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Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say
A recent global survey suggests that Muslims are more religious than Christians and Hindus.
December 3rd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.

Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise, according to a recent global survey, and they are more inclined to say their religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Muslims also have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey, released over the summer by Ipsos-Mori, a British research company that polls around the world.

Islam is the world's second-largest religion - behind Christianity and ahead of Hinduism, the third largest. With some 1.5 billion followers and rising, Islam's influence may be growing even faster than its numbers as the Arab Spring topples long-reigning secular rulers and opens the way to religiously inspired political parties.

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But while there's no doubt about the importance of Islam, experts have different theories about why Muslims appear to be more religious than members of other global faiths - and contrasting views on whether to fear the depth of Muslims' commitment to their faith.

One explanation lies in current affairs, says Azyumardi Azra, an expert on Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority country.

Many Muslims increasingly define themselves in contrast with what they see as the Christian West, says Azra, the director of the graduate school at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," he says.

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That feeling has become stronger since the September 11 attacks, as many Muslims believe there is a "growing conflict between Islam and the so-called West," he says.

"Unfortunately this growing attachment to Islam among Muslims in general has been used and abused by literal-minded Muslims and the jihadists for their own purposes," he says.

But other experts say that deep religious commitment doesn't necessarily lead to violence.

"Being more religious doesn't necessarily mean that they will become suicide bombers," says Ed Husain, a former radical Islamist who is now a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In fact, Husain argues that religious upbringing "could be an antidote" to radicalism.

American Muslim women who cover explain their choice

The people most likely to become Islamist radicals, he says, are those who were raised without a religious education and came to Islam later, as "born-agains."

Muslims raised with a grounding in their religion are better able to resist the distortions of Islam peddled by recruiters to radical causes, some experts like Husain argue, making them less likely to turn to violence.

But he agrees that Muslims are strongly attached to their faith, and says the reason lies in the religion itself.

"Muslims have this mindset that we alone possess the final truth," Husain says.

Muslims believe "Jews and Christians went before us and Mohammed was the last prophet," says Husain, whose book "The Islamist" chronicles his experiences with radicals. "Our prophet aimed to nullify the message of the previous prophets."

The depth of the Muslim commitment to Islam is not only a matter of theology and current events, but of education and history, as well, other experts say.

"Where religion is linked into the state institutions, where religion is deeply ingrained from childhood, you are getting this feeling that 'My way is the only way,'" says Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters, a conflict-resolution organization in London.

The Ipsos-Mori survey results included two countries with a strong link between religion and the state: Legally Muslim Saudi Arabia, which calls itself the guardian of Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina; and Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population.

The third majority Muslim country in the study is Turkey, which has a very different relationship with religion. It was founded after World War I as a legally secular country. But despite generations of trying to separate mosque and state, Turkey is now governed by an Islam-inspired party, the AKP.

Turkey's experience shows how difficult it can be to untangle government and religion in Muslim majority countries and helps explain the Muslim commitment to their religion, says Azyumardi Azra, the Indonesia expert.

He notes that there has been no "Enlightenment" in Islam as there was in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, weakening the link between church and state in many Christian countries.

"Muslim communities have never experienced intense secularization that took place in Europe and the West in general," says Azra. "So Islam is still adhered to very strongly."

But it's not only the link between mosque and state in many Muslim majority countries that ties followers to their faith, says professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani diplomat who has written a book about Islam around the world.

Like Christians who wear "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, many Muslims feel a deep personal connection to the founder of their faith, the prophet Muhammad, he says.

Muhammad isn't simply a historical figure to them, but rather a personal inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world today.

"When a Muslim is fasting or is asked to give charity or behave in a certain way, he is constantly reminded of the example set by the prophet many centuries ago," argues Ahmed, the author of "Journey Into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization."

His book is based on interviews with Muslims around the world, and one thing he found wherever he traveled was admiration for Muhammad.

"One of the questions was, 'Who is your role model?' From Morocco to Indonesia, it was the prophet, the prophet, the prophet," says Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington.

But while Ahmed sees similar patterns across the Islamic world, Ed Husain, the former radical, said it was important to understand its diversity, as well.

