My Take: Top 5 myths about American Muslims’ love lives
February 14th, 2012
01:25 PM ET

My Take: Top 5 myths about American Muslims’ love lives

Editor's note:  Ayesha Mattu, an international development consultant, and Nura Maznavi, an attorney, are the co-editors of "Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women."

By Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, Special to CNN

A lot has been written about Muslim women, but very little of it has been written by Muslim women ourselves.

The sensational stories — child brides, forced marriages, honor killings — always get the headlines, but nowhere do we see the stories of the independent, opinionated and hilarious Muslim women we know.

We decided to change that.

Starting five years ago, we asked fellow American Muslim women to share their stories of searching for love. We chose the topic because love is a deeply intimate yet universal emotion — and one not usually associated with Muslims.

We received 200 submissions in response to our call for stories, which we broadcast via social media and email.

Twenty five of the best submissions form our new book, “Love InshAllah,” which means “God willing” in Arabic and expresses the idea that it’s only through the will of God that we attain what we seek in life.

Taken together, the stories offer a portrait of the millions of Muslims in America, which represents the most diverse Muslim community on the planet. It includes families whose roots go back to the founding of our nation and immigrants from every country imaginable.

While compiling the book, we ran head-on into lots of myths about the love lives of American Muslim women. Here are the top 5:

1. Muslim women marry men their parents choose for them.

While some women do meet their husbands through their parents, Islam gives women the final say over whether or not to marry that person. Family plays a strong role in the lives of many American Muslim women, but the majority who submitted contributions to our book did not meet their partners through family recommendations.

The women of “Love InshAllah” fall in love at college and work, online and through mutual friends. One writer, Angela Collins Telles, met a handsome and mysterious stranger while traveling in Argentina, had a whirlwind romance, got married and now lives in Brazil with her husband their two sons. Not exactly an arranged marriage.

2. All arranged marriages are loveless.

For many of us, the idea of marrying someone you are not in love with is shocking. It brings to mind images of a couple bound together for life by duty, not love. Aisha Saeed writes about meeting a young man on the recommendation of her mother and, within six weeks, deciding to marry him.

If that seems foreign, consider that she bases her decision on their mutual chemistry after discussing shared values, passions and goals. They’re the same factors most of us consider when choosing a lifelong partner, albeit usually over longer periods of dating.

Though Saeed may not have been “in love” with him in the conventional sense on their wedding day, a decade of married life later they are madly in love with each other, with a love that continues to grow deeper over time.

Saeed chose her partner on the lasting qualities of mutual respect and kindness and they have built a beautiful life together.

3. Muslim women who wear the hijab are repressed or asexual.

Throughout history, the lives and bodies of Muslim women have been politicized.

We are either hypersexualized — think belly dancers and harems — or thought to be desexualized, as though wearing a scarf on our heads extinguishes all feelings of love or desire, and our very agency over our lives.

In “Love, InshAllah,” writers who wear hijab challenge that notion. Whether they are recently divorced and miss the sexual intimacy of a relationship, single and tempted by their hot personal trainers, or discovering the joys of a new relationship through the sweetness of holding hands for the very first time, Muslim women who cover share the love and longing of all women.

4. There is no such thing as a gay Muslim.

Actually, there is. Not only are there gay Muslims, some of them are deeply orthodox, with faith playing a central role in their lives. Two of our writers relate very different experiences of being gay Muslims — one from a secular background, the other from an orthodox perspective.

The surprises don’t end there. The more secular writer comes out to her strict Muslim parents and is accepted, while the more orthodox woman has not yet come out to her non-Muslim family. In the end, a parent’s reaction has less to do with his or her family’s religious affiliation and more to do with individual family cultures, communication and dynamics.

5. Muslim women are unable to escape unhappy marriages.

Muslim women have had the right to divorce for the past 1,400 years. That is not to say it has always been easy, or that cultural or legal impediments have not existed. The same barriers that prevent many of us from moving on from a bad relationship – fear of being alone, children, or economic issues – come into play for Muslim women, too.

