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. Gavin Ford

    These comments are hilarious. "CNN is promoting a hateful fake religion that is against MY hateful, fake religion!!!" LOL

    December 4, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Simba

      lol, your jokes broski! so true!

      December 4, 2011 at 4:47 am |
  2. guslv

    More religious? Because they are brainwashed?

    December 4, 2011 at 4:27 am |
  3. Carrie

    Amina and Sarah Said. I don't need to feel better about my God. I know where I stand. Amina and Sarah, were murdered by a Muslim who followed what he was taught in the Al-Quran. Maybe you need to feel good about defending honor killings. Amina wanted to leave Islam, she was killed for her desire to be free. Did you know Amina? Well I guess this is one case where you do not know the facts. Her father is being hidden by Muslms who think he was right for what he did. Now try and tell the world how lucky those girls were to have their brother, thier Uncles, their cousins and their father practice their religion. By the way, THEY quoted the Al-Quran as the source for their right to murder the girls.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Prabu

      What many Muslims refuse to face is that billions of other, less-violent people throughout the world look upon "honor killings" as one of the most dishonorable things a person can do. To call themselves peaceful after committing a violent murder done with hate, is more dishonorable still.
      But their religious indoctrination makes it extremely difficult to realize what they have done. Murder is an extreme psychopathic act and is illegal all over the world, but their indoctrination-induced schizophrenia is reinforced by the religion itself. All religions that cause direct motivation for murder have the act approved within the religious texts somewhere. Without a perceived religious approval of murder, it would not occur according to a person's religious belief in the first place.
      The religion is directly to blame only in part, but without it the other parts would not happen as being "religious."

      December 4, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • sm

      Honor killing is very common in India too, its not a religious thing, its a cultural phenomena.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:09 am |
    • Hasan

      I saw your comment and challenge you to mention the quote from quran, where it says a human should kill any human just because he or she does not respect god. Yes it is mentioned that God will punish them after life or sometimes within this life but not by means of having to act on it. If u raise a daughter in a radical islamist way where u like to undermine woman all the time, how would that daughter of ur will know anything else. To me, confusing that two ladies with misconception about the islam may be worst of all. U need to learn something about Islam.. It says mother in a family needs to be the most learned of all as she has the most influence on the kids and can guide the guy. Please read the book before u start commenting on it. I am a muslim (which also tells i am a peaceful person) . I believe none of the religions in the world are hateful, its few of us who take advantage of people's lack of education and egarness to learn actual facts and turn it to violance. I hope u'd read the book before making any comments in future related to Islam. Peace be upon you.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:45 am |
    • Prabu

      Hasan is an apologist willing to lie for that is one of the things most apologists do. You are a sorry example, Hasan!

      December 4, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • msulaiman

      please get some facts from the quran let tell muslims to conduct honour killing and not dump unproven stories

      December 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  4. lepke

    How can you be "more religious"? It is like more pregnant. You believe in God (higher power) or not.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "How can you be "more religious"? It is like more pregnant. You believe in God (higher power) or not."
      Belief in a higher power and religion, while related, are two different things. Belief is the ailment and religion is the symptom.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Prabu

      No, religion is the disease.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  5. moe

    Who said all muslims will inter the heaven. And who said that christians will not. Quraan said and i dont quote.that a lot of muslims will be punished.and those who have bads more than goods will taste the hell.for christians their goods more than thei bads. And believe in only the one good. Will be in the heaven. Thats why we emphasis on reading al qauraan. Thx

    December 4, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • Aazim

      Why cant you quote Al-Quran when I can quote BIBLE? becuase you have NOT studied it properly.. again as i said people talk out of ignorance and take the word of mouth as truth when actually it very misleading

      December 4, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • N

      Could you try that again in English.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:51 am |
    • Aazim

      Mr Prabu
      you are giving me yet another proof of your ignorance..Al-Quran does NOT recognize any other source of religion as trustworthy so thats why I am only mentioning Al-Quran..dont be befooled by others who say they are talking about Islam when actually they are NOT quoting Al-Quran..this is islam's Holy book.. show me a reference in Al-Quran to prove your point..dont just talk about hearsay what you have heard from so called muslim scholars or learned people...im giving you references ..cant you read for yourself who prescribes death for adultery even though the people who believe in BIBLE criticize the same punishment??? this is the height of hypocricy.. scholars might say it is an Islamic punishment but find anyone who can give me a single reference from Al-Quran mentioning about death for adultery...Study it yourself !! it is an open challenge!! dont remain blinded...wake up!!

