Will this year's Hajj have an ‘Arab Spring’ effect?
Tens of thousands of pilgrims perform the evening prayer at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Wednesday.
November 4th, 2011
07:57 AM ET

Will this year's Hajj have an ‘Arab Spring’ effect?

By Dan Gilgoff and Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the world's largest gathering of Muslims - the biggest annual gathering of humanity, period.

So it's no surprise that Middle East experts expect this year's pilgrimage, the first to happen since the Arab Spring began last year, to be different.

The pilgrimage, called the Hajj, happens in the same global neighborhood as countries that have been roiled by protests, revolutions and war over the last 11 months.

But there's uncertainty about exactly how this Hajj, which officially begins Friday, will be different.

Some experts are watching for potential flare-ups in Saudi Arabia, a country governed by an unelected royal family and where freedoms are limited. They note that ordinary Saudis will be rubbing shoulders with Arabs making pilgrimages from countries that have staged anti-government demonstrations and have unseated long-entrenched regimes.

"This idea of freedom and dignity is spreading like wildfire, and at a gathering like the Hajj it's conceivable that the electricity coming from these ideas will be picked up," says Akbar Ahmed, the chair of Islamic Studies at American University. "This is what scares the Saudi bureaucracy."

"There are thousands of pilgrims who want to topple the established order of the Saudi monarchy," he says.

But Ahmed and others say the Hajj's effects on the Arab Spring are just as likely to be much broader, as many pilgrims share notes on uprisings and overthrows before returning home to countries ruled by despots.

"This is a venue where you can come into contact with hundreds of thousands of people, so for people who are coming from these newly liberated lands, it is a bit much to ask to say absolutely nothing about it," says Kelly Pemberton, an assistant professor at The George Washington University who studies Islamic reform movements.

"Many people are going to see this (Arab Spring) as a sign of God's favor," she says.

At the same time, experts on the region note that the Hajj is a solemn religious event that is physically and spiritually demanding and that affords little time for politicking, raising doubts in some scholars' minds about the magnitude of a Hajj effect on the Arab Spring.

The Saudis haven't announced special security measures for this year's Hajj.

But the event, which draws roughly 2.5 million pilgrims, has long been managed with military precision, and scholars say the government there has been preparing for months for its first Arab Spring-era Hajj.

"They'll be on guard for a flashpoint moment or a riot, something that flares up and becomes something," says Ahmed, referring to Saudi security forces. "In Tunisia, one man set himself on fire and three months later the Egyptian president is toppled."

There has been political violence during the Hajj in the past, most notably in the 1980s, on the heels of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini's followers attempted to disrupt the pilgrimage throughout the '80s, though their plots were repeatedly quashed by Saudi security forces.

In 1987, however, Iranian pilgrims incited a riot that killed more than 400 people, according to globalsecuity.org, a stark illustration of the rift between Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has not seen the kind of protests now roiling countries like Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, but people there lack many basic freedoms. Political participation is limited.

The Saudi government has been politically sensitive to its people since the outset of the Arab Spring, spending billions on domestic programs aimed at improving the lot of its citizenry.

And scholars say that Saudi Arabia has supported anti-government forces in some Arab countries, including rebels in Libya and protestors in Syria.

"I can't image anybody is going to show up in Mecca denouncing the royal family," says Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan. "A lot of people going to Hajj will be connected with the (Egypt-based) Muslim Brotherhood, which has longstanding good relations with the Saudis."

Some experts speculate that Saudi Arabia, which tightly controls the numbers of pilgrims allowed to attend Hajj from each country, is reducing its quotas from certain politically unstable countries to curb the influence of would-be revolutionaries.

The U.S. embassies in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries that have seen their governments overthrown this year, did not immediately reply to requests Thursday for statistics on slots for pilgrims granted by Saudi Arabia.

Some scholars say the governments of other Arab countries are likely to be reducing the number of pilgrims allowed to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia this year.

"The leaders of Syria, Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia are somewhat worried about the Hajj providing a forum for people to trade ideas and strategies and coming home to pick up protests and really find the momentum to get things going," says Pemberton of George Washington University.

Since late last year, some Muslim religious happenings in the Arab world have become forums for anti-government activity.

In Egypt, Friday afternoon prayers - the most significant prayers of the week for Muslims - served as catalysts for the biggest anti-government demonstrations of the revolution.