But many of the writers in “Love InshAllah” write openly about unhappy marriages and eventually leave them behind. They find love on the second — or even third — time around.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion

soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. Jan


    February 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Asma

      Here are the facts. ME muslims are about 20% of all Muslims. 70% of Muslims live in South east and east asia, where women have been heads of state (which even america cannot claim). Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. By the way between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Indonesia there are more than 60% of the world's Muslims. All the five are democracies. Taj Mahal is the monument to a Muslim man's love for his wife. Yes there are good and bad in every faith, but please let us not generalize and have the tail wag the dog.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Tom

      @Asma...I always thought of India as more Hindu, Bhuddist, Jainist and Sikh as opposed to Muslim. I know there are Muslims in India but never really thought of India in those terms.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Asma

      @Tom, India has the world's second largest Muslim population, after Indonesia. Almost the same as Pakistan. So yes , even though they are a minority it is still a huge number (almost the same as all ME countries combine)

      February 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  2. Emily

    This article is great. I have so many friends that are Muslim, and I have never encounters such forward thinking individuals (well at least since I have moved to the South). Each of my Muslim girlfriends is in a happy and committed marriage. Also, I have been impressed to find out that men are required to spend on their wives in the Islamic tradition, so my friends all keep their income as their own spending money, in addition to their husbands' money. How great is that?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  3. Craig

    While I'll grant the the stories related are likely accurate, they reflect the experineces of Muslim women who are in, or grew up in , the United States. I would simply suggest that their collective experiences are likely very different from those of Muslim women who grew up elsewhere. They're are probably obvious reasons why that is true, so I won't belabor them.

    The same poll, speaking to women who are not allowed to drive, who, until very recently, couldn't buy personal clothing items from a working woman, and who...at many turns...are treated as property and subject to intolerable regulation by the men in her family and society, the answers would be very different. So...while I don't doubt that there are, and can be, "enlightened" Muslims, they seem to exist mostly outside of the Muslim societies. They may be true, but they are NOT typical.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Emily

      And you know this how? How do you know the "typical" experience of women in Muslim countries?

      The book and article specifically say that they are speaking of Muslim women in America. I don't see why you feel the need to point that out.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well they did specify in the ti.tle that they are talking about only American Muslims.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Rb

      Good points. Let's not forget the honor killings that also go on in North America (some just reported last week on CNN). Religion is not typically open or progressive in general and unfortunately all religions provide an easy sanctuary for small minded people to hide behind.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Sarah


      Don't combine honor killings and religion. Honour killings are a completely "cultural" tradition, and has nothing to do with religion. Unfortunately most of these killings happen in countries that have majority of muslims – i.e. Afghanistan, where culture and religion seem to intertwine a LOT. But honestly, Islam condemns honor killings. Islamic scholars have been condemning them for ages, you could even see proof after the recent honour killings related to the Shafia family in Canada.

      Also, as a Muslim I have to say that there is no honour in killing. Islam prohibits killings of any sorts – unless of course it is a declared war from both parties.

      February 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  4. rush, Women in bible, shocking


    February 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      You want to pee on CNN?!?!?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • CNN

      We are oout to get you. We have supercomputers that help us instantly suppress your opinions, because you are so very important and dangerous. We have a staff of hundreds who work tirelessly to censor you.

      Remember, paranoia is just good sense when people are really out to get you.

      Then again, you might have used a word like "tit" inside another word like "constitution. In the future, add a period or dash or space to it. Watch out for "circumstance" also.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  5. Hey!

