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. janelane

    duh.. average lower IQs mean being more religious. see the bible belt in southern states. it's no coincidence.

    December 4, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • Joel Weymouth

      Do you have evidence that IQs are lower down South as opposed to say Harlem? Have you ever watched an episode of "Judge Judy" or any other of those types of shows, and I assure you, none the litigants are from the South.

      Isaac Newton is smarter than all of us and he was a devout Christian. Mendel, Pasteur, Lister, the Wright Brothers., all were very religious. Proving intelligence is greater among Atheists as opposed to Christians is as fruitless as trying to "prove" why Muslims are more religious. Let's take Communist China and Communist Russia as an example of a purely atheistic society, or Cambodia under Pol Pot – and then try to convince yourself that they are more intelligent than Christians – unless it is your contention that genocide is an "intelligent" exercise.

      You can't prove one group of people in one religion are more religious than another group of people in a different religion. It is like saying "Packer fans are smarter than Red Sox Fans" The preposition is preposterous to begin with.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Prabu

      Those are not purely atheistic societies. They are dictatorships with the leader as a demi-god. Go and see for yourself or do some actual research first before saying things that are not true. Communism isn't a religion and it has nothing to do with atheism because atheism is just the lacking of a belief in a god or gods. It is not a system of any sort.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  2. me

    They seem to do everything to an extreme – religion is no exception in their case. No offense to Muslims.

    December 4, 2011 at 5:12 am |
  3. Eli

    SM: Violence is actually the central tenet of Islam. Mohammed was a 7th-century Arabian warlord who gained followers through extortion and invasion, and his followers were even worse. Of all the Muslim countries in the world, all of them except for Indonesia and Malaysia are Muslim solely because Mohammed and the later Caliphs terrorized the native population and forced them to convert to Islam. This was mostly done by making them pay the jizyah tax, which so stripped them of their livelihoods that one scholar remarked on the Copts of Alexandria by saying that "When once they lived in palaces, they now live in dirt [...] the Arabs have taken everything and given nothing in return."

    The Qu'ran demands that all non-Muslims pay their Muslim leaders money or else they must die. Qu'ran 9:29 states:
    "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

    December 4, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • janelane

      what do you call what the christians did the natives here in america? we could say violence is native to that religion as well. and war is just terrorism with a bigger budget.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:15 am |
    • Eli

      Jane, if you're under the impression that I'm a Christian (not sure what gave you that idea, given my name?) you are mistaken. Most Native Americans were killed long before Christian missionaries arrived in America–not by weapons, but by smallpox, which decimated their population (by the time the British got there, over 75% of them had been killed by the disease). If you are looking for an example of Christian imperialism, I would suggest looking at Africa instead, particularly the southern regions of it. Although that was a long time after the founding of Christianity and was not actually carried out by the central figure of Christianity, unlike in Islam.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:17 am |
    • Johan S

      It makes no sense to quote passage from a religious text since all religious texts have stuff like that - how many out of 1.5 billion muslims actually believe that? If it's millions how come there aren't millions of terrorist attacks? There aren't even 10,000 attacks a year. Anyway .. speaking of religious texts .. I can quote the Bible and watch all the excuses pour in about context .. real meaning and the importance of understanding the whole message:
      "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" – Matthew 10:34
      "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, 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; 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: 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" – Deuteronomy 17:3-5

      December 4, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • Eli

      Johan, if you didn't catch my drift–I'm not a Christian. I'm not even a theist. Why are you quoting Bible verses at me? I'm aware at how violent Deuteronomy is, but this is not a post about Judeo-Christian theology.

      And evidently most Muslims believe this "stuff", as the article says. Most fortunately do not have the means to commit terror attacks (against us, anyway).

      December 4, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • Tom

      False accusations......misled...........I hope God opens your heart to the reality.....stop distributing false information........and read from false resources...........

      December 4, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  4. Yuri Pelham

    more religious or more controlled? Is it true that if you try to leave the religion they can kill you? If so that's not good. Also I think decapitation is distasteful. And if you create an offensive cartoon I think the death penalty is a bit excessive. I don;t like suicide bombings because innocent people die. Also I think Shia and Sunni could get along better given that we're dealing with a religion of peace ( as George Bush told us).

    December 4, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  5. rules

    If you want to read about real zombyfying and control , Google : Mormon Missionary Rules

    December 4, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  6. Richard

    The ONLY things Muslims are "is in your face" with their beliefs. They flee their countries oppressive structure to refugee camps around the world, but do they assimilate into society? NO they are IN YOUR FACE striving to wet up the SAME political system that they fleed in the first plaqce......m. Our society is based on Judeo/Christian tenents and is found to be lacking in their eyes...

    December 4, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • hlub87

      agreed 110%.

