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Islamic sect has appealing message for U.S. politicians but has global enemies
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, presides over a sermon to his followers in suburban Washington, D.C.
July 7th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Islamic sect has appealing message for U.S. politicians but has global enemies

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – You’ve almost certainly never heard of him, but Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad drew some serious star power at a recent Capitol Hill reception in his honor.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. John Cornyn were among the many lawmakers who showed up to meet Ahmad, a Muslim leader who was in town last week on a rare U.S. visit from London.

At a time when the United States is struggling with its views about Islam – as Islamists gain power in the Middle East and with ongoing concerns about Quran-citing terrorists – it’s not hard to see Ahmad’s appeal to both parties. As he said in his Capitol Hill speech, he has “love for all, hatred for none.”

It’s a sentiment that Sen. Robert Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, echoed in introducing Ahmad, praising the “leadership you have shown to tolerance and to peace.”

It’s not just Ahmad who espouses his can’t-we-all-get-along read on Islam. The 61-year-old is the spiritual leader of the global Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose friendliness toward the West and whose criticism of other Muslims has earned the sect allies at the highest level of the U.S government, even as it faces mortal enemies in other parts of the world.

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Unlike most Muslims, Ahmadis believe that the 19th century founder of their sect was the metaphorical Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

It’s because of that belief that Sunni and Shiite Muslims do not regard Ahmadis as true Muslims. The rift has provoked Egypt to charge Ahmadis with blasphemy, Saudi Arabia to deport them and Pakistan to pass a law that designates Ahmadis as non-Muslims.

Persecuted abroad

On a sweltering recent Friday, a long line of people sat patiently in a mosque on the outskirts of Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington. Despite the heat and humidity, they seemed happy to be there, waiting for a chance to meet the leader of their faith.

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who leads an international Ahmadi community is the sect’s fifth Khalifa, or leader. The group claims tens of millions of followers around the world, but outside experts say the number is smaller, in the millions.

For Ahmad and his followers, their relatively small sect is the real face of Islam, which has more than a billion followers around the world.

“It is time that we, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, should give the real and true picture of Islam,” Ahmad said in an interview inside the Silver Spring mosque. “I will always be talking about peace. That peace is not from myself or some new teaching but it is the true, real teaching which I gather and get from the holy Quran.”

That emphasis, says Ahsanullah Zafar, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, is rooted in a belief that the only jihad worth practicing is against one’s own self – a jihad of self-improvement. The word jihad is often translated as struggle or war.

“Even more important than prayer, which we talk about a lot, is how you behave as a human being,” Zafar said. “It is not physical fighting that accomplishes anything. It is dialogue and the progressivism that leads somewhere.”

Founded in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect is the only Islamic group that believes that a second prophet has come, in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmad lived at a time of great religious upheaval, said Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University.

“In India, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad said that he has the message of the renewal of Islam,” Ahmed said. “Slowly it began to build momentum - it is a kind of spirited, modern version of Islam.”

Ahmed characterized the makeup of the Ahmadis as “very scholarly, very prominent leaders in Pakistan.”

But when the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political party in Pakistan, began to push the country to a more orthodox view of Islam in the 1970s, the Ahmadis were cast out.

Jamaat-e-Islami argued that the Ahmadis did not conform to a key tenet of Islam – the finality of the prophet Mohammed. “That is the elephant in the room for the Ahmadis,” said American University’s Ahmed. “The Ahmadis say that there are two kind of prophets. One is the lawgiver. Then there are messengers who come with a message and not necessarily a new book.”

In light of the crackdown, many Ahmadis began to leave Pakistan, some as religious refugees. Large numbers of Ahmadis now live in Germany, England, Ghana, Canada and the United States, where the Ahmadis claim tens of thousands of followers.

But persecution persists.

In 2010, almost 100 people were killed when two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, were attacked by men armed with hand grenades and AK-47s.

In the U.S. government’s 2012 International Religious Freedom Report, the plight of Pakistan’s Ahmadis was front and center.

“Among Pakistan‘s religious minorities, Ahmadis are subject to the most severe legal restrictions and officially sanctioned discrimination,” reads the report. The same report outlined violence against Ahmadis in Indonesia, where it said that at least 50 Ahmadiyya mosques have been vandalized.