    Was Whitney Houston a Muslim lesbian? I have my suspicions, oh yes I do!!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Asma

      Here are the facts. ME muslims are about 20% of all Muslims. 70% of Muslims live in South east and east asia, where women have been heads of state (which even america cannot claim). Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. By the way between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Indonesia there are more than 60% of the world's Muslims. All the five are democracies. Taj Mahal is the monument to a Muslim man's love for his wife. Yes there are good and bad in every faith, but please let us not generalize and have the tail wag the dog.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  6. bookbud

    If the writer was trying to convince us that Muslim women are independent, modern women with rights just like their counterparts, she failed miserably. American Muslim women are worlds apart, literally and figuratively, from their sisters in the rest of the world. The fact that their parents are here in America in the first place signifies that their families are a little more forward thinking, educated, and/or financially able to move here. I try to work on my dislike of Islam because I know it's not right to generalize, but what we in the West see and hear from the Arab world makes it very hard. I would hate to be a Muslim woman.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Hasan

      Arabs represent 20% of the total Muslim population. Generalizing all Arabs into one group and then generalizing the rest of the 80% of Muslims into that same group just shows your ignorance and the sad reality that despite Americans' "access" to education, you guys don't even care for it in the first place. There's not much of a difference between you and someone that grows up in a tribe in Africa. Way to represent your people.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Amal

      Very true. Muslims are the most educated demographic in the US. Male and female.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  7. IranDestroyed

    This article is filled with patently false information about Muslims in the Middle East, it applies to American Muslims only – and only to those who are not devout. I don't really care about Muslims here in the United States because they are not true Muslims in the eyes of ME Muslims. Gay Muslims in the ME lead completely closeted lives – if they don't its because they live in Turkey or some Muslim "Secular" state (and such states are rapidly converting to Theocratic states BTW). Those that don't live in a secular state, if outed, will be killed pure and simple if not by others then by their own families with "Honor Murders". Islam is not a religion in the Western sense. It is a political movement designed to give men power over women of any age and subdue all opp0sing ideas. It is a heuristic mindset – It is where the post Roman church was in 300-800AD. Its primary role is to kill non believers everywhere and that is pretty much what they are doing. Never mind that most Muslims are murdered by Muslims – oh no lets not discuss that. It has got to be the most perverted mind set on the earth and it will take world war to resolve it I can guarantee. They execute for sorcery (one the president of Iran's cabinet ministers has been charged recently with sorcery and sorcery is still a common chargeable offense in Saudi Arabia), "honor Murders "are rampant in the ME – records are not kept because it is the families' business and no one else s. They are just basically a bizarre and backward culture dedicated to the absolute power of the male and the absolute submission of females to everything in this world. When Nietzsche talked about religion being the opiate of the masses you might say that Islam is the mental chain of slavery for all women. The men love it. After all they die willingly to get their 50 virgins; Hey don't get mad at me its in the Koran and was even verified by a highly respected Imam who was asked the question by Peter Jennings on national news: "Does it really say in the Koran that a martyr will receive a reward of 50 adolescent virgins in Paradise?" After an awkward period of hesitation the Imam said "Yes." and sort of raised his nose slightly as if to say " And what of it?!"

    February 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Lolla

      "It's a heuristic mindset".

      I stopped reading after that. Look up big words before you drop them to try to impress me.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  8. Skorpio

    These answers are similar to Communists living in the USA during the Cold War. They always said how great was Communism without experiencing it themselves living their entire life in Communist countries. If these women really like Islam, they should go to Saudi Arabia or ANY other Muslim country and STAY THERE !!!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Singao

      Thank you,

      You're further proof that having an education is no guarantee from not being either stupid or manipulative. I DON'T mean this as an insult but as a praise. Your comment is the only one with common sense. if any of the geniuses that post here realized that media is constantly manipulated...well, they wouldn't be....ummm... reading...never mind... I'm off.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • hj

      i grew up in the middle east ,Qatar and now i live in India a secular country and i absolutely loved the time i had while growing up in Qatar,if u really want to know about life in the middle east then go and live there, not all the countries in the middle east have the same culture and its silly to bind all the countries together, dont take the media that seriously,if i take everything i read and see about the US of A seriously,i would never ever think about going there,u got a lot of evils in your country too honey....

