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August 20th, 2014
08:31 PM ET

James Foley’s prayers and the dark side of faith

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog editor

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(CNN) – We don’t know if James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by Islamic extremists, prayed in the hours and days before his death. We probably never will.

But Foley said faith sustained him during another ordeal in 2011, when he was held captive for 44 days by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

In a gut-wrenching article he wrote for Marquette University’s alumni magazine, Foley said he prayed while imprisoned that his family, many miles away, would somehow know that he was safe.

“Haven’t you felt my prayers?” Foley asked his mother, Diane, when he was finally allowed to call home.

Diane Foley told her son that his friends and family had been praying, too, holding vigils filled with former professors, priests and Marquette students. She echoed his question back: Have you felt ours?

He had, the journalist said. “Maybe it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat,” Foley wrote.

The 40-year-old Catholic, who reported for the GlobalPost among other publications, was abducted again in 2012, captured this time by the extremist group ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.

On Tuesday, ISIS released a video showing a Muslim militant clad in black beheading Foley, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling in the sand.

The ISIS militant, a man with an apparent British accent, said that Foley’s murder was payback for U.S. airstrikes against the group in Iraq. On Monday, President Barack Obama said the American operation has helped drive ISIS from strategic cities and infrastructure in northern Iraq, which apparently angered the Muslim militants.

“Any attempt by you, Obama, to deny Muslims liberty and safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people,” the ISIS militant said in the video.

The man in orange, kneeling. The man in black, wielding a knife. One asked God to cross the “cosmic reach of the universe” and soothe his family. The other claimed to kill in the "name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful."

Admittedly, we know relatively little about Foley's faith and even less about the ISIS militant in black. But the contrast between the two religious paths - one led a journalist to cover conflicts, the other a jihadist to create them - is jarring.

"It's story versus story," said Martin Marty, an emeritus professor of religious history at the University of Chicago, "and the more you are threatened, the more dramatic and deep the story is going to be."

It should be said, and repeated often, that the contrast is not between Christianity and Islam.

“ISIL speaks for no religion,” Obama said on Monday, using an alternate name for ISIS. “Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”

Muslims were among the first to lament Foley’s killing and have repeatedly condemned ISIS’ reign of terror in Iraq and Syria. They are victims, too, of the crimes committed in the name of Islam. Many have worked tirelessly to combat them.

But even as most Muslims reject ISIS, it cannot be denied that the extremists use faith to justify their brutal acts of war.

“Do jihad in the cause of God, incite the believers and be patient in the face of this hardship,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, said in a video released in June.

“If you knew about the reward and dignity in this world and the hereafter through jihad, then none of you would delay in doing it.”

Under that call to arms, ISIS militants have rampaged through Iraq, forcing Muslims, Christians and Yazidis to convert to their brand of Islam, pay a protection tax or be killed.

ISIS has bombed revered religious sites, murdered hundreds and tortured and enslaved many others - all in the name of building an Islamic state.

Foley's friends and family say his faith inspired a very different moral course.

He organized fundraisers for slain journalists, taught convicts in Chicago to read, and risked his life to tell the stories of people living under the brutal rule of dictators.

He was the kind of guy who always offered half his sandwich or cigarette, one friend recalled.  He was mensch, if such can be said of a Catholic from New Hampshire.

The source of his unselfishness was clear, said Foley’s friends.

"Jim's faith was something we all agreed not to discuss publicly while he was held in Syria,” said Max Fisher, a journalist at Vox.com, “but it was the wellspring of his generosity."

It’s a paradox of modern life - most of human history, actually – that saints and sinners alike draw from the same religious waters. Christian crusaders, Sufi pacifists. Sharp knives, soft prayers.

Religion isn’t ever quite so black and white. Most of us live in the vast gray space between. But at moments like this, it's hard to miss the contrast.

"It's story versus story," as Marty put it, "and you get rid of the bad ones by telling good ones."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Discrimination • Faith • Iraq • Islam • Middle East • Muslim • Religious violence

soundoff (995 Responses)
  1. Rynomite

    He should have prayed to Joe Pesci.

    August 21, 2014 at 11:07 am |
  2. nepawoods

    There is no dark side of faith really. Matter of fact, it's all dark.

    August 21, 2014 at 11:00 am |
  3. rhrh1

    I don't get it.

