My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

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Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Christianinpain

    Dear All
    I am a Christian living in Muslim land , its very easy for people to analyse Islam from their bed rooms in USA. i challenge all those to live in Muslim lands are try to practice their faith freely .... u will get your answer very soon. Please this is my practical experience in living in Muslim land for the past 30 years its a living hell please stop telling the world Islam is peaceful , i challenge you its not.
    also the Muslims do blasphemy about bible very day , they claim it is corrupted & that Jesus was never crucified if you are a Christian what will you feel when every one in ur office & school says you are liars & follow the cursed faith as we are the cursed one in Quran. Please open your eyes people! please stop protecting Islam from your bed rooms.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Farid

      Which Muslim land do you live in? and if you hate it so much, why have you been living there for 30 years?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      Dear ChristianinPain: I am sorry that the experience you had was not good, living amongst a majority who claim Islam as their religion. But I too am in pain, brother, as a Muslim, as I live in a Christian nation, where it is difficult and painful to practice Islam. In Tennessee, they set fire to a mosque. In Florida, vandals burned the home of a couple who went to our mosque and wrong anti-Arab ephiphets on the walls.... That family was from Bosnia–and had come to the USA to escape the city where 10000 muslim men and boys were executed. 🙁 Recently, a Sikh was killed in America, because they "think" he was mistaken for a Muslim. To make matters whose, idiots who call themselves Muslim (many from foreign nations) burn my flag, insult my country and insult my leaders....? They are egged on by their politician and sometimes people who, like you, who have had painful experiences of their own–many having lost relatives in Iraq–or Bosnia. And yet, I know, in America, I've fared better than some in Muslim lands.... which is a shame, as it's as bad in America as I ever wanna see it get. All I can tell you is, I am not here to bother you. I do not believe it should be this way. We are living in America, in the 21st Century, and with some of these ignorant comments. All I can tell you is that I don't know a place in the world where it is easy for a person from a minority religion to exist. It's probably better in America than most places. That is what I've concluded from my bedroom.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Salem

      A poorly created piece of fiction.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Adam

      There are more than 1 million Armenian (orthodox Christianity) living in harmony in Iran with their Muslim neighbors. No church burning there!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • JOHn

      I quiet agree with you The author has no idea whats going on around the world , he is in America and still has not felt the heat, he is ignorant of the persecution of people of every religion recently a small girl was charged with blaspheme in pakistan and faced death it was later discovered that she was falsely implicated , by putting torn pages of the Quran , in the bag by the religious head of the mosque, the Motive was to instill fear so that Christian will leave the Village. Many Hindus are now seeking assylum in India who are facing persecution, The author has not seen the bomb blasts that had taken in India where people were killed , and those who survived live like vegetables for the rest of their lives . KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE IS NO JUSTIFICATION PROMOTING RELIGON. The author should go all around the world and talk to the people who have suffered , and take their views, and not give advice on what we have to choose. Enlighten yourself . Seek the truth and the truth shall set you free.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  2. Adam

    Almost any terrorist acts in USA last year or so were done by white Christians (Hitting IRS building with plane, Arizona Congress woman, Colorado Theater, Sikh Temple, Holocaust Museum, High School shootings, New Jersey Grocery, etc..). Add to that the white Christian Terrorist in Sweden!

    September 17, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Mallarde

      Arizona Congresswoman? Are you kidding, that guy is schizophrenic? He does not know Ronald Reagan from FDR. That undermines your whole point.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      While Americans like me gasp in horror as our embassy burns in Libya, we forget that someone burned a mosque in Tennessee, and a guy killed a Sikh, thinking he was a Muslim, just last month.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Adam

      To Mallarde,

      Thanks, you nailed it! Then why don't you accept that many of those Muslim Terrorists are also either psychopaths or criminal? They only use their religion as a way of justifying their action, i.e. give a reason to otherwise a criminal act!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  3. cjgenosky

