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. Americanboy

    This man is a idiot and disgrace and isnt a follower of islam or mohamad hes a terrorist just like all of the sunna extremists you see on tv today all these wahhabis and salafists are the reason islam is a bad image these people have to be wiped of the earth because they are a bad image and preach the quran wrong you should be happy about Iran and all the success they have you islamist terrorist

    February 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Rosstrex

      If the Quran was from God and the final revelation, How can it be taught wrong? How could it be used for evil if it were really from God? How could you use a Final Revelation in a bad way?

      Mohammed was a Pagan Warlord and nothing more. He inspired his followers just like Alexander the Great did, Just like Constantine did, Just like EVERY Warlord in history has done by CLAIMING THAT GOD is directing his actions and if you fight and die for his cause God will reward you. Mohammed is a fraud.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Teresa, author of "How Would Jesus Raise a Child?" and "God Loves Single Moms"

      wow, you are so smart, why don't you share it with the world? So many need what you alone can give

      February 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  2. selfscholar

    According to Twelver Shia Islam - Muhammad ordered the extrajudicial killing of blasphemers. Which is why the Rushdie affair occurred. Apostates are not treated much differently in Twelver Shia law - which forms the basis of Iran's penal code. Muhammad may have been peaceful, but the conception of Islam Iran's clerics believe in certainly doesn't acknowledge the possibility. Read this for more info:


    February 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • 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 9:43 pm |
  3. hirsam


    February 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • John Brown

      I thought he was only one of your three gods?

      February 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • khan

      Not true whatsoever, he is the messenger of God. God Is One. The One who created all of us including Jesus Peace Be Upon Him

      February 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you were right in just the first 4 words of your comment.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  4. Meatwad

    I like Mr. Muhammed. He was a good boxer and he likes birthday cake. I also like birthday cake.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  5. There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his last messanger

    Jefferson used to read the Quran, at least be as smart as him and get one and read it.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Rosstrex

      Do you know what he thought about Islam, Christianity and religion in general? I thought not, you just want to use Jefferson as an example of the Kaffir that looked into your religion.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  6. him

    Yes it was well written, but its for those of the Islamic faith. There is no plan, no grand design, just the life you have, so don't let it be ruled by someone else from history, just enjoy it while it lasts.


    February 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • khan

      Amazing, since when Ahmedis are Muslims?

      February 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  7. Fox


    February 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  8. Snookers

    Well, it looks like Islam is coming of age. If it follows the Roman Catholic historic path, being six centuries older, they are now in the beginning of the inquisition cycle. That lasted six hundred years in the Catholic church. Islam still has a long way to go in even coming close to the Catholic grand scale of inhumane torturing/murdering though. Guess all kind of a natural evolution of any religion.
    We would all be better off without any religion. It is just a means of controlling the gullible masses and whip them up in insane frenzies anyway.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Rosstrex

      The ENTIRE time the Catholic Church was doing the heinous acts you bring up the Muslims in the ME were murdering, raping and taking over: Pagan, Christian and Jewish lands. Slavery is another enterprise that the Muslims were engaged in from the very beginning of Islam. The author of this article filled with lies about Islam is yet another example of the misinformation campaign that has always been part of Islam.

      A religion founded by an Pagan Warlord that figured out how to use the concept of God to unite elements of the tribes living around Mecca in his day. The simple proof as to who he was is what he brought to the world. Islam a religion that is an Abomination that brings Desolation everywhere it is found on earth.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  9. jasim

    and this is coming from who? follower of Mirza Ghulam? i am sorry you lost your credibility the moment you mentioned his quotes. If anyone reading this don't know who Mirza is, please do a little research and then compare what he taught with the faith of Muhammad.
    There is only one God and Muhammad is His last messenger.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Rosstrex

      If Mohammed was God's messenger than why is every Islamic State ruled by Autocrats, Dictators or Theocrats? Why is every Islamic State constantly ether involved in terrorism on their own people and other people? Why are the vast majority of Islamic States filled with poor uneducated masses begging for aid from the west?