    If you do something stupid and reckless, and you are an atheist, you're stupid and reckless and think nothing of your family and friends.

    If you do something stupid and reckless, and you are a mainstream follower of a religion, you are honorable and brave.

    Take the second statement, and twist it for a religion that has several major and many many minor sects, and you have ISIS and al Qaeda.

    August 21, 2014 at 10:39 am |
  4. James XCIX

    "If you knew about the reward and dignity in this world and the hereafter through jihad, then none of you would delay in doing it.”

    A quote from the story... for all those who think they "know" what their god or gods want... to ponder.

    August 21, 2014 at 10:18 am |
    • LaBella

      That quote sickened me.

      August 21, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • austin929

      I don't agree with John Macarthur saying he knows who the antichrist is.................but his youtube video does portray the muslim reaction to Christ with the Madhi.

      if you read the list of characteristics......................the Madhi systematically opposes ..................in about ten theological ways......................and it is intentional.

      now does this not seem totally human and very evil? it sure scares me.

      so do people who deny spiritual powers at work...................because you are fueling wicked satanic freedom in peoples minds ...............all the helpless children with no law or word in their minds and heart to hold to.

      August 21, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • LaBella

        MacArthur needs to stop with his speculations; it would seem he is throwing fuel into the fire.
        Why?

        August 21, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • James XCIX

          I think it's because people like him find the idea of conflicts between nations that fit into their "end times" scenario grotesquely exciting.

          August 21, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • Rynomite

          Why does any religious leader do anything? $$$$$$$ is involved somehow.

          August 21, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • G to the T

        "now does this not seem totally human and very evil? "

        While I oppose ISIS and everything they stand for, your continued efforts to dehumanize them is disgusting.

        August 21, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • Robert Brown

          G, you are most likely human. You reckon you could cut another humans head off with a hunting knife?

          August 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          Probably not, but then I didn't grow up in the environment these people did. I'm not condoning their actions in any way shape or form. I just believe that we lessen ourselves when we stop believing that these are still human beings.

          August 22, 2014 at 9:36 am |
      • Alias

        You are no better Austin.
        Actually, you are no differeent.
        People like you would do evil in the name of their god given the opportunity.
        History is full of examples.

        August 21, 2014 at 11:31 am |
  5. bostontola

    When people are brought to believe that this life is a transient blip, this world is a transient blip, and that much greater causes exist there are consequences.

    Some are good. Some people are motivated to create great things, music, science, societies, etc. these are builders, inspired by the above premise.

    Some are bad. Some people are motivated to achieve their aim at any cost. Life is devalued based on the very same premise as the builders.

    People are born with a wide range of capabilities, physical, mental, and emotional. Their life experiences expand that range. Religion seems to expand it further. Bad can get really bad. No Satan is required for this to happen, it's all human. We should take responsibility for our actions.

    August 21, 2014 at 10:02 am |
    • austin929

      ◄ Romans 1:24 ►

      Parallel Verses

      New International Version
      Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to s.exual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

      Psalm 81 12

      New International Version
      So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

      “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I will also choose their delusion, and I will bring their fears upon them” – (Is.66:4).

      31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

      33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

      ◄ 2 Thessalonians 2:11 ►

      For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie

      @ Bostontola..............the devil and the system of unforgiveness will hold every one personally accountable for their personal mistakes........and on earth this is cost effective...............and there will be eternal persecution.

      the other reality is that unleashing deceit and covering up very real spiritual forces.............gets you here in the usa where people walk into a school and shoot people by the dozens? everyone speculates on t.v............."where they ill" " were they on prozak"

      why? how often do todays psychologists admit or deny the ability for people to be influenced by powerful demonic feelings and spirits?

      if this is real.................is the atheist world able to help or diagnose?
      and is the secular propaganda actually fueling spiritually helpless people with no correct and true ways to battle against the devil with the real supernatural answer...............

      we need the mind of Christ. we need the word of God to establish the root causes of this type of murder and death.

      the manifestation of Satan.

      August 21, 2014 at 10:24 am |
      • bostontola

        austin,
        I don't know about any atheist world, just the world...with theists and atheists.

        Jesus' word (and others like it) is needed. I try to live by many of his words and other wise people's words. I don't regard them as Gods even though they showed great wisdom. As such, the idea of Satan is childish to me.

