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'Ramadan effect' may be aiding Libyan rebels' cause
Libyan rebels manage a checkpoint at the entrance of the residential area of al-Brega on August 15.
August 22nd, 2011
11:29 PM ET

'Ramadan effect' may be aiding Libyan rebels' cause

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Ramadan might not seem like the ideal time to attempt a government overthrow.

The Islamic holy month, which began earlier this month and is now entering its final week, is best known for its all-day fasts, which would sap the energy of the most ardent rebels.

In Libya, where rebel fighters entered the capital over the weekend, appearing to usher in what some say are the last days of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, Ramadan is coinciding with some of the summer’s hottest days: hardly ideal weather for staging street fights against a deeply entrenched regime.

And Ramadan, with its calls for Muslims to show compassion and to step back from worldly affairs for a month of purification, might not seem conducive to calls for regime toppling.

But experts say Ramadan probably helped intensify the Libyan civil war and probably played a contributing role in taking the 6-month-old conflict to a dramatic level.

And they say a similar Ramadan effect is at work in Syria, where protests against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have grown over recent weeks, and possibly in other countries where the Arab Spring is raging.

“During the month of fasting, people are praying at night at mosque and are allowed to connect with other Muslims, praying about God promising justice and rulers who are compassionate,” said Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University in Washington. “And they think of the reality of these brutal, completely mad regimes, and there’s a sense of ‘we have to do something. It’s now or never.’ ”

In a country like Libya, Ahmed said, where most universities and religious schools have been shut down by the government or are tightly controlled by it, mosques are among the only places where the country’s overwhelmingly Muslim population can gather and speak freely.

That means houses of worship are among the only places where people can organize politically.

Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan, said that in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the public call to prayer broadcast by many mosques on Saturday night doubled as a signal for underground rebels to join the fighting.

“The message, which was ‘God is most great,’ is what you say when you’re fighting a struggle,” Cole said. “No Muslim would have had any trouble deciphering that.”

Cole said that each day’s final Muslim prayer, for which many men head to mosque after breaking the Ramadan fast, provides a unique opportunity for social mobilization efforts.

“These prayers happen about 9:30, and when you have a big gathering of men in a mosque, you can mobilize them for social action,” he said. “You can talk them up and send them out into the streets to protest, which is what’s happening in Syria.”

In Syria, which has been roiled by months of protests demanding the end to the al-Assad regime, nighttime protests have swelled during Ramadan, provoking a brutal government crackdown.

In Libya, experts said that months of NATO airstrikes against Gadhafi's installations, the organization’s increased coordination with Libyan rebels and recent rebels victories in key towns were the major factors behind opposition forces finally making it to Tripoli.

But Ramadan created a surprisingly ideal atmosphere for a stepped-up rebel campaign, they said.

Nic Robertson, CNN’s senior international correspondent, said that some Western governments worried Ramadan would mark a lull in the Libyan rebels’ campaign.

“There was a feeling that the war needed to be over by Ramadan,” Robertson said. “That didn't happen, but it focused a lot of Western minds … that and the high financial and political cost of having a protracted NATO involvement.

“The fear was that Ramadan would mean an end to serious fighting, pushing the end of the war phase into September, which would be politically more dangerous for Cameron, Obama, Sarkozy,” Robertson said, referring to the leaders of Britain, the U.S. and France, which all contributed to the NATO campaign.

Instead, Libyan rebels have latched onto Ramadan as a public relations opportunity.

Frederic Wehrey, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corp. who studies Libya, says that rebels there have attempted to co-opt the Ramadan message to win popular support.

“The rebels have gotten a lot smarter and are being magnanimous,” Wehrey said. “They’re playing a smart game where they don’t have to pummel people into submission, they’re inducing people’s defections (from Gadhafi), and Ramadan is an opening for that.”

Wehrey said that although Libya is less religious than some other majority Muslim countries, Islam could play an outsized role in a post-Gadhafi government because Gadhafi has gutted other civil society institutions.

“If there’s no way to organize people, if people don’t feel like they have a voice, and the only organizations for meeting people's basic needs are religious, that translates into greater political power,” he said. “It all depends on how quickly a government can be established that meets people’s needs.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Libya • Ramadan

soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. anerican muslim

    Rainer, I can tell your uneducated, so I will make this simple. Everything you have written on this stat is wrong, and I would call you a liar but your ignorance makes it seem as though you really don't know. There are over a billion Muslims in the world, if Islam was about violence, it would be more problems in this world. I'm trying to keep it simple for you,,your ignorance is uncanny

    August 23, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • The Shadow knows

      Right back at you kiddo. Islam is like every other middle eastern faith, of which all Christians and Jewish faiths come from..nothing but attempts to control and kill those who disagree

      August 23, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Kraken

      Mohammed's son slept with 5 thugs, and now we see the result -nothing.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • William Demuth

      What is an anerican muslim?