    You know how you know Islomobopbia exists? Look at all the experts above who became overnight sensations with there skimming of the Koran interpreted by the internet. Before 911, 90% of the people on this topic had no idea what the Koran was or where Afghanistan was and the worst joke you word hear was about a cashier at a 7-11 or something ugly like towel head.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      I had to laugh. As a Muslim, I used to buy (you're going to think I'm nuts) books on the subject of Islam, written by "experts"–people with the first name of Peter or John (I know, I know, I have to be careful, as some could be Muslim, just like me)! Still, reading their textbook conclusions was just insane. I point anyone who cares to understand the difference between reading internet interpretations of Islam-to a source that I found to be quite good, in English: the Koran for Dummies, written by Sohaib Sultan. It does a lot to explain not only Islam, but does a lot to explain the controversial subjects surrounding Islam that freak most westerners out that really are wild mis-statements about our religion. I found it to be helpful as it summarizes all the "complaints" common about Islam–and projects forward the truth that Muslims are taught. YOu may not believe it, or wanna convert (not the intention anyway) but you may think twice before listening to the "gossip mill" some of which is running on this blog and gets repeated by Evangelicals... (e.g. Muslims are taught to lie...blah blah blah)

      September 17, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  4. KristaSeddique

    @GrimReaper: Wishing me to hell does nothing to solve the problems... does it? And when I'm gone, there will be another Muslim to deal with unless you propose a "Final Solution" like the whole of Europe did, ultimately with Jews. Now, at least I know how Jews in the 1930's began to feel when they could do nothing "right." So, are you going to give me a crescent moon to wear next? Do I get to ride a train to Levenworth Kansas too–where I will never be heard from again? Jeez, people, wake up. Do Grim Reaper's comments have any place in American (or any) Society–any more than Bin Laden? Why does Bin Laden's words trump all the billons of the rest of our voices, as peaceful Muslims? Because his sold papers? Who wants to listen to me console Christians and Jews and tell them that they are great people and that our religion comes from the same well-spring? Really, you all want to hear that? I wish you did, but I am beginnin' the think otherwise, after reading the typical "where are all the good Muslims"... it's like listing to the song "where did all the cowboys go...."?

    September 17, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • ifn

      if'n the us gov. and co. didn't need the money from the wars, and the oil to feed the machine, than noone much would notice that muslims are different from christians, whom are different from jewish, yet all the same, except some where robes, and some don't. most is usa get that all is delusion anyway, so why not everyone pray for peace on some day that all agree on, personally i like taking fri through monday to celebrate all the major religions in a variety of catagories call for restful, peaceful sabbath days. maybe we could all just pick one day to fight, as long as no-one got hurt ceptin their feelings perhaps, and then we could all celebrate sabbaths the rest of the day.
      what say?

      September 17, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  5. Farid

    To all Americans, you are being decieved as to Islam. You are being decieved just as much as my fellow Muslims are being decieved as to the USA. There are people out there that are served by pushing "the Clash of Civilizations" agenda on both sides, Western and Muslim. It may due to keeping the focus off of Israel's policies in the West Bank, or maybe justification of a large military budget, or maybe political advantage that can be gained by Christian or Muslim fanatics trying to gain more power in their respective political systems. Please Americans, do not fall for it. Right now, America is hugely popular in Libya because America stood for what was right and helped despose of a tyrant. Egyptian students look up to the USA and based many of protests to strive for the Democracy of the USA. Don't let those who have agendas push it on you.

    As for my fellow Muslims, please show the real courage to control yourselves when others are pushing you for an emotional, non-thinking response. You are falling fall into the hands of the ultimate deciever who wants you to act violently, without thinking. Real courage is improving yourself day in and day out, not taking frustrations out others.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • KristaSeddique

      @Farid. I was born in this country. I have lived outside the USA for more than 10 years, working for my American country. I have met Arab and Muslims all over the USA, Europe and North Africa. I have a close story to Christopher Stevens–I fell in love with North Africa. Everything you just said is true, as I know and have witnessed it with my own eyes. Farid is as right was they come, people. Don't fall for the lie that there is some clash that none of us can overcome. Do not fall for a cycle of violence. Seek each other out and do your best to take control of this conversation BACK from the media, who have been irresponsible on both sides (ours and theirs, abroad). CNN has had exceptionally good coverage this morning. Please, people, I beg you not to destroy what we have in this country–which is PEACE.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Mallarde

      But it is too satisfying to hate and to riot. They will never stop. And that is fine, so long as enough to not come here that they can riot in our cities.

