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My Take: Congressional hearings on Islam betray American values
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King at Wednesday's hearing on Muslim radicalization in U.S. prisons.
June 15th, 2011
04:01 PM ET

My Take: Congressional hearings on Islam betray American values

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

The anti-Muslims are at it again.

It is commonplace to think of the United States as a tolerant nation, an asylum for immigrants from all nations and religions. But throughout U.S. history there are moments that remind us of our collective depravity—our inability as a nation to live up consistently to the values articulated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Today is one of those moments, because Representative Peter King (R-NY) held a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Muslim “radicalization" in U.S. prisons.

Some who watched the hearings this morning might be experiencing a sense of deja vu, since this is Round Two in King's hearings on the "radicalization" of Muslim Americans. But watching King's bigotry on display brought me back to a much earlier moment in U.S. history: the burning of a Catholic convent by Protestant protesters in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1834.

Surprisingly, this mob action was done in the name of American values. The good Protestants of Charlestown burned down this nunnery in the name of the sacred cause of liberty. Catholics were opposed to liberty (or so went the rioters' logic), so the Catholics had to go.

And in this case they did go. Although many of the good citizens of Boston denounced the arson as criminal, the Massachusetts legislature refused to indemnify the Ursuline nuns who ran the school for their loss. So after a brief sojourn in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where they were repeatedly threatened and harassed, the Ursulines decamped to Canada in 1838.

As an Irish American Catholic who is on record supporting the terrorist group the IRA, Rep. King should be familiar with the history of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry worldwide. He should also know that bigotry at home has repeatedly sparked violence against Irish Americans and American Catholics—the burning of churches, the tarring and feathering of priests, and the murders of innocent laypeople.

After Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA) said at today's hearing that King's obsession with Islamic radicalization "can be deemed racist and discriminatory," King said that "the purpose of this Committee is to combat Islamic terrorism because that is the terrorist threat to this country."

I disagree. I think the purpose of King's hearings is to call into question the Americanness of U.S. Muslims by branding their religion a threat to the nation. And once again I observe that we have been here before, including in 1855 when Protestants circulated an image of Pope Pius IX crumbling the Constitution in his right hand while plunging a sceptre into an American eagle with his left.

King has said that the threat of Islamic radicalization is a "real issue.” I agree.

But the “real issue” here is not the radicalization of Islam in U.S. prisons. It is the sacrifice of American values of liberty and tolerance on the altar of anti-Islamic prejudice. More specifically, it is the abuse of the coercive power of the federal government (something conservatives used to care about) to attack one religion and one religion only.

His last hearing, held in March, on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" was an embarrassment to the House and its Homeland Security Committee. But King apparently has no shame. Like the anti-Muslim comments that will doubtless accompany this post, he continues to give voice to the fears and hatred of Americans rather than to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

So it looks like these hearings will continue (King has announced a third installment for late July) until either the American public makes it clear that it will not tolerate federal attacks on particular religions or the voters of King’s Long Island district make it clear at the ballot box that they want a representative dedicated to conserving American values rather than undermining them.

In my view, neither outcome could come too soon.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church and state • Islam • Politics • Religious liberty • Religious violence • United States

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. FairGarden

    American values are already gone from USA. Muslims will do good rather than secularists. Secularism is oppressive.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Nick

      Hey, a religious state might make some people happy. 🙂 Frankly, I'd rather die fighting than allow Muslims to take over my country and dictate my way of life. No thanks.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • papia

      There are equally great number of non-muslim Chinese and Hindus in the western countries including the US. Have you seen any terrorist activity by them as the muslims here? No! Why do only the muslims have problems with the rules of this country? People need to understand that first. The writer of this article can't think much.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  2. Keith

    I don't believe most Americans are anti Muslim, however I disagree with the author that it is unamerican to try to identify those that are committed to killing as many of us as possible. While it is true that most Muslims are fine, peace loving people it is also true that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Alex

