April 21st, 2011
11:26 AM ET

Freed hiker: Terry Jones endangers us all

Editor's note: Sarah Shourd, a teacher, was freed from prison in Iran last year. Shourd, her fiance, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal were hiking in the mountains in northern Iraq in July 2009 and were arrested by Iranian border guards, accused of spying and imprisoned. Her companions remain in prison. To learn more, visit freethehikers.org.

By Sarah Shourd, Special to CNN

(CNN) - During my more than one year in solitary confinement in Iran, I read the Quran from cover to cover several times. While I am not a Muslim, in my most desperate hours I was comforted and uplifted by the wisdom it speaks.

When I came across the words "Truth hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Verily, falsehood is ever certain to vanish" I was reminded of a line from the Bible, "Then you shall know the truth and truth shall set you free." That certainty helped keep my hopes alive that my suffering, and the suffering of my fiance, Shane Bauer, and our good friend Josh Fattal, would end.

Shortly before my release last September, I was horrified to learn from the English-language Iranian news I was allowed to watch every night that a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, planned to burn 200 copies of the Quran. I had never heard of Terry Jones but it was all too clear from where I was sitting how destructive this misguided act would be. Mr. Jones backed off but he went ahead with a Quran burning last month.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Islam • Opinion • Quran

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Dead Parrot

    What have Terry done this time, I thought, reading the headline: declared "war on an abstract noun", again? Turned out, this thread is not funny at all...

    May 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  2. Pat Johnson

    Sarah Shourd should be ignored because she is either a spy or very naive. Pity her poor friends she ditched in Iran.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  3. Johnny Rojo

    As an atheist of long standing, let me say that

    1. I do not believe there is or was or ever will be a god in any way shape or form who intervenes physically in the universe. L'dieu n'existe pas!
    2. Most people try to be decent to other people, otherwise we would have had a tough time evolving as we did.
    3. All religions - that is, belief systems delineated by scriptures, doctrines or dogmas that posit some form of deity or deities - are the work of man and all are equally absurd.
    4. My atheism doesn't make me feel I am a better person than believers; it does, however, make me feel I'm a little less stupid or deluded.
    5. As this is Mother's Day, let me say finally: Without mothers there would be no fathers... no sons or daughters... no sisters or brothers... no cousins... no aunts or uncles... no grandparents. Without mothers there would be no one to care for us all.

    May 9, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  4. alan2011

    I have not heard any explaination why those 3 were so stupidly close to the Iranian border in the 1st place. Has there been one given? Does Sarah take any responsibility for her and their actions? Or are the "evil" Irainians the only ones to blame?

    May 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Description: The Core of the Islamic Creed: the belief in God and His worship, and the means through which one can find God.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 29 Mar 2011

    Introduction At the heart of Islam lies belief in God. The core of the Islamic creed is bearing witness to the phrase, La illaha illa Allah, “There is no true deity deserving worship but God.”  The testimony to this belief, called tawhid, is the axis around which all Islam revolves.  Moreover, it is the first of the two testimonies by which a person becomes a Muslim.  Striving after the realization of that oneness, or tawhid, is the core of Islamic life. For many non-Muslims, the term Allah, the Arabic name of God, refers to some distant and strange deity worshipped by the Arabs.  Some even think it to be some pagan “moon-god”.  However, in Arabic, the word Allah means the One True God. Even, Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to the Supreme Being as Allah.

    Description: Why God revealed His message in the form of scriptures, and a brief description of the  two of the Scriptures of God: the Bible, and the Quran.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 04 Oct 2009

    Justice in Heaven and Hell;

    April 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  6. Muneef

    "Behold! Allah Promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers; ”
    —Qur'an: Al-Anfal 8:7



    April 28, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  7. Muneef

    Enjoyed watching the Christian festival of race passing the Fire Torch from one to another.
    The same is used in the openings of the Olympic games where finnaly they are to light over the bigger fire torch.this was a practice followed from the times of the Greeks. 
    What do we learn out of this practice ? Isn't is just as A message of true light that is to be raced passing it from one generation to the second generation in order a day will come for the truth to prevail in a bigger light of wisdom and peace.!? We are all searching for the light of truth the whole truth nothing but the truth ! We are not seeking to brain wash selves to believe what we want to believe deillusioning or selves with what we chose to want to believe.!?
    We been given in the Whole heavenly scriptures including Quran stories that when are read or recited they are supposed to inspire us from it's wisdom of the old, reading those stories is like feeding our senses for knowing which becomes to be known as man's common senses.
    The message that has been passed and exchanged among generations was that (God is One & Only No Mate, No Son ,No Partner and that Iblis (Satan) is the Etenal enemy of Mankind and that he has taken an ought to make stray mankind ending them into the eternal Hell fires !? 

