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. Peace TV

    Rainer Braendlein
    Compare your views about Islam and Muslims with the following:
    # Encourages killing of enemies – Numbers 33:50-52, Deuteronomy 2:33-36, 3:3-6 and 7:2) Luke 19:26-27);
    # Encourages abandoning the sick (Numbers 5:1-4);
    # Supports punishment for the sins of your ancestors (Numbers 14:18);
    # Encourages war (Matthew 10:34);
    # Promotes blood feuds (Numbers 35:19-21);
    # Is anti-Semitic (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Micah3:1-12, Hosea 8:1-14, Matthew 23:13-39, Acts 2:23, 3:13-15);
    # Promotes slavery (Ephesians 6:5, Deuteronomy 20:10);

    December 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace TV

      By the Christian doctrine no aggressive wars can be justified (in contrast, the Koran commands aggressive war). Defensive wars are allowed.

      The wars of the old Israel war righteous, because they were really commanded by God. The nations, which were destroyed by Israel were very corrupt. They sacrificed infants to the demons and had se-xual intercourse in all directions (even with relatives and animals).

      December 4, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Prabu

      The Christian religion is very violent and advocates many different types of murder and violence.
      Just because you ignore this does not mean it does not exist in your religion. You are a heretic and don't appear to know it.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  2. Lawrence

    Think: Religious Police. If we had religious police making us go to church we would not have Foot ball Sunday and the Blue Law would be in effect for every store and restaurant.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  3. DM

    Fear. Plain and simple. Fall in line or else.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  4. Peace TV

    Rainer Braendlein
    Compare your views about Islam and Muslims with the following:
    # promotes honor killings (Deuteronomy 22:15-21 [stone to death], Leviticus 21:9, Judges 11:36-40, Genesis 34:1-31);
    # Promotes suicide attack (Judges 16:27-30)
    # Stone to death who worships other gods (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 and 32:23-25);
    # Kill who becomes an apostate or a heretic who dissents (Deuteronomy 13:8-9, 1 Timothy 1:20)
    # Kill who entice a friend or family member to worship other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-10);
    # Requires veiling for all women (1 Corinthians 11:5);

    December 4, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • yfpnb

      # last time a christian woman was honor killed? search stats for muslims regarding the same yourself.
      # When was the last time a christian blew himself up? search stats for muslims regarding the same yourself.
      # When was the last time a christian/Hindu?buddhist woman or a man was stoned to death? search stats for muslims regarding the same yourself.(hint start with Iran)
      # When was the last time a christian was killed for Apostacy? search stats for muslims regarding the same yourself.
      # When was the last time christians protested violently after Jesus was mocked?search stats for muslims regarding the same yourself.(hint start with mohammad cartoons)
      # Any christian country that mandates veils? (hint Iran Saudia arabia – the Disney Land of arabs)

      December 4, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Muneef

      Wonder what Jewish Books say specially that manmade 'Talmud' ?
      Pity that non religious one's have no holy books or some thing that they stand on... I mean they seem like some one with no map or compass... At least we could have known what is in their mind rather than this no where feeling of chaos...

      December 4, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace TV

      By the Christian doctrine no aggressive wars can be justified (in contrast, the Koran commands aggressive war). Defensive wars are allowed.

      The wars of the old Israel war righteous, because they were really commanded by God. The nations, which were destroyed by Israel were very corrupt. They sacrificed infants to the demons and had se-xual intercourse in all directions (even with relatives and animals).

      The New Testament is not anti-Jewish in the sense of racism. The Jews are mere somewhat criticized, because they didn't accept their divine Messiah Jesus Christ. St. Paul even says that time will come when the Jews will recognize that Jesus from Nazareth is their Messiah. The Jews are still God's Chosen People and the covenant of the Old Testament is still valid.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Peace TV


      #out of 1.5 Billion, who many Muslims did honor killing today? Answer 0.00000000000000000000000000001%.
      # out of 1.5 Billion, who many Muslims blew themselves up today? 0.00000000000000000000000000001%..
      # # out of 1.5 Billion, who many Muslims women or a men were stoned to death? 0.00000000000000000000000000001%..
      Same can be repeated for all. Hope you get the idea/point.

