July 2nd, 2013
11:58 AM ET

CNN exclusive: Catholic monk not beheaded by Syrian rebels, friar says

By Mohammed Jamjoom and Daniel Burke, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) - A Catholic monk was not among the men beheaded in a gruesome video circulating online, a friar who oversees Franciscans in the Middle East told CNN in an exclusive interview.

Father Franҫois Mourad, a Syrian, was shot eight times and killed June 23 at a Catholic monastery in Gassanieh, said Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Mourad was buried the same day in a nearby village, the friar said.

A nine-minute video, which appears to have been shot with a handheld device, shows three men being beheaded on a grassy hill while a crowd shouts, “Allahu Akbar!” - Arabic for God is great. It is not clear where or when the video was shot.

A number of Catholic websites in the United States have posted the video online, saying that Mourad was among the three beheaded men.

“I deny this vigorously," Pizzaballa said. "He has nothing to do with this video and with (these) three poor persons."

Pizzaballa said he had seen the video, which he called “shameful.”

In a statement Friday, the Custody of the Holy Land also denied media reports that three friars had been killed in Syria recently.

Headquartered in Jerusalem, the Custody includes about 285 Franciscan friars and covers Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Pizzaballa said that Mourad sought refuge at Gassanieh because it was considered to be safe from Syria’s bloody civil war, which has claimed more than 93,000 lives, according to the United Nations.

The Vatican has not commented on the video and referred questions to Pizzaballa.

A June 25 report from Vatican Radio - the church’s official broadcast - said that Mourad was killed during a raid on the Franciscan monastery of St. Anthony of Padua in Gassanieh, a predominantly Christian village near the Turkish border.

Mourad was well-known in the region, according to the Franciscans. He completed his novitiate in Rome as a Franciscan of the Custody and moved to Syria, where he was a citizen, to live a contemplative life as a hermit. As the war wore on, Mourad sought refuge at the monastery.

Several Franciscans, four nuns and 10 Christians also lived at the monastery, which was considered safe until the raid, according to Pizzaballa.

“When (Father) Franҫois tried to oppose resistance to defend the nuns and other people, the guerrillas shot him, killing him,” according the Vatican Radio report.

Most of the Gassanieh's Christian population has fled, Pizzaballa told Vatican Radio, after weeks of assaults by Syrian rebels.

“Mourad was just one of the many men and women religious putting their faith on the front line in Syria, refusing to abandon the communities they serve, Christian and Muslim," Vatican Radio said.

"They stay because they want to be a sign of hope, light and comfort to people in the midst of destruction."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Foreign policy • Jerusalem • Middle East • Religious violence • Syria • Vatican

soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Only for the eyes of Muslims:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    July 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Reality

      من الدراسات من أرمسترونغ، رشدي، هيرسي علي، ريتشاردسون والبيهقي ----–

      في خمس خطوات لأبطل تأثير 1400 سنة من الأساطير الإسلامية:

      (-خطوات اتخاذ أقل من دقيقتين لإنهاء-ببساطة مدهشة، دقيقتين لإحلال السلام والعقلانية إلى أكثر من مليار فقدت النفوس لا تقدر بثمن!)

      هل أنت مستعد؟

      استخدام "الفروع الإسلامية 77 من" الإيمان "مجموعة الإمام البيهقي المترجمة كنقطة انطلاق. في ذلك، وهو ما يفسر الفضائل الأساسية التي تعكس صحيح" الإيمان "(إيمان) من خلال الآيات القرآنية ذات الصلة، وأحاديث نبوية." أي ملخص لطيفة من المعتقدات القرآن والإسلامية.

      الخمسة الأولى من الفروع 77:

      "1. الإيمان بالله"

      كما يعرف أيضا باسم الله، الرب، زيوس، الرب، الطبيعة الأم، وما إلى ذلك يجب أن تضاف إلى الخلايا العصبية التطهير الذاتي الخاص.

