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May 27th, 2011
10:12 AM ET

Imam fights street crime with mosque fight club

Editor's Note: This piece comes from a new CNN special “Stories: Reporter.” Tune in Saturday at 7:30PM EDT to see the full story.

By Eric Marrapodi, Dan Lothian, Chris Turner & Tom Foreman, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - Listen to the FBI and you will know that violent crime dropped over almost the whole country last year; murder, aggravated assault, forcible rape. Listen to people in some parts of Philadelphia and you will know that the Northeast is not part of that trend. Here the numbers keep climbing.

Violence comes to their streets as surely as sunset. Abandoned houses share corners with makeshift memorials to victims; often young men who get caught up in events they don't anticipate and can't escape.

"Around here it's not every safe to walk up the streets," one kid said. "Someone could come up to you and start shooting at you for no reason; just 'cause you're from that 'hood."

That is why Imam Suetwidien Muhammad chose this place to start hitting back.

"I came up in this neighborhood," he said sitting in the morning sun on the steps of a former plumbing supply warehouse. "This neighborhood was averaging six murders a month. There was a lot of violence, a lot of trash. We needed to bring about change."

So 10 years ago he started Masjid Muhammad of Philadelphia, a mosque in the old rundown warehouse. As he sat and explained how the mosque had grown to 500 members, workers above him pushed and slapped stucco into the three story stone facade above him. They started by fixing up the inside so people could have a safe place to come and pray.

Congregants said the place perennially smells like fresh paint because the imam is always busy fixing or improving something.

Inside the doors from what was once the plumbing supply loading dock are a small deli, a barber shop, a hair salon, a restaurant and a sprawling prayer space. But Imam Muhammad's pride and joy is upstairs, above the worship space; a boxing gym where the children of the neighborhood come every day.

"It's so unusual that we come under a lot of fire from even a lot of Muslims," he said. "Muslims will say, 'Muslims aren't supposed to engage in boxing.' They'll say, 'You are not supposed to hit a person in the face.'"

He smiles and points out that the gym is named after one of the most famous Muslims in the world: Muhammad Ali. "I don't look at it as such a violent thing, and I know the real violence is in guns and weapons and different things that happen in our community."

The young boxers are a range of ages. Some were raised Muslim, some Christian, some follow no faith, but all are welcome. The lessons are free and not just about boxing. Imam Muhammad talks endlessly about discipline, respect, education and commitment; about young people turning into responsible adults.

He knows all too well that just outside the doors others are pushing different messages, about gangs and drugs, and young boxers must run the gauntlet to come train. So he wants to get good habits established early.

"We don't have a lot of time to waste," he said. "When you come into this gym, this is where serious stuff starts. We want their commitments to be serious. We want them to be serious parents. And it all starts here."

Certainly, boxers like Jeremiah Kendrick take it seriously, if only because it gives him a safe harbor. "I'd rather be here than standing outside. You know how Philly is; the crime rate and everything. If I can avoid getting shot at and fighting I'll avoid that anytime of the day."

The snap of leather gloves on the heavy bag rings out. A steady thump from jumping rope hits the floor.

Worshippers can hear the sparring overhead as they pray their five prayers a day below, but the gym is something of a natural fit. Imam Muhammad was an amateur boxer who weathered almost a hundred fights, winning the vast majority, before hanging up his gloves. He was 88-8.

"I probably lost three times and was probably robbed five times," he said with a broad smile.

Philadelphia itself has a rich heritage of boxing that dates back well into the 1800s, producing champions such as Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier. But boxing clubs are closing. A few miles down the road, Frazier's famed gym is padlocked. On the faded concrete you can still see the outline of the letters that once hung above its door.

As he watches his young proteges jab and duck, swing and move, Imam Muhammad makes no apologies. He says he hears the critics, but he has seen too many young men walk in full of troubles and headed for more. "My hope for them is that they will immediately turn their life around."

He knows this is the fight of his life, and theirs too.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Leaders • Muslim • Pennsylvania • Prayer • United States

soundoff (398 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    If God sent a religion, how would people who do not know of the religion believe in it? What means did God put in the human beings by which they can decide right from wrong? Surely the religion was not revealed to the whole of humanity at once. It must have started from one point. How would others know of it and more so accept it and believe in it? What is that one faculty that is shared by all human beings by which a message can be analyzed and determined to be right?