A unique view of Islam

Harsh treatment in various corners of the world has instilled a deep Ahmadi appreciation for life in the United States.

“In America, all these small Muslim communities are flourishing, they love being in America,” said Ahmed. “They are 100% Muslim and they are 100% American.”

Ahmad, the Ahmadis’ current leader, was in the United States for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual convention, which drew 10,000 to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, last week.

“Wherever I go I have one goal … to meet my people,” Ahmad said.

But he was also here to meet politicians and journalists. For the Ahmadis, the scrutiny of American Muslims in the decade since 9/11 has been treated as an opportunity to discuss beliefs and answer questions.

Many in the community came out in favor of Rep. Peter King’s, R-New York, insistence last year on holding congressional hearings on radicalization within American Islam, even as other Muslim groups blasted the hearings as anti-Muslim.

“If the government thinks that congressional hearings will improve homeland security and help expose those exploiting Islam, I assure full cooperation. I, too, aspire to have a more secure America,” wrote Kashif N. Chaudhry, the director of an Ahmadi youth program in the United States, in a New York Times letter to the editor.

Chaudhry was hardly the only Ahmadi Muslim to speak up.

“You need to be with other people, you need to talk about your ideas and in that conversation and discussion, new things arise,” said Zafar. “It is like throwing the seed and putting water on it, you need the seed and you need the water for it to sprout.”

“We need to come together with the people around us in the United States, we need to do that and see how it flowers,” he continued.

The split between the Ahmadis and other Islamic sects is also apparent in how Ahmad, the sect’s leader, talks about extremists.

“Nowadays, Islam is being targeted only because of so-called Muslim groups who claim themselves to be Muslims but are not following the true teachings of Islam,” Ahmad said, speaking of what he calls “fundamentalists Muslims.” “If it is that Islam that is being portrayed by those orthodox Muslims, then I don’t think there is any chance in spreading Islam.”

Using terms like “so-called Muslims,” to refer to some outsiders has not endeared Ahmadis to other Muslims. Leading Sunni and Shiite groups are reluctant to even talk about the Ahmadis.

CNN contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, two major Muslim groups, and neither responded to requests for comment.

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A future in America

Zafar, the leader of the Ahmadis in the United States, said his sect is looking to grow.

The group has an organized media operation and operates three 24/7 satellite-television channels under the name Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International.

The initial purpose of the channels was to broadcast the sermons of the Khalifa, but it also provides other programs in different languages. The Silver Spring mosque is surrounded by large satellite dishes that beam the shows around the world.

In addition to satellite television, the Ahmadis run Islam International Publications, a publishing outfit.

Many Ahmadis are concerned about the version of Islam being portrayed in the media, which they say is too focused on the radical elements of Islam and not focused enough on peaceful Muslims.

“Right now there is a caricature of Islam,” said Zafar. “The biggest challenge I believe in the United States is for Muslims to get out of that image of extremist behaviors which are so popular in the press.”

Ahmed of American University sees the future of the Ahmadis as a bridge between Islam and the West.

“On the American side, they [the Ahmadis] are acting as a positive bridge to Islam and the Americans need that right now,” he said. “And then for Muslims, if they do link up and join mainstream Muslims, they are able to give Islam a link to the world and also help them work out these polemics that are tearing the world apart.”

For now, Ahmadis are stuck in between those two worlds.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Ahmadi Muslims believe their founder was the Second Coming of the Prophet Mohammed. They believe he was the metaphorical Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (1,074 Responses)
  1. Hamburger Head

    Scientology is the true path to enlightenment.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • John

      If you are a hamburger head.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  2. neel

    Be spiritual. Not as Religious bigot. Trust on god. Ask your self you are going right direction spiritually?

    July 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Lilith

      How about you just ask yourself if you're going in the right direction period.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • neel

      Lilith:
      Just look at mother nature. Understand the nature how its work. It is the path to enlightenment. God gave 6th sense to get enlighten. Not just follow somebody blindly. 6th sense is differentiate human and other creatures.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  3. pie)yum

    first of all believing in a prophet after Muhammad makes you not Muslim. secondly how could there be a second coming of Jesus without an Anti-Christ or otherwise know as the dajjal? In Islam Jesus will only arrive once the anti-Christ has shown himself to the world.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  4. Ron

    The big, huge and ultimately unacceptable problem with Islam (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and assorted fanatic nations) is their knee-jerk resort to violence and murderous hatred against whoever doesn't follow their beliefs.