      Christians do have domestic violance which lead to killing of their families and do commit terrible crimes, like bombing the abortion clinics mass murders in the name of Christianity in the underdeveloped parts of the world including India. Demonizing the entire christian world for the actions of 0.00000000000000000000000000001% Christians will as dishonest as demonizing the entire Muslim world for the similar percentage. If Muslim countries are allowed to reach the level of development and education which has been reached in the West (and it did not happen over night) that percentage will go even lower!

      December 4, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  5. Jason

    Cause they're crazy. Period

    December 4, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  6. Syed Salim

    Just to correct and improve your knowledge. In the Quran, it has not been mentioned that the earth is flat but the earth or the world is spherical. ......The light of the moon is the reflected light........every livingthing is made of water.......... fetus in the womb of mother undergoes seven stages. So far as is the question of atheist.....if u believe in God..... no argument is neccessary .............if you do not beleive in God no argument is possible. Atheist means...........no culture, no moral values, family destortions and disorganized civil life......... always remain in dungeon, somber, mirk and tenebrosity. God bless you.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Prabu

      Ha ha! I am laughing very good now! If you had moral absolutes, the opposite of moral relativism, you would not need a book to tell you how to be moral. You are very stupid. So stupid I can only laugh at you.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  7. Slappy gillis

    They are more religious because CNN says so- over, and over, and over again. Now if CNN will tell us which tastes best Pepsi or Coke- we can move on to the next perplexing question: why do we bother to read this propaganda.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Dave

      Hyprocrites are always extremists. None bigger than Muslims, praising their "god", Allah, then, committing some of the most horrific crimes mankind has ever seen in his/its name!

      December 4, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Deese

      Excellent point and extremely true

      December 4, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  8. popseal

    Jesus destroyed the power of religion when He did what He did and now offers what He offers. Without confidence born of genuine Christian conversion, anyone's 'religion' will be driven by fear and insecurity.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  9. JohnM

    It is very simple. The greatest majority of them are threatened into following Islam. The evidence is abundant. Those who try to leave or are converted to other religions are shunned, punished, or murdered for doing so. Islam is a works-based religion based upon what you do for God instead of what God does for you.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  10. farie710

    I'm surprised at some people's responces.

    I don't believe in god, any religion, or any spiritual idealism; however, if there is any religion I respect it is the Muslim religion. Obviously anyone who knows a muslim knows that they are undoubtedly kind, giving people who don't push their religion on you. I have quite a few Saudi Arabian friends, and I have the utmost respect towards them and their beliefs. They do not push their religion on me like my christian friends, and my christian friends are definitely not as friendly and giving.

    Either I lucked out in finding the most respectful and kind muslims or their religion and culture is just downright more respectful than the christian culture I grew up in. Just saying...

    December 4, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Prabu

      Rest assured that if you had drawn a picture of Mohommed they would have killed you or reported you to those who would then kill you. Their politeness would have vanished and your danger would merely have become immediate.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • farie710

      As I stated, I respect their religion. Obviously I wouldn't do something against their religion. I use my right hand while having dinner with them, when I meet a new person I wait to see if they shake my hand since I am a female, and I try not to wear relvealing clothing when around them to be respectful. They always let me know very kindly what I should do in any social situation so that I can do my best to be respectful.
      Do you even know why you are not supposed to do so? I know, and I also respect the real reason why you are not supposed to draw any religious icon in their religion.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Prabu

      You are a foolish woman. Everything goes right over your head. You cannot argue about their peacefulness if you ignore their violence which you appear to know about. You show yourself to be a liar. As an apologist you are very poor.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Truth

      Ha ha ha . LoL. You made me laugh farie with your fairytale. I never heard blatant lies than this. Islam respect other religion is a joke of century. That is what Islam is all about, Lies, Lies, Lies, Deceit, Deceit, Deceit, Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy, Fundamentalism, Fundamentalism and Fundamentalism. Period.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • farie710

      Obviously neither of you know anything about the Islamic religion.