    The answer is quite simple; it is the human mind and the faculty of reasoning. It is the mind that helps us judge things and decides between right and wrong in every matter of our lives. The word of God, if it is to be transferred to other people who are foreign to it, must conform to the faculty of reasoning that God put in all of us. This is why in Islam faith in God is not the outcome of dogmas and doctrine but rather the product of reasoning and deep scrutiny of revelation.
    http://rashidaanurse.blogspot.com/2011_02_25_archive.html

    The Teachings of Islam

    http://www.islamic.org.uk/I4WM/teaching.htm

    June 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      "Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!" (2/201)

      "Our Lord! Pour forth on us patience and make us victorious over the disbelieving people." (2/250)

      "Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people." (2/286)

      "Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower." (3/8)

      "Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire." (3/16) 

      "O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation." (3/38)

      "Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger; so write us down among those who bear witness." (3/53)

      "Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and our transgressions (in keeping our duties to You), establish our feet firmly, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk." (3/147)

      "Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. *Our Lord! Verily, whom You admit to the Fire, indeed, You have disgraced him, and never will the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers) find any helpers. *Our Lord! Verily, we have heard the call of one (Muhammad p.b.u.h.) calling to Faith: 'Believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. *Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and remit from us our evil deeds, and make us die in the state of righteousness along with Al-Abraar (those who are obedient to Allah and follow strictly His Orders). *Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your Messengers and disgrace us not on the Day of Resurrection, for You never break (Your) Promise." (3/191-194)

      "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." (7/23)

      "Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong doers)." (7/47)

      "Our Lord! pour out on us patience, and cause us to die as Muslims." (7/126)

      "Allah is sufficient for me. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne." (9/129)     

      "Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are Zaalimoon. And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk." (10/85-86)

      "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers." (11/47)   

      "O my Lord! Make me one who performs As-Salaat (Iqaamat-as-Salaat), and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation." (14/40)

      "Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established." (14/41)

      "My Lord! Let my entry (to the city of Al-Madinah) be good, and likewise my exit (from the city of Makkah) be good. And grant me from You an authority to help me (or a firm sign or a proof)." (17/80)

      "Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!" (18/10) 

      "O my Lord! Open for me my chest. * And ease my task for me. * And make loose the knot from my tongue, that they understand my speech." (20/25-28)

      "My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." (20/114)

      "None has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) are You. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers." (21/87)

      "O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors." (21/89) 

      "My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they may attend (or come near) me." (23/97-98)

      "Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!" (23/109)

      "My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for You are the Best of those who show mercy!" (23/118)

      http://www.islamicfinder.org/supplication.php

      June 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Wasi

      Hey Muneef thats all for flowery and nice but like all sunni muslims, you do not realize that your religion is incomplete.

      You ignore the wilayat of Imam Ali and RIGHTful designation of caliphate for the 12 imams. Look into the shia religion and you will find truth.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Muneef

      Dear Wasi,
      The point here that we should pray to God regardless of the Religion or the Path or the Branch and that we should not emigrate prayers to God because we dispute as faiths or branches...we should not emigrate God because mankind is a tyrant to his brother...God Bless all

      June 6, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  2. Truth Teller

    ekmnleknm ek3ek

    June 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Truth Teller

      rlplfp;lg;l.gfl.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Truth Teller

      frjriu jmririhjf i4rkiro

      June 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Truth Teller

      fkfijm klrfkl

      June 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  3. GeorgeMc

    It's a shame that the news media gives these "Non-conformist" attention like this article. After all, the lessons of discipline, respect, education, and commitment are already offered!, ...in SCHOOL and CHURCH!! Just be good citizens, ...that's ALL!!

    June 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  4. GeorgeMc

    Yeah!, ...Yeah!, ... And just where else is fighting and so-called "religion" mixed!!??, ...Can anybody say,..."PRISON!!""

    June 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • akzionz

      as a kid in a crime filled city of washington, dc boxing served as a means of me escaping. these lessons i learned in a baptist church basement. they were there to check our grades, help with homework and even feed some of us who couldnt afford to eat at home (or the lack there of). this isnt about fighting. its about defense, self respect and most of all discipline

      June 6, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  5. Muneef

    [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."

    [7:30] Some He guided, while others are committed to straying. They have taken the devils as their masters, instead of GOD, yet they believe that they are guided.