      Is that anything like an american nuslim?

      August 23, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Bus2

      The problem is that islam IS about violence! I dare say you haven't read your own holy book, because it isn't the least bit shy about promoting violence against enemies. Heck, mohommad himself killed a guy!

      August 23, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • William Demuth

      Bus2

      So did Moses and MANY of the Biblical big hitters.

      The Talmud also calls for killing non Jews.

      The Bible itself proclaims the intent of Jesus to lead an army that will slaughter a big chunk of the whole human race.

      It seems ALL your Gods are sociopaths.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @ american muslim

      You make a mistake. Ask yourself: "What were the genuine intentions of Jesus and Muhammad?"

      The Bible was not written, in order to promote aggressive war, but to promote the deliverance of sinners. The summary of the Bible: God's eternal Son became man, in order to redeem sinners. Jesus never conducted war, but walked around, preached the gospel and cured people.

      In contrast Muhammad:

      Muhammad wrote the Koran in order to unite the Arabs for a war against Byzantium (Eastern Roman Empire). Muhammad himself yet conducted aggressive war.

      When ever people conducted aggressive war in the name of Jesus, they were no real Christians, but nominal Christians.
      However, defensive war is allowed, also for nominal Christian countries.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Guest

      @kraken: Prophet Mohammed never had a son. But good luck spreading lies.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  2. mort

    if the Libyan government are busy praying, get in there and hit 'em. Best time to take them down is when they're not ready for it.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  3. anerican muslim

    This is ridiculous. The catholics kill in the name of Mary, the Christians kill in the name of Jesus, and the Jews kill in the name of yahweh. The christians have killed more innocent people in the name of Jesus; slave trade, Salem witch hunt, crusades....I can go on, you all are ignorant and no nothing about your religion let alone another.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • @Cheap Wine Drinker

      suck it

      August 23, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @ american muslim

      You make a mistake.

      The Bible was not written, in order to promote aggressive war, but to promote the deliverance of sinners. The summary of the Bible: God's eternal Son became man, in order to redeem sinners. Jesus never conducted war, but walked around, preached the gospel and cured people.

      In contrast Muhammad:

      Muhammad wrote the Koran in order to unite the Arabs for a war against Byzantium (Eastern Roman Empire). Muhammad himself yet conducted aggressive war.

      When ever people conducted aggressive war in the name of Jesus, they were no real Christians, but nominal Christians.
      However, defensive war is allowed, also for nominal Christian countries.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Slim American

      "anerican muslim", however common your nasty tone is on this board, it doesn't help your case for your religion (nor any other religion, because there is no case to be made for any religion other than Pastafarianism).

      Try googling on "ad hominem".

      RAmen.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • You may be ignorant, but I can't spell

      anerican is spelled american and no is spelled know

      August 23, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • There Is No Valid Evidence For Your God. Absolutely Zero.

      @RainerWhiner, the bible was written by many human authors over many years, and has been revised and re-translated many times. It is full of errors and contradictions. Every time you reference it, you present a losing case for your god fable.

      RainerWhiner, whine on.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    What is wrong with the word s-p-i-c-e-s? Why is this word blocked?

    August 23, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • William Demuth

      S P I C is a derogatory term for spanish people here in the US.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Billy

      Thank you.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    frankincense, gold

    August 23, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  6. Darth Cheney

    And winner for the Most Nutjob-Infested Comment Board is...

    August 23, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      Nice!

      Actualy there is a Nazi website stormfr###.org (don't want them to get any more hits) that makes this place seem tame.

      I mean if you hate Hindu Eskimos or Lesbian Armenians, you can find a fellow hater there!

      August 23, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  7. William Demuth

    I love coming here to see the TRUE heart of the Christian community.

    Their hatred of over a billion Muslims is so extreme, most don't even pretend any longer.

    Christians and Muslims and Jews all HATE each other. They will continue to slaughter each other till only ONE cult remains.

    Holy Wars. What a tragic and embarrasing statement about humanity. The suffering, cruelty and intolerance you heap upon one another would leave any rational outsider no choice but to believe ALL the children of Abraham are madmen.