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

      no, no biblical judio christian values in our secular countries. We divorced these dark ages values following enlightement.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:20 am |
    • Prabu

      And here is Kat pretending to understand the word "enlightenment". How funny!
      That's not what the enlightenment did in the age of the same name, Kat. But you are lacking in education and reasoning skills because you are a religious believer who is a follower of Islam.
      Had you the better IQ you would be an atheist if given the time to think and examine your religion.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:04 am |
  7. Eli

    It's not hard to understand. For the past few centuries, virtually all scientific progress has been made by Western (ie Christian-majority) countries, with China and India (Buddhist and Hindu, respectively) now getting into the game. Muslim countries haven't contributed to humanity's knowledge base since, oh, 800 AD or so. A society's respect for science and its religiosity are always inverses of each other. When (if?) technology and science begin to spread to the Islamic world, Islam will fall, just as Christianity and Judaism already have. Humans don't need idiotic myths anymore, especially not ones as vile as Islam.

    December 4, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • Joel Weymouth

      Oh come on. Read my previous comments about Isaac Newton. A devout Christian and a giant in the realm of science. Einstein credited Newton for making his discoveries possible. And Christianity has not been overthrown by science – unless you are referring to the common practice of schools to for students to "swear" that evolution is true or have their degrees not awarded. A practice that Federal court has disallowed. Is it only right for scientists to have Inquisitions and persecute those that don't agree with them?

      Google great inventors who are Christians and learn.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  8. privateryan

    All religions are crap, period. Islam is bu||$it.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  9. meghan

    It's hard to ignore your religion when one of the main facets of the religion is five obligatory daily prayers...

    December 4, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  10. Jennifer Pruitt

    Religion is only a way for men to control others. These type people are inadequate, and usually have low self-esteem, and believe what they are told. They are lazy humans who think that a greater force other than themselves are going to swoop down and feed thier families, they lack the mental capacity to function for themselves, and need to be told what to do and when to do it, just plain control and power. They treat the women like servants, and this is the first sign that these people as a whole have a few screws loose, maybe they have been in the sun too long, what ever the reason, they want anyone that doesn't think like them to be destroyed, I don't trust any of them,

    December 4, 2011 at 4:55 am |
    • Joel Weymouth

      If you are aiming at Islam, then I agree with most of your observations. If it is Religion in general then you have missed the mark. I agree that religion can be used to control men, especially if it is controlled by the government. But then Marxism can control men, Fascism, Authoritarianism all can control men. Republican France in 1791 was atheistic and it controlled men by terror.

      And your observation that all religious people are lazy and stupid and "lack the mental capacity to function for themselves" can be disproved with the lives of Christian men. For example, Sir Isaac Newton was a devout Christian – he was also a creationist, but also a physicist and mathematician. He invented Calculus. And don't blame the fact that Newton was "pre-Darwin" – the theory or philosophy that the universe was a result of randomness had been around since the Greeks. And there were some scientists that believed that earth was much older than what the Bible suggested. Newton did not accept it. Then there is Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, both very religious men. The system that promoted American discovery and success for almost two centuries was called the Puritan Work Ethic- meaning to give a full days work for a full days wage, do your best, and only expect a fair profit in selling your wares (greed was not acceptable).

      My point is – a religious believe system does not necessarily make people lazy. There are other factors, too complex and involved to discuss here.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:12 am |
  11. Joel Weymouth

    Evidence? Based on what criteria? How was it measured? How does one measure one's devotion of a 'given" belief system in comparison to another person's belief system containing different rules. For example in order to say something is equal to, less than, or greater than – there has to be absolutes. Take a mathematical equation – both sides must be reduced to the lowest common factor. Now in the the name of all that is absolute can you do that with religion. This is like saying 'the color blue is prettier than the color red". You can't. It is opinion, not evidence and certainly not news, it is comment.

    Do your job and start looking into Obama's background , you are about 4 years too late. Or you might do a scientific study and examine how many non-Muslims are murdered in Muslim countries because they are Muslim and compare that to the same numbers in non-Muslim countries. How about looking at religious freedom in Muslim countries. Do Muslims have the right to leave Islam or convert to Christianity? Those are valid studies The rest is wasting bandwidth on crap.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:54 am |
  12. David

    when you are kid and ignorant you are sometimes fond and attracted to rowdy group so you will be safe. But once you are matured and you got kids you don't want your kids to be part of that group.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:48 am |
  13. Jennifer Pruitt

    one reason is that most are uneducated, and they are able to be led through the nose very easily.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:48 am |
  14. petemg

    More religious for fear of being killed? That is a good excuse because the have no apparent problem in killing for honor. Is it the religion or is it habit of doing it just because. I myself believe one can pray silently pray daily. I try to have God in my daily life. I do not do things for show, I do it for belief and the grace of God.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  15. American Citizen

    Mr. Greene does not have enough information to make these harsh judgments against all Christians. How limited is the thinking in this article that he would broadly sweep and judge you and me as to how we worship. I've never met Mr. Greene, have you?

    December 4, 2011 at 4:44 am |
  16. Jacques

    As John Lennon said, "God is a constant by which we measure our pain".

