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My take: What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran?
Saeed Abedini, with his 4-year-old son, was sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison.
February 9th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

My take: What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran?

Editor’s Note: Qasim Rashid is a national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Follow him on Twitter @MuslimIQ.

By Qasim Rashid, Special to CNN

When will Iran's government and clerics stop running from the truth that their religion - which they call Islam - would be unrecognizable to the Prophet Mohammed?

On the mere allegation that American pastor Saeed Abedini evangelized Christianity, Iran threw him in front of a member of its Revolutionary Court, whom many have called a “hanging judge.” Abedini now faces eight years in prison, which is nothing short of reprehensible, immoral and cowardly.

If Iran’s purpose was to protect what it thinks is Islam, it has failed.

In 1902, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, courageously declared, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its weakness in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

Thus, in using force to counter Abedini’s alleged evangelism - an oppressive act alien to Islam - Iran’s religion cuts only its own throat.

If Iran’s purpose was to silence Abedini, it has failed. More people worldwide now know of him, his message of Christianity, his struggle and his passion than ever would have otherwise. Iran has given Abedini a loudspeaker that he never could have built on his own. Thus, while trying to silence Abedini's message, Iran’s religion silences only itself.

If Iran’s purpose was to honor Prophet Mohammed, it has failed. The message it has given to the world is one of intolerance and fear, characteristics alien to Mohammed's example of love and pluralism. Iran’s act does more to dishonor the prophet than Abedini ever could. Thus, by cowardly, hypocritically and ignorantly demonizing Christianity, Iran’s religion makes only itself look hideous.

As a practicing Muslim, I’m not sure what religion Iran practices, but it has nothing to do with the Islam that my Prophet Mohammed taught.

And what exactly did Mohammed teach?

My Mohammed declared in writing to St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai, “This is a message from Mohammed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. … The Muslims are to fight for them. … Their churches are to be respected. … No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant until the Last Day.”

My Mohammed championed the Quranic commandment to protect all houses of worship, including churches. “Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made - because they have been wronged. … Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is God’ - And if God did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of God is oft commemorated” (22:40-41).

My Mohammed returned to Mecca peacefully and victoriously and, citing Prophet Joseph’s noble example, graciously forgave all his persecutors. While Mecca exiled Mohammed only for his faith, Mohammed now protected the rights of all to stay in Mecca regardless of their faith. But with one condition: that freedom of conscience remain free for all people, Muslim or not.

Had Iran followed Prophet Mohammed's Islam, no such “hanging judge” would exist, no such eight-year prison sentence would exist, and no such restrictions on Abedini’s peaceful preaching would exist.

So give it a rest, Iran. You’ve been running long enough. Your so-called religion honors neither Islam nor Prophet Mohammed, nor will it ever silence other faiths.

Stop running, Iran, or you’ll bleed yourself dry.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Qasim Rashid.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Iran • Islam • United States

soundoff (568 Responses)
  1. Skorpio

    The Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church consists of more than 20 Catholic churches, all in fully communion with Rome. In theory, ANY Catholic Eastern rite or Catholic Orthodox Patriarch could be elected as the new Pope. perhaps an Arab Pope would trigger millions of new Muslim converts to Christianity and diminish world Islamic madness, violence, terrorism and discrimination.

    February 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Fernando Najera

      Very interesting theory... It would be worth exploring.

      February 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  2. Fka

    Some have quoted a few of the verses of the Quran out of context . My request to them is to try to go through the remaining 6300 verses before judging the teachings of the Quran and Islam. The barbarism seen in the world ever since the world has come into being has nothing to do with only religion but with the human race it self

    February 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  3. I love Muhammad

    Great article. This is the Muhammad I know and follow. I live by his example. Quran introduces us to the same Muhammad. Most westerners do not seem to know him and sadly even his followers, like you mention, have forgotton his true message. His message was nothing but peace and love for all mankind. Thanks for writing this peice.

    February 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Tides go in, Tides go out..you cant explain it...B. O'Really

      Thats the beauty of religion, dont like the versions out there...create your own....What's the risk?.