      Keith,you're right. The government shouild know who's being allowed to come into the country. Surely we all want to live in a safe, bomb free inviroment. I suspect that muslims would like to live in bomb free inviroments too. Perhaps a thorough research of America's historical ralationships, policies and actions towards these countries might give some insight as to why they would seek to do harm to any american. The claim that they want to destroy our freedom is as bogus as the tooth fairy. Have you noticed that were ever there is a resource that america needs, the people of that land are termed crazy,madmen,hostile and terrorists. Wake up.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Alex

      keith, in my earlier post I suggested you research history. After reading another one of your posts I realize you are a fool. The wandering jew had departed that part of the world approxiametly 2000 years ago. In 1947 america and britain ran the palistinians off the land and set up that so-called jewish state. There has been no peace since. American military might ruled the day and continues to do so. Keith, if a man with superior arms attacked your home, murdered your wife and children and then took up residency in your home, would you just forget about it just because he had superior arms, or would you seek help from where ever, whom ever you can find it, even if its only a rock! If you believe the occupation of palistine is lawful, I suspect it would be fine with you if a well armed native american group seized and occupied oklahoma or florida.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Nadeem ahmed

      Again a popular myth that all terrorists are Muslim, there are 200 Christian terrorist organizations in Europe alone, is the IRA muslim, or the Basque Sepratists or the Shining Path Muslim? How about the Tamil Tigers? Nepalese maoist, how about the Columbian FARC and Zepatistas, and on and on, go ahead google for how many Christian/Hindu/Buddhist/Jewish terror groups there are and you will be a more informed person.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  3. Yisrael Chai

    I am telling you, Mooslems will not stop their terrorism on Israel and U.S. until they establish their Caliphate and Shariah in the White House and Jerusalem. There is high rising Anti-Semitism in USA and no one cares about, and this Mooslem terror hearing that is necessary to save US from this terror religion, everyone seems worked up. Rep. Peter King is a Patriotic American and protecting Israel and US, that are the the only two democracies in a tyrant middle-east, and these two great nations are tied to the hip with Bible and common values. God says: who ever curses the Jews, God curses them

    June 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Kat

      lol...spoken by "Yisrael Chai"....let me guess, you're a loyal Israeli citizen who want America the superpower to continue supporting your illegal occupation of Palestine....I say let's just dump Israel and the threat of terror will cease the next day.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Keith

      Kat, you have to be joking. If the terrorists only wanted to destroy Israel why are they bombing people in Europe, Africa and Asia. If they were allowed to kill all the Jews They would continue to hate all other non Muslims or even Muslims of a different sect. They grow up learning to hate and know nothing different. As for Israel, they only occupied territory after they were attacked by Arabs. They started none of the wars and have a right to defend themselves. You might try to learn a little history instead of believing everything you hear in your mosque.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Nadeem ahmed

      Rubbish, Sharia law cannot be implemented in a non -muslim country, a fundamental flaw in your argument. America would first have to declare itself an Islamic nation before even trying to implement sharia.

      This is a bogeyman used to scare ignorant Americans. You should listen to the commandments that say, THOU SHALT NOT LIE.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  4. George

    It is politically incorrect to say we are at war with Islam, but it is certainly true that we are at war with Muslims.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Kat

      Is it politically correct to identify the root of anti-America terrorism is its blind support to Israeli atrocities for decades?

      June 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Alex

      Black vs. White,
      Islam vs Christianity,
      God vs. Devil
      Which one do you think will win?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  5. CSMinDC

    Nothing wrong with these hearings. I willing to bet my next paycheck cells are alive and well in the US.

    I would hate for history books parallel doing nothing to Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  6. Veritas

    Radical Islam is the greatest threat to western Democracy...or so have said literally every one of dozens of my friends in Washington, DC who have seriously studied the issue. Democrats and Republicans...military and academic. So...since when did ignoring overwhelming evidence and shutting off the collection of information become co-extensive with tollerance. If Islam is peaceful wouldn't MORE investigation be the Muslim's friend?

    June 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Kat

      oh yea, because radical Muslims control the Congress, the Media, the white house, the banks, wall street, federal reserve, and jobs. Please!!! !can you explain to me how the 1% of the population is going to rule the other 99%?