      If you want to try to change them, go over there and try. I for one am not interested.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  6. Wilson

    Kat said Christians started a war in Sudan.... nop! Christians was PERSECUTED for years and they just got it as defense, do you know how many Christian died there before? The truth is islam are a violent religion, there is the violent laws they have as the apostasy law, are you going to defend it too?
    About Busted question on how to put somebody's head on internet, your question is the same cynic question the muslim perpetrators does to the poor people they kill: They divert the reality to some silly questions.... there is a graphic one in you tube, you can see by yourself, with those pacifists imans reading from quran why he is being killed, or even better, what about the one showed largely few months ago of they executing a woman on cold blood?

    September 17, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  7. Just released breaking news

    September 16:

    A prominent political analyst says that several groups including American Mormons in the CIA and Zionists are behind the controversial recent anti-Islam film made in the US, Press TV reports.

    “I would identify two or perhaps three components, the first is a Mormon mafia inside the CIA, the group of Mormon high officials of the CIA who want Romney to become president and they think that by having the kinds of events that we are seeing, they can make Obama look bad in front of the American public,” Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley told Press TV during an interview on Saturday.

    According to Tarpley, the group follows Brent Scowcroft, who used to be “the right hand man of Henry Kissinger”.

    The analyst said that the second component consists of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud party and "a group of neocons who have attached themselves to the Romney campaign”.

    “I would add probably the Saudis, probably the Saudi religious and monarchy, hierarchy,” he added.

    He further pointed to ties between “Sam Bacil or Nakula Basseley Nakula”, the man claiming responsibility for the blasphemous movie and Media for Christ's Joseph Nasrallah, a Coptic Christian from Egypt.

    Dr. Tarpley also mentioned a series of figures including anti-Islam movie promoter Steve Klein, "Terry Jones, the infamous Qur'an burner", Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes, accusing them of promoting Islamophobia and unrest in the world by supporting such films.

    "Pamela Geller, I think may be the key to this entire thing; she is a professional Islamophobe very close to the Israelis and probably somewhere in the background we might have somebody like Daniel Pipes, a professor who basically has made a career out of harassing four Palestinian professors at American universities."

    --Courtesy: Press Tv

    September 17, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  8. Pat

    Most people in the Christian community do not take Brian seriously. He will tell you that you can't even understand the Bible, which is funny that he uses to the Bible to explain how Christians should act. He is a false teacher.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Gregg

      And yet you state nothing to refute a single thing he said. It almost sounds like you are trying to discredit the messenger because you can't find fault in the message. I mean really, living for peace, loving your fellow man, and respecting others no matter what their religious beliefs. Gee those all sound so anti-christian right? You claim he is a false teacher and yet it seems you who have been fooled by the false one.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Adam

      So it is not just Islamophobia but also character assassination!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Adam

      So his teaching of "BLESSED are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" is the false teaching? I sure Yearn for good old Christianity talking about love not hate!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  9. Randy

    Wow!!! Poor timing. Willingly Ignorant statements. So, simply put. Christians are dying daily as Martyrs at the hand of Islam and other religions. This is a FACT. Christian MArtyrs die spreading the Love of CHRIST. Feding the poor. Educating the poor. Caring for and embracing the poor of nations all over the Earth. This is a FACT.

    Martyrs of Islam die, spreading hate, killing the innocent men,women and children, hoping to use fear and force to spread thier hate and oppression. This is a FACT.

    So may be it is time to say, Islam in many of teh nations and in many of its forms is something to fear and keep at bay??

    September 17, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Kat

      you hang out too much in christian anti-islam sites

      September 17, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Moses

      Islam is violent, vicious and unforgiving. The US should bar muslim facilities from Tax-free status. KAT is clueless - they need to read the news.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  10. Kat

    Here's what the Koran really teaches in situations like this. those violent demonstrators are ignorant of their religion and islamic teachings:

    “when you hear the verses of Allah being held in defiance and ridicule, you are not to sit with them until they talk about something else” 4:140

    “when they (believers) hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: “to us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant” 28:55

    “the servants of god the most gracious are those who walk on earth in humility and when the ignorant address them, they say “peace”" 25:63

    “you shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in yourselves, and you shall hear much that will grieve you from those who received the book before you as well as from those who disbelieved, but if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil – then that will be a determining factor in all affairs” 2:186

    “”oh my lord! truly these are a people who will not believe”. so you (muslim) turn away from them, and say “peace”, they soon shall they know” 43:89

    “obey not the unbelievers and hypocrites and heed not their annoyances. but put your trust in god” 33:48

    September 17, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Moses

      Yeah, right .