"There is no monolithic religiosity - Muslims in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are following different versions of Islam," says Husain. "All we're seeing (in the survey) is an adherence to a faith."

Political scientist Farid Senzai, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, raised questions about the survey's findings.

"Look at the countries that are surveyed - Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Turkey," he says. "There are about 300 million Muslims in those three countries, (who make up) about 20% of Muslims globally."

Islam is "incredibly important" in Saudi Arabia, he says.

"But in Tunisia or Morocco you could have had a different result. It would have been nice if they had picked a few more Arab countries and had a bit more diversity," says Senzai.

The pollster, Ipsos-Mori, does monthly surveys in 24 countries, three of which are majority Muslim – Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The other countries range from India to the United States, and Mexico to South Korea, and are the same each month, regardless of the subject the pollsters are investigating.

In the survey released in July, about six in 10 Muslims in the survey said their religion was the only way to salvation, while only a quarter of Hindus and two out of 10 Christians made that claim about their own faiths.

More than nine out of 10 Muslims said their faith was important in their lives, while the figure was 86% for Hindus and 66% for Christians.

Ipsos-Mori surveyed 18,473 adults via an online panel in April and released the findings in July. Results were weighted to make the results as representative as possible, but the pollster cautioned that because the survey was conducted online, it was harder to get representative results in poorer countries where internet access is not widespread.

CNN polling director Keating Holland also warns that in an "opt-in" survey, where respondents actively choose to participate, results tend to come from "people who are confident in their opinions and express them openly... not good for intensely private matters like faith or income or sex."

Online surveys in countries that are not entirely free are also open to the possibility that pollsters get "the approved response" in those nations, "where the people who are most likely to be willing to talk about such matters are the ones who hold, or at least verbalize, opinions that won't get them in trouble if they are expressed," Holland says.

That may have been an issue in Saudi Arabia, where respondents were given the choice of not answering questions on religion due to their potential sensitivity in the kingdom. The Saudi sample was the smallest, with 354 participants, meaning "findings for Saudi Arabia must be treated with caution," Ipsos-Mori said.

About 1,000 people participated in most countries, but sample sizes were smaller in the three majority Muslim countries and in eight other countries.

The survey participants did not reflect the true percentage of Christians and Muslims in the world. Christians were over-represented – as were people who said they had no religion – and Muslims were under-represented.

Nearly half the respondents identified themselves as Christian. Eleven percent were Muslim, 4% were Buddhist, 3% were Hindu and 3% were "other." A quarter said they had no religion and 6% refused to say.

Fiyaz Mughal, the interfaith expert, argues that even though the countries surveyed might not be representative of the entire Muslim world, the findings about Muslims rang broadly true. Muslims in different countries were committed to their faith for different reasons, he says.

"Saudi Arabia is an institutionally religious state. Indonesia has religion tied into its culture," says Mughal.

But Muslim immigrants to Europe also show strong ties to their religion, either as a defense mechanism in the face of a perceived threat, or because of an effort to cling to identity, he contends.

He detects a link between insular communities and commitment to faith regardless of what religion is involved. It is prevalent in Muslim Saudi Arabia, but he has seen it among Israeli Jews as well, he says.

"The Israeli Jewish perspective is that (the dispute with the Palestinians) is a conflict of land and religion which are integrally linked," Mughal says.

"What does play a role in that scenario is a sense of isolationism and seclusion in Israeli Jewish religious communities, a growing trend to say, 'Our way is the only way,'" he says.

Religious leaders of all faiths need to combat those kinds of attitudes because of the greater diversity people encounter in the world today, he argues.

They have a responsibility to teach their congregations "that if they are following a religion, it is not as brutal or exclusive as possible," Mughal says. "Things are changing. The world is a different place from what it was even 20 years ago."

Politicians, too, "need to take these issues quite seriously," he says.

"In the Middle East there are countries - the Saudi Arabias - where you need to be saying that diversity, while it may not be a part of the country, is something they have to deal with when moving in a globalized area," he says.

But Senzai, the political scientist, says that it's also important for the West to take the Muslim world on its own terms.

"Many Muslims want religion to play a role in politics," he says. "To assume that everyone around the world wants to be like the West - that they want liberal secular democracy - is an absurd idea."