      February 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Nerfl

    How many things are wrong with this "survey" about "Muslims"? It only queried American Muslims, some of whose roots go back to the founding of the nation (encultured much?), it only queried Muslim women who were internet savvy, it handpicked 25 of 200 responses, and it assumed honest responses (sampling error, anyone?) and, finally, the authors are quite obviously naive (there are gay Muslims? Really?? Duh!!! In which universe was this ever doubted?). Let's try a real survey in a real Muslim country....oh, let's say Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. I can predict the overwhelming response to the five issues above – No Comment, No Comment, No Comment, No Comment, No Comment.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Myfairlady

      You're quite funny. Your lack of education and total ignorance is just hilarious. Muslims are not one huge monolith that share the same exact culture. In fact, Islam isn't a culture, it's a religion, so the way it is interpreted is very different. This book is about American Muslim women, and you'd be surprised at the stereotypes surrounding us in this nation. You obviously know nothing about the American Muslim community or you'd see the point of this book. This book isn't about Muslim women in general, because the cultural values and interpretations of love around the world are very different. It's about the women you see at the grocery store, the soccer game, the mall. The women you think are so different from you, but really aren't.

      Learn to be more tolerant, and please, educate yourself.

      February 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  10. Tom

    Interesting article, I guess. I can't help but think that the authors are trying to change minds by pointing out a few exceptions. A few exceptions do not make a norm. Additionally, seems the inputs provided are from people in locations where Muslims are not the majority or predominant religion. Seems like these inputs are from 'Westernized' people. Wonder what women from locations/countries where Muslim are the majority would say.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • David

      Also, notice how the writer re-frames one myth: " Muslim women who cover share the love and longing of all women." I never heard anyone say "a covered Muslim lady must be s3x.ually repressed or as3xual." Not once. However, I do hear opinions that covering the woman from head-to-toe is a repression in that the covered woman is like a shadow ghost, and that seems to be repressing women as in oppression? But this writer is clever, and makes "repression" into "s3x.ually repressed" which is not what most of us think when we see a Muslim woman covered from head-to-toe. We think of other kinds of repression. Why not address that?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  11. bernard MIlan

    For anyone who is interested in slamming islam, I suggest that you grab a book and educate yourself. This is a comment from a Christian Catholic.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom

      Agree with your point. But your reference to Christian Catholic confuses me as I have yet to meet a non-Christian Catholic...me included.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  12. Dhulfiqar

    I'm a Muslim - and this article is dumb. Yes - I have talk like a child because this "research" is very childish. Stop reacting to Islamophobes. Stop trying to "fit in." Be yourself. Is that too hard?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • durundal

      have you ever dealt with a 'small town' american? Im guessing not, hopefully you wont have to deal with that bigoted,intellectually sluggish can of worms

      February 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Deenul Islam

      Agree! Many Muslims are trying to show America "THE REAL ISLAM". From shows to articles. Muslims need to stop trying to fit into Americas standards and we also need to stop trying to impress and fit in with those who despise us. Where are the Muslims that live accordingly to the Quran and Sunnah? I don't see an completely hijabbed up sisters or khamis/kuffi wearing brothers on the media... fitting in?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  13. Reality

    The real Islam:

    Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.

    "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."

    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some excerpts:

    "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

    "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."

    "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."

    "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

    February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • rush

      You must be stupide and that is all I can say...

      February 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • rush

      You must be stupid and that is all I can say...

      February 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Anastrophe

      Good copy/paste skills.... void of substance....

      February 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • durundal

      Now imagine what kind of horrible picture you could paint in suburban, or even low income/trailer tastic america.

      Grow up you bigoted fool, I grow tired of you puny comprehension of the world

      February 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Very funny

      Calling someone "stupide" . . . nice faceplant!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  14. gager

    5 myths, ok now it's time for all the truths.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • AhhPures

      Really. Every time an article is written trying to put a good face on Muslims, it somehow seems to fall flat. The American people, let's say the majority of the American people, will never feel comfortable around Muslims, and that my friends, is no myth.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • gager

      I prayed that you would go away but you're still here. Prayer doesn't work.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      Talking to yourself usually does.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • CatSh

      Prayer works for all religions – figure that one out.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  16. Terry G

    Could care less what the Muslims do, except all leave America and don't come back!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Bob

      Could care less about your bigoted opinion

      February 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Larry David

      Bob – then why did you comment?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Daniel