      Historical Muhammad was a typical despot...He ordered his followers to raid, kill any who did not convert... later as his influence grew- he when on his own crusade... taking of much of the middle east by force. Soon after his death Islam spread/invaded N. Africa and Spain .... 350 years before the launch of the first Christian Crusade...and made several attempts at the Balkans over roughly a thousand years.... A peaceful religion?... hardly.... our media is bombarding us
      with the peaceful antics of ' a few bad apples'.

      Like Christianity, Islam is drenched in blood. ..... worst part of it is, none of these religions are true....all over nothing....

      February 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  4. meifumado

    Funny the guy who wrote this article says "My Mohammed declared in writing"
    Dude your mohammad was illiterate not to mention he was a bloodthirsty pedophile warlord who plagiarized the three religions of the area in order to invent his own religion in order to control all the people he conquered

    February 11, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • aliusa

      Can you validate all your claims? Thanks.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  5. ronvan

    MY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: WHY is it that, reported, there are over a billion Muslims in the world, YET, the small, radical, "terrorist" , few represent the many? WHY, as commented by many, IF, the Qur'an states that all the infidels should be wiped out, and this is wrong, and Islam is a religion of peace, have their religious leaders remained silent? WHY have the MANY remained silent? WHY, would anyone follow its teachings, that seem to show, that killing men, women, children, of your OWN peoples & the infidels, gains you access to "the kingdom"?

    February 11, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • Reality

      I ditto your comments.

      February 11, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  6. Brian Macker

    May have been peaceful? Not if the Qur'an is accurate. Not if the other religious texts of Islam are true. The man was a butcher, and you think him possibly peaceful. He instigated trouble and when others tried to quell his mischief he murdered them. He chopped the heads of all males in one tribe because he suspected a couple from that tribe of warning some of his other planned victims of an impending attack. LOL, peaceful????

    February 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • aliusa

      Chopped off heads? Proof?

      February 11, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  7. Roz

    Regarding having guns in the pews of Churches, what is the government thinking? YOU are allowing anyone to bring a gun into a church? Then you are really "out of it". You will then have criminals in the vhurch, also, as THEY will be one of the many brining a gun into the church. Really, President O., you really need to take MORE time on this gun restriction.
    Is this what you want? To kill all Amercians and put America in the hands of the enemy???????

    February 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  8. Roz

    The US government needs to assist in making it possible for this pastor to come home. He is a US citizen and deserves
    to be helped by the US> IF Obama can appoint arabs to his staff, then for God's sake, he can bring home a citizen. Why the hell is he waiting for and where are his values?

    February 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • aliusa

      He's also an Iranian citizen. Dual citizen. Arabs and Persians aren't the same people. One group is semetic and the other is Aryan (Iran sounds like Aryan).

      February 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  9. LAST DAY

    The GOD of Moses and Jesus and David and Muhammad is the same ONE GOD;

    here is the ultimate MATHEMATICAL and SCIENTIFIC most powerful and superb Proofs:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    "UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES"

    February 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Reach

      Moses was Moses, David was King David but Jesus is God's ONLY son. The only one that die for humanity and rose from the dead to give us eternal life and that is in Him because His is ALIVE. No one rose from the dead just Jesus. He will come back again and you will see Him before the big judgement . Remember before was the law's era, today we are living the grace era but soon will the judgement.

      February 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  10. tttttfff

    That's a very nice Muhammad, i wouldn't mind having a beer with him... oh wait.

    February 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  11. paul46

    I like this article a lot. Back in the 80’s I lived in Indonesia for half a year. I was an atheist. I had a Muslim friend, & yes, it is true—he did try to convert me. Oddly, he tried to convert me to Christianity. He said that in America we were ignorant of Muhammad, yet we had all grown up with Christianity. He said I would be held accountable for rejecting Christ. I believe a Muslim saved my life. Thank you for this article, Qasim Rashid.

    February 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      You are also a moron, because you can openly be an atheist in the US and no one is going to kill you.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  12. Surthurfurd

    In one article a Muslim promotes high morals. In another article a Christian promotes high morals. In the discussion sections most of the posters oppose high morals.

    February 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Tides go in, Tides go out..you cant explain it...B. O'Really

      High morals being what exactly? Because most non believers can easily take the moral high ground in these debates.