When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in Egypt, the announcement came on a Friday, hours after Egypt's Muslims had observed afternoon prayers.

In Libya, rebels reached a turning point in a six-month old civil during Ramadan of this year, when evening prayers at mosques helped ordinary people organize against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

With Gadhafi dead, more Libyans may get to attend this year's Hajj than in years past. Other post-revolution Arab countries may send a more diverse mix of pilgrims.

"The biggest effect is the allocation of Hajj visas," said Asim Khwaja, a Harvard University professor specializing in international development. "Some countries did a lottery, some did rationing, and with the government changes, if countries were doing rationing in the past, you can imagine they were sending friends and officials."

"Now there may be a more egalitarian mix," Khwaja says. "This will be a more democratic Hajj for the Arab world."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (1,060 Responses)
  1. Omen

    the biggest annual gathering of humanity, period....... My ASS.Catholics hadva bigger one than this one.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Patrick

      The writer said annually, and he was correct.

      I see we have gathered here on CNN's comments page the world's largest assembly of religious bigots, hate mongers, and anti-Arab racists.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • angelic

      it's wrong to say anti-arab and racist since many arabs are christians. it seems this site has become an assembly for idiots!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • HAMMR

      of couse the catholics gathering is bigger, the priests must feed on their young victims!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  2. HisNoodlyAppendage

    "My GOD is BIGGER than YOUR GOD!" Folks, this is what this grand sham known as religion is all about! ALL religions are utter nonsense for small minds.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Mujeeb

      IS religion really a sham or have you not done the proper research to find your answers. What does Islam call for, for one to be a believer? What if there really turns out to be God and there is a heaven and hell and you are finally shown the truth? God will not accept your repentance at that time and you will truly be the loser in the end. If you can study Islam and Read the quran (english transation) unbiasdely and with an open mind ( not Difficult at all) and from a reliable Islamic source andyou dont find it to be the truth- then continue in your ways and you will without a doubt find out in the hereafter that you had a chance to belive and be saved from the punishment of God and you didnt take it.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • darkstar

      What if you find out that it is really Zeus who is waiting at the end Mujeeb? Whatcha going to do then? Hmmm? Please grow up. It is you that has not done the proper research. There is absolutely no evidence in physics, biology, cosmology or any of the sciences that a magical sky-fairy exists. Not a Christian one and not a Muslim one. Nothing. NADA. NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE. The universe was not created for human beings and humans were not created for any purpose. The Universe is made up soely of fermions and bosons, and through their numerous configurations, make up every single thing in reality. There is no hereafter. These particles merely rearrange themselves into new patterns. The you that exists now will not exist after your brain ceases to exist. Please grow up and put away your security blanket. Start living your life in the here and now. It is the only one you have.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mujeeb


      November 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  3. Reality

    Priceless and yet it takes such little time:

    Saving Muslims from the hajj is quite easy!!! (developed by yours truly based on the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi)

    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 self-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..

    November 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Really Reality


      November 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Mujeeb

      Lol I really dont know where to begin with you becuase you really have no idea what the Hell you are talking about. You have taken some of the fundamentals of Islam and have twisted it in a way that no muslim believes. Where are you getting this info? Read an english translated quran and read about who and what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was. Read it with an open mind and stop going to websites that are brianwashing you as to what Islam really is and what we believe. I also reccommend watching some video on youtube of Dr Bilal Philips Or DR Zakir Naik who can maybe give you some real understanding seriously.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Ok, so I finally read through all of this (regardless of the fact that you have posted this multiple times). My major issue is, this states nothing except personal opinion. All you state in your long-winded fashion is, "I don't believe this." There's nothing substantive enough in any of it to warrant the length of the diatribe.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • angelic

      @Mujeeb 1) zakir naik is an idiot, the only reason why u don't see anyone actually winning against him is because whoever posts his videos deletes the parts where christians do answer and kick hi ass.
      2) muhammed was a pedophile, murderer, liar, womanizer, thief and VERY delusional.
      3) i suggest u read the quran as it is no way holy and contains many historical errors and contradictions!!!!
      OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Reality

      o 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!”

      Don Richardson

      November 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Reality

      o Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.

      "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."

      ref: Washington Post book review.
      some excerpts:

      "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

      "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."

      "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."

