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.

The case against TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

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.

The case for TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

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. Just A Person

    II don't call bizarre death ritual "religion" – I call that a cult

    December 4, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  2. One11one

    My god and religion are real and true
    Your religion is just a pile of bull poo

    December 4, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  3. Leland Williams Jr.

    More tolerant Islam. http://www.christianpost.com/news/muslims-in-pakistan-beat-shoot-at-christians-in-land-grab-63793/

    December 4, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • najeeb

      don't forget to post what happened in bosnia and germany in ww2. and all the good things in name of crusade and protestant vs catholics

      December 4, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

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

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

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

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

      and more recently

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

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

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

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

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

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

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

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      December 4, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  4. pablo

    Most muslims live in countries and conditions that don't offer much in the way of material trappings (as in the west) so they turn their attention to the only hope they see, religion. If you can't have joy and peace in this world, maybe there is hope at the end.

    December 4, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • Just A Person

      Maybe they should turn their attention to learning how to govern themselves instead of bending down with their azzes in the air and hoping some bizarre creature from outer space will come and destroy their enemies

      December 4, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      A lie is a lie, regardless of what particular human frailty is the explanation for it.

      Religion is a lie.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • HH

      Then what explains the religiosity of kareem abdul jabbar, muhamad ali, and shaqueel o neil or the muslim doctors, engineers, business men (with big money) who immigrate to the west???

      December 4, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • Mirosal

      They emigrate here because their money will buy them wine, women, and song. And no one will chop their hands or head off for playing around or having a drink.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  5. Anobserver

    Religion has been and always be a form of brainwashing.....If you don't do what a book says or at least what we think it says, then you will go to a place that no one has seen when you die. Religion is also built on Shame, and Peer pressure and in the Muslim case bad things will happen to you if you don't believe. That shame and pressure are what makes them seem more religious, I think they are just more prone
    to using violence to make one adhere to thier religion and that is a good motivater to appear more religious. Plus it looks pretty boring in some of those Muslim countries...,maybe that is the heart of their social life.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Eli


      And now I must go to sleep. This post has been quite entertaining. I love arguing with religious trolls.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  6. Me

    Probably because they feel they have to do something to earn their way to heaven so they have to be constantly at it. While true Christians know there is nothing we can do for ourselves to get to heaven because we are sinners (Ephesians 2:8-9). It's the reason God sent his Son to die on the cross for us, to make sinners in right standing with the holy God (John 3:16). Unfortunately so many people think they are Christians because they are a member of a christian denomination and had some ceremony performed when they were a kid. They are ignorant of God's word because their church doesn't have them read it for themselves, and without God's word they don't realize that church membership and ceremony has nothing to do with being a Christian.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:56 am |
    • Prabu

      I see you like using the "no true scotsman" fallacy.
      Why don't you try that fallacious argument at your church?
      Some religious people get very violent if you question their level of faith. This is one of the symptoms of a cult-member. Faith is seen as a way of determining your place within the group hierarchy and becomes a subject for strong emotions because it can also mean power, wealth, and other things seen as desirable, like s3x and social standing. We are just primates with larger and slightly different brain structures than other primates. S3x is very powerful because we have no defense against our own chemical processes. We do not control ourselves at the cellular level.
      That is another reason I laugh at religious people.
      All this obsession over s3x because that's how we have evolved, not because of any "morals" we might think up and write down on parchment in the dark ages. In attempting to control s3x using religion, we can see the horrific results through all of history. Religion just does not work. It would be funny if it weren't so horrible what religion does to people.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  7. One11one

    My god and religion are real and true
    Your's is a pile of bull poo

    December 4, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  8. BN

    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

    Islam insults Jesus daily Peacelover. First by calling him "Isa". Islam's Isa and Jesus simply aren't the same. Second, Islam insults Jesus by denying his sacrifice for the whole of humanity. Third, Islam insults Jesus by bowing toward a rock and committing the ultimate in idolatry by worshiping a Moon god. Please don't pretend that Islam doesn't insult Jesus; they do it daily and in a worse fashion. Wake up Peacelover.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  9. k

    Recommend this article? Hell NO!

    December 4, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  10. k

    Being Catholic, I am tired of hearing/reading about the Muslim religion. About their hardships in the country, to this article about how they are more religious than other religions?
    Would you please give this poor simple American a break?

    December 4, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • HH

      Americans are tired of reading up about pedophiles in catholic church and how pope covered up their abuse, and also no one is forcing you to read it, simple go to another new story (may be about the pedophile priest)..

      December 4, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • Prabu

      HH, you make me laugh!

      December 4, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • Wellman

      Sound like you live in a small town in Midwest where everyone you meet you know. (nothing wrong with that)

      But I think our problems is that we only know very little about others (e.g. in Quran, Jesus came to save humanity, virgin mary is a role model for ladies...etc), and just build our education on news (who killed who when and did they catch the killer. Did they catch the guy before he killed others, and if he is Moslim, then we turn it to terror case... what an education).