      "2. إلى الاعتقاد بأن كل شيء غيرها مما كان الله غير موجود. بعد ذلك، الله سبحانه وتعالى خلق هذه الأشياء، وبعد ذلك جاءوا إلى حيز الوجود."

      التطور والانفجار الكبير أو "غي ب G-NAB" (عند بدء الكون لإعادة تدوير) هي أكثر ترجيحا وينبغي أن تدرج في "المندرجة" في سبيل الله إذا كنت لا تزال تشكل "بجمعية العقارات، tionist".

      "3. إلى الاعتقاد في وجود الملائكة."

      A بندا رئيسيا لتطهير الخلايا العصبية. الملائكة / دي VILS هي الإبداعات الأسطورية من الحضارات القديمة، على سبيل المثال HITT خائبي، لشرح / تعريف الأحداث الطبيعية، والاتصالات مع آلهتهم، والطيور الكبيرة، والرياح المفاجئة، وحماة خلال الليالي المظلمة، وما إلى ذلك لا "ثينجيس افسح المجال ل جميلة / UG-LY" بزيارة أي وقت مضى أو تحدثت إلى محمد، يسوع، مريم أو يوسف أو جو سميث. اليوم سوف نصنف الملائكة كما F-airies و "القصدير كير تكون LLS". تصنف الحديثة دو VILS مثل دي مونس هيئة اجتثاث mented.

      "4. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الكتب السماوية التي تم إرسالها إلى الأنبياء مختلفة صحيحا. ومع ذلك، وبصرف النظر عن القرآن، كل الكتب الأخرى ليست صالحة بعد الآن."

      ومن البنود الرئيسية في حذفها. لا يوجد كتب في ولاية روح السماء (إذا كان هناك واحد) فقط حيث لم تعد هناك ملائكة لكتابة / نشر / توزيعها. القرآن، OT، NT وما هي ببساطة الكتب التي كتبت من قبل البشر للبشر.

      اخترعت الأنبياء من قبل الكتبة القديمة عادة للحفاظ على الجماهير غير المتعلمة في الخط. اليوم ونحن ندعو لهم فرز الأصوات للتناغم.

      النبوءات كما invali مؤرخة من قبل الطبيعية / الله / الله الهدايا من الإرادة الحرة والمستقبل.

      "5. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الأنبياء صحيحا. ومع ذلك، ونحن مأمورون اتباع النبي محمد (عليه الصلاة والسلام
      صلى الله عليه وسلم) وحده ".

      قضى محمد ثلاثين يوما "الصيام" (أسطورة رمضان) في كهف الساخن قبل أول اتصال له مع الله الملقب الخ الله عبر "ممتزوجات افسح المجال ل جميلة". الحس السليم يتطلب حذف الخلايا العصبية من # 5. # 5 هو أيضا المصدر الرئيسي للالاسلامي VI-olence أي تحول محمد "سريع، يحركها الجوع" hallu-cinations إلى واقع فظيع لغير المؤمنين.

      المشي هذه خمس خطوات، ونحن نضمن الانتعاش الكامل من الطرق الإسلامية الخاصة بك!!

      للأسف، لا توجد العديد من المعلقين مسلم / القراء على هذا بلوق لذلك "مدة دقيقتين" العلاج هو عدم الحصول على لأولئك الذين في حاجة إليها. إذا كان لديك صديق مسلم، ترسل له نسخة وتساعد في إنقاذ العالم.

      تتوفر خطوات مماثلة في طلبك للحصول على deprogramming الأساطير المسيحية واليهودية والبوذية

      July 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  2. Reality

    Shot or beheaded makes no difference as Islam continues to show that it is a religion of terror and horror !!!

    July 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Doobs

      It's better than being burned at the stake.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Snoopy

        Yes indeed. But given that it has been a real long time since we had anyone burned at the stake, is it asking too much of Muslims to stop purposefully kililng people with whom they disagree? Beheading – shooting? An unarmed monk? And it's not just a Christian or Jewish thing. Muslims are murdering animists in Africa, Hindus in Pakistan and Bhuddists in Maylasia. Enough!