    The Paths of Mankind :
    -The Righteous.
    -The Strayed.  
    -The Condemned.
    The Rules been Given and laid out as to what the punishments or the rewards would be for each of our deeds,but then after all only the Mercy of God that would admit us into heavens and paradise and not only our efforts, after all, all that counts is what is in our hearts and our intentions,belief or disbelief !?

    Some are lazy or as hard as Rocks or Locks and just want to bury their heads into the sand or plugging their ears and covering their eyes as from the Thunders and the Lightenings of the The Truth that One day has to prevail,whether we have wanted or tried to put the light of truth off or block it from sight or bury it alive !!!

    The truth will come back to prevail with matter how ever may God wanted it to be ! By the Pen or by the Sword or by what ever God has willed it to be...it is only then upon confrontation where and when faith is tested and judged,then it is for God to decide whom to give victory over the other  the unjust ones. Our Holy Book told us that over Seven Thousands Angels on top of horses were landed as an Army to join the battle fight against the transgressors, in taking side of Muslim believers who were far less in numbers and less equipped if compared to the other-side who were far more in numbers, in equipments and in supplies .! 

    It was that battle fight who decided the existance of Islam against the will of the polytheists and the Pagans of Mecca.
    Those nights of the battle fight was named as "The Battle of Bader".
    Therefore we can say winning the War is Not by The Large Well Trained Number of Armies or Number of Equipments or Higher the Technologies an Army had but it is rather more about how much faith you have in course and cause ! ?

    It is more like who God will take side with?  (Faith and Will) have to go togather to bring back the Good wellbeing for Mankind such as Justice,Love and Mercy as such will only bring around Peace and prosperty !? 

    As Good brings back around Good, then Evil only brings back around Evil, (what ever Seed  we Plant We will harvest it's fruits ) so if the seed we plant is of Good seed,we will hearvest Fruits of Goodness but if of Evil seeds that has been planted then will only harvest Fruits of Evil  !?  The Holy Book told us that a word of kindness is like a Tree of a Good Seed that we plant and that we will hearvest ...while a bad hurting word is like a Tree of a bad seed.

    Atheists.agnostics.disbelievers,pagans what ever or whom ever you are suggest to leave faith,belief or religious disputes behind and just read the Bibles and the Quran as referance for history and for wisdoms that through reading helps us to think for our selves and decide for our selves with out being told what to believe or not to believe. Have we asked our selves how mankind learnt and reached what ever level he is in now today? If it wasn't for the knowledge that was gathered and passed on from Adam's times then generation after generation to revive,remind,warn the stray against the wish and will of those condemned ones who rejected,killed and exiled the Messengers and Prophets of God, then towards each crime they have made they packed it in a different shiny papers just as of the sweet candies to explain why or for what they did it for  !? 

    Peace2all/my regards !

    April 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Why has the truth be killed?;

    You people have not explained to me why would God need to have a Son when we all creatures are of his own and from his own Spirit ?

    Why would God have a Son of his created among us when all the time we been sent human messengers ?

    Why when among us comes a man asking us to the light of truth,proving him self to be different from date of birth, and when he showed us love,cured our sick,even brought back to life our dead ones,who was able to tell us what we stored and what is  in stored for us.why do we condemn him to death as a transgressor ?

    Why did we take the privilege of sacrificing him as an offering or were we repeating the crime of the Sons of Adam when Cain killed his brother in jealousy about some sacrifice offerings that were made and was accepted by God for Cain's brother but not to Cain him self ? Then he learnt after killing his brother how to hide the crime unfounded out by burying of the corpus as the Crow bird had showed him !

    Strange isn't it that Satan has always mislead our fathers and us in jealousy ?
    First as disguised as a Serpent as told by elder bibles, he mislead our fathers into eating the forbidden fruit and succeeded into getting them out of heavens into earth and he with them ?

    Always where there was evil there was Satan behind it. He talked the Son of Adam Cain into killing his brother and into hiding his Crime !  

    Then Satan inspires and reveals to man evil verses that are not of God's words into the aim of putting the Light of God's Truth out of light !

    When here comes to us a Righteous Prophet full of Miracles, but instead of appreciating same and thanking God for, we rather drove him into crucifixion?

    The Sabbath people of the children of Israel who betrayed,ploted,conspired against him were of a closed religious society that is not accepting converts. The believers and followers of the Prophet were begining to claim his blood, when here Satan came again to teach them as to how to hide their crime, so they gave excuses and verses that made the crucifixion as legal ??? 