      December 4, 2011 at 5:22 am |
    • Prabu

      I see the cowardly liars have deleted my post, and since it was obviously you who did this thing Aazim, I laugh.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  6. Louise Harriss

    Islam ia a religion–goes and does nothing like all the other ones. Having a personal relationship with Jesus, who's tomb is empty and whose love for us all is unfathomable by the spilling of His blood to cover our sins is the truth and reaaly what is at issue.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  7. Open Sezme

    As a Muslim, I am offended by the Islamaphobic statements on this site. My goat is upset and refuses to sleep with me.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:04 am |
  8. Jethro

    Muslims are "more religious" because they are more ignorant.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • Aazim

      I agree that so called "labelled" muslims are as ignorant as "labelled" christians, jews, hindus or people for any other religion. How many people actually have studied their "Holy" book..a vast majority just carry their own opinions based upon what they have been taught by others rather than making any effort on their own part to find out the truth
      Like I quoted an example ..you always thought the Islam recommends death punishment for adultery but actually it is a BIBLICAL law although the vast majority of people who claim that they believe in BIBLE as a word of GOD do not practice it and many so called "labelled" muslims who are ignorant of Al-Quran believe that it is Allah' law mentioned in Al-Quran when actually it is NOT an Islamic law

      December 4, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Prabu

      Another attempt to evade and distract, Aazim! Funny how you do not mention Sharia in your post.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  9. I laughed at this

    No Plato. No Aristotle, no Augustine = No Renaissance. Thus, primitives stuck in the 7th Century

    December 4, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • Mcclane

      I laughed to you
      You so ignorant person, read and learn the Islamic scientists.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Prabu

      Those are philosophers, not scientists. Islam does not approve of any philosophy that might contradict Islam.
      Mohommed was an uneducated thug who sought control of others. His followers reflect this. That is Islam.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  10. Paul

    what people have to realize is that there are big money spent here in the united states to try to enforce Islam over people.
    Saudi Arabia fund billions of dollars which happens to be American tax payers' money that was used to buy oil, in spreading Islam across the state, preaching, building unnecessary mosques all around.

    part of the deal is to ease the exposure of Islam into the american life try to act that it is part of the american life. Sometimes they show group of muslims who say we are just american just like you ads, "No you are not" at least by those who hired you. I have to give account to the fact that there are good muslim people, who happened to care less about abiding to the teaching of Islam, but if they decided to act upon their books, they will turn the switch and become violent.

    It makes me angry and I hope everyone to realize this, the muslim people who call themselves for peace and love to other people have not come out and condemned those who did the 911 attacks. The type which they appear and tell other muslims that those who did these acts are criminals and you should not follow them, and if you do the religion is not justifying your action, but non of this would or have happened.

    Just for everyone who do not follow international news and is able to get to primary sources, Osama Bin Laden is considered a hero in Islam because he killed the infidels who are us Americans. Even the muslim people especially those who are Sunni who come from the middle east, I do not want to generalize, but they kinda feel in their heart that what happened is a victory to Islam and to Allah their God.

    Look at any country who has a majority of muslim populations, it is devastated, people are not getting any rights, women are treated badly, a man can go ahead and marry four women if he wants, and I do not blame him if his leader of the faith married I believe nine and one of them was a nine your old girl, so this should not surprise people. I do not want to focus too much on the religion aspect but what those terrorists do these day is no different from what they aught to do in their religion.
    Mohammed was a man of war. He used to stop trades and steal their goods and in the process many people were killed.

    Islam would never be to this day if it were not for the used of the sword and the killing of people and enforcing them to subdue. You can find it clear in their quran. The quran is full of violent verses that urges and "Orders" the people to kill other people who does not agree with them in the faith. This of course include Christians, Jews, and the people who does not believe in God. But surprisingly they only focus on Christians and Jews, who actually believe in God, so their problems are not with people who they think do not know their God, their problem is with the God who those other people believe in so they persecutee them and subdue them into believing in their God.