- CNN's Nima Elbagir and Atika Shubert contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Middle East

soundoff (5,459 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Story of Joseph PBUH
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LoveIslam_LiveIslam/message/1190

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LoveIslam_LiveIslam/message/1191

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LoveIslam_LiveIslam/message/1192

    December 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  2. Iamgod

    Its funny to read all the comments here..when the entire concept of god/religion is man made..religion is at best 6to 7000 years old..some like Hinduism may be slightly older..however take into consideration that man has been around for more than a million years..wonder what used to happen to the souls a million years ago??..godliness is in your own deeds here in this world..and heaven or hell is here in the now as u choose to live it.Oh yes I eat everything..from pork to cows to snakes to snails..and love to love...and my heaven is here and now..i dont have a hell...and am as happy as hell:)

    December 13, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  3. Halim Sbenati

    Someone assist me. I tried looking for this Ipsos-Mori study but couldn't find it. Is Mr. Greene making this up?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  4. yash

    Hindus do believe that their religion is the best but dont say it/ dont bother to discuss it much. I dont get a lot of response from them when challenged about their religion.
    Christians openly belive that the only way to god is thru Jesus and they say it often and become very defensive and mean if anyone suggests otherwise.
    Muslims are only slightly diffrent- they publicly and violently disagree. just because they do this publicly people think they are more religious. Also you are sort of forced to pray 5 times a day- if you dont kneel when everyone else is ...........
    Ultimatley all religions have their equal share of extremists and they all equally suffer from the narcissism of thinking they are the best

    December 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  5. Noor Sulayman Griffin

    "Our prophet aimed to nullify the message of the previous prophets."
    - Definitely incorrect.
    2: 41: And believe in what I reveal confirming the revelation which is with you and be not the first to reject faith therein nor sell My Signs for a small price: and fear Me and Me alone….

    2: 89: And when there comes to them a Book [Quran] from Allah confirming what is with them [Taurat] although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without faith when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognized they refused to believe in it; but the curse of Allah is on those without Faith.

    2: 91: When it is said to them: "believe in what Allah hath sent down" they say
    "We believe in what was sent down to us"; yet they reject all besides even if it be truth confirming what is with them. Say: "Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by if ye did indeed believe?"

    2: 97: Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will a confirmation of what went before [Taurat] and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe…..

    2: 101: And when came to them an Apostle from Allah confirming what was with them [Taurat] a party of the people of the Book threw away the Book of Allah [Quran] behind their backs as if (it had been something) they did not know!

    December 10, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  6. Please Read History

    Mr. Azyumardi Azra is no historian. There has been no "Enlightenment" in Islam as there was in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries? What do you call the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad (dated 750 to 1280) that was totally open to Greek, Indian, & Persian philosophy, medicine, science, and math? It took in Aristotle and Science and held on to its religion just like Europe did. They understood Aristotle much more intensely than even modern Westerners do now. Mr. Richard Allen Greene and Mr. Azra, do I need to introduce you both to a subject called History?

    December 10, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  7. Jose M. Pulido

    Bending over five times a day and raising the rear end in a ~30 degree angle does not make anyone more or less religious than anyone else. To talk to God via a prayer, one can do it in any position and not mandatorily in such an awkward and dangerous position as Muslims do.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      We kneel to the King of kings this way as been taught by our teacher the Messanger of GOD and if you are educated enough you would know that these movements of prayers five times a day are so healthy for the body and blood circulations..
      As seems to me you are not so confident of your self and not manly enough to kneel with out fear of shyness?!

      December 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Muneef

      For your information prayers movements;
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/galleries/salah/

      December 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Muneef

      For your information Islamic prayers and health;

      http://www.muslimhealthnetwork.org/islamandhealth.shtml

      December 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • RBNSN

      To Mr. Muneef,

      People pray to God simply because they want to pray to God, not because there is any added benefit to health or such things. If you want to take care of you health, fine just exercise. Jose is saying that there are no particular pose of movements that people have to do in order to pray to God. No matter what actions you do when you pray God will listen.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Shah

      @Jose M. Pulido. you dont have to fret about oyr position when we pray...there are no priests around so we are in no danger 🙂

      December 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear Mr.RBNSN.