      "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

      More on the treatment of females in Islam:

      Islam’s widespread practice of amputating the cli-to-ris and sometimes part or even all of the vul-va from the ge-n-ita-lia of Muslim women, affirmed in a had-ith by Mohammed himself, most likely also traces back to the founder’s deliberate abuse of se-x to lure pagan males into his cu-lt. The more the male s-ex drive is purposefully aro-used, the more the female s-ex urge may have to be proportionately suppressed, lest org-iastic he-ll begin to spread.

      Consider then what frequently happens when even a modestly clothed young Western woman walks alone in broad daylight down a street in, for example, a non-Westernized area of a city in Pakistan. Muslim men around her can see her face, hair and neck—maybe even her ankles. Some of them perceive that much exposure as intent on her part to a-rouse them. The fact that she is not accompanied by a male relative confirms their susp-icions. Knowing that she, a Western woman, has not been subjected to that cruel amputation which Islam forces upon millions of Muslim women, some males may even imagine that she must feel s-exual desire for them.

      They tend also to perceive themselves as not responsible to exercise decent social restraint. Rather she is responsible not to tempt them! Whatever lewd thing Muslim men around her say, do or feel as a result is regarded as her fault alone. . . .
      During a major upheaval in Indonesia in the late 1990s, s-ex-crazed Muslim men gang-ra-ped dozens of Chinese women in shops, homes and even in the streets, shouting in Arabic, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great!)*


      November 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • gedi

      SUBHAANALAAH...May allah...dio....bokh...Egzabher...forgive us all and lead us to the righteous bath...

      November 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • let it b

      hey reality,u forgot atheism which,after reading your manifesto sounds like just another "i know better than you 'ism' to me.atheist did alot of catching up in the man killing man biz in the last century.live and let live.profess your faith,whatever it is,by living a good life.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

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

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      November 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  4. robert


    November 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • FMEN

      Lol. This is a video that shows really well how to be non-objective, subjective, and make unsupported claims while appearing to be intelligent, smart, and clear. This illustrates that ignorance is solely at the heart of the hate being spewed by some, but rather the people who have an anti-Islam agenda that involves disseminating misinformation are also to blame.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  5. Frankly Speaking..

    If you arent pertinent to the topic you know that makes you a "TROLL" dont you ?.. Good, now the hajj for people who arent aware is a response to the call made by Abraham thousands of years ago.

    The tradition has been kept alive by Allah as promised to Abraham. The interesting part however is that when he made the call to perform Hajj, he and his family made up the entire muslim nation. Amazingly, his call is responded by millions and the number is swelling by the year.. This is the promise of Allah, verily he is true to his promise

    November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      by millions today**

      November 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • MattyManatl

      Your knowledge is fascinating!! Please............keep going. I'm close.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • inFIDDLEstix

      While I respect the views of each religion, is it too much ask for the same in return? What made the contents of a book or the “revelations” of human being more important to us than humanity itself. I prefer to live in a world where I do not have to be judged by the fact that I believe in God or not. To me being “human” and kind and moral and ethical is ever so important.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  6. derp

    How many virgins do christians get when they die?

    I'm considering giving up atheism and picking a religion. The way I see it, there is not much of a difference between them until after you die. Muslims get 72 virgins. That sounds pretty darn goo to me. What do you christians have to offer me. And please, don't just give me the overview, like "eternal bliss" or some other crap.

    This is a big decision, I need some specifics.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • KaaziSaab

      72 Virgins? Where in the Qur'an does it a person will get 72 virgins??? Don't believe the hype my friend. Do your own research.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • hahaha

      milk, honey, loaves, fish

      November 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • NPR

      you will get ONE 72 yr old virgin

      November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • derp

      "milk, honey, loaves, fish"

      Hmm....good point. I guess I have to decide whether I want to eat well or get laid.

      Does either religion offer any specifics regarding beer in the afterlife.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mujeeb

      Do your research derp. there is no 72 virgins, this is misinformation Grab an english translated Quran and Islam will lead you to the str8 way. I reccommend some youtube videos of Dr Bilal Philips (an Islamic Scholar and well versed brother in explaining many different topics and points) and InshAllah (if God wills) i hope you take your shahada (bearwitnessing that there is only No God but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final Messenger of Allah. )

      November 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Church of The Subgenius offers you a ticket on the Escape Vessel of the S.ex Goddesses, not to mention eternal salvation or triple your money back!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Bub

      You get a unflappable sense of moral superiority. Using rational thought and skepticism in you life decisions is no longer necessary (dump that taxing chore). Greed or inappropriate touching of children is A-OK if you go with Prosperity Gospel or Catholicism. Don't like gays? the environment? gender and race equality? laws against incest? shellfish? polyester? Christianity will allow you justify any issues you may have with enough mental contortions. Amen.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • derp

      Mujeeb.....Cool name. If I become a muslim, can I give myself a cool name like that. Wait a second, are telling me there's no 72 virgins?