        August 27, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • ME II

      That depends on the method of shooting and beheading, I think.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Doobs

      True. Most beheadings aren't like what people think, a quick chop and off it comes. It usually involves a lot of hacking and sawing.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alias

      I'm still not 100% convinced that he was killed over religion. There is a war going on. Maybe he was seen as helping one side more than the other?
      Or maybe he did support one group?

      July 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Reality

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      26 ) September 12, 2012
      Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

      27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

      July 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Alias

    This article leaves out a lot of relevant facts.
    All it really says is that the monk was shot instead of beheaded, and the evil muslims raided a monastery to get him.

    July 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  4. DustyOnes

    Nuke Islam!

    July 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      So you want the deaths of about 1/4 of the world's population?
      That seems really humane.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • cajr

      its no use trying to convince people muslims and islam are evil. even as this spreads like wildfire all over the world and the murdering continues unchecked, they still say stupid statements like oh its a 1/4 of the earths population that's humane? I guess doing nothing to stop them from sawing peoples heads off just because they are a different religion is totally humane.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • ME II

      Let's try nuking bigotry and ignorance first.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Lycidas

      cajr- " I guess doing nothing to stop them "

      Who said we should do nothing?

      Heck, maybe I should have just went with Dusty's mass murdering idea and said to have real peace on the planet we should just nuke all life. There would be plenty of peace then right? Would that have worked for you?

      July 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • bostontola

      DustyOnes, cajr,
      Do you think guilt by association is a good idea? I don't. I wish the majority of Muslims took more responsibility for their groups, but they aren't guilty of the crimes of others.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • G to the T

      People need to stop conflating MiddleEastern curlture with Islam and Western Culture with christianity. There are many countries that are majority Islamic and are not producing terrorists.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  5. bostontola

    When you compare Islam and Christianity it appears that many Christian sects have matured leaving very few that are compelled to use violence to get their way. I suspect more is going on than a 600 year head start. As bloody as the early Christian history is, it has moved away from violence for the most part. Islam seems to be stuck, allowing the fundamentalist groups to drive the ship in many cases. Until the majority assumes responsibility and takes charge, they will likely languish on while the rest of the world advances. Once the Africa Rising matures in the next few decades, the Islamic countries will be exposed as the bottom of the heap.

    July 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Alias

      Take off the rose colored glasses.
      You shouldn't blame religion for all that goes wrong in the middle east and ignore the christian influence everywhere else.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • bostontola

      Just facts. Christian dominated countries do quite well economically. Islamic dominated countries, not so much. Islamic bad actors export their violence as well. You really can't see a difference between the two? Maybe you have your own filter on.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Alias

      Check and see how well Saudi Arabia got through the last recession that hit the U.S. and Europe.
      I won't bother to look up what countries have the highest standards of living or exactly what percentage of their populations are christian, but I'm quite sure you are going with what you want to be true instead of stating facts about economies and religion. I'm also not sure why trying to match money to religion really makes christians any more moral or 'better'.
      Lets not forget that it was a christian that led our forces into Iraq. How many people died there?

      July 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • bostontola

      Do you actually consider Saudi Arabia a good economy? All the money concentrated in very few, very few are educated, etc. This is not a formula for enduring success.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Alias

      Again, don't just spew what supports your bigotry.
      Check the facts about Saudi. And while you're at it, see what percentage of the wealth in this country is controlled by the top 5% and the top1%.
      Then check % of people living in poverty. Check where this 80% christian country ranks in education. We are nothing to brag about.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • bostontola

      You didn't answer my question, but I'll answer yours. I tie economic/societal status to religion because those factors determine the broad well being of the people within a system. If Saudi Arabia is your model for a successful society, I can see why you think fundamental Islamic driven countries is not a net negative influence on their societies.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Alias

      Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of data released by Saudi Arabia.
      However, your theory falls apart when you look at the very christian and impoverished continent of South America.
      Suck it bostontola.