    You buffons don't even realize you are worship the SAME God!

    Perhaps we are better off dead.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Billy

      You should read the Koran at least once. You would note that the Koran is a declaration of war against Jews and Christians.
      Furthermore it is a historical fact that Muhammad indeed was a angry warlord. He fighted even his own fellow countrymen.

      The Islam is a religion, which promotes the low instincts or carnal desires of human beings. Islam has caused the death of millions of guiltless people (Muslim Conquests are historical reality).

      Of course, I love my Muslim neighbour, according to Christ's command, but the doctrine of Islam I must reject.

      The God of Islam is Satan. Nobody can require me to accept Satan's religion.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • William Demuth

      Rainer Braendlein

      Dude you KNOW I have. I am actually reading the OTHER one now (Talmud and Torah)

      I know your disease quite well, and I do NOT see any difference between your infection and theirs.

      Same God, same Psychosis

      August 23, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Dear God,

      Excuse me... I do not pray to Allah.

      Yahweh and God are one in the same. Allah is not part of that circle. Your ignorance says "we" all pray to the same God but we don't. Jews pray to Yahweh, Christian pray to God, and Muslims pray to Allah. Jesus Christ was a Jew. We pray to Jesus not Allah.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • irock

      speak for yourself, I havent killed any muslims

      August 23, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • William Demuth

      Dear God

      Ask Abraham if they are the same!

      A Biblical Sherlock Holmes you ain't!

      August 23, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Methusalem2000

      @Rainer

      "The Islam is a religion, which promotes the low instincts or carnal desires of human beings."

      You're absolutely right! No wonder Women and left-minded left-wingers are attracted to it.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • William Demuth

      irock

      If you are American, or from a country in NATO, or even if you live in a Muslin country, you have plenty of blood on your hands.

      The killings may be justifiable, but they are killings non the less

      August 23, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Barbara a Muslim

      I am a Muslim. I became Muslim on my own, after studying about it for quite some time. I have friends who are Christian, Jews, non believers, and they are my friends, and I love them – I don't want to kill them, nor does any Muslim friend I have want to kill their neighbors who are not Muslim. I do not, however, have much time for those who want to scream in my face and tell me I'm going to h*ll or some other nonsense.

      This is pure hasbara and it serves no purpose except to fan the flames of hatred and distrust.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Barbara a Muslim

      @Dear God – you obviously know no other languages. The Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine – they speak Arabic. And in Arabic, the name for God is "Allah." Have you watched "The Passion of the Christ"?? Do you fail to hear what he is saying? Are you saying that the Christians in the Middle East (who have much stronger roots to the religion than you), are wrong? The Christian Bible, in Arabic, has Allah where God is found in the English one.

      It's really sad how uneducated so many Americans are.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    Yemen

    August 23, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  9. feigele

    When I'm hungry I want to rip someone's head off.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  10. Sharn cedar

    It is almost painful reading CNN's attempts to pander to Islam. CNN seems to be struggling to explain how the religion of peace, Islam, seems to get more ferocious and warlike in its holy month. They postulate it is because Moslems meet at the Mosques and therefore organize themselves better. That is so silly. CNN, if you are going to become pathetic panderers to Islam, at least learn the religion. First hint – it is not exactly a religion of peace. It is a warrior's religion. Islamic social structure is that of a military nation at war, the rules are the rules of soldiers, the beliefs are suitable for those who fight but not so suitable for peace.

    It is hard to seduce soldiers through pandering, CNN. You won't as easily destroy the Islamic culture as you did America.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  11. Bashir

    I don't think that libiyan rebel will bringback peace and stability,

    August 23, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  12. Reality

    And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:----------------–

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

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

    August 23, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      I know the economy is reeling but if you wont look for a job you wont find a job..

      August 23, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Milo786

      Dear Reality I refer you to an article by Laurence M Vance ..herewith an extract....(watch my next post The 100's of 1000's killed during the crusades..lucky for you there was no internet back then...

      If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, the warfare state, state worship, suppression of civil liberties, an imperial presidency, blind nationalism, government propaganda, and an aggressive foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace. It is indeed strange that Christian people should be so accepting of war. War is the greatest suppressor of civil liberties. War is the greatest destroyer of religion, morality, and decency. War is the greatest creator of fertile ground for genocides and atrocities. War is the greatest destroyer of families and young lives. War is the greatest creator of famine, disease, and homelessness. War is the health of the state.