      September 17, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Wilson

      what about the apostasy law? It's pacific? Which muslim country does NOT apply it? Do you want me to cote you many and many verses of koran about the violence? What about se second class citizens if you do not pay your worship to this guy?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Mohammed

      Thank you Kat for showing the true teachings of Islam.

      Thank you

      September 17, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • JOHn

      Its so beautiful in words ,Just wish your brothers put it into ACTION AND PEACE WILL PREVAIL ON EARTH

      September 17, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  11. roya

    I am a non practicing muslim. I mean I was born a muslim never accepted it myseld. As woman, and as a mother I cannot accept a religion where the profit of god who claims to be a holly man marries a 9 year old!!!!!!!! And unfortunately every time this question has came up , muslim leaders has responded with irrational violence and intimidation. majority of people in the muslim world are non believers who do not admitt because of fear of violence.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Kat

      actually muslim leaders have addresses that bogus claim, they show other sources that put his wife's age at 19, not 9. Remember these sources were compiled at least 300 years after the events took place.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • roya

      Kat even marrying a 19 year old for a man over 50 is gross

      September 17, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Kat

      that's not for you to say. She loved him and she related the majority of sayings and deeds in the hadith books.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • roya

      the standing of women in Islam and the conduct of the profit by his several marriages is very questionable.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • ko

      She was 6 when married her and the age is mentioned many times in the hadith. Muslims love to lie

      September 17, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Wilson

      bogus claim? Now they are changing the books.... what about the breast feeding? it's funny!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Salem

      Allow cooler heads to prevail. There must be a whole lot to make films on other than someone else's religious symbol, regardless of the ideology. Any true Moslem, practising or not, will not accept such malicious intents by ignorants, from inside or outside, to tarnish the image of the Prophet. At the same time, let the West sink in its deep moral recesses until they wake up one day and see the light. The point then is, who is starting all this. The more you look back, it becomes evident that the West is not accepting responsibility for its own actions.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Ashkan

      The age is reported between 13 and 19. Remember, Joseph married Mary (Mother of Jesus when she was around 12 years old).

      September 17, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Salem

      Maybe the immediate family Roya was raised in had a lot to be desired. If I am a true Moslem and question some issues in the faith, it becomes my responsibility to research and find the answer, which is in most likeliness matches the Quran and the exemplary life of Mohammad. Instead many of the commentators here, read only enough to make a case against Islam and sit back holding on to their precious conclusion to relieve themselvs from the effort of going deeper and seeing the humanity and humaneness of Islam. Islam can do without you, believe me.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • BJ


      May God Almighty give you and others the strength and courage to move beyond what God gave to you to recognize what is not true. The loving arms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Chris,t are open to you and waiting for you to accept Him into your life.

      For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

      if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

      Agree with God that you are sinful and that you need a change in your life.
      Believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised from the dead.
      Commit your life to Jesus Christ and begin the wonderful journey that He planned for you.



      September 17, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Mohammed

      Dear Ms. Roya,

      You are free to believe in the religion of your choice. No one is forcing you to believe in Islam, and we should all respect your choice. However, please respect ours choice as well. I for one do not believe the story of Ms. Laila Ahmed who seems to claim that the prophet married a 9 year old. First that's because NO Islamic teaching or history book actually claims that. In fact most dates are approximate.

      And just for your information, while it is normal for people to wed at the age of 30 today, people in the old times wedded much much younger. For example, did you know that Marie Antoinette of France was engaged at the age of 10 and her marriage was arranged at the age of 14? I bet you didn't because historians would inform you that this is a normal age of marriage back then. Nowhere in Islamic History was the Prophet considered abusive to his wife. In fact the same wife "Aisha" whom you are referring to is considered great Islamic teacher in mainstream Sunni islam, with millions of Muslims following her teachings about the Prophet's life. This for one should prove that women played a significant role in Islamic history and education.