    Islam is truly, sadly and obviously a Religion of Hatred.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • A mormon

      As a fairly open minded person I don't believe that their religion is different than what we have yes. I see it as a religion of tolerances just all these bad people are giving it a bad rap. Muslims I know are very nice and open minded about my religion.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • truth be told

      Mormonism and Islam have more in common than Mormonism and Christianity.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • A mormon

      Trust me we mormon's are way different than Muslims.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • A mormon

      But we do consider our selves Christians because all our beliefs are centered on being like Christ. We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • SpartySam

      You sir are a moron. We've seen examples of American/Christian love in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Phillipines, Central America, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and countless other wrongdoings such as Panama, Iran, etc, etc, Oh what a religion of love American Christianity is.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • unparalleled

      In the end, it's the overpopulation of the region which gas more than quadrupled since WWII that is causing all the friction in the region now. It will continue until the populations are reduced. The war of attrition is a cruel and slow way. Islamism is just a way to channel their frustration and desperation.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • A mormon

      We Christians are not saints either. Look at the crusades, look at other battles that have involved Christians and Muslims the bigotry out at the Muslims is crazy. Do you think we are portraying our religion being bigots and non Christ like a suicide bomber. Their religion is a religion of peace. That suicide bomber is not practicing a Islam he is practicing a twisted version. You guys are practicing right now a twisted version of Christianity by bashing at them. Christ would not have done that he would have respected that belief no matter what they have done. I respect their beliefs I do not see them as a demon cult. I see them as a religon of peace.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  5. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    The freedom to be a good, moral and ethical person without the threat of eternal punishment or reward IS true FREEDOM and true free will !!

    July 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • the best three locations for atheists

      1. In a grave preferably with a self inflicted wound and before they have had opportunity to corrupt the innocent
      2. In a maximum security prison in solitary confinement so as not to corrupt honest criminals
      3. In a hospital for the criminally insane preferably in solitary confinement restrained and gagged to protect those others with some hope of recovery.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      best three locations ... LOL! Thanks for making my point so perfectly!

      July 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      @ best 3 locations..It must be wonderful basking in god's warm love.But didn't you forget the everlasting torture in hell as the fourth location.Dude,your'e making this waaay too easy.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  6. A mormon

    What makes religious people stupid.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • answer

      Mormonism

      July 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • A mormon

      I know it is odd to other people but I do not see mormonism stupid. I see Atheism as view of denial. I see proof of god and my religon all round me. Does an explosion in printing press make a dictionary.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  7. nolimits3333

    The 3 great evils in the world are Islam, the Catholic Church, and the Republican Party.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Doobie Doobie Doo

      Don't forget atheism.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  8. Journey

    Islam was sent to replace Christianity and Judaism...not live beside it. Don't be deceived by these fronts.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      Islam is a demon cult.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  9. unparalleled

    Religion is a cheap psychological opiate that makes people feel good. They have an excuse and a way of entering an altered state of mind where they don't have to face reality. How different is it from using real drugs?

    July 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • ffacts

      islam isn't a religion, instead it is a hate filled cult bent on spreading world wide and killing anyone in its path

      July 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  10. digitaltrauma

    Why are the atheists so angry? They keep making posts and calling religious people names. They group others not like them into categories and demonize and ridicule them. Are there any atheists here that would rather have a constructive discussion on the matter; or do they all just want to belittle and berate people that are different from them?

    July 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Frank

      Can you give an example of atheist hate or are you just playing the poor persicuted Christian majority?

      July 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Lilith

      We try, but you can't have a reasonable conversation with unreasonable people. And we know it is unreasonable to believe in Deities, just look at history it's filled with Gods, demigods, goddesses, etc... all of whom current followers call false. Now, give me a legitimate reason to believe in your Gods.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • unparalleled

      Talking to a religious person is like talking to your foot and expect it to understand what you are saying.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      Here you go;
      "It's all crap no matter how you look at it religion is for feeble minded.Trust in yourself , your family your country and get off the crack pipe of religion ."