    [7:31] O children of Adam, you shall be clean and dress nicely when you go to the masjid. And eat and drink moderately; Surely, He does not love the gluttons.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      22:52. We did not send before you any messenger, nor a prophet, without having the devil interfere in his wishes. GOD then nullifies what the devil has done. GOD perfects His revelations. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.*

      22:53. He thus sets up the devil's scheme as a test for those who harbor doubts in their hearts, and those whose hearts are hardened. The wicked must remain with the opposition.

      22:54. Those who are blessed with knowl- edge will recognize the truth from your Lord, then believe in it, and their hearts will readily accept it. Most assuredly, GOD guides the believers in the right path.

      22:55. As for those who disbelieve, they will continue to harbor doubts until the Hour comes to them suddenly, or until the retribution of a terrible day comes to them.
      ------–

      [5:90] O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.

      [5:91] The devil wants to provoke animosity and hatred among you through intoxicants and gambling, and to distract you from remembering GOD, and from observing the Contact Prayers (Salat). Will you then refrain?

      June 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  6. LookAndSEE

    A real Christian will always loose in a boxing match. "... do not resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39

    June 5, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  7. James Black

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]

    June 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  8. Muneef

    (MUST READ) A Modern Culture of Insults
    Some people are disposed to be rude and abrasive. They speak harsh words that show no strength of argument or evidence, but are full of insults and abuse.

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Those who habitually curse will not be among the intercessors and witnesses on the Day of Judgment." [Sahîh Muslim]

    Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A believer is neither a habitual curser nor a habitual accuser. He is not vile nor is he obscene." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî]

    Anyone who loves the Prophet (peace be upon him) and wishes to be gathered in his company on the Day of Judgment should follow his good example. This means that he should safeguard his tongue from uttering anything other than what is good. The Prophet's advice was that "…whoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day should say something good or remain silent." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

    May Allah have mercy on a person who either says something good and earns a reward or keeps quiet and thereby remains safe.

    There is nothing wrong with people disagreeing and arguing with each other, especially in these troubled and confusing times. However, the way to handle disagreements is with lucid arguments and temperate speech. A person's mode of discussion should show the purity of his intentions, the strength of his intellect, and the nobility of his character.
    More at;
    http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f20/must-read-a-modern-culture-of-insults-10464/

    June 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Muneef

      Rules of War*
      [2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.

      [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

      [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

      [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

      June 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sheltered.

      What is in Muslim countries is vasted interests by rulers at all posts...those religious are not of pure religion but rather of certain movements that are foreign to us that only came up before the 90's....most of the leaders of those movements are settled in America or Europe exporting terror to us....we at Muslim countries suffer from such Jihadists who are financed from certain groups of countries that want to trouble the area or find them as an excuse to invade other countries to control it's resources and strategic position.... Some consider America to be the mother of Alqaida ( Tom and Jerry Games).

      June 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • minaestefan12s

      wow you forget to mention these peaceful versus too Fight them, may Allah torture them with your hands, which is by killing, And he will disgrace them for Allah has given victory over them, and this is a promis from allah and good tidings which he has accomplished" (AL Tawba 9:14),also "Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the last day, and do not abstain from what Allah and his prophet have prohibited and they do not follow the religion of the Truth even from those who were given the book (christians and Jews) until they pay the tax with a hand of humility" (Al tawba 9:29) "Fight the infidels wherever you find them, capture them, lay siege around them and place them every trap" (Al Tawba 9:5) "and fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah" (Al Anfal 8:39) and how about leading the example of Mohamed According to Munad of Imam Ahmad, Mohamed said: I swear by the one who has me in his hand(allah), I want to invade and be killed, invade again and be killed, and then invade again and be killed" (Musnad of imam Ahmad) also, haddith, Mohamed said i have come to you with slaughter(sahih of ibn hiban and mushad of imam ahmad) after el hegrah Mohamed instigated 27 invasions and commanded 56 raids, the prophet of islam personally fought alongside his "holy warriors" in nine invasions.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • Muneef

      Already been explained that who deserve it will get it...since you only harvest what you seed...