    Whenever you have a discussion with a muslims about how radicals islam is, he will easily points out to the Crusaders. If you notice, their only enemy is Christians or Jews "people who believe in God" they did not go and talk about atheists, but I'm sure once they get done with those two first they will work on the rest, but to continue the discussion, the muslim will point out to the crusaders that they killed people and raged wars.

    First people have to read the history and know what happened before those crusaders did that, this is the first point. Secondly, lets say that the crusaders were wrong because they killed and raged war on those muslims people who actually before this happened the muslims went with their armies to occupy their lands in order to spread Islam.
    What the crusaders did was not derived from the Bible and was not derived from the Christian faith so when they knew the reality they went back from their wars. In the Bible there is no direct orders from God to kill other non believers of the Christian faith, matter of fact God order people to be peaceful to their enemies and love them. and then people will point to some parts of the old testament or the Torah where Israel went about killing people, but the big difference here from what Islam did: 1) they were not doing this to spread a religion. 2)the text is presented to inform people about History of the past. Unlike what is found in Islam which is "Orders" from their God to kill other people who are non-believer of Islam.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • A Moslem

      Can you believe that Moslem were war mongers who spread their religion with sword? Maybe if you can believe that few tens of thousands in the desert can convert tens of millions in Syria, Iraq, Egypt around the middle east.
      Read history to know if you expand too much you should be defeated even if you are more powerful and more sophisticated (see what happened to Hitler, Napoleon, Gankeez Khan, Julius Caesar, etc).
      If it is not "message of power", why do you experiment with "power of message" explanation of what happened for Islam expansion.

      Rational people cannot swallow that uncivilized and undeveloped small number of people can overcome larger more developed, and more strictly, they maintain their gains and flourish. Give me a similar example in history that can match.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • Kat

      Andres Brevik? is that you? I guess Christians terrorists have internet access in Norway jails. What a total hate/war mongering garbage!

      December 4, 2011 at 4:47 am |
  11. moe

    Wow..lol..when the sun comes from the west.there will not be any repint at all.. when jesus comes down in front of thw white dome of the dimuscus mosque and follows the the blind desiever in palestine. Specially, at. Allud area. And kill him .when dead people get back alive from their cemetrie to see their doings.we gave u the reason and choice.but u were injust to urself. So taste the torture forever.no valid arguments. We sent our massengers to inform u. U were ignorant.but for those who respected profits.didnt take another god next to him. Worshipped him. Feared him and controlled their desires to keep the world pure and themselves healthy and united. Those will be in heavens under which rivers run.fin which all what u liiketo eat. Wine and beautiful angels. A reward for what u preparwd urself for. Thanks god. Am submitting u. Not hard. Google the hoolly b book quraan. Abd just read what the injust, violant. Unducated man wrote, lol.forgive me god. Wish thr right path for all of u brothers. Onky read quraan. Google it now. Appreciated thu.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • dg50484

      Have you been drinking?

      December 4, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Aazim

      You again prove my point that majority of people talk out of ignorance and Im afraid so are you.. No where in Al-Quran it is mentioned that sun will rise from west or Jesus will come down.. you are actually quoting BIBLE and thinking this is Al-Quran when you talk about second coming of Jesus..see the references below
      Jesus promised His disciples He would come again. It's in the Bible, John 14:1-3, TLB. "Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in Me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with Me where I am. If this weren't so, I would tell you plainly. And you know where I am going and how to get there."

      Christ's return will be literal and real. It's in the Bible, Acts 1:10-11, TLB. "It was not long afterwards that He rose into the sky and disappeared into a cloud, leaving them staring after Him. As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse, suddenly two white-robed men were standing there among them, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as He went, He will return!'"

      How will Jesus come again? It's in the Bible, Luke 21:27, NIV. "At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

      How many will see Him when He comes? It's in the Bible, Revelation 1:7, NIV. "Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him."

      WAKE UP!!! find the truth..read Al-Quran

      December 4, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Prabu

      That is an apologist attempting to masquerade as a Christian hatemonger for the first few lines and make it appear worthless.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Prabu

      I was not talking to "moe" or "Aazim."