      December 4, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  11. Jarod47

    The funny part of all this is that they all, christians or muslims or whatever, think that there is some kind of 'Salvation' necessary at the end of the line. Apparently they don't have the brainpower to understand that it is all fantasy.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  12. jojo

    The word is 'Fanatical', so don't confuse it with religious.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • Pj

      Someone killing hundreds of people in the name of their God has created that mindset. Of course, its all blither blather. someone killing someone else in the name of their God is really just killing someone else because they want to. Period.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:54 am |
  13. rhm

    It is called ethnocentrism.
    Anyone who claims to know who/what/when/where/why god is, is ridiculous. If that religious person was standing in front of me they could not even tell me how many coins I had in my pocket. Yet, they want to tell me that they know all about god. This religious crap needs to be lobotomized from our brains.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Pj

      Absolutely. Its a primitive need to control what others think and do.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  14. Matt

    Hate is an easy thing to perpetuate. They're not more committed; they just find it easy to hate.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  15. katmoondaddy

    The fundamentalist aspect of Islam is exactly why the world is in trouble today. Any religion, if taken at literal value is dangerous. It just so happens that Islam is producing extremists because the Koran can be widely interpreted as evidenced by 9/11 and suicide bombings. We do NOT have these problems with other religions of the World.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • rs1201

      Exactly...as an American Jew whose grandfather was an orthodox Rabbi, I can attest to the fact that his deep sense of belief and commitment to Judaism and tradition was exemplified by his unbelievable kindness to others, his willingness to forgive beyond anyone's capacity to do so. My grandfather was the Grand Rabbi of the largest synagogue in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to Judaism, kindness to others, charity, and unbelievable gentleness. I never heard a single word of anger towards others from him. His sermons would give the congregants a feeling of goodness, benevolence, and kindness towards others no matter what their religion was. He died when I was a little girl and when my brother recently went back to egypt to visit his grave in Alexandria, Egypt...he found that the entire cemetery had been vandalized and swastikas had been drawn on grave markers. I cannot imagine what my grandfather...a 6ft 4" gentle giant would have thought of the people who did this...he probably would have forgiven them...
      I'm not as forgiving as my grandfather...neither Judaism nor Christianity can be misinterpreted to be dictating the killing of the "infidels" as the koran does. It is a bit frightening that muslims try to emulate their lives after their prophet Mohammed...someone who married 6 and 7yr olds. I see Islam as a primitive violent religion that is being interpreted literally by a bunch of thugs out there...it is used as an excuse to murder and plunder...terrorists point to certain passages in the koran where they feel that they're being urged to kill, mutilate, and do as much harm as possible to "infidels". No other religion on this earth has any type of passage in its religious books that could be "interpreted" as urging murder.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • Prabu

      rs1201, the Torah is filled with murder and genocide and mutilation and other horrible things. Your relative sounds as if he ignored everything but what reinforced his own personallty. Cherry-picking is what most religious people do.
      Fundamentalism and orthodoxy is practiced by those who want to act that way, but the religion gives it shape.
      The Torah does indeed command many violent things including murder. Your relative was not the Torah so don't make the false equivalency argument that you are doing. It is intellectually dishonest. Just because he was a rabbi does not make him the religion you follow. He ignored what he didn't like. Why didn't someone throw rocks at him? Because they ignored that stuff too.
      You cannot argue for the relevancy of your religion when using a person who ignored it as the example and proof!

      December 4, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  16. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding and a spiritual perspective of the history of Islam and its impact on the world-community we invite you to read the articles ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind CNN and US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9.

    Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    December 4, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • Mirosal

      Of course the world has been deceived. By the Old and New Testaments, the Qu'ran, the Talmud, and any other "holy" book you can find. Throw away all those books, and watch the world learn to get along better because they won't have people at pulpits telling them what to think do say or even eat.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • AvdBerg


      We invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca as it explains how and by whom this world has been deceived (Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor. 11:13-15). We don't preach religion. The Gospel we preach is not after man, for we neither received it of man, neither were we taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11,12).

      December 4, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  17. Don't care

    Поцелуй меня в задницу. Мусульманская свинья.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • William Shelton

      If you don't care, then why did you write your insult in a language most people on this forum cannot read? You are nothing but a hypocrite and a bigot.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sorry, my Cyrllic is a little rusty. Can you try that again with a Roman alphabet?

      December 4, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • Don't care

      Shelton.......And you are a liberal assho%%.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      I'm a liberal, and an Atheist. I just don't read Russian, that's all.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  18. Beefburger


    December 4, 2011 at 6:36 am |
    • Don't care

      That about sums it up for them.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  19. Mopper

    I find Your 'experts' inferences somewhat faulty. To suggest ,
    for example, that Muslims belief that their religion
    is the only way to salvation makes them more commited
    to their faith is without grounds. In theological terms, the
    view that my way is the only way is referred to the 'scandal
    of particularity'. It is expressed in both Christianity and Islam
    Some religions don't have this dogma. Does that make
    their followers less religious?

    You say that Muslims say their faith motivates them to do
    good works. Anyone can say anything, but do they actually
    end up doing the works. Virtually all international aid (ie.
    Red Cross etc.) have their origins in the Christian West not
    any Islamic jurisdiction. I doubt if you would find a more altr
    uistic society than Western civilization.

    I also found it srange the spaces you wasted on pointless
    sentences. For example 'His book is based on interviews with
    Muslims around the world, and one thing he found wherever
    he traveled was admiration for Muhammad'. Any thinking persosn
    response to this is 'AND...?'

    It seems to me that media outlets like CNN totally missed
    the boat on what has happened in the Middle East. By using
    the term 'Arab Spring' show that they just don't get it.
    As more perceptive minds have warned Islamists have won the

    Your euphemism for Islamists (religiously inspired political
    parties) show that this article is not just some amateurish
    bosh as much as it is a deliberate white wash of a very
    retrogressive movement.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • Prabu

      Thank you, Mopper, for that excellent evaluation! CNN should be ashamed of their clear disregard for journalistic integrity and lack of ethics. You can bet there is money and influence behind this whitewashing, as we have seen before.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  20. kc_and_fa

    More "in your face" about it maybe, but more religous... I don't think so.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:35 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.