      July 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • bostontola

      My argument wasn't that every christian dominated country is better than every Islamic dominated country, read it! I said overall. Your weakness in critical thinking skills shouldn't lead you to ad hominem attack, telling me to suck it makes you look like you conceded defeat.

      July 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Alias

      There are some countries who are doing well that are largely christian.
      There are some countries that are doing well that are largely Muslim.
      There are also countries that are not doing well interms of per capita GDP that are primarily christian.
      There are also countries that are not doing well interms of per capita GDP that are primarily Muslim.
      You are trying to say that being a christian country makes the country better.
      You are wrong.
      Natural resources and the level of corruption in government have more to do with the prosperity of a country than any religious influence.

      July 3, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  6. ajk68

    Oh...they only shot him 8 times...it would have been so much worse if he was beheaded !

    July 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • ME II

      I think the point is that the video was not what some claimed it to be.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  7. TheTruth

    Before the Muslim beheaded, the Catholics were already beheading the infidels!

    July 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So sad but so true

      Like retarted sports teams trying to recruit the ignorant, who then kill you if you choose a different team

      July 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      You forgot that the Catholic church used to steal jewish babies and convert them while they were young as a way to attempt to weed them out without bloodshed. Wasn't that nice of them?

      July 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • G to the T

      Beheading is nothing compared to some of the methods used by the Catholic Chruch. Check out "Pope's Pear" sometimes... preferably on an empty stomach.

      July 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  8. toodark

    Attention: Mike Huckabee
    If Jesus wept about DOMA & Prop 8....what's he doing about this?

    July 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jeebus wept because now he can finally marry Buddha!!

      What a ho down that one is going to be! Paula Dean is going to cater it!

      July 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • cajr

      Obama is not doing nothing so why should jesus care??

      July 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ cajr

      Obama is not doing nothing so why should jesus care??

      Really? That's your answer? WSJC?

      Well, it's as good an explanation as any for your god who is invisible and absent. He doesn't care. Or maybe, he doesn't exist.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • ME II

      Wow, apparently even Jesus thinks Obama is The One.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Lycidas

    Thank goodness for stories like these. It gives the fundie atheists an excuse to do the logical thing and take the acts of a few people and apply it to the majority.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Not at all

      I support them killing you, and you killing them.

      You reap what you sow. Let the blood run ankle deep thru that tortured corner of the world, until the survivors have had their fill and are ready to leave their imaginary sky fairies behind (or until they are ALL dead!)

      July 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • toodark

      It's the complicit participation in the act of non-thinking (I.e. faith) that gives tacit approval to fringe acts like this. Believing things for bad reasons opens the door for anyone to do essentially anything, and claim divine collusion.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      William Demuth-"I support them killing you, and you killing them."

      Wow...you support what you would deem a senseless death. How morally ignorant of you.

      "You reap what you sow."

      Is this some form of accusation?

      "Let the blood run ankle deep..blab blab blab"

      Save the poetics. One cannot hope to have peace through what you just described.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @toodark- faith does not equal non-thinking.

      Bad reasons? Got any examples that are relevant to this topic?

      July 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • .

      What a dick.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Peace? What foolish belief convinced you I want peace?

      I want the cults to slaughter each other, and it seems I am getting what I want.

      Please keep up the good work, and send more priests!!!!

      July 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @William Demuth- "Peace? What foolish belief convinced you I want peace?"

      So you do not equate peace with the people leaving their imaginary sky fairies (whatever they are) behind?

      "I want the cults to slaughter each other, and it seems I am getting what I want."

      Ah, wanting death to satisfy your own agenda...nothing crazy about that now is there? Why don't you stand inbetween the Islamic Terrorist and the Westboro Baptist people...you fit right in with them.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lycidas, Faith does involve belief in something for which you have no evidence, beyond that we have evidence to show that the biblical stories about creation are incorrect so to retain a belief that the bible is literally true may not be the result of non-thinking, but willfully ignoring facts has the same effect.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @In Santa we trust- darn you for not being all crazy and ignorant like these other people. But it is nice to have someone on here that isn't a non-religious fundie.