      "We are dealing with mentally sick people when it comes to religion."

      "Well said Pete! Fvck religion, what matters is family and friends."

      "Talking to a religious person is like talking to your foot and expect it to understand what you are saying."

      and this is just half of one page. For as horrible as you make religious people sound, I would imagine they are more compassionate then the posters on this forum.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      Calling someone you do not know unreasonable is a better example of the word 'unreasonable'.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Lilith

      digitaltrauma ... I asked you for a "reason" to believe in you Gods .. where is it? That would be reasonable.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Lilith

      Here's on for you digitaltrauma, look a few posts up:

      the best three locations for atheists
      1. In a grave preferably with a self inflicted wound and before they have had opportunity to corrupt the innocent
      2. In a maximum security prison in solitary confinement so as not to corrupt honest criminals
      3. In a hospital for the criminally insane preferably in solitary confinement restrained and gagged to protect those others with some hope of recovery.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      Besides the countless people that are attended to in religious hospitals (Such as myself when i did not have insurance and had a very bad accident. St. Marys took me in and did the operations without demanding money before or after.) Or the people in other countries that are receiving medical, financial and emotional support from followers of faith. Visiting Orphanages in Mexico is a big thing to many high school students of faith where I am from. Living a life not so much dedicated to answering questions through answers, but through actions that show humility, respect and mercy for other people. I am not suggesting that religious people duck answers, quite the opposite really. I went WITH a group of atheist called the inland empire atheists to see the debate between Craig and Hutchinson and Craig did a much better job of answering questions then Hutchinson, even the group I was with agreed to that. But honestly, the debate and demands of proof (even though they exist) are not a religious persons primary concern. Showing perfect strangers like you lilith, that even though I do not know you, I love you. I would be over joyed to see you and share a meal with you. I would like to learn about you and laugh with you. I wish I could do this for all of eternity. Hopefully I will. Love you, D.T.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      I agree with you, those are horrible things to say. I would not like to see any of those come to pass. I understand how the anonymity of internet forums allows people to say hateful things with little repercussion. We can both agree that those statements about atheists are terrible.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • bluey

      Problem with atheists, Digi, is that they just call you names and tell you your stupid, just as the folks have that responded to you. They never give a reason other then "Christians are crazy" or "only weak minded people believe..." never, never, never anything constructive to say, just dribble. But it is written that we will be persecuted for our belief. Bring it on I say, I find atheists amusing to say the least.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • A mormon

      I agree with bluey I have a hard time ignoring proof of god it is all around us.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Diji... Some atheists are jerks.Some believers are jerks.Jerks are jerks.You don't seem to be a jerk,but you are an atheist.There are several religions you think are unbelievable.Most complete atheists just go one religion further.You're close but no cigar.Just yet.One religion to go and you'll be free live an earthly existence.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      ha, I have never been called an atheist before. I feel more like a monotheist honestly. For the sake of this forum I have kept my personal religious allegiance out of it, but I do have one =). As for the comment about jerks being jerks, that is true. But I love them all the same. I have known quite a few, but how great would it be to find at least one thing you and a jerk can share in common and build a great friendship! As for what bluey said, I have 'faith' that people who call themselves atheists can do more than just that, but this is an internet forum, not easy to have long meaningful conversations. I will give them that grace and courtesy.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • bluey

      Don't get me wrong Digi, I have atheist friends whom I love and they are very smart folks. I was simply referring to the atheists who frequent these forums/blogs.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • digitaltrauma

      That's what I thought bluey =). I see your point. The atheists that I know are very intelligent and very educated. They also have families and love them very much. They also want to do good things. They are people just like me, and I like hearing their stories and their feelings. The time on this forum is just too short for that. One time I got to sit down with a Muslim, an atheist and a Buddhist in Claremont right outside of this awesome bakery called "Some Crust" Great cinnamon rolls and even better discussion.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  11. Sam Yaza

    by the way Christians are the ones who turned the Muslim radical in the first place before the "holy" war Muslims we peace loving doctors artiest and scientist

    which God hates

    July 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • bluey

      Might want to look up "Muslim Conquests" online and you might see it differently. Besides I think we're concerned with what's gong on now. I could give a rats who started what 1000 years ago.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  12. Great Abraham

    Later days are here, where is the Messiah, Muslims, Christians and Jews need to open up their eyes and ponder.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  13. Brandon

    Only at CNN.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Frank Airport

    ALL Muslims are haram.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  15. Pete n San Carlos

    It's all crap no matter how you look at it religion is for feeble minded.Trust in yourself , your family your country and get off the crack pipe of religion .

