are both sorely lacking in all of your posts. Further, no one goes to war and pontificates about it. Lastly, you're far too lax with security information.

      I'll say that you're about a 22-year old muslim student (and that's being generous,) but the only 'rank' you ever held was more related to odor than pay-grade.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Indeed, you would attempt to drill ME in courtesy and respect? I find that interesting. I state facts, I show disrespect only to those who have richly earned it.
      Watch your head in your tank, there are a lot of areas to bang your head moving around in there!
      As for reading the Quran, I find it fascinating that you would make comments about my reading something that is sitting on the shelf three feet from me, right next to my bibles, without knowing anything about me or my reading rate and comprehension! I read far, far faster than any person I have yet to meet can speak.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I was not referring only to halal slaughter, indeed, I was mentioning HERE the only justification for armed conflict within Islam. I mentioned halal slaughter, as the reason those animals WERE to be slaughtered was for meat. You should KNOW better, as camels are NOT slaughtered casually, they are valued too much for that.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Wzrd1

      As for lax with security information, I find that humorous, as I've NEVER given specifics, only generalities that area also available via open source. Hence, if I am "lax" with information, the DoD is far MORE lax with it in official stories and reports, as I do NOT provide TTP's or RAM's. Some are classified, others not disclosed.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • BG

      Why do I feel like I'm doing the "Curly Shuffle?" ~~~~ "Hey, Mo, Hey Mo.. With a nyuk, nyuk, nuyk nuyk.." ~~~~~

      "... my reading rate and comprehension! I read far, far faster than any person I have yet to meet can speak."
      Good to know that you're capable of speed reading something that Islamic "scholars" have been studying and arguing over for a thousand years.

      "I was not referring only to halal slaughter, indeed.... I mentioned halal slaughter as the reason those animals WERE to be slaughtered was for meat."
      They eat camels? Really? Aren't they a bit tough? Actually, you never mentioned Halal. I did. You really schooled them, didn't you...

      "You should KNOW better, as camels are NOT slaughtered casually"
      Except for the 19 that were 'sport-killed' as you mentioned. Why should I know something that your muslim friends should have known and purposefully violated? Oh, what price hypocrisy.

      "As for lax with security information, I find that humorous, as I've NEVER given specifics, only generalities that area also available via open source. Hence, if I am "lax" with information, the DoD is far MORE lax with it in official stories and reports, as I do NOT provide TTP's or RAM's. Some are classified, others not disclosed."
      I'm not talking about the DoD, I'm talking about you talking about tactics, techniques and procedures. Also, you're misusing RAM (Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability,) which is simply an analysis measure of the cost and effectiveness (cost-benefit) of any proposed or projected improvements to mission capability and operational support. Again, you're not making sense.

      I hope you were a better soldier for 27 years than you appear to be now, 'sarge.'

      ~~~~ It's such a delight to boogie and hustle.
      Dancin' all night doing the Curly Shuffle.~~~~~~

      April 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  18. UC

    So Colbert wants to be a catholic agian? I thought a muslim is not free to renounce his religion.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Ethan

      Apostasy Sucks..

      April 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  19. Sy2502

    I am waiting to see a famous Muslim philanthropist. Or a hot shot Muslim doctor who finds the cure for cancer. Or how about a famous Muslim scientist to be the next Einstein maybe? How about a Muslim version of Mother Teresa, you know, someone who's charitable and selfless and kind to poor people of all races and religion. But of course, there are none of those, because Islam prefers to be famous for its hate, violence, bigotry. Until the notable Muslims outnumber the infamous ones, the West will continue to reject Islam and those who follow it.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Kearns

      Of course all of those exist, just not in the US, and with the current Islamaphobic environment, can you blame them?

      April 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • A Hardy

      http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-29/world/muslim.inventions_1_hassani-inventions-muslim?_s=PM:WORLD

      You remember that next time you need surgery, have a cup of coffee, or need to go to the hospital.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      I urge you to check out the website, http://www.IslamQA.com. The answers are made by "Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, a well known author and lecturer, using only authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Go to the section on politics. The third question is regarding democracy. The answer is that "it is contrary to Islam..."

      Every good Muslim is urged to do everything he/she can to implement the shariah of Islam. If this means working within the system to "overturn the system of government..." and implement the sharia, then this is what Muslims are ordered to do.