    Any way the establishment of a second religion was necessary and as well  keeping it astray off track was  necessary as well as that it was intended to relieve them from the burden of opening up their Religion faith for new converts to join up in theirs ???

    The Crime myth of being crucified beside other things became a religion formula to cool the mass of angry prophet followers and to drive the masses to convert into it.

    Then the Romans learned the trick and became to make use of this further to control and drive their complex masses of many faiths into one integrated mass where they turned the Sun God Day into Son God Day ! Meaning gathered pagans,idolaters and joined them with the right mass into one big mass of a faith that contain all in one....

     Until the day when the One Cell had broken into small divisions,where each thinks he is the righteous more than any other, so here it is it went multiplying to unend to becoming to suit each culture and race ???

    Finally God has chosen a messenger from the race of the children of Ismael to bring back his words of light to the children of Israel by a member of the family tree, and that was because when ever God chosen a prophet from among them children of Israel they had always disbelieved and killed their Prophets and messengers one after another even the Prophet Moses was not spared the agony and the failures that they drove him into due their disbelief in him and in what he has brought up to them to follow ?

    Now the same story is being repeated against the Seal of Prophets of God and the Words of the Message of God which was this Prophet only miracle that God has sent him with if compared with the line of Prophets and messengers that came before him.. ! The Light and the Power of Words were totally Rejected by the children of Israel because it came to them by the children of Ismael since they had rejected Ismael before that considering him a slave a son of a slave woman "Hager" !! 

    Turned to be in the size of the jealousy that Satan had for Adam or the jealousy that the son of Adam Cain had towards his brother for which he killed him or like how jealous those of the Sabbath were from Jesus by rejecting what he has came up with to ease their hardness that they had applied on them selves of which God had not told of.

    Jesus was attacked as the Seal Prophet was attacked by the pagan and the jews of Mecca for bringing that does not agree with the culture and customs they wanted to live with such as freeing slaves, forbidding the drinking of spirits and all that was mentioned and known about the people Mucca doing before any signs of Islam !    

    History is being repeated,mankind does not want to learn from stories of nations of old in order not fall again and again with out hold his steps for moments to think for his self as 'why' when ever some one brings by the truth has to be killed ???
    Peace to all,

    April 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  9. Georg

    I agree with Terry Joans 100%. we should start sending messeges to every one in America saying , The Muzlemes are comming be awar every one. I am Christian and I lived Egypt among The muzlemes over 34 years of my life and I have a great understanding of the muzlemes and their Quraan because I speak and read Arabic. The terrorests and the rest of Mozlem people srongly beleive in Quraan, so they behave and they do every thing as it says. In Egypt the Muslemes they dont burn our Bible no they burn our Churches and they destroied some other Churches dowen to the ground, Last week some Muzlem Olah said on the Muzlems not only to burn Churches but to burn the Christians themselves {that is what the Quraan say is burn churches] In 2010 the muzlems kiddnaped and rapped over 70 Christian girls between 13 to 30 years old and they tried to force them into Islam.... So be awar America The Muzlemes are coming they buy the American soil and start to build their mosques { just as they are puting the muzlem flag.

    April 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Muneef

      Aren't you a relative to Iblis (Satan)??

      Watch out from Satan he has an ought to fulfill so are we helping him or rejecting him...??

      The Creation of Mankind
      [7:11] We created you, then we shaped you, then we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except Iblees (Satan); he was not with the prostrators.

      The Test of Mankind Begins
      [7:12] He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud."

      [7:13] He said, "Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased."

      [7:14] He said, "Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection."

      [7:15] He said, "You are granted a respite."

      [7:16] He said, "Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path.

      [7:17] "I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative."

      [7:18] He said, "Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.

      [7:19] "As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin."

      [7:20] The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, "Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence."

      [7:21] He swore to them, "I am giving you good advice."

      [7:22] He thus duped them with lies. As soon as they tasted the tree, their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Their Lord called upon them: "Did I not enjoin you from that tree, and warn you that the devil is your most ardent enemy?"

      [7:23] They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged our souls, and unless You forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be losers."

      [7:24] He said, "Go down as enemies of one another. On earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile."

      [7:25] He said, "On it you will live, on it you will die, and from it you will be brought out."

      [7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed.

      [7:27] O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.

      [7:28] They commit a gross sin, then say, "We found our parents doing this, and GOD has commanded us to do it." Say, "GOD never advocates sin. Are you saying about GOD what you do not know?"

      [7:29] Say, "My Lord advocates justice, and to stand devoted to Him alone at every place of worship. You shall devote your worship absolutely to Him alone. Just as He initiated you, you will ultimately go back to Him."