      That sucks. What about beer?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Mujeeb

      Derp... Sure you can have a cool name like Mujeeb its an arabic name and it means the one who responds to the caller in need. I would reccommend to stop looking for answers on cnn blogs but go to http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/quran/ and you can read translations of the quran (not difficult to understand)

      November 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  7. Omar

    There is alot of ignorance and lack of knowledge in this blog.. I will say this much, wheter you like it or not Islam will dominate the world and evil will lose its place and truth will pravail, justice will be in place, that is Promise of God almighty. This day and age is a time of trials and tribulations people really need to be patient and give a careful, logical unbiased look at the world and see who is really causing the problems in the world and where they stand in believing it. To muslims whether a person accepts Islam or doesnt he/she does for his own good in the end or rejects it and is shown the truth in the end and will only be left with regrets. The majority of the people in the world are starting to realize that the media and politicians are spreading lots of lies and misinformation and its critical for a human beings own state that he does full analysis and not let others mold your minds for you. Btw hajj is not a time for political rhetoric and protests, it is a time when one nears himself to Allah almighty.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • KaaziSaab


      November 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • HisNoodlyAppendage

      Rubbish and nonsense! One day, ALL religions will be relegated to the dustbin of history, and humans will realize what utter delusionary non-reality they are! People will come to realize that science, love, compassion, ethics, and morality count, based on what it is to be HUMAN! We won't need any outdated, ancient, human written 'holy books' to tell us how to live with passion, love, and knowledge. Humans will be honest and humble enough to say "we just dont know if there ever was, or is a 'god' out there", and we will progress to levels of love, progress, and understanding never seen before in the history of mankind! We will finally have achieved REALITY!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • MattyManatl

      Speaking of ignorance....... No one reads a paragraph that long on these forums Omar. Tidy it up a bit and get to the point.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Edwin

      Most Americans see the word "muslim" and replace it with the word "evil." This story about the Hajj does not fit that model well - so most of the rabid posters cannot understand what it is about. Since the story requires more than a one-dimensional opinion of Islam and muslims in general, most Americans will be forced to ignore this story.

      Plus, the word "Hajj" is hard to spell.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • ahmed

      whether you like it or not,one day you will realize islam is one big lie. Christ is the one and only savior of mankind. Everyone, incuding yourself, will one day realize this.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  8. Everett Wallace


    November 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Muslim LOVE

      That's so funny Everett Wallace. I think all people (within their religious covenants) are Muslims! If you submit to the will of g'd, (or whatever you call your higher power) – you qualify! See, we can agree on some things 🙂 Blessings to you!

      November 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      ALL RELIGIONS ARE ______
      a) Christians
      b) Muslims
      c) Bunk

      November 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  9. Moochelle is Knappy

    Will Obamao make the trip?

    November 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      are you stupid? Obama is not a muslim...he is a christian and this fact that has been proven over and over again.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Please stay inside your trailer on election day

      November 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • MattyManatl

      yeah truthprevials..........he's Christian until you ask him what he learned under Jeremiah Wright and than he gets's hazy.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  10. Ritesh

    Everyone should have the right to practice their religion freely. without judgement and without racism.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  11. Everett Wallace


    November 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • hahaha

      All abrahamic relgions followers are jews

      November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  12. HisNoodlyAppendage


    November 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  13. Optimistic

    Beautiful picture.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Saban

      Until they all pull out their AKs and start wacking each other.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  14. HisNoodlyAppendage

    Read 'THE GOD DELUSION' by Richard Dawkins. GREAT, logical book. Even though logic and the ability to think intelligently is dying in the world today.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  15. HisNoodlyAppendage

    My 'god' is LOVE and COMPASSION. I don't need any ancient, outdated religious book, tome, or manuscript for that. ALL religions are outdated and based on unprovable myths.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Optimistic

