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. TJ

    Sorry chump... but if most of this world had its way, Islam would be nuked into oblivion.... *POOF*

    After all I've witnessed in my lifetime from Islam, I have NO problem with that.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • mason

      Islam is the arch enemy of democracy. It has no concept of separation of church and state. It takes a politically ignorant American to be a Muslim. I really like Mohamed Ali, but he has no idea of the political monster he joined IMO. Islam needs a huge Reformation, but it will never happen.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Louie

      I agree. Islam has always been window dressing for organized crime to take over nations. It's not far different from German National Socialism of the 1930's and 1940's. It would have been a mercy to the Muslim world if we had just conquered them, killed their leaders and retrained their young people many years ago.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  2. Mohammad

    I know you all trying to prove otherwise, but i am a peace loving, law abiding citizen of the land and respectful because of my religion (Allah and his prophet Mohammad).

    February 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • ReadAllReligion

      Read all major religous books, and Quran, Bibe, Torah,,,,,, all have the same mesage of love and peace. The politicians and so called religious leaders abuse religion for their own gain.

      Stay strong bro... no beef with you!

      February 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  3. doug

    If you hate gays convert to Islam now. The Democrat party will force all religions to marry gays or be shut down and charged with a hate crime, except for Islam, it will receive a special waver.

    Besides as Obama stated, all Christians "cling to their guns and religion". I just wonder, millions of Democrats have a new religion Obamism, as Jamie Foxx stated and millions of Democrats agree, Obama is the "lord and savior". As for the clinging to guns part, Chris Dorner and James Holmes, lovers and worshipers of Obama I would say cling to their guns.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Muhammed

    Surah 9 of the Quran.
    Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve.

    9:3 Slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

    9:5 Don't let idolaters tend the sanctuaries. Their works are in vain and they will be burned in the Fire.

    9:17 "Count ye the slaking of a pilgrim's thirst ... as (equal to the worth of) him who believeth in Allah and the Last Day, and striveth in the way of Allah?" Helping the poor is not as important as believing in Islam and fighting in holy wars.

    9:19 ive tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to the rich and greedy Christian monks and Jewish rabbis.

    9:34 Those who are tormented in the Fire will have their foreheads and backs branded.

    9:35 If you refuse to fight, Allah will afflict you with a painful doom.

    9:39 Disbelievers go to hell.

    9:49 "Allah will afflict you with a doom from Him or at our hands."

    9:52 Those who vex the Prophet, for them there is a painful doom.

    9:60 Those who oppose Allah and His messenger will burn in the fire of hell.

    9:63 Allah promises hypocrites and disbelievers the fire of hell. Allah curses them. They will have a lasting torment.

    9:68 Fight the disbelievers and hypocrites. Be harsh with them. They are all going to hell anyway.

    9:73 Allah will afflict disbelievers with a painful doom in this world and the Hereafter.

    9:74 "Theirs will be a painful doom."

    9:79 Those who refuse to give their wealth and lives to Allah will face the fire of hell.

    9:81-83 For disbelievers there will be a painful doom.

    9:90 Non-muslim who pretend to believe (so they won't be killed by Muslims) are unclean and will go to hell.

    9:95 The unbelieving Arabs will be punished by Allah with an evil fortune.

    9:97-98 "We shall chastise them twice; then they will be relegated to a painful doom."

    9:101 Those that ignore Allah will be thown into the fire of hell.

    9:109 Believers must fight for Allah. They must kill and be killed , and are bound to do so by the Torah, Gospel, and Quran. But Allah will reward them for it.

    9:111 Don't pray for idolaters (not even for your family) after it is clear they are people of hell-fire.

    9:113 Fight disbelievers who are near you, and let them see the harshness in you.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Tom

      Tough words from dark ages, stone throwing, illiterate, brain washed zealots....

      February 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, I've got to say the Quran was one of the most boring books I ever read, and the problem is in all that repeti'tion about doom and buring for disbelief with little other interesting content. Unfortunately I suspect this plays a part in the extremist tendencies now seen in the religion. When faced with a choice of the Quran or any on of the more colorful religious texts it would be hardly likely for someone to make a decision to stick with Islam unless faced with some pretty powerful threats. If you want to start a religion, I recommend getting at least one established author and a good editor on board.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mohammad

      You simply too coward to read the entire book with context.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • ReadAllReligion

      I keep all the religious books from all major religions. Just read the surah you mentioned and it seems like you made everything up. Could not anything close to what you wrote.
      You sir, have a twisted mind!

      February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @ReadAllReligion, He exaggerated some of the lines for satirical effect, but it pretty much follows the outline and spirit of the surah as far as I can see.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • not a moment too soon....