      "beyond that we have evidence to show that the biblical stories about creation are incorrect"

      True. Though it is a minor thing, I always like to point out that is from the Torah specifically. The "Bible" is a collection of books and not a singular thing. I only say that because certain people like to say if one part of it is incorrect then it all has to be wrong.

      "so to retain a belief that the bible is literally true may not be the result of non-thinking, but willfully ignoring facts has the same effect."

      I never liked the literalist pov of the Bible. There is too much to show that it has errors within.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Shangheyed

      More Koolaid in the back!

      July 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Earthling

      Correction – faith DOES equal non-thinking. Faith requires belief without proof. Thoughtful acceptance (thinking) requires proof. If I am to accept something as real, I must be able to rationally justify my acceptance. Faith requires the believer to bypass the justification. Faith REQUIRES one not to think.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Earthling

      "Fundie atheists". Not a part of this universe.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Earthling- "Faith requires belief without proof."

      Depends on how you define proof.

      "If I am to accept something as real, I must be able to rationally justify my acceptance."

      Many people of faith would say that their faith is rationally justified to them.

      "Faith REQUIRES one not to think."


      "Fundie atheists". Not a part of this universe."

      You don't hang around here much do you? Stick around and you will definitely see fundie atheists. They are the kind that will blabber on about their non-belief even when the blog has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. They will copy/paste their non-belief all over without a thought.
      Yes Virginia...there are fundie atheists.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • ME II

      "Yes Virginia...there are fundie atheists."

      While there are the "militant" and aggressive atheists a fundie, or fundamentalist, would seem to require a doctrine to which to require strict adherence.

      July 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lycidas

      ME II- "a fundie, or fundamentalist, would seem to require a doctrine to which to require strict adherence."

      They do...no matter what the subject is....they have to say there is no god. No matter how much the topic doesn't have to do with atheism, they must throw up their copy/paste or make an @ss of themselves toward those that do have a faith.
      It may not be a written doctrine but it is one they follow as closely as religious fundie. You see them all the time on here.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care


      He was partially right. Faith is belief without EVIDENCE. There is no reliable evidence that any of the supernatural claims of the bible are true. Therefore the default position is to not believe in them. Anything else is delusion.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Honey Badger Don't Care- "Faith is belief without EVIDENCE."

      I agree that there is rarely any varifiable evidence to support's a person's faith.

      "There is no reliable evidence that any of the supernatural claims of the bible are true. Therefore the default position is to not believe in them. Anything else is delusion."

      But there would be those that would say that since there is factual history within the Torah or Bible...that could support a claim that at least some of the supernatural events could also be true and should not be easily dismissed.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • ME II

      I disagree. Atheism is a single negative position, usually a lack of belief, and as such does not prescribe certain actions or behaviors, therefore there is no fundamental behavior to adhere to.

      July 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Lycidas

      ME II- "and as such does not prescribe certain actions or behaviors, therefore there is no fundamental behavior to adhere to."

      But their source of unbelief can be various. They could be atheist sheep that were taught from their parents that there is no god or gods. They could actively decide their is no supernatural stuff through science or personal experience.

      While I agree that most atheists are simply non-believers and that's it. You have to admit that there are those that press their active non-belief toward specific religions. Look at Florida where one atheist group (out of state if I remember correctly) put up there own atheist monument to compete with the Ten Commandments. That is no behavior of someone who just happen to be atheist. Those are actions of someone with a message to..dare I say, preach out with.

      July 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  10. Yakobi

    Does the manner of his murder really matter? Isn't it appalling enough that he was killed because his faith differed than that of his murderers?

    Religious murder is doubly offensive because...
    There are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins. Religion was invented by man to control the masses.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Yakobi- "Religion was invented by man to control the masses."