      IF Islam was from God it would be apparent in each Islamic State. It appears that Slavery is what Islam brings.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  10. CrossCountry

    Religion + humans = CRAZY

    I don't care if your muslim, christian, catholic or whatever...if you start hating on people and become an intolerant ass ...then your religion and your god don't amount to anything. Just be a good human. You don't need a book or a god to tell you that.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  11. Imagine No Religion

    What would mohammad do? The same thing jesus would do. Absolutely nothing, as they are both the figments of human imagination!

    "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
    Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

    February 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  12. Guillermo Pérez

    excuse me?? in Iran muslims prosecute Christians, and Israel is recovering what belongs to them, given by God...

    February 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      it just illustrates the absurdity of religion.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • patiat

      You didn't read the column, did you?

      February 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  13. 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:


    February 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      welcome to the internet scam

      February 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Guillermo Pérez

      That's a lie... ala was one of the 354 idols they had at Meca before Mohamed, and it was the god of the moon... The historic God of the Bible is called Jehová (יהוה‎) transliterated to the Latin letters YHWH, not ala

      February 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  14. RichardSRussell

    Who cares what Mohammed would do?
    Who cares what Jesus would do?
    What would a rational human being do?

    February 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Guillermo Pérez

      if you dont care, what are you doing reading this??

      February 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Squiggy

      Human beings are not rational. Next question please.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  15. Michelle

    Beautiful article

    February 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Ramez

      Unfortunately missleading ..

      February 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Cole

      I thought so as well, very nicely written.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  16. Calvin

    Mohammad ate poo poo.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Squiggy

      He got some stuck in his beard.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • cnn

      he is not a muslim. he is ahmadiya.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Montanajay

      Very good, Calvin! We need more like you. There are too few children on this page.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Rob

    Finally! A Muslim willing to speak out against the twisted extremism. I hope that this sentiment grows louder and louder.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Guillermo Pérez

      here they write "poor person", but inside them say: "islam will gobern the world"

      February 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Zeus

      Exodus 22:20

      Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Teresa, author of "How Would Jesus Raise a Child?" and "God Loves Single Moms"

      I tried numerous times to get the same thing said, in my words of course, but failed...I am SO glad to see my thoughts published, anyway, CNN editors notwithstanding! Mark Twain firmly believed, and wrote extensively about it, in telepathy...specifically, the kind wherein important thoughts and scientific discoveries seem to be transmitted by some force other than (in his day) "the telegraph". The Internet is today's telegraph, and I am so very thankful that you wrote what you did because that's proof positive my dear Mark was correct: Your sentiment IS growing, and I am but one tiny example. Keep up the good work!
      PS: just FYI, I had a wonderful Arab boyfriend for three years, and one day as I saw on his dresser two envelopes stamped and ready to be mailed. I confronted him with this: "Walid, are you Muslim or Christian?? You're sending money to both kinds of charities! You can't DO that!" His reply? Quietly, with no elaboration, he said simply, "I grew up in Beirut. Both groups need money. I don't have to choose." To my "educated" mind, this seemed a breach of protocol. "But you can't DO that! You can't support both Islam and Christianity!!" To which he shrugged and said, "I'm not. I'm supporting people." Now that's God speaking.

      February 10, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  18. There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his last messanger