      Other shocking statements:

      "Men are superior to women..."
      "It is forbidden to play music or to stand for the national anthem or salute the flag..."
      "All other religions are either fabricated or false or abrogated..."
      "Muslims fight to free people from the injustice of other religions..."

      This website reveals that Islam is not just a religion. It is a theocratic autocracy, ruling every aspect of life. There is no religious tolerance, no acceptance of any other system of government, no personal freedom of choice, unless you’re a man, choosing another wife.

      The goal is world domination. These are not mine, but the words of "authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Everyone needs to wake up to the true goals of Islam. We are ignorant of this because we are so used to thinking of religion as separate from government. In Islam, there is no such thing. Religion and government are one in the same.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • MikeM

      Very well stated.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Josh07

      @Kearns => Anti-semetic hate crimes far outweigh those against Muslim Americans, even after 9/11 Jewish Americans suffered a larger increase in religious hate crimes against them than the small increase Muslim/Muslim-appearing Americans

      April 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Mohamed Salem

      Just to name a few my friend...
      Farouk El-Baz
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farouk_El-Baz

      Ahmed Zewail
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Zewail

      Magdi Yacoub
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdi_Yacoub

      Umar – Al-Farooq
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umar

      Ali
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali

      These are just to name a few; some recent and some as old as Jesus before many of the names you mentioned were ever known.
      It is so sad that Islam is marked today by terrorists that I can tell you for sure they are NOT Muslims by any means; any one who harms any person or thinks of destruction to others is simply not a Muslim – Islam = Peace and not hate and those who practice islam as God want to be practiced know that God sai "Love for your brother what your love for thy self".

      The muslim countries were invaded and have been ruled by many thieves and you can see that clear today in the mideast uprising; I hope once liberated we can see a more prosperous and educated and nobel scientists come from there.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Kearns said: (Regarding the existence of great Muslim physicians and researchers)..."Of course all of those exist, just not in the US, and with the current Islamaphobic environment, can you blame them?"

      sanjosemike responds: Sorry Kearns. They just don't exist. Islam does not reward scientific or medical interests and research. They are just not interested in it. If you want to look and find out where these talented scientists, artists and physicians REALLY are...just look to Israel.

      In the ancient world, Muslims did contribute to the world. (Especially during the European Dark Ages). Those times are gone. Now, Islam contributes: Jihad, child marriages, wife beating, censorship, mass illiteracy, mass over-population, female infundibulation, honor killings, terrorism, Muslim against Muslim terrorism, internecine wars....and eventually, nuclear warfare between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims. We may not survive the last as a human species. Islam is a cancer.

      "If we lose to Islam, we lose everything." sanjosemike

      April 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      As NO doctor is even close to curing cancer, your point is specious. As for Muslim philanthropists, I know of quite a few. Plenty in Egypt, the Amir of Qatar in particular, who sponsored and built a number of Christian churches in his nation.
      As for Muslim scientists, there are thousands, literally. Both now and in the past, but your blindness prohibits you from seeing that.
      As for "Mother Theresa", Islam has no nuns, so again, the point goes back to philanthropists. As such, asked and answered.
      But, then you further tip your hand in refusing to see and acknowledge what is, choosing instead to parrot the words of others. Great for a parrot, it IS the forte of that bird. Lousy for a human, it shows ignorance.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Sadat Anwar

      Have you heard of Abdul Sattar Eidi? I'm not surprised. But he is a famous (devout) Muslim philanthropist that helps people of all religions and sects in Pakistan. His organization owns a bigger ambulance fleet than the Pakistani government. Why this man has not been acknowledged with a Nobel peace prize– maybe you can tell me.

      Your ignorance about good Muslims does not make them cease to exist

      April 16, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • BG

      Here it is. Embezzlement problems? Seems so.

      http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34424&Cat=4&dt=3/5/2011

      April 16, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  20. Don't need to know

    I learned all I needed to know about Islam on 9/11

    Before you jump on me let me say this I believe in a God just not the one anyone else wants me to believe in...As far as religion gos they all say the same damn thing If I don't believe in God your way then I am doomed to Hell. Guess what I really could care less.You religious nuts are all a bunch of nut cases.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • shagadalic

      God = Allah
      If you learned all you needed to know in 9/11...guess what? That wasn't Islam. No islam should destroy a mosque. There was a mosque (prayer room) for muslims in WTC. Educated yourself before you wreck yourself and become an ignorant minority.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Troy

      Islamists destroy mosques all the time in Pakistan and Iraq.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Freeman

      Well im mormon so i don't have a hell to damn you to :). just try not to stereotype religouse people to much or your no better than we are 😉

      April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Ethan

      Dear Shagadalic, educate yourself first about Islam before you try to educate others.....you got me at "God=Allah"..