      ReadAllReligions can be excused...he/she has the kinder, gentler American version of the Quran that makes no reference to violence.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  5. sidsmith13

    It breaks my heart, when I hear about all the killings and beheadings the "Muslims" do to one other in the Middle East. I personally don't know much about Islam, but I don't think they should be killing and oppressing each other in the way they are doing so now. They are destroying their economies and their people.

    It appears the only one that wins are the corrupt politicians and party followers who end up with all the money, while the people are oppressed.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  6. aliusa

    Ahmadi faith to which this person belongs has a long history of vilifying the Shi'a sect (of which Iranians adhere to). If it wasn't for this anti-Shia propaganda spread by the Ahmedi followers - there was a good chance the Shi'a of Pakistan would have went against the laws that declared Ahmedi as infidels. But instead the Shi'a remained quiet. So this article is no surprise - the Ahmedi have always hated the Shia–especially since they academically exposed the origins of Ahmedi has an imperialist tool to divide and conquer India by splitting the Muslim population.

    But the Shias now, regardless of the differences, come out in the defense of the Ahmedi (unlike this author) and have pushed to revoke the laws that call the Ahmedi infidels in Pakistan.

    Nice article but read the history and you'll see another face of the Ahmediyya movement.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  7. Mohammad

    Quran is the new testament after bible and torah and psalm. Read it – wont harm you or your soul. What are you afraid of? Cowards. You do not even know your own religion better to argue to the contrary. Democracy (capitalism) and wealth has given you all no better common sense and has not taken the fear out of you. You are not good to your own God – look at yourselves before blaming others. You do not understand your own God. Walking like a sheep behind dollar and child molester (priests).

    February 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

    Western educated muslims are the worst. They want illiterate madress grads to go and kill people in name of Allah while they sit behind computers and debate, like Raseed here.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Tufayyur

      meanwhile americans like you support guns and killing little five year old and six year olds

      February 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • agathokles

      It's like you didn't even bother to read the article.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  9. Mohammad

    Iran is no different from house of saud (saudi arabia) or any middle eastern countries or afghanistan. People get justice in minutes that are not liked by the establishment. But worse human roam the streets if he or she has connections to the establishments including rich circles. Only poor and minority members are given swift justice that involves punishment. USA is becoming like middle east too – no freedom of speech for anyone or travel by muslims or torture by emissaries. Democracy will soon have a bad name around the world. The west has supported the worst regimes in the world to keep blaming islam as the root cause because there is no better way to malign the religion. There are billion muslims around the world that are not in the news .. so we are helpless but it proves we are peace loving. We dont need to keep proving article by article or news after news. Talking of bad apple, read about how violent buddhists are burma.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  10. Waarii

    I can't claim counter to what his heart is telling him. But Ahmadiyya themselves are persecuted by all sects of Islam, especially in Pakistan. The only reform a muslim can do his/her religion is to leave it. My opinion because without violent Jihad, Islam is unrecognizable and it becoems one of many religions. Recently Qaradawi ( an egyptian cleric) admitted that without Apostasy laws muslism will leave the religion. So basically he is sayign that Muslims are prisoners of their opwn religion

    February 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  11. SDCinNS

    If all Muslims believed what Mr. Rashid believes, the world would be a much more peaceful place. But 99.99% of them do not – they side with Iran.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Tufayyur

      who gave you the right to speak for 99 percent of the muslims in the world including myself?
      you are just another ignorant idiot spewing hate, infact you are just like the stupid people in iran that
      are persecuting this man. Thanks to Qasim Rashid for speaking out.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Schmoogalicious

      Wow, SDC, you are personally acquainted with one billion Muslims? That's impressive! What? You've never met a single Muslim, but you heard about them on Fox News? Then of course you must be right.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • SDCinNS

      You two actually believe the majority of Muslims are peace-loving? Can I sell you the Golden Gate Bridge too – $50? Watch the Al Jazeera network for 20 minutes – educate yourselves.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Menelik1

      Oh wow, you've done your research, and have met with the 99.99% Muslims. Just another ethnocentric idiot.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  12. JJ

    Easier to forget about idiotic religious delusions (on both sides) and simply do what's right.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • SDCinNS

      @JJ – How do you decide what's right?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Tom


      You don't need to follow a religion for things like: Don't kill, don't steal, respect the other person, etc, etc... I think It's called Natural laws of common sense or something.... and NO, you don't need anybody to "decide" what's right.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • SDCinNS

      @ Tom – Why are those things "right", Tom?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  13. LOL

    At a first guess? Offer conversion, pay the jizya, or remove his head.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  14. not a moment too soon....

    Mr. Rashid has a new, improved Quran.... It leaves out the hard line kill the infidel, kill the apostate.

    Mr. Rashid is, appearently, unaware that Mohammad was quite the miltant. He had no problem killing people and sacked Mecca itself.