      April 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      If any damages happened to Christians living in Egypt was cased by the thugs of the corrupted rulers and never a committed Muslim will blow a place where a worship carried on or kid-nap or ra-pe any....never...those who might have did must have been the unreligious thug dogs of the system that survived only on bla-ckm-ailing Christians and Jews on account of terror-izing them from Islam and Muslims....wakeup or drop down your di-sg-uise..!!!

      April 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Dave

      Lern 2 spel.

      May 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  10. Muneef

    For peace;
    From reading some of the various posts i may have reached a few  conclusions but not sure of therefore might just write and ask few questions now to see if they were correct or not :

    For Atheists might ask any of them to give me an honest answer although am sure the answer will vary from one to another ?

    Q1) Do you atheist believe even if slightly that there is a superpower of a creator but deny existence because of Religions, Doctrines  and their Complexities as on a state of rejection ? 

    Q2) Do you feel as being special as Atheists in not believing in God and that what ever you do good or bad will neither be rewarded or punished for it by any Divine because you do not believe in Divine nor resurrection or judgment day but rather you think we are here by a mere coincidence and not been created to serve a purpose in life ?

    To Christians:
    Q3) To those considering Jesus being the Son of God: Do you feel as being more special as if you were as sons of God and that what ever you do good or bad you will not be held accountable for but rather will go streight to the heavens, paradise directly with out any judgment or any punishment ? 

    Q4) To those considering Jesus God being in Trinity : Do you feel as being more special as if Gods on earth and that what ever you do good or bad you will not be held accountable for but rather will go to straight to the heavens, paradise directly with out any  judgment or any punishment ?

    Q5) Do all Christians think that in this life, God has not created us for Testing us as to who will do as told,warned and who will not ?

    Q6) You do all Christians believe in this life, God has created us for Testing but think you are exempted from it and ever your deeds were ?

    Q7) Do you consider any none Christians "Religious or not Religious",as Slaves of God and not as Godly as you are ? 

    Q8) Do you as Christians accept any other Race converts as equal as you are in your Earthly life and at the After life what ever their Race is or Christian Doctrine ? 

    Q9) Do you as Christians and Atheists wish at times if you had a sperate state for each to live in,where each of you can do as they please as in their favorite way of living,where each can impose his own laws and beliefs,and would that mean accepting to live among the mass Races of that belief or rather would favor a state or county for each mass of Race within the same belief ?

    Sorry for being hard asking sensitive questions but that is the only way to find out more of what is going on,and what really man wants.

    Beside I feel that the same descriptions might be required to be asked or be questioned to Muslims of Different Doctrines,Races and Cultures, who might have among them that who are similar to your nations,such as those who are Atheists,Agnostics or even Satanic but there still will be those who are considered as religious believers "Moderate or Extremes".. ! Surely you will find like those in every Nations,Faiths and Beliefs.
    Hope have been clear that these were intended as to help us realize our inner "Thoughts and Wants" beside the real understanding of each other, and was not meant or intended for hurt or for dispute.... Peace to All.

    April 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • hamza

      you cannot ask these questions to christians.these questians are for deep people,which christians,americans especially,are not.for americans,faith is only the vehicle to provide them with material stuff or to justify bad behaviour.basicaly,americans are gypsies.

      May 6, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Tiffany

      A lot of people call me an athiest, but that's not how I classify myself. Personally, I do not believe in any religion out there. I believe in God, and my religion is that of love, peace and brotherhood. There is no other interpretation. It seems most other religions out there play on fear and intimidation to believe in their's, or you will spend eternity in hell (please note I said MOST not ALL). I do not believe that is what God intended. I was raised christian, but that or other religions seem to use their religion to justify judgement and hatred towards all of Gods people in his name. I believe that if we use common sense and treat everyone with dignity and respect (not what some book says), it will make the world a better place. You cannot lie to God what is truly in your heart. If being a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist (not naming a lot sorry), truly (and I mean TRULY) makes you want to make this world a better place by not judging people, then you chose the right religion. I'm just haven't found one better than loving everyone equally no matter where they are from and what they believe. (unfortunately, no religion seems to teach that) Does that make me an Athiest? I have no idea.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Dave

      I am an atheist. I have not rejected religion, I never accepted it. I do not feel special as an atheist; I feel like I am just another person on the face of the Earth, and I strive in my actions to be an exceptional one at every opportunity. I feel that it is statistically probable for life to arise in the right conditions, and that we are one of many intelligent species throughout the cosmos. My morals do not devolve from the concept of being rewarded or punished, they come from doing what is humane.

      As far as living separately from Christians, I do not see a reason for that- however, I wish that they would just get religion out of civil society where it does not belong.

      May 9, 2011 at 5:14 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.