Do you welcome the rise of Islam?

According to the Vatican, 17.4 percent of us are Catholics and 19.2 percent are Muslims. Treat all Christians as one group and they would reach 33 per cent, but the figures are still significant. The number of Roman Catholics is static, the number of Muslims is going up. If this is happening in your country, do you care

Do you mind which religions we do or don’t follow? Does the steady increase in the percentage of us who practice Islam please you, worry you or leave you entirely unmoved? Does the number of us who are religious (whatever the faith) matter more to you?

206 Responses to “Do you welcome the rise of Islam?”

  1. 1 Brett
    March 31, 2008 at 13:39

    The rise of religious intolerance regardless of which god they worship worries me.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 VictorK
    March 31, 2008 at 13:41

    These statistics are pretty meaningless. And you even provide the relevant figures that demonstrate the numerical supremacy of Christianity to Islam (not that that in itself is especially significant). So, there are more Muslims in total than there are members of one particular Christian denomination? What of it?

    And what is the mental procesa that draws from this not very important data an overexcited and triumphalist headline about the ‘rise of Islam,’ from figures that you yourself have presented that show no such thing?

    But the figures do point to an important issue, though it’s one that I don’t expect to be debated: demographic change – not across the world as a global phenomenon, but within specific countries of the West (the only places where it’s happening).

    Will it make a difference to countries like France and Holland to have Muslim majorities in 50-100 yearss, as current trends indicate will be the case unless something very dramatic happens in the intervening period (that was the true significance of the Wilders film)? Of course it does. Will this ever be debated openly by a reputable broadcaster? Don’t hold your breath.

    I couldn’t care less how many Muslims there are in the world, and I don’t see why anybody else should either (the BBC included). I care very much, though, how many Muslims there are in my country, since this will have far-reaching consequences politically, socially, culturally and for public safety.

    Why brush aside the matters of substance and go for the trivia?

  3. 3 Josh
    March 31, 2008 at 13:44

    Good Morning from Portland Oregon

    In Oregon, the fastest growing segment of the population in a religious context is those who are unaffiliated. It does not matter in what one believes so long as it is for his or herself. Regulating the lives of others based on your own dogma is fascism. Like Wafa Sultan said “You can believe in stones brother; so long as you don’t throw them at me.”

  4. 4 Ana
    March 31, 2008 at 13:54

    Personally, I’m agnostic, but I think that whatever gives a person an understanding of his/her role in society and ultimately inner peace is always welcome. I do not welcome unquestioned religious views nor literal interpretations of the books that guide these religions though. An unexamined life is one not worth living and I think the same of religions. In Europe, I have seen an increase in converts, some of which are simply young people with identity issues searching for strict guidelines to follow in a increasingly liberal world, but a poor understanding of Islam. I do not welcome that, since I consider it a dangerous place to be. I still believe that the transition can be made, if one explores the real reasons for converting and then opening oneself up to acceptance and empathy for people with different views. And this is something that should be done by everyone, regardless of religious views.

  5. March 31, 2008 at 13:58

    This is Maria in Los Angeles, California.

    “Religious intolerance” only exists because there’s been an intense “humanistic intolerance” for thousands of years. You can’t not believe in something without being subjected to gross discrimination. Religious-minded people can be as unhappy as they’d like about the rise of the “new atheists,” but they have to understand that they themselves created this atmosphere. They themselves are to blame, because oppressed minorities have a right to be angry and they’ll speak out (as they should).

    As for the question at hand, it worries me that religious conversion is on the rise. It means more people are abandoning critical thinking for foggy mythologies that tell them how to behave. I certainly understand and have compassion for people wanting life to mean more, for those who want to connect with the greater universe, so to speak, to transcend worldly values. But religion isn’t it. If only people could embrace a sort of mysticism and think for themselves about their spiritual experiences instead of grabbing some prepackaged philosophy off the shelf to fill in the holes. It’s enormously sad and frustrating. It only means people are thinking less and acting more blindly.

    And we certainly don’t need that today in the face of globalization and other issues that are forcing us to loosen our boundaries and listen more closely to other people. It’s almost like religious conversion — the narrowing of one’s worldview — is a reaction against it.