      April 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Ethan, do educate YOURSELF first. Allah is Arabic for God.
      As for Don't need to know, you betray your ignorance and refusal to accept your own first amendment. As one who served this nation for over 27 years of military service, lost a cousin on 9/11 in one of the towers and lost men during my near 5 years of deployment in this war, I am disgusted by your refusal to accept the first amendment. Freedom of religion. Learn to live with it, you'll not be getting rid of it. Period.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      There are billions of moderate Muslims, I've met many thousands of them during my deployment. I've even been in their homes as an honored guest. And they KNOW that I'm Christian.
      We have ten thousands Muslim troops fighting right now for your right to be an idiot. We have thousands of foreign national Muslims as language interpreters. Some have literally jumped into the line of incoming fire, saving soldiers lives.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • BG

      @ Wzrd1

      Here's a note from me to you.

      I find it offensive that you are constantly using your (supposed) military service to justify a political opinion.

      91B

      April 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • BG

      " I've met many thousands "

      Hundreds, maybe. "Thousands" unlikely. I'm really tiring of your embellished war stories. I had a friend who served in Fallujah, but the grenade bounced down the stairs wasn't a dinner invitation.

      They gave my friend an extra stripe and a Bronze Star. It looked swell on him in his casket.

      Take your "27 years" and shove 'em.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • BG

      Oh, and Wzrd1, in case you missed it, my (and a growing number of others') point is,

      Islam isn't -just- a religion, which makes it something other than a religion. As such, it doesn't rate "freedoms." If wasn't for the oil, it would have been gone long ago because no sane world would put up with it.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • TurkAm

      You are absolutely correct about religious nuts. Why then the statement about all you need to know was learned on 9/11. Do really want to be educated by murderous religious nuts. Can really learn the truth about Christianity from Pat Robertson? By the way to others, look up the Aramaic word for God. Aramaic is the language spoken by Jesus. Answer, Allah!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      BG, I said thousands and I meant thousands. I didn't use military service to justify a political opinion, but due to my DIRECT, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Of course, what would *I* know? I was an 18D. HENCE, direct contact with entire villages at a time with a team while you and your buddy were with a large unit and limited contact via cordon and search.
      I suspect there was more to the friend's story than simply a grenade bouncing down the steps to gain a bronze star, unless that particular unit was abusing that decoration, one designed for above and beyond the call of duty and exceptional valor. It is far more likely that due to his response to that event, he was awarded that decoration, you cheapen the decoration through pale description.

      The Islam is more of a system than a religion is specious, as one can directly say the very same thing of Roman Catholicism, again, something I have direct experience with, due to many, many years of Catholic school.
      DO review the first amendment, there is no special determination of "system" and religion for a good reason. Indeed, much of your argument was the justification of the religious street wars in the 1800's in the US. That argument was obviously rejected, indeed the US Army was sent to restore order on the streets and we have true religious freedom still today.
      One could state that Buddhism is a political system as much as it is a religion. One could sat the same of Sikhism.

      April 16, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • BG

      @ Wzrd1

      "you cheapen the decoration through pale description."

      No, Mohammad, you mistake sarcasm for 'pale description.' My friend – lost his very real life – while dealing with a very real grenade in very real war. He was on point, and he saved his squad from the blast. You, conversely, are a faker and confused blowhole who doesn't deserve one iota of consideration. And for pete's sake, get a damned English thesaurus; you overuse 'specious.' Just an observation that might help improve your English. You're welcome.

      Religious street wars of the 1800's? Are you talking about the clashes between immigrant cultures (like the 5 Point gang wars) or the revivalist activities of the 'second awakening?' I wasn't aware of any specific 'religious street wars' in the early part of the 19th century. Why don't you expound on this for us...

      "DO review the first amendment, there is no special determination of "system" and religion for a good reason."
      You chose to ignore my point, which is that the insidious and subversive tenents of Islam fall under legislation dealing with sedition and terrorism, not 1A.

      "One could state that Buddhism is a political system as much as it is a religion. One could sat the same of Sikhism."
      One could state that monkeys are flying out of your butt. Does that make it true? Of course if it -is- true, then...

      Later, Mo.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:14 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.