      June 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Nick

      You're assuming our country (USA) is even a democracy. It isn't. It's an oligarchy and the "threat" is mostly to big businesses and private enterprise. Iran itself is a democratic nation (again, technically) and elected Ahmedinejad same as we did Obama. lol

      June 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Nadeem ahmed

      why dont you go hide in a cave, you will be safe, chicken little.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  7. George

    It is so easy to point to an event in 1834, 1838, or 1855, and say look, we are doing it again, but the author has to and does ignore so many truths of 2011 that the article smacks of treason.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  8. PJ

    Sort of reminds me of McCarthyism. I wonder how deeply they will delve into the Mormon Cult.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  9. John Richardson

    King is a creepy guy,but really just another in a long line of creepy guys to hold political power far beyond their wisdom.

    June 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Denise

      Creepy like BHO.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  10. Dan Larrivee

    Muslims cannot doubt the Qur’an (2:1)
    Non Muslims are sworn enemies of Muslims and Islam (Qur’an 4:101)
    Muslims have the holy duty to kill non-Muslims (Qur’an 9:5)
    Muslims must terrorize non-Muslims (Qur’an 8:12)
    Muslims can lie to non-Muslims to help Islam (Qur’an 3:28 and 16:106)
    Thats only a small portion of what is written in their so Holy book,

    June 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Andrew

      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

      Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13

      Kill any false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:20

      June 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • ADOC

      Very nice Andrew. I think I'll say..... 'Checkmate'

      June 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • ThinkingSavesLives

      Okay Andrew so why don't you hear much about jews or christians who follow the bible blowing themselves up and killing others in the name of their religion? obviously your missing something... interpretation perhaps?

      June 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Rick

      @ Andrew, And how many christians are acting like muslims?

      June 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Mike

      Andrew, I'm glad your reading your bible. The Old Testament passages you quoted related to Christianity before Jesus. Everything changed once Jesus came to the world, was crucified, resurrected now sits at the right hand of God. Jesus says to love your neighbor, and that the greatest commandment of all is LOVE. So, like so many people, don't take things out of context.
      BTW, Muslims consider Jesus to be a "great prophet", Jesus says he was "the son of man"......so according to my notes, he's either a blasphemer or as I belive, The Son of Man.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Kat

      Thank you...Israel and its Zionist Christian supporters are doing just that in the holy land...millions of Palestinians have been became homeless, murdered, wounded, orphaned, robbed and their homes bulldozed because of those bloody passages in the Bible.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Nick

      @ Mike, Or the 3rd option: He never spoke those words and they were inserted by the men who wrote the "new testament." lol You have more than the 2 options, pal. Frankly, I'm not inclined to believe the words of a few, power-hungry Jews.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • step

      @ Mike, didn't Jesus say that he didn't come to break the law but to fulfill it?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Alex

      Andrew is talking to you Dan. Whats up? Cat got your tongue?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Alex

      Dan, can you please respond to Andrew?

      June 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Muneef

      First time I hear that Christianity was there before Jesus...!!?
      Before Jesus were the people of Moses down to Suleiman meaning they were Jews until Jesus came and his followers became and carried on as Christians only after Jesus was crucified after all although not sure that the name Christianity became out of the word Cross...Crucified .!!

      June 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Muneef

      Jesus is a Nazarene from Nazareth.

      This what we used to call his followers and that how they were mentioned in the Quran...not sure why changed to become named as Christians rather than Nazarenes....!?

      June 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  11. Muneef

    How would they (rulers) be able to milk you out of your money if they had not made for you a phobia of some sort to keep you in fear and under control...time before today it was fears created from Com-mun-is-ts but today it is named by as Islamists....

    Just as Stevie7 wrote in his post;
    Stevie7
    It won't end so long as people choose to be lead like sheep by fear. Machiavelli would be proud. You might not be able to scare people by putting heads on stakes anymore, but fear is still very much effective.
    June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |

    June 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Eric G

      Excellent point. Fear of an enemy is used to control populations. Unfortunately, many governments use this "US against THEM" method. They learned this method from religions.

      Today, the world is a smaller place than at any time in human history. We need to rise above the need for an enemy and recognize a solidarity shared by all humanity. I look forward to the day when humanity can dispose of the views that divide us all. I fear that some will never want humanity to unite because they crave the justification of hatred, violence and bigotry.