      December 4, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Maria

      Then there is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which styles isletf an organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims CAIR challenges those stereotypes rather well as it continues to be far more gratuitously offensive, legally frivolous and all around just plain obnoxious than most Muslims could hope to be in several lifetimes.Under Islamic law, truth is no defense against an accusation of slander and the offense is held to be a Hudud crime, one deserving the harshest punishment.Isn't it long overdue to make this one simple contradiction of all Western legal traditions into a central argument for rejecting, root and branch, every last shred of Islamic "law". If truth is not the last and best defense, then that which renders it so cannot be construed as "law" in any but the most arbitrary sense of the word. Reviling Muslims or Harming the Friends of Allah Most High are considered serious sins, termed Enormities .Hey, Islam. I've got an "Enormity" you can kiss. criticism, either from Muslims or non-Muslims, will not be entertained Palestinians have long squawked about making people face "the criticism of the gun". They need to remember that a gun can point in either direction.Efforts at the international level, especially by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to define any questioning of Islamic doctrine as hate speech leading to hate crimes , such as Islamophobia and as a human rights violation by way of official resolutions at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), directly create the premise for criminalization of free speech.All of which is a sterling indication that Muslim sensitivity to questioning or criticism of any sort must be disregarded at every turn. Homegrown jihadist terrorism can find its motivation as part of the radicalization process in this heightened, and counter-factual, sense of victimization that justifies organized or lone wolf acts of jihad that are rationalized as defensive.If these "lone wolf" attacks can be traced back to Islamic "law" and constantly aired grievances by professional Muslim victims, then they aren't "lone wolf" attacks; they are organized and coordinated terrorism following the explicit dictates of Qur'anic doctrine.

      September 9, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  12. RC

    Under penalty of the sword.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:50 am |
  13. dg50484

    Richard Allen Greene, Nima Elbagir and Atika Shubert (CNN) are what is wrong with America. Not us!

    December 4, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  14. Dan

    Why Islam treat their women like slaves and why women cover their hair? Anyone can tell me?

    December 4, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • Aazim

      Brother I dont know what religion you belong to but as I mentioned in an earlier post...people belive their own conjectures and word of mouth and base their judgement on that,, covering of the head is mentioned in BIBLE..im giving you the reference below..you can see for yourself..if you want to find out what Islam wants from women then you should study Al-Quran and not just blindly believe what so called muslims are doing..again email me at draazimkamal@hotmail.com if you have any questions

      1 Corinthians 11:6-7

      For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.

      A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

      So repression and subordination of man is a teaching from BIBLE NOT Al-Quran !!

      similarly general belief is that in Islam the punishment for adultery is DEATH..this law is anti Islamic as it is NOT in Al-Quran but guess what!! its in BIBLE..see the references below

      Deuteronomy 22:22 "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die."

      Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death."

      Wake up!!! and find the truth yourself!!

      December 4, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Blue

      As a woman who cover her hair I can answer you that none of the males in my life: dad, brother or husband had forced me to wear Hijab. It is my choise as Islam encourage women to wear modest clothings. And me following Islam teachings make me more satisfied and feel closer to God. It also protect me from other guys eyes. No one will desire a coverd woman. I am married and I wear everything I want infront of my husband and also dad and brothers. but other guys are not allowed to see what underneath my Hijab. this is Islam. It is all about protecting women and keep both men and women desires under control. No relationships out of marriage. A woman can wear and look like any hollywood star but just infront of her husband and other women . it may looks hard to westren women but to Muslims it is the way of life.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Umer

      Islam was the first religion to give women their rights stop female infanticide, give them a share in heritage, right to divorce and chose who to marry etc. Cultural conservative practices confused for religious ones can be misleading, watch out Dan.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  15. Aazim

    I want to share my thoughts. I think the only way to understand any religion is to study its "Holy Book", rather than go asking people who "claim" that they follow the religion, In Islam's case that book is "Al-Quran". Only by studying Al-Quran you can understand what islam is all about and what it represents. You can find the best and the worst among the "labelled" muslims and that tells you nothing about the religion itself, the same way you can find good and bad people in Christianity, Jewdaism, Hindusm and so forth. Its a waste of time to conduct these surveys with no practical value. Many so called muslims follow their own conjectures believing that these are God's commandments because these have been taught to them by their forefathers and a vast majority of the people have not studied Al-Quran at all – not even once in their lives! And these belives and in direct contradiction to the teachings of Al-Quran. So I would recommend anyone who sincerely wants to find out the truth to study Al-Quran as it is the ONLY book that itself claims it is from Allah/God and claims that there are no contradictions in it. It itself provides the reader with many proofs that the book is authentic. Its a challenge from Allah/God Himself to the reader!! All other so called "Holy" books are full of contradictions. email me if you have any questions at draazimkamal@hotmail.com