    There is no compulsion in Islam! No Muslim army ever invaded Indonesia yet it’s the largest Muslim nation on earth. Unfortunately any one especially people of the books (Christians and Jews) who seek the truth, who wonders about the beauty and marvels of the worlds and universes, the supernovas, the black holes and the things we haven’t discovered yet that are mentioned in the Quran, the human miracle, and yes the texts that Moses and Jesus brought (excluding human customizations) will reach one conclusion and once conclusion only, Islam is nothing but authentic Christianity and Judaism the religion of Abraham peace be upon him. Islam was Gods’ last chance to humans to return to the righteous path. It’s hard to live without alcohol, usury, and adultery. Yes, it’s hard to live with the 10 commandments but just like something a wise person told you and you didn’t realize it was the truth till you grew old, these rules are put in place for your happiness, true happiness. God created you to worship him. Some will and some won’t. He could have made everybody just like angels but chose to create humans with awareness to really reward those who choose him. There is nothing worse than denying the existence of God. These people deny what is deep in their hearts, and with time their hearts become harder than stones. Still when they are faced with death something inside them reaches out. They were born perfect and chose to divert from the righteous path. My advice is be good and the Lord may flip your heart of yours to the righteous path. Make no mistake, your relationship is with God directly – always. Don’t be fooled by Muslims or non Muslims who think they are right, too many bad examples out there. Read the source, The Quran. That’s the only miracle that was meant to last. There is no excuse to anyone in this time and age where knowledge is all over the internet to say Gee I didn’t know. No one told me. This poor slave to God did.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ramez

      Stop lieing you hypocrite .. I'm arabic and I read the quran .. You a liar

      February 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • snowboarder

      religion is the refuge of the week minded and thrives in regions where education is most lacking.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      If god created people to worship him, as you say, then god has a low self-esteem problem and apparently needs alot of "yes men" kissing his Almighty buttocks to make him feel better. Will humankind ever leave their myths behind them and become active in their own evolution? I'd have to say no, but I'm on the negative side of the equation anyway... what with being the manifestation of evil and all.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his last messanger

      Attach stigma to Islam so that people will not be willing to embrace it may work but not for all people. Not everybody with eyes can see and not everybody with ears can hear. Even if they speak Arabic. Liar, magician and poet and other nicknames were given to Mohammad and other messengers of God. Nothing new there. Ironically child molester was not one of them. Muhammad was a feminist, he gave woman the right to inherit, fight, and vote 1400 years before America did. His first wife was 15 years older than him, a business woman.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Guillermo Pérez

      are you crazy or what??

      February 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • WatrGrrl

      Thank you for a post that demonstrates that FAITH is the most important thing that God wants of mankind – whether Judaism, Islam, Christianity or other faith, all come to God...

      February 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

      booooooooo booooooooooo boooooooo

      February 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Cole

      I think you missed the point ironically of this article. Boisterous you may be , but holy cats , it was a simple heart felt observation . A very good statement regarding the reason for looking into religion in the first place.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • not a moment too soon....

      There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his last messanger,

      why stop there? Muhammad also invented: the light bulb, the mouse trap, the internal combustion engine, and last but absolutely not least: sliced bread. ...i mean if you re going to make claims.....

      The Quran is practically a Mysogynists' Handbook.....

      February 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  19. Josh

    This was a refreshing article and nicely written. Just when I think perhaps religion just keeps missing it's mark someone stands and reassures me that's not the case all the time. Letters like this make me think I should take the time to learn more of different faiths. Putting politics and ethnicity aside, ultimately religions strive for the same thing.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      What? Persecution of non-believers?

      February 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  20. RonnieLee

    It amazes me how little some Muslims know about the history of their religion, and about abrogation as their prophet intended it. Those peaceful, tolerant scriptures were all abrogated by others that called for violence and intolerance. Their prophet intended for the scriptures to be abrogated chronologically. The later verses abrogate the eariler. After AD622, Muhammad would have had the preacher killed, his possessions divided amongst his followers, and his wife would have been taken as a concubine. Please people, learn your own history.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Sakeena

      You are the biggest liar! The verses you speak .are verses that are in regards to the Muslims who are at an active warfare with non Muslims. When talking about Christians and Jews who live in Muslim countries, they are to be protected under the Muslim law as long as they pay the Jizya as required and practiced by the Prophet Muhammad. You, instead of trying to distort Islam to be some violent illogical religion, need to learn the history of whatever it is that you believe in. I'm sure you are one of those people who whenever you see any article in which Islam is shown in a positive light, you reject it and do your best to cast a negative shadow on it. Get a life and go look for something positive to do.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      That's not protection. That's extortion. What he said is true.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
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About this blog

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