    No my friend, your prophet would recognise and approve of the brand of Islam Iran is currently in the grip of.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Tufayyur

      Never ending ignorance! One all Men and Women will stand infront of Allah/God and give account.
      I am wondering who told you these lies about Islam? The news media? Have you ever studied Islam or are
      you just a ignorant unknowing, weak human being, who has no capablility of becoming educated?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Sparky

      Tuff sounds filled with tolerance and peace. "what.....you don't like my religion????? I KILL YOU

      February 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • not a moment too soon....

      @ Tufayyur

      Clearly i know more about your religion than you do....

      Mr. Rashid glosses over Muhmmad's return to Mecca... in truth he arrived outside the city with 10k or so men and gave the city a list of demands.... which included a huge tribute in coin (armies are expensive) and a convert or die demand... most converted ...a few hundred did not (and things did not go well for them once he was in the city)... the death toll was far greater than the 10 or so most commonly quoted in Islamic sources. and he ordered all opposing churches and Icons be destroyed...a practice that continues to this day. Militant Islam seems to be the norm....not the exception...and its all based on your dear prophet.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Menelik1

      @ Not a moment too soon... Where in history did Mohammed, (SAW) sack Mecca?

      February 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • not a moment too soon....

      629-630 AD depending on the source. It even is discribed in the Quran (with a great amount of sanitizing).

      Muhammad took control of the city after taking as much money as he could ring out of its inhabitants then turned his army loose on any who wouldnt convert. Sacking was standard ops for armies...its how you paid for campaigns in that era. And they destroyed any churches or idols in the city.... meaning a dwelling by dwelling search...

      seems Allah is just as bad with cash as God is...

      February 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  15. Sajor

    What would he do? That is an easy one. All we need do is look back in history. Hmmm lets see, he put together an army declaring himself to be under God's orders, and he proceeded to murder any and all people who did not convert to his brand new shinny religion. He pillaged and plundered to the North, the south, and the West... What else, Oh yeah, he married a pre-teen girl (though he did wait until she reached the ripe age of 9 before consummating the marriage) anything else?

    February 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  16. CommonSense

    How ridiculous....What would Mohammed do? What would Jesus do? Do you need to be told what is right and wrong?
    Well, anyone who believes that man can fly around on Winged Horse really should question their own sanity. And the 72 virgins, is that real as well? What do the women get in heaven, or do you just not ask those questions?

    February 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • December

      I don't like the phrase "What would Jesus do?". Because I can't do some of the things he could do, like perform miracles.

      I like "What would Jesus have me do?". I can try and be loving towards others.

      February 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Rich

      If you are such an authority on religion you would be able to answer your own questions, but instead you flail about in your own ignorance. I'm sure many others cheer your shallow commentary, you are not alone in this world.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Tufayyur

      Its obvious you do not read, or comprehend arabic because if you did and you could read the Holy Qur'an then you would realize
      that the Qur'an does not say anything about virgins or getting them. This is nothing but an ignorant, racist American statement.
      Is it because you are afraid to try Islam? Did you ignore the verse that was translated to you? where Allah/God commands all humans including you to respect other religions? There is only one God by the way, who created the earth and mankind.
      He has many names including Allah. Your response shows the hatred in your heart like a blinking red light. There is no room for
      God in your life obviously. Your too busy hating people you dont even know. You are so ignorant that you watch TV and you cannot discern the difference between people in any country or with any religion. Americans have the largest rate of child molestation and
      murder than all the countries in the world combined. Yet Americans just kick this under the rug and instead of doing something about or protesting, they make excuses and accusations about other countries.
      Today you heard from a very brave, honest, caring and REAL MUSLIM.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  17. Reticuli

    Raise an army and kill anyone the voices in his head told him to kill. You know... a repeat of history.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  18. cleareye1

    What would Mohammed do today? First, he would have to hire a good attorney to keep out of prison for child abuse. Then if he was smart and honest he would be an agnostic and try for a reality show on TV making big bucks.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rich

      Again, proper education or research of historical figures is required before making asinine commentary. Just a thought...

      February 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I agree with Rich's comment but I also claim it about his comment.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  19. Brampt

    Matt 24:23-26: Then if anyone says to ​YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it.24For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.25Look! I have forewarned ​YOU.26Therefore, if people say to ​YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  20. Dhov

    What would Mohammed do? Yea, let's take lessons from a child molester. The followers of Mohammed are the followers of a pervert. Hey, next article...What would Jeffrey Dahmer do?

    February 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • RUNMAD

      He'd have the decency to respond to arguments w/civility rather than make baseless allegations that have no merit whatsoever.

      February 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rich

      Wow, where did you learn about Muhammad? The media I assume? You obviously don't care for the man so you wouldn't read a proper history or biography, so that's out. I don't like to comment on historical people I know nothing about, it makes me look ignorant... take my advice.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:13 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.