        August 21, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • nepawoods

        There are neither gods nor a god nor demons. Brainwashing children to believe such insanity produces behavior consistent with such insanity.

        August 21, 2014 at 10:54 am |
      • mjplatt2014

        The fact is that the more religious a country is, the higher the crime rate. Corellation does not necessarily equal causation, perhaps it is because the same correlation exists between average education and crime (the lower the education level, the higher the crime rate).

        August 21, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  6. bostontola

    A non-Pope story, comments welcome.

    August 21, 2014 at 9:33 am |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to create the universe and the way that everything in the universe works, I would not have let James Foley be murdered. I am pleased to say that is the difference between me and your god!

    August 21, 2014 at 9:20 am |
  8. Vic

    Here is a bit of advice:

    A rule of thumb, whatever group you belong to, if they imply, directly or indirectly, hurting anyone, RUN!

    August 21, 2014 at 9:02 am |
    • austin929

      I hear ya. does it really matter if someone gets their head cut off compared to someone being blown up? which do you think is more popular in America?

      Here is another topic I find to be increasingly important.

      youtube............John Macarther Antichrist Macarthur has come out and said that without a doubt......the antichrist is the Madhi

      I think this is a risky business here.

      August 21, 2014 at 9:15 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I wouldn't worry about anti-christs, Austin.
        Christians have been playing Chicken Little with anti-christ claims for 2,000 years.
        "Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour."
        – 1 John 2:18

        A Short List of Anti-Christs

        All Popes, Most Presidents (except Carter!? but especially Reagan), Emperor Nero, Arius of Alexandria, Czar Peter the Great, Caligula, Midrash Vayosha, Armilus, Adolf Hitler, Henry Kissinger, Mikhael Gorbachev, Napoleon Bonaparte, Antiochus IV, Ti.tus, Charlemagne, Benito Mussolini, Javier Solana, Rahmat Ahmad Maitreya, Saint Germaine, Prince Charles of Britain, Prince Felipe of Spain, Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Miguel Angel Sosa Vasquez,King George, Elvis Presley, Sun Myung Moon, Saddam Hussein, King Frederick the Great, Aleister Crowley, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Louis Farrakhan, Karl Hapsburg, Bill Gates, Jacques Chirac, Oprah Winfrey etc. ad nauseum

        August 21, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • austin929

          doc, thanks for your reply. another reason that I am alerted by this situation is it seems like the next crusade or inquisition is just around the corner. and that could begin with either Clinton, Romney, or Obama.

          any time a major preacher comes out with this type of a statement, that means an entire generation of politics and policy could take a wrong turn again. I don't think the lesson has been learned.

          August 21, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • LaBella

          Why are popular preachers and warmongers inextricably mixed?

          August 21, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • G to the T

          "and that could begin with either Clinton, Romney, or Obama. "

          As I recall it was Bush that first used the term "Crusade".

          August 21, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • Alias

      Then you should aviod the christians.
      They kill doctors, burn mosques, an dopenly discriminate against women and minorities.

      August 21, 2014 at 11:36 am |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    " No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”

    Except for the OT, vengeful, demanding, smitey God of the Jews.
    He seemed to chill out a bit after He became His own Father.

    August 21, 2014 at 8:02 am |
  10. Doris

    Yes, truly awful. The dark side of faith abounds in large numbers.

    "Five people went on trial in China on Thursday accused of beating a woman to death in a McDonald’s restaurant after unsuccessfully trying to recruit her to join their Christian cult.

    They are alleged to belong to the Church of Almighty God, also known as Eastern Lighting, a group that claims to have millions of members here, and believes that God has returned to earth in China in the form of a female Christ."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-cultists-tried-for-mcdonalds-murder/2014/08/21/8da2794e-2908-11e4-8b10-7db129976abb_story.html?hpid=z4

    Christianity sure is odd when it mixes with other things. People are still sacrificed from time to time in Mexico and other countries in sects that have been injected with Christianity. Then in the U.S., we have all kinds of odd groups. I guess the Southern Baptist Convention might be the largest cult in the U.S.

    But hey – salvation is the prize, so why sweat the details?

    August 21, 2014 at 6:03 am |
    • nclaw441

      There have always been people who have done bad things purportedly in the name of a good cause. It is not fair to those of the Christian faith to paint them with the brush of those who do such bad things.