      Where do Love and Compassion come from?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • HisNoodlyAppendage

      Love and compassion are innate in human beings. We LEARN to love and feel compassion based on our co-existence with those other humans we are related, or close to, such as family. Next?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      It comes from the human mind, which is a wonderful and fantastic gift. Where does your god come from? Actually, from the same place.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  16. hasan

    i even feel ashamed to criticize some guys.. coz that might denigrate me from the moral and ethical values i hold.. yes i am muslim and i m proud to be so.. And i strictly Love usa and western civilization as they ve been carrying out the progress of civilization. But I feel humiliated when i see some so called prolific brains r busy to vile the goodwill of other religious belief... i ll not go for the debate , rather i can say to them, 'grow up!! u guys r still behaving like high school kid'.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • hahaha

      "vile the goodwill " this premise is where you go wrong. Study not what the priest, books, and profits tell you but how relgion has acted as has been used through man kind's written history and "goodwill" becomes very debatable.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  17. hippypoet

    i think if every religion had a massive get together day or something along those lines it would be good... there is not so many different views on islam, however there is something like 30,000 different branches of christianity...this could unite the collective and make for a meaningful belief.
    But thats crazy talk!
    christians don't know how to listen to other beliefs that differ from theres! thats against the rules!

    November 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • MattyManatl

      yep..........that's how we roll.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The B'Hai faith tries to reconcile all of the monotheistic religions by saying that God reveals Himself periodically through various prophets, of which Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad are but examples.
      The theocratic Muslim countries HATE the B'Hai (routinely execute them, actually) becuase they can't be considered infidels like Christians – after all, they recognize The Prophet's holiness – but they don't give props to Muhammad as the FINAL prophet.
      But that's usually how it goes. Try to bring people of differing faiths together under a banner of peace and you'll probably get killed.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  18. KaaziSaab

    For all the anti-islamic commentators, i have a simple question for you. We have MILLIONS of muslims living in America. If Islam is a religion of terror, hate, and propaganda, how many muslims have personally and directly harmed you? How many muslims do you PERSONALLY KNOW who have terrorized you, your family or your friends? Don't believe the media hype. Islam is and was a religion of peace before 9/11 and all the political turmoil that surrounds it. Many great leaders of our American history were muslims like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Cat Stevens, etc. It's much easier to hate something you dont understand i.e. whites hating, persecuting, and killing blacks for a large part of American history.


    November 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Saban

      All of them.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • hahaha

      all relgions have "terror, hate, and propaganda" in them.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      "American history were muslims like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Cat Stevens"

      Cat Stevens was not muslim by birth...he converted to Islam in 1977 but was born to Greek Orthodox and Baptist parents.

      Muhammad Ali was raised by a Methodist father and a baptist mother. He converted to Islam in 1975.

      The only one you have right here is Malcolm X, the others were not born in to Islamic beliefs.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Jay

      Good point Kaazi Saab.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • derp

      Many great leaders of our American history were muslims like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Cat Stevens.

      Oh yes, our great leaders. Malcolm X, a violent criminal, Ali, a guy who made his living beating people up, and Cat Stevens....

      Wait a minute.......Cat Stevens?

      What the fu ck did he ever do other than make a couple shi tty pop songs.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • George John

      Very well said! There have been NO instances of any muslim living in the USA being responsible for harming any white or black person(s) in the name of religion. Howver, we have caused them (the muslims) much harm. They are like a normal group of people making an honest living here in the USA. But of course, not every jew, hindu , extremist christian or red neck will agree with me.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • MattyManatl

      wait,,,,,,,,,did you just list these as GREAT leaders? Please elaborate. I suppose you think The Kenyan is going to go down in the annals as one of our better presidents too?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Justin Case

      Cat Stevens was a great leader of America?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  19. song

    they own about 8 % of usa now. Let them invest more on usa then let our wall st. thugs take care of them later after wall st suck all juice out of them first. lol.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Joseph Edward

      to the person who wrote this, it makes no sense, and by the way your an IDIOT!!!!
      Thanks Have a wonderful life.

      November 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • derp

      "and by the way your an IDIOT!!!!"

      It's "you're"


      November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  20. HisNoodlyAppendage

    RELIGION (all religions) is a GRAND SHAM! Based on myths, and/or books that mortal men conceived of and authored! Infantile, to say the least!

    November 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
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About this blog

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.