    December 4, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • Thinquer

      Wasn;t he an atheist drug addict? Just sayin'

      December 4, 2011 at 5:08 am |
  17. nishant

    well, they are most religious is because they still live in stone age...christians were more religious back in 1600s and 1700s....these people just want to live in stone age

    December 4, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • phil

      Agree! Science is the new relgion.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Thinquer

      Naa! "Science" takes more faith than religion, and there is just as much corruption. Where there are humans, power levels and money, there is corruption. (ie Piltdown man, remember that?) Phew!

      December 4, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • Saif

      Stone age ? really 😀 in 1600-1700 you were in what your people called it "Middle Age" or "Darken Age" but for us Muslims in that time we called our time back then "Golden Age for Islam" yeah right don't panic , go check that , most of recent medical or math theory were invented by Muslims when your people was straggle to live by killing each other

      and let me tell you

      we Muslims still in "Golden Age"

      December 4, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • Joel Weymouth

      Actually Saif, Algebra was stolen from India. And what technology the the "Muslims" had – they either inherited it from the Turks – from China or from the Byzantines. Remember, the Romans were performing great feats of Engineering as were the Byzantines (Haggia Sophia) 100 years before Mohammed. And you you don't think the Colosseum or the aqueducts, or the roads built by Rome were built without Mathematics? Remember the Greeks had invented a Steam Engine BC, and a Byzantine Fleet wiped out a Muslim fleet with Greek Fire – essentially using flame throwers. When Constantinople fell in 1458 (I think) – who do you think benefited? The Ottoman Turks – and low and behold – a Muslim Golden Age.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • Saif

      algebra was stolen from India ! man you should read more books about history it was never stolen , it has been established by Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi who make it independent of geometry and arithmetic , and yes Romans may "use" Mathematics but they never add to it anything like Muslims and Greeks . and another mistake you said is that Byzantine Fleet wiped out a Muslim fleet with Greek Fire , yeah right they did used Greek Fire but they did not wipe Muslim fleet , and in the end the Muslims took Constantinople and started a new Chapter full of inventions and discovered by the Ottomans

      and Finlay :

      Muslims did not stole inventions from other cutlers they either preserving earlier inventions or invent new ones .

      I hope you go read more about Islamic inventions especially in Medicine and Math and of course Military Weapons.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  18. SCAtheist


    December 4, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • Saif

      algebra was stolen from India ! man you should read more books about history it was never stolen , it has been established by Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi who make it independent of geometry and arithmetic , and yes Romans may "use" Mathematics but they never add to it anything like Muslims and Greeks . and another mistake you said is that Byzantine Fleet wiped out a Muslim fleet with Greek Fire , yeah right they did used Greek Fire but they did not wipe Muslim fleet , and in the end the Muslims took Constantinople and started a new Chapter full of inventions and discovered by the Ottomans

      and Finlay :

      Muslims did not stole inventions from other cutlers they either preserving earlier inventions or invent new ones .

      I hope you go read more about Islamic inventions especially in Medicine and Math and of course Military Weapons.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:07 am |
  19. Joe Mark Moore

    This question is easy to answer – and it doesn't take hordes of scholars and crack CNN reporters to figure out, even. If you've ever been to a muslim-dominated country, you'll know that they're pretty much all craphole 3rd-world countries. They don't have much so they cling to their false religion. One other side-reason that they cling to it, especially the male populations, is because it gives them social control over the females and younger males in their cultures.

    It's my fervent hope that someday we can cure the blight of Islam on our planet and bring peace back into reality in the Middle East – until Islam is gone, there will never be peace in the Middle East, sadly.

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

      your an idiot

      December 4, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • N


      December 4, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Kat

      what explains the 10,000's of people who convert to Islam in Europe and the US every year? 75% of them are women. That defeats your stupid theory.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Eli

      Kat, there are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and the vast majority of them live in either third-world or developing countries. The presence of a few "thousand" brainwashed idiots in England and America are the exceptions, not the rules.

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

      Many women who seek a sadistic man happen to be masochists. They could find comparable Christian sects that are just as terrible as Islam in their treatment of women, but there are other things a woman might seek along with that as well, so painting with too broad a brush is not recommended.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Saif

      until Israel is gone, there will never be peace in the Middle East, sadly.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  20. Gideon Schreiber

    An open and perplexing question is why none of the Muslim countries is a highly developed in science, human rights and innovation and why none of them has a prosperous middle class. The only "rich" muslim countries are those that have a lot of oil, and even in this case most of them do not use the oil money to stimulate real progress in the socio-economic landscape of the population. I think that these questions should be center stage for the muslims by them self to address, as in the far past muslim countries succeeded much better then now.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • Simba

      you are an idiot as well!

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

      Thats because none of them follow the correct version of Islam at the state level, at least. Islam, like Christianity and other religions, was diluted and they moved away from the best source of knowledge and some of them started following the violence which is not even part of Islam.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • Epimetheus

      Until religion is gone there will never be peace in the world. The Christians, Jews, and Hindus are no better than the Muslims. They are all pathetic ideologues that have abandoned living and foresaken this earth for the sake of some mythological afterlife that doesn't exist. Believe in some god if you must, but leave the rest of us out of it. And, quit trying to impose your delusional ways of thinking and living upon others.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:20 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.