    December 4, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • RC

      The BIble is from God, who in the book is identified as simultaneously God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Anything these three say is authoritative of God because they are all God at the same time, but with different functions in regards to salvation and living a daily life. There are also no contradictions in the scripture. The "contradictions" you hear about refer to technicalities (a word is spelled one way in this Greek manuscript, another way in another manuscript, but clearly means the same word) or seldom-used words that are difficult to translate (I believe one word was translated as "owl" in one transation and "ostrich" in another). The "contradictions" also may refer to passages where someone quotes just a verse or two, rather than the whole block around it; a proper contextual reading would show that there is no contradiction. There is not a single doctrinal discrepancy in the Bible.

      And, we have over 5000 manuscripts, some dating back almost 2000 years, that we can compare the modern translations to, to see how accurate they are to the original, and to correct the minor errors as our understanding improves. Every book in the Bible was written by a man who was directly influenced and inspired by God to reveal what He wanted us to know, using the voice of the author.

      On the other hand, as I understand it, the Quran was written a couple hundreds years after the death of Mohammad by followers, a collection of sayings as the believers remembered them. The copies were compared to each other, an official version was put together, and ALL other existing "versions" were burned. We can't go back and compare different versions of his teachings, we can't look critically for errors in logic or typography, because we have nothing older to refer to. The content of the Quran aside as well as the behavior of Muslims in the Middle Ages, tending to provoke the Christian countries of Europe to crusade against them, it is difficult to compare the Quran and the Bible, because they just don't stand on equal ground...for investigation.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      So ... the Qu'ran is right because the Qu'ran claims it is right? Yeah, the buy-bull is the same way... nice circular arguement there.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Aazim

      For Mirosal'
      No it is not right just because it claims so... read it and find for yourself and dispute any of the challenges that it throws upon you..is it hard for you to read?? im giving you an invitation so accept it ...READ IT TO PROVE IT WRONG!! make it a challenge for yourself that you will prove it wrong!! is it that difficult??

      December 4, 2011 at 4:36 am |
  16. Chris

    Shame on you CNN. You know America has always been a melting pot of religions. Facts are simple from a simple person. Mess with mine I mess with yours. Bomb my country and I will put rifle in my hands. Not pretty ,but effective. I am Afro American and would give my life for another American.

    Facts are simple why do they believe in religion so much more then us. Simple they have no where to go and nothing to do.

    Fact no mass transit system. Fact no dessert I have seen yet has turned into a rain forest. Fact its hotter then hell and there is no way my black azz is going outside in that heat either. Now America is a playground of resources and ideas. Fact is rich are not going into dessert to rebuild those peoples lives there over their for the oil.

    Fact our religious wake jobs don't go to Muslim communities because the minute they sit down fill out the passport info and have the f.b.i meeting with them because there posting crazy stuff on the internet or buy stuff to build bombs or rifles or tiring to get on board a US flight with a rifle. America is going lock there azz up.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Hamdy

      Please let me make my post of July 12 at 1:00 pm clearer. In the last senecnte I should have written: "In fact, in many immorality is taught CONTRARY to Catholic or Christian (Biblical) teaching." Thank you for posting my correction.

      September 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  17. Carrie

    Defend Islam all you want, the fact is they are now where the Christians were during the Inquisitions. They just need to catch up and practice what they are trying to sell the world. They claim it is a religion of peace yet they are blowing each other up daily. They want to blame the West for their troubles yet their own nations are close to civil war because of how they treat each other. Sunni and Shia can’t agree and they both want to blame Jews and Christians for their troubles. They have no sense of the value of a woman and need to realize it’s time to stop worrying about the male ego. As for me, I will never fear my God, because I know he is so powerful and bigger than anything I can imagine, he does not require my fear, nor is his ego so big that he won’t just laugh at my questions. Peace Out.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Kat

      OK, whatever, sounds like you just need a reason to feel better about your God and religion.