      However, with this being said. i still believe that it is absolutely your choice to not believe. and we all must respect your choice.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Mohammed

      Ms. Roya,

      In answer to your statement that even a person at 50 marrying a 19 year old is gross. If this is one of the reasons you do not accept Islam does that mean you also do not agree with the law in the U.S, Canada and the rest of Europe? According to these laws, it is permissible for a 50 year old to marry a 19 year old.

      Reality is, this has nothing to do with Islam itself. I will not sit here and convince you to believe in Islam as this is nothing of my concern or business. I respect your opinion. I'm just rebutting to yous claims about my belief.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • JOHn

      You have hit the Nail On the head

      September 17, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  12. Keith

    Why is it that the media has the need to villainize the American people, implying that it is our own fault that the Islamic protesters and killing Americans. Could it not be the Islamic peoples intolerance of any perceived slight that is at fault? Why would our President apologize for some film trailer that was not even made by an American? I think it just adds credence to the belief that our government is responsible. Why not come out and say shame on you for your behavior this is not our fault. Your intolerance of someone else's opinion is the cause of the murder and violence.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • America_is_Best

      People who lead demonstrator and manipulate things overseas are opportunists not much different than our own extreme far right trying to use this unfortunate event as a political win against our president. I don't see any difference between Islamophobics and extreme Muslim overseas. They are 2 sides of the same ugly coin!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  13. David

    It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Kat

      Bush and Ariel Sharon are not muslim. They killed far more civilians.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • David

      That's very original.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • roya

      You are right in the muslim world there is a mojority of non muslims who will not admitt this fact because of fear of terrorist violence or there is a minority of brutal ruthless funadamentalist muslims who have kept everyone in check with the fear of terror.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Adam

      Almost any terrorist acts in USA last year or so were done by white Christians (Hitting IRS building with plane, Arizona Congress woman, Colorado Theater, Sikh Temple, Holocaust Museum, High School shootings, New Jersey Grocery, etc..). Add to that the white Christian Terrorist in Sweden!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • dear friend

      dear friend
      i am sorry to say that u up to now don't know the meaning of terrorist if u see the fact who first made Atom bomb who use atom bomb in world war 2 and how many killed in world war 1 now who is spreading the war in world by different names then certainly u will get ur answer that Muslims are not terrorists . just look around the world that how many Muslims are dying every day in Iraq in Afghanistan in Palestine don't they have the right to fight for their freedom the best example of this is INDIA Muslims ruled their for many years but still number of indoos are high then the Muslims they could convert all of them to Islam by force but they didn't because Islam is the religion of brotherhood,and peace so do ur research on Islam history then say something hope my words didn't heart u .

      September 17, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Mohammed


      i would hate to admit that you might be somewhat right. Today the Media shows that almost all "terrorism" under the modern terrorism definition is only crimes committed by Muslims. However, rest certain, that even though some criminal people in the Muslim world have committed heinous crimes in the name of religion. Many non muslims have also done the same in recent history, under another name unfortunately not defined under terrorism. Let us take Bosnia for example, would you deny that the genocides against Muslims was a terrorist act? I'm not going to speak of Israeli violations, because I don't think many people on here equate a missile on a building containing civilians is equivalent to rockets shot from the other side. Although in real life they are what they are, both heinous and terrorist acts against innocent people sitting in their homes and should be condemned and stopped. However people tend to always define Terrorism as it suits them only.

      You might choose to believe that George Bush is not a Terrorist, but in my opinion he is. He decided to go to war against a sovereign nation without the approval of the United nations and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. And for what? he claimed he was after weapons of Mass Destruction and when there turned out to be non of that, he said sorry I made an ooopsy, then he goes on to say: "Anyways Iraq is better off without Saddam". ???? How on earth is that person not even held accountable for that massive blunder?

      Yes. Saddam was a dictator. He was horrible. But can every nation just up and change leaders as they wish. If the Muslims did that, it would be called an act of terrorism. Right?