      I agree with you that GOD would accept our prayers in what ever form we made it...since the main thing is our intentions which we are judged on...
      But let me explain that these movement of prayers were introduced to us by the Prophet Muhammed as taught to him by the Arch Angel and number of times we are make at each prayer were commanded to him by GOD him self at his Isra&Miraj to heavens...above all this we were told in the Quran to follow GOD commands in the Quran and to follow the Sunnah of his messenger the Prophet Muhammed...so therefore we are obliged to do as required in our faith... But expect those who had not got that or any other form of prayer applied or commanded to do can still pray by any means since their intentions are to pray to GOD the only. It is all in the heart of man and his intentions...

      December 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear Mr.RBNSN.

      Sura 26 Verse:087
      Abdul Daryabadi : And humiliate me not on the Day whereon people shall be raised.
      Dr. Mohsin : And disgrace me not on the Day when (all the creatures) will be resurrected;
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : And do not put me to disgrace on the Day when all will be raised to life, 
      Pickthal : And abase me not on the day when they are raised,
      Yusuf Ali : "And let me not be in disgrace on the Day when (men) will be raised up―

      Verse:088
      Abdul Daryabadi : The Day whereon will profit neither substance nor sons.
      Dr. Mohsin : The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : The Day when neither wealth will be of any use (to any one) nor sons, 
      Pickthal : The day when wealth and sons avail not (any man)
      Yusuf Ali : The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,

      Verse:089
      Abdul Daryabadi : Unless it be he, who shall bring unto Allah a whole heart,
      Dr. Mohsin : Except him who brings to Allâh a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifâq (hypocrisy)].
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : Except to him who will come to Allah with a sound heart, 
      Pickthal : Save him who bringeth unto Allah a whole heart.
      Yusuf Ali : "But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart;

      December 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear Mr.RBNSN.

      Sura 37 Verse:083
      Abdul Daryabadi : And verily of his sect was Ibrahim.
      Dr. Mohsin : And, verily, among those who followed his [Nûh's (Noah)] way (Islâmic Monotheism) was Ibrâhim (Abraham).
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : And certainly one of his adherents was Ibrahim. 
      Pickthal : And lo! of his persuasion verily was Abraham
      Yusuf Ali : Verily among those who followed his Way was Abraham.

      Verse:084
      Abdul Daryabadi : Recall what time he came Unto his lord with a heart whole.
      Dr. Mohsin : When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allâh Alone – and none else, worshipping none but Allâh Alone true Islâmic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism].
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : Remember) when he came to his Lord with a pure heart, 
      Pickthal : When he came unto his Lord with a whole heart;
      Yusuf Ali : Behold, He approached his Lord with a sound heart.

      December 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear Mr.RBNSN.

      Sura 50 Verse:033
      Abdul Daryabadi : That feareth the Compassionate in the unseen and cometh to Him with a heart penitent:
      Dr. Mohsin : "Who feared the Most Gracious (Allâh) in the Ghaib (unseen) and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him – and absolutely free from each and every kind of polytheism).
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : The one who feared the Rahman (The All-Merciful Allah), without seeing Him, and came up with a heart oriented towards Him. 
      Pickthal : Who feareth the Beneficent in secret and cometh with a contrite heart.
      Yusuf Ali : "Who feared (Allah) Most Gracious unseen, and brought a heart turned in devotion (to Him):

      Verse:034
      Abdul Daryabadi : Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Abidence.
      Dr. Mohsin : "Enter you therein in peace and security — this is a Day of eternal life!"
      Mufti Taqi Usmani : Enter it in peace. That is the Day of Eternity.” 
      Pickthal : Enter it in peace. This is the day of immortality.
      Yusuf Ali : "Enter ye therein in Peace and Security; this is a Day of Eternal Life!"

      December 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      So you see dear it is all in the cleanness and loving of the heart adding to it the strength of one's faith to the oneness of GOD...as mentioned within the verses above... Thanks for asking..

      December 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Ghufran

      in that case im not sure y did jesus, moses adam noah abraham and alot more did it in the same its in the bible im sure i can dig it out if you want me too

      December 11, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Muneef

      Am sure you would find similar wordings in the Bible...