      June 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • hayfield

      Religion breeds and nourishes hatred, violence and bigotry.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Eric G.

      There is a saying that says "Disasters of some is a benefit for others"... How do you want humanity to unite when that will mean bankruptcy for others? This way your suggestion will stop all the war relative industry....this way you will stop all researches that are being made about killing as many people as could such as "Germ war" "Chemical war" and so on of wars tactics research and industry... No it will not work, this is a dream that will become true only on our afterlife but not on earth since many live out of the miseries of others...

      June 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  12. Muneef

    Tell me does it to hold American values you are required to give up Islamic values? Is there contradiction between maintaining both?

    For me now I got confused if can hold values of my country and values of my religion...! Then wonder if am I to drop one and keep one..! What my choice would be for to keep hold of "My country values or my religion values?? Guess my worry would be more of afterlife rather than earthly life...?! So it means we are required to chose between Earthly Life or Afterlife...!
    Guess a believer would rather chose afterlife....while atheists(disbelievers) would chose earthly life....
    They said believers heavens are at afterlife while for disbelievers their heavens are at earthly life...

    June 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Eric G

      In this country, you are free to hold to cultural traditions and values, but they cannot infringe on the liberties of any other citizens of this country. For example, sharia law is not acceptable in our country because our laws are based on our consti-tution. You do not have the right to infringe upon the rights of others because of your religious beliefs.

      June 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      Eric G.

      Hi there friend hope all well...

      Understand that some few states you have a different laws and regulations....well maybe can have sharia only for Muslims but under the umbrella of the your recognized laws.... Surely Muslims at yours need their Islamic sharia laws to regulate them as Muslims and not to impose it on non Muslims since that is not logical at all unless it was accepted and demanded by all otherwise it would not be fair or just to force apply same for who does not want it or accept it....and surely it is unfair to deprive those who need it for regulating their lives as a com-m-unity who lives by it....!?

      June 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  13. Student of World Religion

    Any religion built upon a foundation of salvation by personal righteousness is based upon the follower’s loving God before God will love the follower. Allah must be enticed to love the individual by some demonstration of his or her faithfulness toward him (sura 4:54). In return for showing this love, however, Muslims expect something in return. Their obedience earns prosperity (sura 24:51-55).

    Here is the profound weakness of a religion in which there is no genuine connection between God and human beings. Love is never part of the equation—the religion depends upon a sense of duty and a desire for payback.

    The faithful Muslim will be victorious politically: those in influence earned an “inheritance of power, as He granted it to those before them” (24:55). According to one Muslim scholar, people obedient to the Qur’an inherit authority “in order that they may maintain Allah’s Law.” (See footnote)

    Inheriting and maintaining authority is an important theme in the Muslim’s relationship to Allah. Just as the individual expects prosperity from the arrangement, so does Allah expect to give prosperity, giving it to those who will enforce his law. No wonder the victorious Muslim warriors were so quick to coerce a conquered people to embrace Islam, or at least submit to its law.

    It is paradoxical, however, that to earn this religious freedom Muslims believe they must deny religious freedom to others.

    The key is that prosperity is understood as integrating politics and religion. The Islamic theology of prosperity is vitally important to a symbiotic with Allah. Thus, politics and religion are inextricably linked.

    Eternal security is further based on a Muslim’s hatred toward enemies of Allah. The worst thing the enemies of Allah can do is persuade Muslims to “reject the Truth” (sura 60:2).

    Therefore, the Muslim is called to hate enemies of Islam in order to achieve more hope of Paradise. In the end, Muslim, both externally and internally, must passionately hate those who stand against the expansion of Allah’s cause.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      That was not in the old Islam which traveled and settled every where in the world as merchants....this must be the new Islam that was propagated by the West to serve as belt and a front line for protecting them from the Atheist movement of the East...!? So you see when the enemy of the east became friend now those who were friends became the enemy!?

      June 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  14. Convert to Islam or the Puppy Dies !

