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. Ellen

    Many parents aren't strict about religion or going to church in America, so every generation after that usually becomes less and less religious.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Oh, Really?

      True. But you seldom find an atheist in a foxhole.

      Think about it.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  2. Alfredo

    Islam is a cult. Easily spread to the weak yearning for direction. It's spread to many countries that have high illiteracy rates, that are controlled by dictators or theocracy's. All religion is man made. Islam demands obedience. Obey or suffer primitive punishment or death. It's 2011, humans need to evolve past this crutch of subservience, believe in yourself and family and not fables from a man made book of fiction...

    December 4, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • flip1

      humans need to evolve period!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  3. Ted


    December 4, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  4. Ahmed Jassim

    We are more religious because we believe in out religion, not like the christian they use their religion to get things they need from other people

    December 4, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Muneef

      That is not fair to say or claim..unless you mean converts by that...!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • flip1

      You tell 'em A!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Da King

      That's a very narrow view. You are in the dark. Believing Christians find themselves in the light of God. Sorry you are so blind even to your own religion.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  5. Samuella

    They are more religious, because that's all it is religious habit. They worship who they do not know. Our christianity is who we do know through the word of God and a relationship with God the Father through Jesus...we live to serve Him, and He lives in us by His Holy Spirit, when He is invited in. We must be baptised in the Holy Spirit for power. That's is what Jesus died to give us. You don't to speak in tongues, that is only one of the gifts. God refills us anew with His Spirit when we need it the most.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Mirosal

      You do not know 'god' any more than a Muslim knows 'Allah' .. it's the SAME imaginary sky-fairy for all 3 major monotheistic religions. You have your 2000 year old book written by dozens of authors, they have a 1400 year old sand-worn book written by a hallucinating desert-roaming ped-o-phi-le.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  6. JiminTX

    They are zealots, not religious. Muslims are murderous, treacherous, and anti-Western civilization. They are a danger to the West.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • twiddly

      Christianity is just as dangerous. Remember the crusades? the inquisition?
      Religion should have no part in any government.
      Keep the hallucinations to yourselves.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  7. Kregg

    muslims more religious? haha, I wonder where cnn is getting their news from? my personal experiences even among wahhabbi's they are fakes just posing as being religious and devout, but in reality their anything but that. and get to know an islamic woman, trust me, their perverts LOL

    December 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • El Flaco

      Somehow I don't think I'll trust you.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  8. El Flaco

    Muslims are raised in environments where no one doubts and no one criticizes.

    Here in American, skeptics like me are constantly pointing out that Yahweh, God, Allah, Christ, and Satan don't exist and never existed. We point out the history that contradicts the holy books of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    In Islamic countries that can't happen. The friendly atheist will be arrested. A group of zealots will visit his home late at night and beat the crap out of him. I know a Syrian immigrant who says that people would go through his trash to see if there were any empty wine bottles. Even here in America, he won't throw an empty liquor bottle in his trash can. He carries them to a convenience store and disposes of them there.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  9. Mart58

    Nothing is more important than the separation of church and state – and unfortunately, in Muslim countries, Islam is very much entangled with the state.
    ..and as far as Islam being the most superior religion (my way or the higway) is the most dangerous notion there is.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  10. logan

    I believe...Muslims are trying to rule the world with their ridiculous religion.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • JBoss

      And Christians aren't?

      December 4, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  11. Dogman

    It's because everyone is scared they will be killed or beaten if they do not conform. It's as simple as that. Its a terrible cult and anyone who speaks about it as a wonder cult feels like they are forced to speak these lies.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Notyourpal

      I agree. Why is this front page news?

      December 4, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • Ahmed Jassim

      I would say if you have nothing to say , you better say nothing, because it seems you know nothing about Islam

      December 4, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  12. guy from NM

    You are a believer or you are not. There is no such thing as more or less in that case.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      Thank you Allah?

      December 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  13. hitobito

    I've traveled to many of the most populous muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Emirates, Kuwait, Pakistan and Indonesia. I found this article reinforced my impression of muslims and Islam. Islam tends to be more exclusive and intolerant than other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism. I have found an extraordinary number of exceptionally generous, kind and intelligent people in the islamic countries I have visited. Extremists in any religious are dangerous and that includes Islam. Like all religions it relies on faith and less on science. The point that these researchers made about muslim's desire to reject what they perceive or misperceive as the immorality in the west and/or secularism. It is clear that Islam has become more conservative and accordingly, extreme. The Islamic extremism may lead muslims to a armageddon with Christianity which is a conflict muslims cannot win.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      "Researchers?" C'mon man. This is CNN.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  14. Cypher008

    Muslims are more religious becasue they are scientifically ignorant.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Notyourpal

      Just like all the believers of other religions.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Shepherd

      As opposed to your inability to spell?