      Also, your actions are the reason I don't respect people like you or your religion. All you people do is insult what you don't understand. I am neither a lier nor have I or will I ever apologize to people like you. People like you are the reason there is so much hate in this world.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  11. Joe M.

    Clearly it's the part of the world and the advancement of the society. The Middle East is effectively in the equivalent of medieval times in terms of societal advancement. When you think about where Europe was during those times, with the Crusades and the high religious fervor, you can see the comparisons. As the societies in the middle East become more contemporary, the extreme religiosity will fade just like it has everywhere else.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Prabu

      But it hasn't disappeared from anywhere. Are you living in a closet? Every religion still does violence. It has not disappeared and will never disappear as long as there are religious believers.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  12. K2

    The key difference that set's Islam apart from other religions and makes them seem more religious is that they enforce their religious beliefs on others within their community through violence, oppression and terror. That's why more Islamic people die at the hands of other Muslims than by the hands of anyone else. If you don't believe exactly as they do, and that applies to different traditions within Islam, then you don't deserve to live. That fear makes Muslims act more religious, even if they're not.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Joe M.

      K2 – The Christians had the Spanish Inquisition, and the Crusades, among many others. If you look at your response through the prism of my previous answer, you will see that the comparison rings true. Christianity had its period of extreme views and actions. That lasted until society modernized. The Middle East has not modernized to the extent the Christian world modernized, so they are still extreme in their views.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • K2

      Joe M. – The Middle East remains backward precisely as you say even in this age modern communication and vast knowledge is at our fingertips. The leaders within the Islamic community are aware that knowledge is their enemy and that's why they so fervently fight educating women and education in general because it brings independent thought. That's why they so violently suppress independent thought outside and counter their strict edicts.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  13. joe

    there is much difference between being religious and being brainwasher

    December 4, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  14. Severinus

    It is because they never had a reformation, never had a renaissance, an industrial revolution, women's suffrage movement, civil liberties movement... the list goes on. They had modernity and advanced technology thrust upon them before they were ready for it as a society. It will take at least a century for them to adjust and it is going to be a tough one.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  15. Sam

    Islam is my religion and I read the Quran and I read lots of different books from different religions and cultures of the world, but no matter where you come from and what you were taught you should always use your common sense, common sense is the one gift that god gave to all humans.
    I think the world will be a better place if we all use our common sense before anything else, I am not saying religion is not important, but without common sense you got nothing. Every one has the gift of common sense, but many of us choose not to use it letting greed and fear and personal interest take over.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Prabu

      Common sense can be taught. It is not an intrinsic feature of the human brain.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • K2

      Your post makes a lot of sense. A belief in God and His love for mankind is different than the edicts of Religion which have been written by men and are inherently suspect and in many cases counter to the simplicity of Gods love.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • jack

      My common sense tells me that in the islam religion , mohammed , the prophet , not only was never crucified for his beliefs , but never rose from the death as well !You have to admit , only Jesus was able to do that !

      December 4, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Severinus

      It is hard to define what "common sense" is. Usually people who appeal to common sense are really saying everyone who doesn't think like them is wrong. It is a problem all three Abrahimic religions share, fortunately the other two have become secularized to the point where reason prevails.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Yas

      Jack, common sense would tell you that anything Jesus and Muhammad did was only because God enabled them to do so, and not by anything within themselves.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Sam

      If it can't be taught how come animals have it too? They know when they are hungey, they hunt, and they know when they are full they stop hunting. see an animal won't hunt even if there was a prey next to it, unless it needs to eat, when water runs out they know how to navigate for a new spot to be able to survive.
      some people call it basic instinct, I call it gods gift to all animals including humans and it's common sense, it's just sad that animals have more common sense and less greed than us humans.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  16. Yas

    If the people posting hateful comments towards Muslims and about Islam truly believed in what they claim, were actually true believers, than none of this hatefulness would be posted. The comments against the article actually support the article because anyone with an ounce of belief in God would not spew such vitriol.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Prabu

      My eyes are rolling. You are ridiculous.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    Muhammad started to preach around 610 after Christ. At this time Christianity had become the worldwide acknowledged faith and had won the victory over paganism. Up to 610 after Christ Islam was not known.