      Got verifiable evidence of this statement?

      July 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Absolutely, Lycidas–your LACK of evidence to the contrary.

      Extraordinary claims of the existence of invisible, magical, omniscient, omnipotent beings requires extraordinary proof. The onus is upon those making the claims to prove their assertions to the rest of us.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Yakobi- "Absolutely, Lycidas–your LACK of evidence to the contrary."

      1. I didn't make a statement to the contrary.
      2. Lack of evidence is not evidence.
      3. You still have not offered any verifiable evidence for your statement. Under your way of thinking, does that mean that your lack of evidence supports the contrary? I doubt you would feel that would be fair right?

      "The onus is upon those making the claims to prove their assertions to the rest of us."

      You made a positive claim. I merely asked for you to back it up with evidence if you could.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Yakobi

      It's quite simple. Until proof of the positive assertion is offered, the negative argument stands. It is the default position.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Lycidas


      It's quite simple.

      Positive assertion offered: Religion was invented by man to control the masses.

      Proof of the positive assertion: None yet

      July 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  11. toodark

    Belief in a cruel god, makes a cruel man.
    – Thomas Pain

    July 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • .

      Who cares what T Pain has to say?

      July 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • toodark

      People who value reason over willful blindness for starters.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • .

      Nothing in that to imply there is no reason in faith.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • toodark

      . –
      Nothing in faith to imply it encompasses any form of reason.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  12. William Demuth

    Zealots killing zealots

    Somewhere a child burnt as a witch is shaking her head.

    When will we ever learn? If we teach our children madness and lies, we can't act surprised when they behave like madmen.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Lycidas

      No..it's a zealot killing a religious person. Unless you equate a person with a faith with that of a murderer.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • toodark

      Lycidas – 6 of one....

      Read the bible lately?

      July 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Aggressive crazy or passive crazy, they are both still crazy.

      Religion kills. Always has always will.

      It is the way the game is played.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Perhaps you could clarify your point about the Bible.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      Religo killing religo. Both are delusional. One god won and another failed to act.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Aggressive crazy or passive crazy, they are both still crazy."

      You have neither evidence or the medical background to declare anyone "crazy".

      "Religion kills. Always has always will."

      Nope. And stay away from absolutes...you should know those don't work.

      "It is the way the game is played."


      July 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • William Demuth


      How about the part where your lunatic God slaughters BILLIONS of his own creation?

      July 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • William Demuth


      If it quacks like a duck!!

      I would believe that most would agree beheading someone makes you crazy.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • John Stemberger


      "Aggressive crazy or passive crazy, they are both still crazy."

      You have neither evidence or the medical background to declare anyone "crazy".

      Actually he can and just did. I assume you disagree with him.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • John Stemberger


      Fine example of crazy

      July 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • toodark

      Lycidas –
      "Perhaps you could clarify your point about the Bible."

      [Feins ignorance of the same kinds of attrocities both sanctioned by and perpetrated by the god character]

      July 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @William Demuth- "How about the part where your lunatic God slaughters BILLIONS of his own creation?"

      What god?

      "If it quacks like a duck!!"

      Work on your trepverter.

      "I would believe that most would agree beheading someone makes you crazy."

      The French would agree no doubt.
      Seriously though, I do agree that murder in the name of faith (whatever type) is crazy.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      John Stemberger- "Actually he can and just did. I assume you disagree with him."

      He offered up not credentials so you are wrong there. But if you mean his modified statement, I did agree with that...so you were wrong again.
      What I did disagree with was his implication that having a faith made on crazy.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Lycidas

      toodark- "[Feins ignorance of the same kinds of attrocities both sanctioned by and perpetrated by the god character]"

      I have done no such thing. I merely asked for clarification. Considering the size of the text he is referring, it is logical.
      Do not fear little one, I probably know just as much about the Bible, it's history and background as anyone here if not more in some cases.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lycidas, Noah's flood is one example where your god supposedly destroyed most of creation – almost all humans, most animals, most plants, most birds, and most fish.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @In Santa we trust- "Noah's flood is one example where your god"

      My god?