      December 4, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  15. albert

    Part of the reason is that they are told they will be killed if they change religions. I have heard this from numerous Muslim co-workers.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Shepherd

      What's the difference? Christianity tells its followers that they will perish in "hell" if they do the same. Also, christians hate anyone that isn't christian. To them, it can be justified, by their religion, to kill non-christians. Christians happily kill in the name of their god and I offer up some dead abortion clinic doctors as proof.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  16. Paulina


    December 4, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • guy from NM

      I like this one 🙂

      December 4, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      Yeah, and using all caps makes your plagiarized line sound even better!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  17. Greg

    What was ignored in the article is that Islam has the largest number of illiterates of all major religions. The fact that Yemen has a 30% literacy rate might make one think that people are easily led by those who not only know but also preach the written word. The taliban would like to keep half of their population in the dark (both in design and in religion) by not allowing their women to become literate. When one is unable to read for himself, it is easy for that person to be led by what all others about him believe. This might explain some of this phenomenon.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Frank

      How do you explain Indonesia.?

      December 4, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Reality

      During a major upheaval in Indonesia in the late 1990s, s-ex-crazed Muslim men gang-ra-ped dozens of Chinese women in shops, homes and even in the streets, shouting in Arabic, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great!)*


      December 4, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • Illiteracy=religion

      Great point Greg. During the Middle Ages, when illiteracy was the norm, Western Europe was also much more religious than it is today. In 2001, the CIA published data revealing world literacy rates – in Afghanistan it was was 12%, so I wonder why it became a haven for the Taliban and Al-Quaeda????? If the developed world would pay more attention to literacy and invest more in education in underdeveloped countries, there would be less need to spend billions on bombs.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  18. Aziz (Islam is the Answer)

    THanks for all the islamophobics. Whether you like it or not Islam will enter to Eery house that is the Promise f God in his holy book Quran. A book that has never been altered(not a single letter) since it was revealed to prophet Muhamed 1433 years ago and it is still in its original language(Arabic). This is not true about christianity and Judaisim(how many versions are there of the bible out there). There is one quran read by every muslim in all corners of the world whether he/she is in Pakistan, South Africa, China, Brazil...Australia, Britain, France...). One God one Holy Book(quoran). And for those who are misquoting the Quoran. I dare you to enlighten yourself with its content. Try to read it in totality not out of context. Allah(god) orders his prophet and all the Muslim" do not fight them untill they fight you" (Surat Albaqara). Muslim never start war. Do some history research. You can also inform yourself about Islam Here: http://www.islamicity.com/. To test if the Quran is correct or not here is the quran and science and logic: http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/index.php. Don't prejudge. It is stupid to say that an apple tastes Terrible before you chew on it,

    December 4, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Prabu

      The Q'uran has gone through several revisions. So much for your 'unchanging word'. I'm not wasting my time with the rest of your lies in this post.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Reality

      Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      Like it or not Islam will enter into EVERY house? Uh-huh ... nice try ... go ahead, try knocking on some doors here in America... see just how many houses you get to before you hit that one who hits back.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • albert

      You are a blind fool. The book may be the same, but the followers don't all adhere to the same teachings. Also, the Koran is one of the most poorly and inconsistent writing known to man. It would be impressive if Muslims show love towards on another as well as to the rest of the world. But you are killers liars, and thieves. Basically, you are like all other religions.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • twiddly

      All the all-powerful Allah has to do is this: appear to everyone everywhere, just once, maybe for 1 minute, get it on videos.
      This is a simple thing for the creator of the universe.
      But it doesn't happen and the reason is: there is no god. Get over it.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Dogman

      Don't waste your breath. It's an absolute horrible cult you are in and you probably beat and suppress you wife like the rest of them. Don't openly lie like that. You must be on Cain's staff.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Reality

      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. "

      December 4, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      I'd write what I really think here, but I'm scared of you...

      December 4, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Illiteracy=religion

      BS, Aziz, utter BS

      December 4, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • albert

      @Aziz, you would need to read and study the Bible to understand. It is sad that this is something you are not allowed to do. The God of the Koran does exist, but his name is Satan. This is evident by the actions of his followers. Mohamed was a false prophet and a pedophile he had "desires" with young children.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  19. B

    For God so loved the world he sent his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. -John 3:16. Really there's nothing else that matters.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Reality

      From Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416, "Anyone in search of the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John......This verdict is the consensus among New Testament scholars."