      You do realize we are a nation built on immigrants, yes?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • gager

      Bob, what is bigoted about wanting to live in a country free from Islam?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Reality

      Giving credence to Terry's comment:

      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. "

      February 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • AhhPures

      Bob, its too bad you aren't American enough to understand that we are free to have our opinions and to express them openly. A reference to a particular group of people is far less hateful than your attack on one individual person, so please leave America if you are here.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • durundal

      welcome to american, where you have the right to be wrong

      February 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • David

      You know, when you say "you could care less" that means you do have some feelings of caring, since you leave open the possibility of caring less. I think what you meant to say is "I couldn't care less." Just saying. Oh, and America is a democratic republic (for now), which means people of all creeds, beliefs can be Americans; that you can have a differing opinion and still be a patriot, still be an American. Someone who would deny another their freedom because of a difference in religion or opinion – now _that_ is Unamerican, and such a person is the one to leave, if anyone was to leave, But since this is a free (for now) country, you can say something unAmerican like you did and still have the right to stay here. Democracy is messy folks.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Bob

      gager – if your question is meant to be serious, then you too are a bigot

      February 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Bob

      Reality – maybe you should try a similar list for Christianity...

      February 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • HLN

      Ain't that cute when Muneef tries hard to come across as Bob.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      from M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

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

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      February 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  17. Levi

    yeah what this doesn't mention is the gay muslims get beheaded after an insanley primitive trial consisting of licking a hot sword and wether or not their tongues swell to determine life or death.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Anastrophe

      You sound like an expert on Islamic legal procedures. You should write a book.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  18. Russ

    The word "Islam" means 'submit' or 'voluntary submission to God.' Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the notion that God is love or that love is a primary trait of life utterly foreign to the Koran? That is true of the Christian God, but not Allah.

    The way Allah relates to humanity is through power. Faithful Muslims submit. And if that is how Allah does relationships, so with Allah's followers... right?

    I'd like to hear from someone who actually believes the Koran on this one. Isn't love ancillary for a Muslim?

    February 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Truther

      Good point, will be interesting if you get a response to that from a Muslim.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • AhhPures

      You won't be hearing from any Muslims on this, at least not honestly.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      (pssst.... they're actually all arguing about the same god!)

      February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      (pssst) – their myths have equal credibility!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Myfairlady

      I'm a Muslim, and I have a whole lot to say.

      First off, Islam doesn't mean submit. It means peace. It comes from the Arabic roots "salama" which means peace. When Muslims greet one another, they say "Asslamu Alaykum" which means "May Peace Be Upon You"

      Yes, in Islam you are supposed to submit to God, but its not a forced submission. No one can be coerced into being a Muslim, and if there is coersion involved, that is NOT legal in Islam. Anyone who does that is acting of their own ignorance, not what it says in the Quran.

      The most beautiful thing about Allah and Islam is the abundance of Mercy-Islam is not a religion built on fear and punishment and punitive actions. It is not about an unforgiving Lord. Islam, the TRUE Islam, is about the mercy of God and the love He has for His creation. Allah has 99 names and the majority of them are "The Giver of Gifts", "The Merciful", "The Most Kind", "The Beneficient", "The Most Gracious"

      If Allah's names are all built around characteristics that cannot exist without the presence of love, then we can hardly say that love is ancillary in Islam. In fact, the very nature of Islam is built on love.

      I'd like to also say that I am someone that has studied the Bible and the Quran, as well as the lives of the Prophet. In fact, there is more in the Quran about Jesus than there is about Muhammed. These are things that society often neglects without picking up the Quran and talking to a Muslim, which is highly problematic and something our society needs to remedy.

      Just my two cents.

      February 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  19. Jim

    The points are well taken, but 200 responses is hardly a representative sample.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Bob

      I agree – You can find anecdotal evidence of just about anything.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  20. Summer

    Who's gives a flying S**t about the myths of Muslim's love lives.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Levi

      clearly you do to be on this post.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      Anyone who may take an interest in the world around them, and not just their narrow viewpoints?

      Just a guess.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
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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.