    We should really consider that Muhammad made-up something totally new, which had no connection with the previous beliefs or the scriptures of the Old Testament. No Jewish prophet has ever predicted the arrival of Muhammad.

    In his lousy Koran Muhammad admits that Christianity and Judaism are the older religions, but he designates Jews and Christians as people, who had turned apostate from the true teachings of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Also Muhammad accuses Jews and Christians that they had forged the old scriptures, which would fit together with the Koran.

    That is outrageous: In Muhammad's sight Jesus was an Imam and the apostles were Muslims.

    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 happened 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 against the Christian Empire Byzantium?

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

      Hello there,
      perhaps we can talk and i can introduce you to some Islamic Ulama that can answer your questions ,but your concept of Islam,The prophet of Islam and the Quran need some reviewing , i cant change what you believe but we can talk,,,,,,,,,perhaps,,,,,,

      December 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Deese

      i definitely agree with the "bloodshed" aspect. I've read both, keeping an open mind and I found that they are a lot of similarities between the Bible and the Koran. However, the differences with the Koran was that it was much more murderous, killing and threatening. Which, I think, leads to and depict why you have so many more extremist killers in the Muslim faith. I didn't find it as loving and caring as the Bible and what Jesus died for us for. Jesus, our father, tells us the right why and lovingly waits for us to do it the right why but in the end, there will be consequences. In the Koran? I got the feeling "do it right now...or I'm gonna kill you." lol to me, thats not an option or a loving hand to do better. As mother and fathers in our families and as son's and daughters, which do you believe would be more loving and kind. That I explain to you why something is better and right and gives you time to search for yourself with consequences at the end or That I explain to you why something is better or right and you better do it right now or I'm going to kill you? It was that simple for me.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Mort

      As for the Sura Taubah verse 29, pl read the ver previous to that,
      also the last sentence is incorrect, not Allah, but some say the Issa bin maryam, the christ , (al masih) is the son of Allah,
      not all at that time,
      you cannot just cut pieces of any books, or holy scripture and say oh yeah it say that, or generalize it,
      more education is needed,,,

      December 4, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  18. fred

    Cause if someone tries to leave the faith, they kill them.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  19. David

    Yes, leaving Islam being punishable by death is a big motivator. But it used to be punishable by horrendous-torture-to-death to leave or even just criticize Christianity too. Our current problem with Islam is that Christians are 600 years further along the development road than Islam. That is, Islam is 600 years "younger" than Christianity and is still in a medieval or pre-Enlightenment period. I suspect that by 600 years from now Muslims will have rebelled against the totalitarian authority of their religion just as Christians did, and will have developed a much more opt-in system just as Christians have. There will be pockets of fundamentalist Muslims, just as there are pockets of fundamentalist Christians today, but they will have lost their power to compel and will have lost a lot of their power to persuade. But not all of it: Look at the Christian world today where any politician who tangles with the "religious vote" does so at his own peril.

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

    It's the same reason why religiosity significantly correlates inversely with education level and socioeconomic class in the US. The more stupid and poor you are, the more likely you are to believe in invisible gods and demons. That's why the Middle East and the US both need a new Enlightenment.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Da King

      Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The man without the Spirit of God does not understand the things of the spirit and they seem foolish to him.. The only way to get the Spirit is to believe and know that Jesus died for you. Know the truth and the truth will set you free.

      December 4, 2011 at 9:59 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.