      June 5, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • Muneef

      Islam has teachings for peace during time of peace and has teachings for wars for times when there are wars. We were living in the Islam peace teachings until the American Project of building such belt as explained in the link where America has created the action and we Arabs and Muslims still had to pay for the re-action-s;

      "Lets be careful with what we sow because we will harvest".(US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).
      (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2CE0fyz4ys)

      June 5, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Muneef

      Yemen's Tribal Showdown
      http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67877/charles-schmitz/yemens-tribal-showdown?page=show

      June 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  9. derp

    When you get finished stopping muslim street crime, can you get them to stop blowing crap up.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  10. TheTRUTH

    This should have been a story about trying to keep young people out of trouble,without adding Islam to it because what that guy is teaching is not true Islam his Aqeedah ( Methodology ) is off return to the Quran and the Sunnah.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Magic

      Stop complaining at least Muslims are doing something beneficial for the day to keep them out of trouble.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  11. Milagros

    Something good for all who want to transition communities..Allah Akbar!

    June 1, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  12. Tonlok

    @Reality

    So it's basically Christianity then?

    May 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  13. Muneef

    [55:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    [55:1] The Most Gracious.

    [55:2] Teacher of the Quran.

    [55:3] Creator of the human beings.

    [55:4] He taught them how to distinguish.

    [55:5] The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated.

    [55:6] The stars and the trees prostrate.

    [55:7] He constructed the sky and established the law.

    [55:8] You shall not transgress the law.

    [55:9] You shall establish justice; do not violate the law.

    [55:10] He created the earth for all creatures.

    [55:11] In it there are fruits, and date palms with their h-anging fruit.

    [55:12] Also grains and the sp-ice-s.

    [55:13] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

    [55:14] He created the human from aged clay, like the potter's clay.

    [55:15] And created the jinns from bla-zing fire.

    [55:16] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

    http://www.submission.org/suras/sura55.html

    May 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • mr.peanut

      i have never heard of the book of Muneef must be a muslum thing.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • mr.peanut

      Is Mohammed Ali in on this?

      May 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • mr.peanut

      [55:17] Make fight clubs (only Muslums alowed).

      May 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Muneef

      That's all we need, peanuts roaming around....!

      June 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Hassan

      Just a note on translation, Muneef. The word "Law" should be translated "Balance", as in balancing goods and measuring their weight properly. Allah established balance and equity as a principle, and we are warned in other verses not to weigh unjustly, giving ourselves more and others less when we measure goods.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hussan.
      Thanks I noted the difference of the translation but then thought after all the Balances and measurements are Laws  and cheating with those is breaking the law, kindly note verses;
      -----
      [7:85] To Midyan we sent their brother Shu`aib. He said, "O my people, worship GOD; you have no other god beside Him. Proof has come to you from your Lord. You shall give full weight and full measure when you trade. Do not cheat the people out of their rights. Do not corrupt the earth after it has been set straight. This is better for you, if you are believers.

      [7:86] "Refrain from blocking every path, seeking to repel those who believe from the path of GOD, and do not make it crooked. Remember that you used to be few and He multiplied your number. Recall the consequences for the wicked.
      -----–

      [11:84] To Midyan we sent their brother Shu`aib. He said, "O my people, worship GOD; you have no other god beside Him. Do not cheat when you measure or weigh. I see that you are prosperous, and I fear for you the retribution of an overwhelming day.

      [11:85] "O my people, you shall give full measure and full weight, equitably. Do not cheat the people out of their rights, and do not roam the earth corruptingly.

      [11:86] "Whatever GOD provides for you, no matter how small, is far better for you, if you are really believers. I am not a guardian over you."
      ------–

      [26:181] "You shall give full measure when you trade; do not cheat.

      [26:182] "You shall weigh with an equitable scale.

      [26:183] "Do not cheat the people out of their rights, and do not roam the earth corruptingly. 
      -------- 

      June 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  14. Mark from Middle River

    –> "I want civil rights for gays...."

    Hey Davey 🙂 ..Then why was it the Gay section of the Republican party that pushed for the over turn of don't ask don't tell?

    Obama (D) and both houses of Congress in (D) territory, ..... why is it that they did nadda for the Lesbian and Gay memers of society for those two years? They had the votes and two years. Then along comes the LCR, The Log Cabin Republicans ....

    "The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), an organization composed of lesbian, gay, bis'exual, and transgender (LGBT) Republicans, brought the suit on behalf of LCR members who serve or served in the military and were subject to DADT."