      Tell what I had heard in my sleep dreaming this name being repeated (Dan Mathew) so decided to search the net for this name and guess what I found;

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw7eVwH5RuY&w=640&h=360]

      December 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Come on I feel it is going to exceed 7000 responses...

    December 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  9. edmond kwan

    Jews, Christians and Muslims share three patriachs in their religion...Enoch,Noah and Abraham..but none of them were jews,or christians or muslims.
    Enoch was a man who so loved God's fellowship, that it is written he walked with God for 365 years and was no more.
    Noah was a man who so hated the evil of his day, that he built an ark to save his family, and by his faith, condemned the world of his day to destruction by the flood..an act of God, and not of man.
    Abraham walked away from his religion, to go to a foreign land to seek God, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
    Do you get it? The three great patriachs of the three great religions did not belong to any religion..they just sought a RELATIONSHIP with God, by faith.
    Yet more wars have been fought over which religion follows the true God, by these three 'great' religions...now just how do you think Enoch, Noah and Abraham will greet you in heaven, when you do these things.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Paul

      Wow!! So well put! Amen brother!!

      December 9, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Muneef

      All Prophets and Messangers sought relation with GOD convincing all people to seek relation with GOD but unfortunately seems all left GOD seeking religion and fighting over it killing each other remaining far far away from the real submission to GOD.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  10. paul

    Why is CNN restricting my posts?

    December 9, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Word Filter

      paul,
      The goofy automatic word filter picks up word fragments within words, like, const-itution, doc-ument, va-gue, gr-ape, desp-icable, and quite a few others.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:15 am |
  11. JQ

    I encourage all to learn about The Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians fast 2/3 of the year with 12 main fasts per year. They practices fasts longer than 30 days at a time. The unfortunate thing about this article is that generalizes Christians as Protestants. Christians need to study the history of the Church and see that the Orthodox Church is the Church founded at the day of Pentecost. There are 300 Million Orthodox Christians still practicing the original Christian faith that Christ left to the Apostles, who then in turn ordained Priests and Bishops, which has kept the Apostolic faith intact, living to this very day. To all Christians out there, please study your faith and realize that this same Church founded almost 2000 years ago lives and actually fasts more than other faiths. Orthodox Christians are unbelievably religious. I encourage the author of this article to study Orthodoxy and do an article on them and discover the richness and deeply rooted faith of Orthodox Christians.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • paul

      JQ – Though I appreciate the zeal of my friends in Orthodox Church, it's NOT about any one church or denomination! It's about Jesus! Not customs of man, but what He did for us on the cross!

      13 And so the Lord says,
      “These people say they are mine.
      They honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far from me.
      And their worship of me
      is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.[c]

      December 9, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • RainnMakerr

      JQ. As a muslim I do respect Christians. And you are absolutely right. Christians are doing great work in the name of God. That is why the verses from the Quran praise Christians who are humble people. (Chapter 2 v 62). The Holy Prophet Mohammad sent the opressed muslims away from the Arab land to seek refuge in the land of a Christian king due to his honesty and rules of equality. I believe muslim holidays happen in just masses that they get more media attention. Also there is only One version of the Quran and every muslims follow that same book regardless of which sect they belong to (interpretations may differ). We(you and I) and the Jews and others need to focus on our similarities rather than differences because we have a common enemy which is the Anti-God who is not a comical character. Until we are divided we will always be fighting each others hence the motto of the Anti God (Divide and conquer). We (abrahamic faiths) have some much in common and we don't know about it.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • JQ

      Paul - Yes, our focus should be on Christ. We should focus on salvation. However, I do have a few things to add, since you added scripture for your review.
      2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

      There are also other verses in the Bible where tradition is discussed. You see the very verse your quoting from the Bible was decided by the holy spirit through the early Church Fathers to be a part of the scriptures that go into the Bible, when they decided on the canons for the Bible. The Orthodox Church decided on which cannons of scripture followed the teachings of Jesus and decided on which books would be in the Bible. The Church was living for over 300+ years before the Bible was put together in its current form. Why would they put in cannons that contradict what they believed? Why would they put cannons that don't align with how the Church was being practiced for 300+ years? Study the early Church liturgy and the history of the Church. If any of the early Christians from lets say the year 100AD or 150AD would go into a non denomination Church today, they wouldn't know they were in a Church. They would ask were is the Altar, the Eucharist etc... Christianity today is worlds of apart from where it was at the time of the Apostles and they left a way to worship and partake in the sacraments needed for Salvation. Of course Orthodox don't think you need to be Orthodox for salvation, only God knows your heart, however there is a very clear way to worship, which was taught by Christ, left to the Apostles who left it to Priests and Bishops until today.