      Islam and Christianity are human rights disasters... wherever they take hold people are killed at worst and marginalized at best. Islam today still beheads people for apostacy – if not on the national level then at the village/local level (saudi arabia, Iran) , still burn people to death for witchcraft (indonesia and saudi arabia), Draw the prophet and earn yourself a death sentence from the Clergy, Write a book critical of islam and get the same deal, write a magazine article expessing concern about the rise of islam in your country and have your throat slit on a public street in YOUR own country....

      Islam, Christianity, Judaism are pure filth. Nobody should respect anything these religions say.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  13. Abdul the Goat Hurder

    Mohammed ( PBuH) would have beheaded him without further discusion .

    February 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Adeel Ahmad

      Why would Prophet Muhammad behead the priest without any further discussion?

      When you look to the eleventh paragraph, where it is written,
      "My Mohammed championed the Quranic commandment to protect all houses of worship, including churches. “Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made – because they have been wronged. … Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is God’ – And if God did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of God is oft commemorated” (22:40-41)."

      One can clearly see the Prophet's respect for a pluralistic society, including Judaism, as well as Christianity.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      O why did he ethnically cleans the entire Saudi peninsula expelling or slaughtering ever Jewish tribe, and forcibly converting all idolators? He was not above lying to the enemy and this was an instance of that. The Quran does not call for a pluralistic society but one of Muslim masters and non-Muslim Dhimmis.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  14. El Flaco

    On balance, I think that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been a lot more trouble than they are worth. It would be a better world if none of them had ever existed.

    February 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  15. Fil

    What would Muhammad do? Put him to the sword, of course!

    -
    Cohen the Barbarian

    February 10, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Not Fil

      The Prophet Muhammad condemned violence and would never resort to it until attacked upon.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Baloney, he only quoted peaceful stuff to trick his enemies. Later his true colors came out. He was a butcher who advocated genocide, and practiced it with sayings like "Kill them wherever you find them".

      February 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  16. Love, not fear

    Did you even read the article?

    February 10, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  17. Kebos

    What would Mohammed do? That's easy! He would have had him executed.

    February 10, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  18. truthordare7

    Muslims are full of lies. Wherever they go, they bring intolerance, fear, murder, war, and destruction of society. Look around middle east, it is a cesspool of violence and intolerance afganistan, iraq, egypt, Syria, lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia (exporter of evil). Look at India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Look at Europe; england with Sharia law in practice, Holland, etc infested with muslim dogmacy and intolerance. America is feeling a little bit too. Now, it is spreading into areas that were free from muslim intolerance before Burma, Thailand (of all places). It is a virus that brings nothing useful to humanity but death,intolerance, pain, and destruction. Look around you.

    February 10, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • Fladabosco

      Your post is full of lies. I live in a neighborhood full of Muslims. They are nice normal people. They know I am not Muslim and we have had many affable discussions of it. We drive each others' kids around. PS: Christians don't have such a good track record on how they treat other people. Here's s tiny list: the Inquisition, pogroms, the trial of Joan of Arc, European colonialism, American invasions of Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq and our cold wars in Guatemala, Nicaragua, etc.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:43 am |
    • Love, not fear

      Could you take the word "Muslim" out of your post and replace it with the name of other religions? Just wondering. All representatives of all religions could step it up a notch, maybe? Or is it (again, sadly) easier to demonize people and religions that are different then yours? But, strangely enough, religions all eerily similar... With a common thread of love. Wonder what their point is...

      February 10, 2013 at 6:57 am |
    • Reality

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

      And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

      The koran, mohammed's book of death for all infidels and muslim domination of the world by any means.

      Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

      Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

      Until then, no muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      o
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      February 10, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  19. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    What would Zarathustra have to say about Muhammed's spurious religion supplanting what the Persians had been following for centuries? A spurious religion, mind you, that was ripped off of cousin Israel's spurious religion that was ripped off of preexisting Egyptian, Persian, Greek, etc. religions, that themselves were ripped off of preexisting religions from......

    February 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I should say half-brother Israel, not cousin.

      February 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  20. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Why did this article not start AND END with:

    In 1902, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, courageously declared, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite..........Oh, right!

    February 9, 2013 at 11:36 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.