      "supposedly destroyed most of creation – almost all humans, most animals, most plants, most birds, and most fish."

      We are focusing on the Torah here eh? Ok..one could say that it was his creation and that he could do with it as he saw fit. It might not fly with most of the finite beings on here that would try to investigate the morality of the infinite but it is a possibility. Who knows.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • toodark


      "I have done no such thing. I merely asked for clarification. Considering the size of the text he is referring, it is logical.
      Do not fear little one, I probably know just as much about the Bible, it's history and background as anyone here if not more in some cases."

      Sarcasm L. However your last self-aggrandizing statment, if even remotely plausible, drives my point home. Those who've read the bible as the kluged together work of historical fiction that it is acknowledge the attrocities therein, regardless of their theistic point of view.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @toodark-"However your last self-aggrandizing statment,"

      It was a statement of fact.

      "Those who've read the bible as the kluged together work of historical fiction that it is acknowledge the attrocities therein, regardless of their theistic point of view."

      I do not ignore that there is death within the book. But I am not so naive as some to @ssume there was no purpose. Keep in mind that there is also non-fiction within.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    The difference between Christianity and Islam is simply that Christians have a 600 year head start.
    What were Jesus' followers up to at the same point in their religion's development?

    July 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You are normally spot on, but this one missed the mark.

      Based on your logic, the Jewish State (as a representation of the Jewish Faith) should be the most benevolent, peace loving and inclusive in the world because they have had almost 6000 years to mature.

      A simple read of the paper forces other conclusions

      July 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • G to the T

      True – it is a fallacy to conflate the religion with the culture it lives in. The same religions can have very different "flavors" depending on the culture they find themselves in.

      July 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  14. André

    As a Christian, I am ashamed of the violence having been perpetuated in the name of Christianity.. which was abused as a scapegoat for villains needing an excuse to give in to their lowest animal instincts. Hopefully Christianity has matured since, but when you look at what happened in the Balkans, we have a long way to go. But not as long as Islam....

    July 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Well, at least you found a way to feel better with the statement about Islam

      July 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Cap'n

      That's how Christians operate...well, I might be bad, but I'm not as bad as those guys over in the Middle East. Then it's a quick jump to well, I'm divorced and remarried, and I had an affair, but at least I'm not gay.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • NotFoolinMe

      I don't know what you're talking about. I'd much rather be gay than divorced! It's a lot cheaper.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Now we have progressed to the point where one can be both gay and divorced.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  15. bostontola

    Religious feuds are unique in that they last for centuries. To kill solely because the person has different beliefs is nuts, when it is clearly a peaceful person, it is beyond contempt. Religion has some virtues, the inability to control their extreme members isn't one of them. They don't police it because they may need it. It's as embarras.sing as covering up for pedophile priests. Organizations supposedly founded on morality should show more leadership.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  16. Doobs

    I guess Allah works in mysterious ways, too.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  17. kcmcginnis

    Does this raise the possibility that Assad supporters found an old video of gruesome beheadings and attributed it to the opposition? I don't understand why they would do that, seeing that opposition members did raid a church and kill Mourad (among others). Maybe the grisly beheading video had more potential to go viral...?

    July 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  18. John Stemberger

    Just religo nuts acting like religo nuts. Their god was greater that day.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • .

      You attempt wit in the face of horrifying death?
      You are a Jack@ss.

      July 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Wit or a statement of fact, assuming any god exists?