      December 10, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • JQ

      RainnMakerr– Yes, I know in the Quran there are verses where it respects Christians, however there are versus that tells Jews and Christians that their lives and property would only be safe if they became Muslim. Jews are addressed as monkeys and pigs in the Quran. 2:62-65; 5:59-60; and 7:166. I know the Prophet Muhammad started off peacefully, but I think the challenge Christians and Jews have is the when they read the Quran and see these verses. When Christians study the life of the Prophet Muhammad they see a Prophet very different from the message Jesus brought to the world. I am not trying to offend you, however I think that is why there will always be a divide.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  12. Muslim

    The findings of this study are not surprising at all. Muslims pray 5 times a day, fast 1 month a year, etc. We even have prayers for entering/leaving the house, for waking up or going to sleep, etc. Compared to other religious groups, Islam is very integral to the daily life of a practicing Muslim.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  13. RainnMakerr

    Everyone is trying to show that their way of thinking is the best way...yet ISLAM CAN'T STOP GROWING. See my point..? Stop wasting your energy on the keyboard. Think Statistics and then ask whyyy. Then just open their book and see what it actually says about Christians and Jews being rewarded by God if they follow their own moral path. Chapter 2 v.62.
    How Mother of Jesus was given an entire chapter in the Quran. How Moses, Jesus, Davis and many others were praised. How Luqman (a slave of black origin) was given an entire chapter and how he was praised. The list is too long. The point is that Quran is not neglecting people who aren't muslims. The biggest false blame on the Quran is that you HAVE to be muslims to enter paradise. That actually negates the concept of Justice. How can one go to hell just because he isn't born in a Muslim family????Quran addresses eveyone by faith by people and does not neglect people just because they aren't muslims. Yes...it is true that Quran does focus more on Abrahamic faith, Muslims, Christians and Jews because Moses and David brought the same message to the People as Mohammad. From an Islamic perspective the Bible and the Torah are not in their original form (which many Jews and Christians believe the same). The book of Genesis is full of stories where pious Prophets of God commit incest. There were all fabrications by the Roman Pagans. But Muslims believe that Jacob, David, Moses, Abraham, Jesus were all free from the need to commit a sin. Read Genesis 9:20-27, Genesis 19:30–38, Genesis 19:34-35, Genesis 35:22 are just a few of many. The Originial Bible can noway mention any of the example of incest. It is IMPOSSIBLE. No reasonable person belonging to an Abrahamic faith would believe these stories.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      I do agree that the Holy Quran was addressed to all mankind in any belief and not only Muslims... It is clearly states that it was addresses to all mankind and jinn..bases the Abrahmic faith which was the faith of all Prophets and Messangers from Adam to Muhammed s.a.w.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  14. Reuven Schlenker

    Fawad, please do't understand me so incorrectly. I'm happy Islam is in central Europe. It is a definite improvement over what was previously the norm. Even Nietzsche criticized the European mentality for being so ... European. And yes I do have a PHD but not in Islam. Its in philosophy from the Leopold Universitaet in Munchen. Do you have one? And dear Rex, Islam had nothing to do with the judenvernictung. That was the nazis. And, according to Himmler the number was much higher than 6 million.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  15. MuslimMale

    500 lashes and 1 year sentence for opening your mouth might have something to do with it.