      December 4, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  18. KOLA

    islam is a religion of moral without grace. it teaches moral and enforce it . in the other hand the christian religion is a way of life hanging on the grace of God from the moment you have given your life to Christ and one has accept Him as his or her Lord and savior, which we called born again as Christian. In Islam, your eligibility to go to Aljanna depends on your performance of your Islamic rituals like: going to mecca once in your life time, paying sakat and sadakat, giving things to the needy, fasting during the month of ramadan, praying 5 times a day. Once you are able to do those things, eventhough you destroy life others or you steal it doesn't count. And another things is that the more you are religious as a muslim the more you the people of toher faiths look like a devil and as long as they are not Muslims they must be killed if they are not ready to be converted to islam. In Islam, every sin you comited have a kind of prayer you offer Allah and you are free.Even if you rerlate with another man's wife. Though they are comited to their religion, unfortunately none of them have assurance of where they are going at the end except that there is 32 vifgings awaiting everyone muslim in Aljanna. All born again christian have assurance of heaven. You can contact me if you need more explanation. Thanks

    December 4, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Kat

      KOLA, haha, apparently your understanding of Islam comes from Sunday hate schools. All you said about Islam is completely false.

      December 4, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • A Moslem

      Where did you come with this knowledge about Islam? Moslems believe in the 10 commandments, including not killing (any mankind) and not stealing, etc. They believe Jesus and Moses were Moslems (worshipping the same God and submitting to him). No prayer is guaranteed to forgive sins, no priest can help in Islam. I can go on and on.

      It is interesting to believe that 1.5 billions can be brainwashed. Christianity started in the middle east and most moslems knows about it more than Christians in the US. You need to read about the sectors of Christianity to discover that most Christian today are adopting St. Paul's version of Christianity which were neither dominant nor the correct view of Christianity.
      I hope you will discover "true" Christianity which does not differ significantly from Islam. May God guide all of us.

      December 4, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • PeaceLover

      Well the basic fact is that 90% of christians on message board hate Islam and insult Prophet Whereas 99% of muslims never insult Christianity or Jesus ... The fact reveals who are more peaceful and who are the hatemongers

      December 4, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Prabu

      I see none but Muslims responded to your very nice post, KOLA. And all they say is the opposite of the truth.
      Oh, they do not like your post because it is truthful! They don't like that at all!
      It makes me laugh to think of them or him/her stewing at what you have said!
      Now if they would just do us all a favor and die of apoplexy like every good extremist should, then wouldn't that be excellent? Oh, yes!

      December 4, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    • Aazim

      Mr Kola
      can you provide reference of any verse from Al-Quran about any of the allegations that you have made...im sure you CANNOT provide any because none of your accusations are supported by Al-Quran...the word ISLAM means " to attain peace" and Al-Quran does not allow any physical killing/slaughter of people. it just proves my point that you keep on talking out of ignorance based upon what you see and hear in your society rather that studying Al-Quran itself to find out what muslims are SUPPOSED to do, NOT what they are actually doing....you will find vicious criminals who align themselves to any religion of the world but it does not make that religion wrong...if only the Holy book of a religion tells you to do a crime, then it will make that religion criminal ..so please yet again I invite you to read Al-Quran and see for yourself what it says...do not base your judgement upon what people tell you about it

      December 4, 2011 at 4:58 am |
    • Aazim

      im giving you just one referenc from Al-Qran..Surah Baqarah (2) Verse 84 that clearly mentions that Allah does NOT allow blood shed

      And remember We took your covenant : Shed no blood amongst you, nor turn out your own people from your homes: and this ye solemnly ratified, and to this ye can bear witness.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:02 am |
    • Aazim

      AND one reference from BIBLE in which it orders to kill non believers...the same allegation that you are making against Islam..read it for yourself...hope it opens up someones eyes!!!!
      Deuteronomy 17
      If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • Prabu

      I am laughing because Aazim's eyes must be like a frog's! I can almost hear you choking, Aazim! May you die soon!

      December 4, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • Aazim

      Peace be upon you Mr Prabu!!

      December 4, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Prabu

      You can do nothing to me with your false blessing but make me laugh some more!

      December 4, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  19. cm

    I have always admire their B&W thinking when it comes to their faith. It's ALL. No backdoors, no blah, blah, blah. Love that.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  20. Marc

    Either man destroys religion or religion destroys man

    December 4, 2011 at 3:35 am |
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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.