    They, the Republicans, took it to court when Obama and crew did nothing. Sure they say they want to help the minority communities but besides wanting the votes and giving nothing, when they had the power to “change” things, why didn't they do more for minorities and the LGBT community? You see the Gay community is learning what the African American community is starting to learn about the Dems....
    They want to keep you down trodden so that you will be dependent on them over and over and over. A group of Gay Republicans showed that they could do what Obama would not do with all the power of Government. They found that could help themselves.

    Davey, check out Africa. All those years of digging wells and giving bags of rice sure made it look like we were helping. China comes in and says, we will teach you to build a power station and a dam... why didn't we do that back in the 80s and 90s? Because liberal Dems just saw Africans as something to be helped not a people that could be helped up.

    So the next time you think that the Republicans serve two masters... From being myself a Black Republican, I learned that I didn't need massa Democrats to save me.

    Oh yeah .. Passed my classes this semesters .... No stop'in til' the wheels fall off baby !!!

    May 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • mr.peanut

      The only reason you want the to get rid of dont ask dont tell is so you can make rainbow camo and why am i going to give you marrige benefits so you can spread AIDs to your spouse. Then you guys comare it to the blacks civil rights you know what the difference is? They were privilaged enough to get their own water fountains and bathrooms.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • rara

      Gays and lesbians want marriage benefits ..why?.. the vast majority switch bed partners like straight people switch their underwear.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  15. BG

    "Democrats are the Bad Guys"
    P.J. O'Rourke

    http://www.federalistjournal.com/columns/orourke080700.htm

    May 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • mr.peanut

      true dat

      May 31, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  16. Reality

    I like turtles.

    May 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Reality

      o The comments from the above Reality are not from the original Reality. Unfortunately, the blog moderators still have not figured out how to restrict commentators' names to one no matter what the email address is. This is strange because such restrictions are in place on most blogs.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Muneef

      Wow now we have genuine Reality and False Reality....hope the false one will be much sensible than the genuine....

      May 30, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Muneef

      Here what you are looking for...They are friends of yours (Allies).... Go for them and leave us alone;
      http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_collections/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4

      May 30, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  17. John Richardson

    @BG Know thyself.

    May 29, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  18. Truthneednotbeuttered

    To all those who have misconceptions of the Islamic faith i will remind you of one important fact; we are all human. We bleed, we cry, we long for love and laugh at jokes. Christianity's followers have its flaws as do Muslims we are human. whether your an Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish or Muslim, we are still Human.They day you demonize a whole group of people and dismiss them as mere lunatics is the day you commit mass genocide.

    May 29, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Muneef

      Truth.
      I do agree with you...not to believe on what you believe on does not give me the right to attack your belief. But can not say the same thing about Satan Worshipers who bring corruption to man and earth...would you?

      May 29, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • John Richardson

      What corruption have Satan worshippers brought to this world that Christians and Muslims among many others haven't brought themselves?

      May 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Truth.

      You are right we should say many of mankind were/are wicked no matter which umbrella they march under whether religious or non religious beliefs or Idologies.... Hope you agree with me since history is full of such cases...
      Therefore it is mankind who is the key subject for any belief or ideology to become peaceful or hostile...it is mankind who we should invest in to educate clearing the hatred or envy that blacken their hearts towards their human brothers...

      May 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Right on, Muneef! No matter what we believe, it's ultimately how we behave towards each other and the entire planet that matters!

      May 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Muneef

      John Rich.

      You are right but the Prophecies that been or being made are the real drive behind panic and a cause for those who want us to make believe...

      Such as those BrainwashIng that causes fears and distrusts among peoples of nations....other than having sawn the seeds of evil that take advantage of such prophecies to make believe and to market their products of doom....
      Kindly go through link; 
      http://ourlady3.tripod.com/

      May 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  19. Friend

    Hey Dear David Johnson, I strongly recommend you to have a look at this website http://www.miraclesofthequran.com

    May 29, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  20. David Johnson

    @BG

    What can I say, man? When I read that you find me obnoxious... well, I just hope the missus isn't in the mood, 'cause I am emasculated. I keep reading the scripture over and over, to see where I might have gone wrong... Am I really a jerk, Lord?

    I suppose I will just take it one day at a time... maybe living under a bridge and eating from dumpsters in repentance.

    I am not running for Miss Congeniality. My only hope is to win, because I have a pretty face.

    First, let me tell you where I am coming from:

    I am an atheist. I don't believe in god...anybody's god. I don't act like –> Oh gee! I value your belief. Maybe I'm wrong. –> I'm not wrong. I don't value your opinion, or what you believe, or have faith in. I value evidence. All the evidence is against there being a god. I believe religion is damaging to society.