      I do not condone terrorism. I am actually completely against violence and a firm believer that people are far better off living in a one world where they can all enjoy peacefully. My parents are from Palestinian origin and yet I have Jewish friends. I don't care if a Jew lives in Palestine and I heard an excellent speech by an Israeli Speaker once who promoted a one state solution for Palestine with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews. In my mind I said, that's perfect. Who wouldn't want this. But in this world unfortunately there are those who do not want that on both sides. Extreme Fanatics Using Islam, and Extreme Fanatics using Judeo-christianity. We are just stuck in between.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  14. krehator

    I just think it is telling that the Islamic community does nothing to condemn or protest radicals who are supposedly misrepresenting Islam...

    Yet, they jump into the fray against anyone else if the criticize Islam.

    As far as I am concerned, they are turning a blind eye to their internal problems which are now global dangers.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Kat

      what is more telling is that the US media fails to report on Muslims condemnation of radicals and terror. While Muslim nations have called the president to apologize about the attacks, not once has the president called them when US drone bombings fall on weddings and civilians homes. While muslim terrorists are hiding in caves and in jails and sentenced to death in muslim nations, the christian radicals win elected in the US and are free to start more wars in the name of Armgeddon, messiah and some $ changing temple in jerusalem,

      September 17, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Free ExMuslim

      Please read the Qur'an.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  15. Wilson

    Kat said there is No churchs being burned daily... ahahahah Not only are church being burned daily on Nigeria, Sudan (do you know what Boko Haran is?) Egypt (poor Coptics) but people are being having their heads cut off and placed on internet! You need to take your head off the send my friend!

    September 17, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Kat

      only according to islamphobic sites. In Sudan, Christian sepatists started a brutal war with support from christians nations all over the world for seperation and muslims recognized their separate state. Imagine the reaction if Muslims demanded separation in a western country.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Busted

      It's amazing you can read this article that criticizes the use of lies to gain followers, then turn around post a message that supports the fact that people are doing this. Also, how do you put someones head on the Internet?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  16. Mark

    I think it is worthwhile to talk about Islamophobia, but this is really not a good time for it. The reality is that the right to produce an idiotic movie about the prophet is as much a centerpiece of the Western culture as the name of Mohammed is for Muslims. There is no Western culture without freedom of expression in the same way as there can be no Islam without its prophet. Granted, islamophobia is nothing to be proud about. But it should also not be used to blind the West to the reality of the current conflict: the clash of cultures, in which there is no right or wrong, no good or bad: only a conflict, in which one side will win.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Farid


      I agree Freedom of Speech is extremely important, but it is easy to have freedom of speech with those you agree with. What if I as a Muslim, put out a film to Pakistan showing the "heroism" of the 9/11 bombers? Would you be so quick to protecty my freedom of speech or if I made a movie showing that the Holocaust was justified and revised history to show the Nazis as "liberators" of their country? Would you still say I have the right to make such films and show them to un-educated, un-informed Muslims as "the truth"? I am interested to hear your opinion.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  17. Jane

    It is sad that this man is given a pulpit by CNN and others. He has decided to use this tragedy to scapegoat evangelicals and ironically uses the same arguments he claims evangelicals use about muslims to tar his own Christian brothers. Those who deceive themselves by listening to this man should realize that he is trying to deflect the blame onto people who have a different ideology than he does. He is also trying to silence criticism of the idiots who went about rioting and destroying propert by changing the conversation. If he really has genuine greivances against evangelicals about islamaphobia why not take them to his target audience such as an evangelical newspaper, in keeping with Christian teaching of settling differences with a brother in the faith.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Mark

      Jane, you can never deceive yourself by listening.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Susie

      Mark, tell that to the German people who listened to Hit ler.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Busted

      I thought he made a good point p;ointing out the lies told by evangelicals to further hate

      September 17, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Adam

      Tell that to those who listened to President Cheney!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Jane