    December 7, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  16. maxim

    because their muslim countries are more conservative, and therefore less civilized.
    the 1% there controls the same amount of wealth that the 1% control here

    December 7, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Muneef

      I like to be conservative rather being civilized... That if civilization means to you that we should go on doing things that we do things that has caused the speeding of climate change and immorality of acts and doings in the name of freedoms and human rights?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  17. A Faithful Muslim

    Muslim means one who fully submits to Allah. Islam means peace. Allah: The creator of the heavens and the earth, The most Merciful, The most forgiving. The same God that christians refer to as the 'Father'. The same God Jewish people worship. Muhammad Peace and blessings be upon him taught this: A simple faith One God worthy of worship. We pray five times a day. We must fast in ramadan. We must give charity. And anyone who can afford it must go to Mecca Saudi Arabia (birth place of the Prophet) to perform Hajj.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • AK

      This article is not debating "What are Islam's teachings". The point is because of historical and cultural reasons Muslim societies never went through "Enlightenment" and the belief in Muslims that ONLY their religion is the solution. As you describle it may be a good religion but that's not debated here.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  18. Mohammadb Bassel

    Peace be upon you
    I just want to make it quick.
    To all the muslims who participated here using bad language and hurtful words to others I say:
    Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would be very sad with you,
    Didn't we read the words of god in the holy Quran : (Call people to their god using wisdom and nice words)?
    So please brothers and sisters let's apply the correct morals islam taught us

    As for the other parties (non muslims) I say:
    We do respect all of you as people, and respect your opinions.
    We hope to live together peacefully as there were a lot of (non muslim) people in the islamic country back in the prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) time and they were live in total peace practicing there own religions.
    And please don't forget that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sent the first muslims to a just and fair CHRISTIAN king (al Najashi in Habasha) to protect them.

    My point is pure religions when go to the essence the tolerate each other and protect each others freedom.

    While what you see today from some muslims who don't know anything about their religion for sure doesn't represent the true islam as well as what we see from (non muslim) necessarily represent their religions.

    At last, I hope that we can love in peace and mutual understanding without hurting each other.

    Peace

    December 7, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Mohammadb Bassel:
      Evidenlty the Islamist hijackers who participated on 911 were not religious enough to think like you.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  19. richard smith

    retarded!!! How many christians are mass murderers of their own faith? Jesus taught love, Islam teaches hate and murder!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • joan

      you are forgetting the world wars mate-both of them involved christian countries!

      December 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Zoglet

      Sure, and why dont we air-brush the crusades out of the pages of history too? Anything else we can distort to fit in with your hateful world view Richard?

      December 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Rex

      yeah, 6 millions jews were massacred out of this teaching of love..

      December 7, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Fawad

      and I suppose you have a PhD in Islam – its funny to see people such as you who have no true knowledge about the religion and only go according to what others say and what they hear in the social media..

      December 7, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Osama Bin Liaqat

      Oh so you've had the privilege of studying this religion?! i am sure not! At least make an effort to open the book rather than just judging it with it it's cover! All it needs is effort my friend! You really thin 1.5 billion people in the world want to be suicide bombers?! Think rationally!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • TSB

      Oh wow. You people replying to Richard are lunatics. I don't have time to address every crazy thing said but I will say this. The Crusades were in retaliation for 500+ years of Muslim aggression across Europe. It was secular politics that kept it going long after it needed to. Jews were not killed by Christian theosophy, they were slaughtered in the name of National Socialism. Hitler was NOT a Christian but supposedly had some Catholic training as a child that he later rejected in favor of occultism. He used what he knew of Christianity to fool the masses, and political and physical terrorism to make it stick. You are aware that he also killed thousands of Catholics and even planned the assassination of the Pope, right? And you are also aware that allah is a pagan moon god, yeah? Didn't think so.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  20. Reuven Schlenker

    Irony is something Germans and Middle Europeans understand well. I remember growig up in Germany after the war, a refugee Jewish family. When the Turkish gastarbieters began to arrive they were totally secular, ate non-halal food and drank beer and whiskey (Johnny Walker Black label). Soon they were followed by more of their co-religionists whom were much observant and stricter. The irony was that the secular humanists, social Darwinists and fashionable atheists were then and now confronted with a REAL religious society, this after exterminating the real religious east European Hasidic Jewry. Somehow I can't get all worked up about Islam in central Europe. I think it maybe G-d's revenge or sense of humor that brought the faithful to the home of Fascisim. I love it. As the say auf Deutsch, "Jeder wies es verdient." Jawohl.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.