      August 21, 2014 at 7:11 am |
      • Reality

        It is correct to blame those of religious faith when such faith is based on myths, cons and embellishments. Details have been previously presented.

        August 21, 2014 at 7:20 am |
      • colin31714

        Agreed. Nor is it fair to claim that, because some churches perform acts of charity or goodness, their underlying supernatural beliefs are any less silly.

        August 21, 2014 at 8:02 am |
    • austin929

      Galatians 2:17 ►

      Parallel Verses

      New International Version
      "But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

      you all are truly wasting your time trying to disprove who God is by looking at human errors. what a joke.

      you are involved in a satanic attack and your emotions are so full of these feelings..............

      when you make an idol out of error, your soul becomes desolated, and then the devil fills that gap. and you become soul enslaved to idolatrous error.

      broad is the road that leads away from God.

      August 21, 2014 at 9:27 am |
      • austin929

        I should not use the word "you" when talking like this because I am not trying to direct this at any person at all.................

        sorry. have a good one.

        August 21, 2014 at 9:34 am |
        • G to the T

          "when you make an idol out of error"

          Pull put – that's exactly how I feel about Paul and his writings.

          August 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Truly awful.

    Someone needs to get ISIS and Ebola together ...

    August 21, 2014 at 12:04 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Looks like Ebola can be cured, the ignorance of ISIS not so much...although Cyanide capsules given to each of them would resolves the issue rather quickly.

      I feel bad for this man's family and sincerely hope they find some solace.

      August 21, 2014 at 6:57 am |
  12. sanddudian

    Islam, kill infidels in the name of Allah and you go to paridise and receive 72 virgins. Can anyone prove this doesn't happen? This is what faith is and it's most ridiculous point.

    August 21, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

      -Voltaire

      August 21, 2014 at 1:11 am |
      • nepawoods

        And in all religions, adults are making impressionable children believe absurdities.

        August 21, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • MadeFromDirt

      The proof that it doesn't happen is that it is an internally inconsistent and illogical doctrine. A "paradise" that provides finite, physical, and earthly pleasures? Why would God, the Creator of everything, limit His blessings for His people in their spiritual eternity? Why would God's eternal love be expressed in granting men the satisfaction of desires of flesh, when our flesh is only a temporary house of our existence? Muslims who believe in such a paradise are limiting themselves. Fittingly, the unrighteous will exist within all kinds of limits as part of God's wrath in final judgment.

      But anyway, the point here is that faith in error does not mean that faith in truth is also ridiculous.

      August 21, 2014 at 2:32 am |
      • otoh2

        MadeFromDirt,

        "Truth"? Strange... Islam says that it absolutely has it too:

        "ALLAH establishes the truth with His words (the Quran 10:82)",

        "Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things? " [Quran 41:53]

        and

        Even Scientology does it:

        "And that evidence and its truths and its great potential for betterment for the individual and all Mankind are completed work today in Scientology." - L. Ron Hubbard

        http://www.lronhubbard.org/articles-and-essays/philosophy-wins-after-2000-years.html

        August 21, 2014 at 4:10 am |
      • nclaw441

        I don't have a problem with the description of "heaven" in the Islamic faith. Christians talk about streets of gold, etc. Heaven is probably much more than can be described in human terms that are understandable. I'll leave to God how He chooses to treat me when I die.

        August 21, 2014 at 7:13 am |
        • colin31714

          Well, that's one view. The other is that heaven, along with hell, pergatory, limbo and any other magic "happy ever after" or "punished ever after" kingdoms are childish constructs for those to weak to face the inevitability of their own deaths.

          That is why no two faiths or sects can agree on them; they are all totally made up.

          August 21, 2014 at 8:00 am |
        • LaBella

          I don't have a problem with any faith's description on Heaven, either; it's what they are willing to do in His name to get there that I have a problem with.

          August 21, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • nepawoods

        You can't know faith in error from faith in truth without knowing error from truth, and then it isn't faith, but knowing. Faith in any ancient religious text being literal truth is faith in error.

        August 21, 2014 at 10:46 am |
      • mjplatt2014

        That is the problem with faith. It does not require truth. It is the willingness to believe something even in the absence of any real evidence. That makes it impossible to know what truth is.