      I try to stay informed by reading all kinds of newsites and magazines from Christianity today, charismanews, cnn to huffingtonpost. The evangelical newpapers do report a lot on the persecution of Christians in other countries which CNN does not (no issue with that as CNN is not a christian news organization ). Some of these countries are muslim or have majority muslim countries. Some examples are the burning of nigerian christian churches,the murder of Fatima al-Mutairi by her brother for leaving islam, acid attack on pastor mulinde an ex-muslim, the increased attacks on the Copts since the muslim brotherhood came into power. Mclaren uses one false example conveniently ignoring the many truthful ones, as if no other newspaper/person has ever printed news which has later been found to be incorrect. Yes, reading or hearing about these abuses is tough but shouldn't we be informed about what's happening to Christians in other countries. I also read about how to love them and pray for the abused and abusers in these same evangelical newspapers. My issue with this article is Mr. Maclaren makes it seem that reporting on islamic aggression is islamaphobic. One poster here called Kat is now saying that reporting muslim abuses is lies and islamapohobic and what do expect when you follow Maclaren's logic.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • Jane

      I try to stay informed by reading all kinds of newsites and magazines from Christianity today, charismanews, cnn to huffingtonpost. The evangelical newpapers do report a lot on the persecution of Christians in other countries which CNN does not (no issue with that as CNN is not a christian news organization ). Some of these countries are muslim or have majority muslim countries. Some examples are the burning of nigerian christian churches,the murder of Fatima al-Mutairi by her brother for leaving islam for christianity, acid attack on pastor mulinde an ex-muslim, the increased attacks on the Copts since the muslim brotherhood came into power. Mclaren uses one false example to smear evangelicals as liars while conveniently ignoring the many truthful ones, as if no other newspaper/person has ever printed news which has later been found to be incorrect. Yes, reading or hearing about these abuses is tough but shouldn't we be informed about what's happening to Christians in other countries or what some of these muslims are doing. I also read about how to love them and pray for the abused and abusers in these same evangelical newspapers. My issue with this article is Mr. Maclaren makes it seem that reporting on islamic aggression is islamaphobic. One poster here called Kat is now saying that reporting muslim abuses is lies and islamapohobic and what do expect when you follow Maclaren's logic.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  18. Naseer

    Vast majority of Muslims do not have any problem with Christians, Jews, Hindus or people of any belief. It is a very tiny minority who want to spread hate. Writer rightfully pointed out that even in Christians you find people who spread hate. In every religion, race and people, you will find some who are extremists. Their objective is to convince the common man that they are right. If someone starts believing that hate will solve the problem, the extremist wins. Unfortunately they find a lot of recruits in illiterate minds and unfortunately literacy rate among Muslims is the lowest. Hence, they are easy targets for this extremist ideology.

    Question is, "Do we want the extremists and terrorists to win". I am sure all sane minds will say "No". Solution in my opinion is what the writer is attempting. Spread a message of love and peace in line with the teachings of Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Gotum Budh and Mohammed. One more important thing is to spread knowledge and literacy. That is how we can fight ignorance and extremism. We want peace for all.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Adam

      Well said. Unfortunately, far right is not interested in peace. They love turmoil, that is how they thrive!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  19. Hate vs Hate

    All this hate makes me woozy and mass war is beginning yet again in the name of god(s) based on what their holy texts teach them.

    Quran (2:191-193) – "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."


    "14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek (the first Arabic peoples according to the bible, historically the Amorites and the Canaanites and those that originated near Mecca) from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord Jacob! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17)

    We have two religions that BOTH FORMED BECAUSE OF THEIR HATRED OF EACH OTHER IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THEIR WARS OF ANTIQUITY both to this day calling to annihilate the other.

    The Quran was written in 632 CE
    The oldest books in the Bible were written in 800 BCE
    The Torah was written in 600 BCE
    Jerusalem was founded between 3800-5000 BCE
    It was invaded by to be King David to form the Kingdom of Israel in 1100BCE
    Jericho was settled as early as 11000 BCE
    Jericho was destroyed in 1600BCE no evidence by whom.
    The Israelites didn't rule that whole land until 1006 BCE.

    So as you can see, the wars were happening before the religions were formed around them and to describe them from their respective points of view.

    The wars continue because the religions are in opposition to each other, and have been hating each other before the religions were invented, and will continue to hate each other until those societies start behaving like WE EXPECT FROM OUR THREE YEAR OLDS!

    The oil just complicates it to the brink of world destruction.


    September 17, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  20. Boohincus

    But the question still remains: whose magical thinking is better? Islam's or Christendom's. Geez, there's a tough one for you.....

    September 17, 2012 at 12:33 am |
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About this blog

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