      July 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ speck

      I didn't read it as an attempted joke. I read it as a statement of fact. Religious people killed other religious people in the name of their beliefs. Those being killed received no help from their own deity to prevent it.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The most common feature in the lives of persecuted saints is the vividness of their faith that they are confident they would meet Christ in heaven if their enemies put them to death. Years of joyful meditation on their Redeemer would make them long for death rather than cowering in attempts to avoid it.
      In imitation of Christ who prayed from the cross, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," all the saints always prayed for their enemies, truly feeling sorry that these opponents did not know the Lord as intimately as they did.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Some belief systems/doctrines are a great preparation for death. Lack of oxygen is also a great preparation for death.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ BD

      The most common feature in the lives of persecuted saints is the vividness of their faith that they are confident they would meet Christ in heaven if their enemies put them to death.

      The most common feature of the lives of persecuted saints is that we have very little historical evidence about the events of their lives and deaths, including, for many, whether they actually existed,

      July 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Today is the feast day of St. Oliver Plunkett. Do you think he ever lived? What about St. Augustine? Did he ever live? Or St. Thomas More?

      Don't you ever get tired of being ignorant?

      July 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I don't believe any gods exist. Why should I care about some god cult's characters?

      July 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • John Stemberger


      You attempt wit in the face of horrifying death?
      You are a Jack@ss
      So says the dot/speck.

      No wit, just fact. One god won that day and one god failed to act.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      If you are saying that all the saints (and martyrs?) existed, I think some might disagree. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/30/christ-was-persecuted-but-what-about-christians/

      July 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      Shame they didnt throw more to the lions 🙁

      July 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ BD

      Nice ad hominem, there.

      Please point out where I said that no one who is characterized by the RCC as a saint existed? Stop putting words into my mouth.

      I've read Augustine's work. He sounds bipolar. His life is as riddled with religious obsession and sexual promiscuity, and he lived with women after his so-called conversion and his engagement to an eleven year old girl (she had not come of age yet and he didn't want to wait till she did to get laid). He abandoned them all, including the woman he lived for thirteen years and their son. I must emphasize, he abandoned his concubine and their son after his conversion. What a great example of a "saint".

      Have you ever heard of Thomas Hitton, Thomas Bilney, Richard Bayfield, John Tewkesbery, Thomas Dusgate, and James Bainham? They were burned at the stake for heresy during Thomas More's chancellorship.

      "After the case of John Tewkesbury, a London leather-seller found guilty by More of harbouring banned books and sentenced to burning for refusing to recant, More declared: he 'burned as there was neuer wretche I wene better worthy'." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_more

      In addition:

      "These saints probably existed but there is too little information to verify the story of their lives. They have been removed from the Calendar of Saints...
      St. Christopher
      St. Valentine of Rome
      St. Ursula"

      "These saints have been removed from both the Calendar as well as the Martyrology... The information about their lives has been proven as false or is based nearly entirely on legend and myth:
      St. Olivia
      St. Dorothy
      St. Barbara of Nicomedia
      Saint Acacius the Martyr
      Pope Pius I
      Saint Jovita
      Saint Faustinus
      Pope Zephyrinus"

      "In addition there are a number of saints who became recognized locally in the ancient church but not universally.
      St. Philomena
      St. Barbara of Cagliari
      St. Lucifer
      St. Imbenia"

      This is by no means a comprehensive list of "saints" who have been demoted because of questions regarding the authenticity of the documentation or lack thereof, about their lives and deaths.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Doobs

      Oops, I pulled a Vic there and italicized unintentionally.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Doobs

      Still no response from Bill Deacon and now my posts are being deleted. Hmmm.

      July 3, 2013 at 1:37 am |
  19. Honey Badger Don't Care

    So the fiar said that he wasn't beheaded? And we're supposed to take his word for it?

    July 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Mourad was killed and buried along with other monks and nuns from the monastery according to Pizzaballa. The detail is that he was not among the three people who were beheaded in the video.

      July 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Alias

      Did the article actually say the nuns were killed?

      July 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  20. Akira

    Anyone being beheaded is barbaric.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • bostontola

      Senseless murder is barbaric. To me, beheading isn't worse than others and better than torture, getting hacked to death, etc.

      July 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Agreed. However, I was speaking directly about the manner in which these people died in this story: beheading.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:13 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.