    Wow! CNN is going for the grand slam of post generators: Islamophopbia, ho-mophobia, and Sarah Palin pretending she is God's ghost writer. It must be time to show the advertisers how much traffic they get on their site, and they need to pump up the numbers. The Palin one should get about 319 pages filled with 14,582 posts.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Well it was told before;

    [2:120] Neither the Jews, nor the Christians, will accept you, unless you follow their religion. Say, "GOD's guidance is the true guidance." If you acquiesce to their wishes, despite the knowledge you have received, you will find no ally or supporter to help you against GOD.

    [2:121] Those who received the scripture, and know it as it should be known, will believe in this. As for those who disbelieve, they are the losers.

    [2:122] O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I blessed you more than any other people.

    [2:123] Beware of the day when no soul will help another soul, no ransom will be accepted, no intercession will be useful, and no one will be helped.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • CHARLEY60

      Strange that's a lot of what the Mormons say when they come knocking. My Bible is no good as it was interpreted wrong. Have to use there's only. Then you have to accept there book of Mormon that talks of tribes no one has ever found a trace of.Then you have to accept God told there leader it was OK to have around 30 wives. Some as young as 13 or 14 years old. But now it is just fine for them to run for President. Strange set of double standards.

      June 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  16. GSA

    I feel so bad for those actually buying into and believing a word he says.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @GSA

      Hey there -GSA...

      Your statement is 'unspecified' as to who do you mean...? Prothero or King...?

      Peace...

      June 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  17. Haime52

    And when the muslims have been all "straightened up", they'll find someone else to hate. God help those people! It seems each time we go through this it get more polarized and vociferous and the language gets more violent. Where will it end?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Stevie7

      It won't end so long as people choose to be lead like sheep by fear. Machiavelli would be proud. You might not be able to scare people by putting heads on stakes anymore, but fear is still very much effective.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Reality

    The professor noted:

    "I think the purpose of King's hearings is to call into question the Americanness of U.S. Muslims by branding their religion a threat to the nation. "

    Why many of us if not most US citizens consider Islam to be a threat to the nation and the world:

    The koranic terror and aggression of Islam via a Partial and Body Count, Recent and Archived:

    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.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • WG

      Yeah, thank goodness nothing bad has ever been done in Jesus's name.

      June 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • papia

      There are equally great number of non-muslim Chinese and Hindus in the western countries including the US. Have you seen any terrorist activity by them as the muslims here? Why can all of them live here in harmony but only the muslims have problems? Why? Why? Why? Those who are talking in favor of muslims need to think about this first.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Reality

      o More on the koranic passages and world domination:

      "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

      Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

      Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

      Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.
      In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

      Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.
      Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?
      A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!” – D. Richardson

      June 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  19. Bridie

    Pshhhhh!
    A vast, hissing shame be upon him!!! To openly support a terrorist organization! And the IRA at that!
    Many's the innocent children killed, and their poor families! There should be an investigation done. Nobody in our government shoud be consortin with the likes of them! Toss King out and get a real man in.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  20. Uncouth Swain

    The problem I have with Mr. Prothero's co*mparing the Catholics of the 1830's to the Muslims of the here and now is that there was no truth to the Catholic problem but there is with certain aspects of Islam.
    Now of course the vast majority of Muslims in the US are fine citizens so the Representative should be very very clear on exactly who he is meaning.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • .

      "Catholics were opposed to liberty (or so went the rioters' logic), so the Catholics had to go."

      June 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Christian Democracy is its own worst enemy!

      islam will take over America, city by city, State by State.
      Christians will stand by and allow the muslims the democratic freedom to do so.
      It's just about "written" – BY US, the complacent nitwits, the islamic apologists and others of Meek ilk who shall NOT inherit the Earth.
      Turn the other cheek.
      Yes, you do just that...turn the other cheek.

      You are losing your once-proud nation, increment by increment....softly softly catchee monkey

      June 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • JLS639

      Christian, if you read the article you would know that Roman Catholics will beat the Muslims to it. We will soon be slaves of the Pope.

      [The tone of the preceding post was meant to be ironic.]

      June 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • papia

      There are thousands of Chinese who are not muslims and Hindus in the US – they maybe more in number than the muslims. Have you seen them blowing up anything or declaring jihad in the name of their god or trying to force change the rules of this country? No! Why do only the muslims have problems with the laws of this country? You better answer that first. The writer of this article can't think much.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:27 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.