    I am "moral". I have been married to the same woman for 31 years. No affairs. I have one daughter. I believe in the use of contraceptives. We have used Magnums for as "long" as I can remember. They are adequate, once they have stretched a bit.

    I am pro-choice. If my daughter was attacked, or just made a "mistake", I would have no problem "undoing" the problem. I would not have her life ruined or compromised over an oopsie. If I lived in a location, where an ultrasound before an abortion was required, I would get the smallest package possible –> 8 x10 and maybe a few wallet sized. I think this is a racket.

    I am pro-gay rights. I play cards most Fridays, with a gay couple. They are my friends. We are going to their place for a barbecue on Sunday. I like their company. Gay people not having their Civil Rights disgusts me. The fact that this is because of a belief in a god, who is very unlikely to exist, astounds me.

    I am a liberal! I vote only for the Dems. I am a Humanist.

    So knowing this, you can pretty well tell where I will stand on most stories that are posted on this blog.

    I don't comment, to sway the true believers. I comment to give fence sitters an alternate view.
    Believers have the habit of announcing Jesus' wants etc., as if they have some supernatural link to Him. Pfui! All they have is their opinion. Opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. I want the the people who haven't yet drank the Kool Aid, to know this.

    So, if I am obnoxious, I do it out of love and conviction. It is my way of saying: "Hey brother! Get your head out of your $ss".

    Cheers!

    May 29, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      –> "I am a liberal! I vote only for the Dems."

      Davey – Question, so what is the difference between you and the ultra-conservatives who say that they only vote for Republicans?

      May 29, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • BG

      @ David

      " I don't value your opinion, or what you believe, or have faith in. I value evidence."

      David, please don't feel compelled to justify yourself or mitigate your position to me. This is simply our obligatory monthly chat to reinforce to everyone that, a: you're a committed atheist and activist who holds no respect or sensitivity for the choices or needs of others, and that, b. I think you're a trite and judgmental person.

      It's who you are, David, and don't you dare feel any obligation for explanations or mitigation. Stand up, be proud, and continue to denigrate those inferior to yourself, complete with their inconsequential opinions and beliefs. If you're going to be a self-righteous pr!ck, be the best self-righteous pr!ck that you can. But considering the regularity with which you spit in the eye of personal choice, weakness, need, compassion, or security, don't get all fussy and indignant when it spits back at you.

      @ MMR

      The difference? Just polarity. Common sense and independent thinking be damned; just stay in your respective herd. It's safe there.

      May 29, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • John Richardson

      @MMR I vote for a mix of Republican, Democratic and third party candidates, but I'm having a hard time seeing what's wrong with somebody with strong views that line up well with one major party or the other voting strictly for the party they tend overwhelmingly to agree with in accordance with those views. Ticket splitters are really doing the same things. They just tend to hold views that require a little more browsing, given where the parties tend to stand these days. That can change. Guys like Lyndon Johnson were gung ho got international military adventurism AND large social programs at home, as was JFK. In the fallout from the 60s in general and LBJ's train wreck of a presidency in particular, the main parties made it easy to be gung ho for one of these things or the other, but not for both. Just an example.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • John Richardson

      Yeesh. "gung ho got international military adventurism" should be "gung ho FOR international military adventurism"

      May 29, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      You asked: "what is the difference between you and the ultra-conservatives who say that they only vote for Republicans?"

      As far as making a decision on who I will support, nothing is different. It is the WHY that makes the difference:

      Didn't we have a similar exchange? The Republicans serve 2 masters. The rich and the Christian Right. I have nothing in common with either. I want Medicare and Social Security to remain. I want Universal Health Care. I want a progressive income tax. I want to choose butter over guns. I want Obama to get another 4 years. I want civil rights for gays. I want women to always have the right to choose. I want collective bargaining to thrive. I don't want state sponsored prayer or the teaching of Creationism in public schools. I don't want vouchers, that would support private religious schools. They would be detrimental to public schools (which is the intent).

      Probably isn't everything, but this is mostly why I will only vote for the Dems!

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • BG

      "Democrats are the Bad Guys"
      from P.J. O'Rourke

      http://www.federalistjournal.com/columns/orourke080700.htm

      May 29, 2011 at 6:17 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.