        August 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • Alias

        The arrogance to act as if your version of Abraham's god is any different ...
        Noah's boat,
        The Garden of Eden,
        Living in a fish for 3 days,
        Satan existing,
        The slavery,
        The changing morals,
        The contradictions,
        The need to kill jesus,
        The fact that bible scholars cannot agree to what it says,
        and the 3 gods all rolled up in one thingy.

        Christianity is total nonsense that requires a lot of denial and blind faith.

        August 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        The point I wanted to make is that God invites His people to study His Word in depth, to use the minds that He gave us and renewed, to gradually discover the deep levels of His progressive revelation, and to compare the internal consistency of His message to claims from other religions which invariably crumble upon thoughtful analysis. So my comments were directed at honest searchers, not deniers.

        But the remarks from the deniers are informative. In haste to try to escape from God, they leave their minds disengaged, and leap right past the point, and the challenge.

        If you believe there is a Creator (or if you are brave enough to assume there is one for the purposes of exercise), the next step is to think about the nature of that being and the powers that would be required for Him to create all we see and feel, and then compare all of the truth-claims about our relationship to that Creator, thinking about which one is most consistent with itself and with the nature and powers of the Creator.

        Many false truth-claims cite the Bible, as it predicted. But even when the Bible is misunderstood and misused by false truth-claims, that does not make the Bible wrong. Salvation does not depend on logic, but the salvation provided by the God of the Bible is filled with reason. The Bible's basic message of salvation is simple, and its truths go ever deeper. The basic message is Christ, and its truths flow up from love. There's no error to be found in that.

        August 22, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • Alias

          So why did god not want his church to translate the bible into modern languages?
          Please refer to the origins of the King James version as historical reference.

          August 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alias, your question contains a false presumption. It is incorrect that God does not want His Word to reach His people throughout all times and places. God has made that happen and will continue to do so through His chosen means, despite any past, present, or future efforts of men to restrict it.

          August 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
  13. Reality

    Islam, the terror and horror religion since day one:

    To wit:

    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. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 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
    o
    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
    U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
    Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

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

    28) The beheading of journalist James Foley on August 19, 2014.

    August 20, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Keith

    Islam is the great evil of this century.

    August 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Closely followed by the other abrahamic religions.

      August 21, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • Keith

        The Abrahamic religions are the religions of genocide, hate, and shame.

        August 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  15. rp1588

    Was Foley killed by ISIS in role as an ally of the US military, or in their role as an enemy? ISIS has been both, after all. The US military has killed a number of journalists, often with the flimsiest of excuses. It has used journalists as spies, and posed its spies as journalists.

    We have no idea why this was done, only that many explanations are plausible, and torturing prisoners to death continues to be done by the US military.

    August 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think he was killed in the role of human being.

      August 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • G to the T

        Good point. I think he was killed as an effigy for the US and it's policies. Any American would have done.

        August 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    One more broken pot
    Another drop in the ocean
    Frees absolute self

    August 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
  17. Vic

    God bless his soul James Foley and free up Steven Sotloff.

    August 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
  18. orgjw

    He will render judgment among the nations And set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Nor will they learn war anymore. – Isaiah 2:4

    August 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
    • Keith

      Isaiah wasn't much of a prophet was he.

      August 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
  19. thesamyaza

    brothers killing brothers, whats wrong with the Abrahamic faiths

    August 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
  20. LaBella

    My sincerest sympathy to Diane Foley and family. I am so, so sorry.
    This is truly awful.

    August 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
    • bostontola

      My condolences as well. Mr. Foley's mother showed strength and love, there must be deep pain also. Horrible bunch of human beings.

      August 21, 2014 at 9:33 am |
      • austin929

        where are all the sane people in the middle east to deal with this problem themselves? how many nations around there won't do anything? why the USA................pitiful.

        August 21, 2014 at 9:37 am |
        • bostontola

          Austin,
          I don't see a lot of sanity over there. Sadly, I see most sides struggling for power. Killing is an acceptable price for many of them.

          August 21, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • Rynomite

          The sane people probably have to keep their heads down, lest they come off as well.

          August 21, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • G to the T

          "why the USA"

          Well... we did train and equip most them to begin with... Al Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban, etc...

          August 21, 2014 at 11:55 am |
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About this blog

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