      December 4, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • twiddly

      Then this all-powerful and all-loving god just has to appear to everyone in the world, just once, get it on video; appear simultaneously to everyone everywhere and settle this once and for all.
      This is a simple thing for a "god" that created everything.
      But this does not happen and the only explanation is: there is no god. Get over it.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Aziz (Islam is the Answer)

      Brother in humanity How dare you say that god has a son. Are you implying that he slept with Mary. A god that has desire is weak. Besides, where was this Powerful God when his dear son(ony begotton) was nailed in the cross. I can understand please explain. Besides who was this john who you have quoted. History says that he has never seen Jesus. Also who was the author of the bIble. Is is john, Mathiew.........

      December 4, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • albert

      @ Reality, you need to find reality. You cant change history. That Jesus existed is truth. Whether or not you believe he is the Son of God is another topic. The Man Jesus was real. There are far too many historical writings and eye witness accounts to say the man never existed. Scholars? Haha that's funny...

      December 4, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      Aziz, God has a son. God has a son. God has a son. God has a son. God has a son. God has a son. Whoooooooooooo!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • Allen

      Shut up, the Bible is not any sort of book to be referenced, neither is any holy or religious text.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Prabu

      Christianity is based on mystical-sounding lies derived from other mystical-sounding lies. There is no direct or even first-hand proof that anyone named Jesus was even executed by the Romans. Any fraud would say the Bible is first-hand witnessing, but anyone could repeat the lack of evidence merely by writing another Bible, like Smith did for the Mormon religion.
      It is very easy to fool people and very hard to find honest ones.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • albert

      @Aziz, you would need to read and study the Bible to understand. It is sad that this is something you are not allowed to do. The God of the Koran does exist, but his name is Satan. This is evident by the actions of his followers. Mohamed was a false prophet and a pedophile he had "desires" with young children.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    First, our greatest problem in the Western World is our growing profanity (whereby the Muslims should not presume to be our judges, because they themselves fail every day). Actually it doesn't matter, whether Islam is dangerous or not. Main thing we would be sure of the real God's protection. If God would be our "friend" nothing at all could harm us without his permission. Assumed, the issue of the Islamic threat would be settled, we still could be harmed by natural disasters, economical disasters, assaults by communist countries, etc.. First we should reach out for God's favour.

    It is a general truth that God is philantrophic (he likes human beings independent from nationality, colour, belief, social status, etc.). In a way, God is just a friendly man. Kindness belongs to God's personality.

    Every Muslim believer is also a human being, which is, of course, worthy of God's love. However, the faith (better anti-faith) of a Muslim must be condemned. History proves that Islam is mere bloodshed. Bloodshed is nearly all about Islam. If a child would ask me: "What is Islam?", I could simply answer: "bloodshed". This would be a nearly sufficient answer.

    I myself belong to the damned master race and would almost prefer to be an Arab, a Turk or a Jew. We Germans have murdered some million Jews, because of ill racism (Hitler thought the Jewish blood would contaminate the German blood).. When I now condemn the Islam, then this has nothing to do with racism, because I don't condemn the Arabic or Turkish people because of their descent. I merely condemn the Islamic doctrine.

    History alone would be reason enough to condemn the Islam, but the Koran is a second reason. Many verses of the Koran cannot be furtherly interpreted and are just meant litarally. When someone tells his son: "go to bed!" then this sentence is no more interpretable. What is the interpretation of the following sura?:

    Sura 9: Verse 29:

    Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

    ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #29)

    The interpretation is very simple. Muslim countries are supposed to assault Christian and Jewish contries (exactly this happaend all over history). In the sight of Muhammad it is a heavy sin to believe in Christ the Son of God, because by this you ascribe a partner to Allah, which is strictly prohibited in Islam. Thus, all Westerners are damned in Muhammad's eyes, because they ascribe a partner to Allah.

    Sura 5, Verse 72:

    They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers.

    It is hard to figure out, what was going on in Muhammad's heart. Was he really convinced that it is a sin to believe in Jesus or did he just make-up the ill story in order to unite the Arabic gangs for a war again the Christian Empire Byzantium?

    December 4, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • William Shelton

      You may not be, as you say, a racist, but you certainly are a xenophobe.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      Jeez. Your smart.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Shelton

      You may read my comment again, and you will see that I don't hate foreigners

      December 4, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Prabu

      Mohommed was an uneducated thug, a liar, a thief, a murderer, and other things too gruesome to mention. You cannot ascribe good to such a man or the violent lies and commands he gave. There was no supernatural influence on him.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Now that was dumb

      Hey Prabu, You 'prabu' aren't Muslim, are you? Get it? Get it?

      December 4, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Prabu

      I do. You make me laugh. Thank you.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:39 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.