      But modern-day Christianity is in a sad state. There is an unholy desire on the part of a great many Christians to legitimize killing in war.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Reality

      Some elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 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

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in 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,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      August 23, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  13. Reality

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Anwar

      Mohammed, Jeaus, Abraham and so on were definitely smarter than you and your ancestors. So stop acting like a idiot. Go find a job oh wait you can't find a job because there isn't any. You know what come to Bangladesh I'll give you one.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current crises:

      The caste system and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      August 23, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    From the above article:

    “During the month of fasting, people are praying at night at mosque and are allowed to connect with other Muslims, praying about God promising justice and rulers who are compassionate,” said Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University in Washington. “And they think of the reality of these brutal, completely mad regimes, and there’s a sense of ‘we have to do something – it’s now or never.’ ”

    Unquote.

    Why are Arabs are so obses-sed by the Islam?

    Obviously the Arabic societies are saturated by Islam.

    August 23, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Answer: The Arabs (with some exceptions) have ever been ga-ngsters. Arabs have ever been ro-bbers and bri-gands.
      Thus, the term Arabic tribe means actually Arabic ga-ng.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      That is without limit:

      Muhammad himself raid-ed caravans repeatedly, after he had started to preach the Islam, whereby many guiltless people were sl-ain. Obviously Islam has not much to do with righteousness. On the contrary by the Islam the low instincts of man are strengthened. It is nearly sure that Muhammad encouraged his soldiers to sl-ay by the following words: "don't mind my brothers, this people are infidels, let us k-ill them with devotion!"

      August 23, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      The great deceit of Muhammad is it that he equates the Crea-tor of heaven and earth, the real God, with Sa-tan (Allah). By exalting Sa-tan to God, Muhammad made it possible for people to live according to their carnal desires without any awareness of sin or bad conscience. The God of Muhammad commands hate and murder. This causes a total unleashing of the human sinful flesh, because the human flesh wants to hate and to k-ill by nature. Telling a man, God would appreciate such deeds, is like throwing fuel into fire.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Conclusion: After the Arabic spring will come an Arabic winter. It is nearly sure that the Islamists will prevail and finally seize power. Democracy would be possible solely on the basis of a most Christian population. Democracy needs people, which can yield sometimes. The ability to yield is a Christian ability. Islam promotes the opposite: Becoming prevalent by any means.

      The real God is not Allah (Sa-tan), but the Triune God, the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. God the Son is the Crea-tor of heaven and earth.

      At "zero hour" the Son of God became a man, called Jesus from Nazareth. Jesus is full God and full man at the same time. Jesus is the perfect union of Godhead and mankind. The two natures of Jesus are not mingled, but united.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Yet before Muhammad emerged, they persist-ently rai-ded trading caravans. There was a lot of trade between the Eastern Roman Empire, Persia and ancient southern Arabia.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      "Why are Arabs are so obses-sed by the Islam?"

      Arabs comprise less than 20% of the muslim population..Most of the literary works on Islam and Quran has compiled by non-arabs..Get an education and maybe you will start answering yourself 🙂

      August 23, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  15. response_to_reality

    Your argument is based on the fact that the Quran is a book that had been revealed as such.

    If you had bothered to open the Quran it is actually not a book and was not revealed in that way at all.

    Take a shower, learn arabic, and then atleast try and make your falsehood convincing.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • BG

      " Take a shower, learn arabic..."

      Dirty illiterate infidels...

      We're just waiting to see how long before Letterman is killed by a terrorist who smells like rancid kibbe.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • ladydi

      LEARN ARABIC? IT WILL BE A COLD DAY IN HELL BEFORE THAT HAPPENS – THEY KEEP ASKING FOR MORE AND MORE "RIGHTS" AND THE HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE. WELL, I GOT A MESSAGE FOR ALL YOU MUSLIMS....... PRACTICE YOUR EVIL RELIGION IN THE DARK CORNERS OF YOUR HOME, STOP SMEARING YOUR SHARIA LAWS, FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION AND FAMILY HONOR IN OUR FACES!!

      August 23, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  16. Naomi

    The Ramadan is one of the worst time for infidels living in the Muslim-majority land. This planet has no resting time.