    July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • godisimaginary.com

      Well said Pete! Fvck religion, what matters is family and friends. Not worshiping an imaginary diety that would punish you for disobeying retarded rules.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  16. Lost

    If their beliefs place gender equality as an essential for the improvement of humanity and a cornerstone of human rights, then they have my vote and sympathy. The civilization of any society is determined by the treatment of its women and children. Any society that disallows a man to mature mentally and psychologically beyond that of a selfish 8 to 14yr old, as to what the role of a female should be, is a society that is doomed to failure, disease, violence, and ignorance.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • herbie, get a life.

      .
      .
      .
      .
      .

      July 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things says

      Prayer changes things at prolapaed.net, my website.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • The Templeton Prayer Study

      Temleton Foundation is a religious foundation
      Conclusion of their study:
      Intercessory prayer had no effect on complication-free recovery.
      But certainty of receiving intercessory prayer had a HIGHER incidence of complications (59%).

      July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • herbie

      still no herbie

      July 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Frank

      Hi, I went to your prayer changes normal anuses into prolapsed anuses site and you're right. Is this what prayer does to assholes?

      July 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • sigmundfreud

      Can't you get a more original line? You realize that you've been posting the same nonsense for many many months.

      Your have a life threatening condition. Say your appendix is about to blow. You can do one of two things

      1) Stay at home and pray. That's what people did before modern medicine. Then they died in great pain.

      or

      2) You can go to the nearest hospital where a competent surgeon will remove the appendix quickly and competently. And the surgeon will save your life.

      The surgeon has a far higher success rate than your attempt to telepathically beg the invisible man in the sky to save your life.

      Yup, prayer really changes things .... sorry, I'll vote for the modern surgeon.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  18. unparalleled

    We are dealing with mentally sick people when it comes to religion. Psychologists would call it untreated "Delusional Disorder" (google that one!). Very difficult to cure, and only if the patient recognizes his/her problems as a sickness and is willing to be treated (therapy sometimes helps these people). What needs to be done is prevention – the government should be strongly opposed to any religion, and our children, starting early, need to be taught about the fraudlent and absurd gist of religion. Kids under 18 should not be subjected to religious brainwashing at all. As adults, the kids will hopefully have gained some basic reasoning skills and will see religion for what it is: hogwash. That's all it would take for any religion to die a natural death.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • tagryn

      And for those who refuse to accept your "no religion" doctrine? To the reeducation camps with them, until they see things your way?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reeducation_camp

      July 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  19. unparalleled

    "Atheist" is way to specific to describe rational people (that reject delusional beliefs of any kind and believe in reason and logic, using tools such as evidence, facts, and probability), as disbelief in god is really just a tiny aspect of being normal, rational human being.

    Perhaps we should coin a new, better word to describe those people, such as "realists" VS "escapists" (religious people).

    July 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • the best ti tle for atheists

      ass hole

      July 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      has got to end at atheism

      July 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • godisimaginary.com

      Truth hurts the bests butt.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • herbie, get a life.

      .
      .
      .
      .

      July 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      does end at atheism. Was worried proof would not be available then godisimaginary came along !

      July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • herbie

      There is no herbie

      July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Mark

      It sounds like you are lobbying for a rebranding for the word atheist. Look up Webster theist defn: "belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism)." It sounds like pragmatically, factually, thoughtfully, ... this is an accurate word. What's the problem?

      July 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  20. David

    Obama was muslim raised and muslim named. He is probably the most hated muslim today.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • unparalleled

      Actually, he's way too smart to be religious.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      or re-elected

      July 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • unparalleled

      He will get re-elected. The other option is no option at all.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
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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.