    August 23, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • khan

      How so? Can you back up with any stats? I know that Ramadan is not easy for Muslims in America. Something as little as an ad campaign is launched highlighting Ramadan or Eid and the non-Muslims go nuts. How much of an issue was made when Empire State building was lit in green color couple of years ago. Non-Muslims have some nerve to preach tolerance to Muslims while acting like a bigot and Islamophobe.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • jimtanker

      I'm in Kuwait and it isnt that bad at all. Only about 1/3rd as many cars on the road. Thats the best part. Less of those arrogant people plssing me off.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  17. Naomi

    Pray for Libya – 6.5 million people, 97% Muslim, 85% literacy rate(very good as an Islamic nation), 173,000 Christians, 22,000 other non-Muslims. The neigboring nations Algeria and Egypt are getting worse regarding religious freedom. For now.

    August 23, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • khan

      and what about America? Religious rights of Muslims are being curtailed here also. Banning mosques in the guise of zoning rules and where none works then just open hate shown during protests. America should preach religious freedom here before lecturing anyone else.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • BG

      @ khan

      " America should preach religious freedom..."

      America was build on religious freedom. Islam, conversely, was (and is) built on terror, oppression and intimidation.

      "Religious rights of Muslims are being curtailed here also."

      Yep, sorry about our "curtailment" of your honor killings, FGM, sharia, and misogyny you claim are components of your "faith." So, Boo – f'n – Hoo.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • jimtanker

      Prayer does abosolutely nothing. And besides, I dont care about Libya or anyone in it.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Julie in Austin

      @BG: Yes, America was built on religious freedom. That doesn't mean Americans practice religious tolerance.

      I'm Jewish and there are a lot of people, including my governor and several Republican candidates for president, who'd prefer that I become a Christian, the same as you seem to want Muslims to leave or become Christians.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • BG

      @ Julie

      " I'm Jewish..."
      I don't care.

      "... there are a lot of people, including my governor and several Republican candidates for president, who'd prefer that I become a Christian..."
      So either you perceive yourself as being judged and persecuted, or you're juuust a bit paranoid.

      "... the same as you seem to want Muslims to leave or become Christians."
      Wrong on both counts, Jules. I just want them to become good citizens like me and you (well, at least me) less all the 'special muslim conditions,' i.e., sharia.

      -You- need to work on your "oppressed Jew" complex. Good luck with that.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  18. Fred C. Dobbs

    A new name on Justina is just a different shade of lipstick on the pig.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Naomi

      You guys need new national anthems. You don't deserve America. Poor American forefathers!

      August 23, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Bizarre

      "You guys need new national anthems"

      In many sections of the country it is already quickly changing to begin, "Jose, can you see..."

      August 23, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • TheASK

      Thats exactly what I say when it comes to the retarded leaders who think capitalism still works out well.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • trainwreck

      bizarre..go tell your klan meeting they need some new jokes

      August 23, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  19. Naomi

    Things are not improving for infidels but only worse in the region. The concept of equality or fairness does not exist in Muslims. They need to read the Bible and get Judeo-Christian education.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Magic

      Trading one superst.itious fantasy for another is futile.

      Take PROVEN, PRACTICAL wisdom promoting peace from either or both and move on ahead.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Naomi

      Secularism has wisdom only in destroying and corrupting good things.

      August 23, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • khan

      Muslims do believe in bible as being a holy book. Unfortunately, the word of God as revealed to Jesus does not exist. Christianity being followed is false with too many iterations. Why should I read a book with different versions.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • The One

      Really. Such a bigoted view. Maybe instead of that, you yourself should get a MORAL education. Then again, regardless of my religion, if you were in it, I would be ashamed of it too.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:45 am |
    • TheASK

      How about you read a bunch of my fairy tale stories and see what peace is about then I will read your fairy tale stories and see if it just might make sense.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Fred Evil

      "Secularism has wisdom only in destroying and corrupting good things."
      Horse-hockey! The US was created with secular intent, the US is amongst the best things ever created by man. The more religion tries to run it, the harder secularists will fight to keep it unstained by religious ignorance!
      If god is such a great force, why are his people still killing themselves thousands of years later?

      "Religion has wisdom only in destroying and corrupting good things." – There, FTFY

      August 23, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  20. Reality

    Beyond Libya:

    A global solution:

    Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
    alone."
    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    August 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • The One

      Fail. What more do I need say? You have any Analogous steps to get rid of idiots?

      August 23, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • TheASK

      I have two steps that will help YOU, my friend.

      1) first think about what you are saying
      2) THEN say it.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Reality

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

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

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

      August 23, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Fred Evil

      Reality- you need help, and you aren't going to get it in a 'holy' book. Psychotherapy my friend...

      August 23, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Reality

      Keeping it simple for those who are reading challenged:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:15 am |
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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.