  6. 6 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 13:59

    What I worry about most isn’t the rise of Islam, its that 52.2% of human beings believe the other 47.8% are going to hell.
    Jason in America

  7. 7 Chris
    March 31, 2008 at 14:01

    Hi Ros et al,

    Personally I’m rather nervous about the rise of any religion, no matter what, because religions seem to be responsible for many of the problems of the world. I have nothing whatsoever against religions, so long as the people who follow them don’t expect the rest of the world to go along with them.

    (Paragraph!!) I believe that any religion, way of life, whatever, should be a person’s own choice, and not be pushed at people who don’t believe in them. My mother always used to say “moderation in all things”, and that should go for religions as well. When moderation goes out the window, troubles certainly come in the door.

    Chris in Namibia.

  8. 8 Julie P
    March 31, 2008 at 14:02

    What I find troubling is a rise in religion.

  9. 9 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 14:04

    Religion belongs in the past, not the future. If everyone became very religious, it would be the end of progress. Remember, people in some parts of the world are killing each other over events from 1500 years ago, meanwhile, the US has been to the moon, is planning to go back and then go to mars. Do we really want to go back to the days of people being accused of heresy for saying the earth isn’t the center of teh universe? Religion has always held progress back.

  10. 10 Paulo
    March 31, 2008 at 14:07

    I don’t care so much how many Muslims there are compared to how many Christians there are in a hundred years. I only care that the number of people who can be considered fundamentalists are substantially fewer than now. Most Christians have chosen to simply disregard those parts of the Bible that justify unspeakable brutality and oppression of various parts of our society. Thankfully for the rest of us, most Christians treat their religion as a salad bar, picking and choosing what they think is worth taking to heart. Islam will become much more tolerable to the rest of us when more of their people start doing that and as a result become more like us.

    But what I would really like to see is considerably fewer people attaching themselves to any religion. The wholesale abandonment of religion in the face of overwhelming scientific and archaeological evidence would go a long way towards resolving intolerance in the world. However, I also truly believe that people need to be mystified, and if they abandon one religion because it seems quaint and at odds with the facts, they’ll simply join another religion that stakes a claim just beyond the clearing in the dark fog that science has already illuminated.

    Paterson, New Jersey

  11. 11 George USA
    March 31, 2008 at 14:19

    Islam is a very aggressive religion: convert or die.

    More interesting this morning is the anti-religion remarks I read.

    Christianity, which is the basis for all law and cultural norms of Western Civilization, is very tolerant, unlike Islam.

    Those who are eager to dismantle the basis of Western Civilization and fault faith in God for the the worlds problems would be the first to be beheaded under Islamic majority and rule.

  12. 12 machinewarrior1
    March 31, 2008 at 14:20

    We had our reformation in the West a long time ago. Religion and politics were separated. This, along with other issues has meant the slow but inevitable demise of male power. Religions are the bastions of male self interest and gender based power, diktats made by men for the benefit of men.

    It’s very worrying that a religious ideology is clearly making much progress here in the Uk particularly one that has a powerful and disgraceful record of systematic gender based violence. One of the main factors in our seeming impotence in challenging Muslim practices is because the ethnic patriarchs have hijacked our very necessary and moral anti racist agenda and used it to hide gender violence. If we criticise this behaviour then the response is, “Your a racist” and we have been extremely scared to challenge this specious claim.

    There has been a covert deal going on here for decades in the UK fuelled by the theory of multiculturalism whereby the ethnic and indigenous patriarchs have colluded to prevent male-on-male violence by the lily liver selling out of ethnic females.

    We now have a gender apartheid operating in the UK.

    The deal goes like this:

    “You don’t call us racist and we’ll let you treat your women and girls in the manner to which you have become accustomed”

    You can, with impunity, in this so called 21stC democracy practice in the name of Islam, fgm, forced marriages ‘honour’ killings and polygamy. Racism is thriving here as long as its only practised on females, black, Asian, and white, bolstered and maintained by unchallenged religious traditions and a scared white population too frightened to challenge even white racism, (all white females are ‘slappers’ is a stereo view that many Muslim and other Asian’s hold) and the ethnic gangs who groom white children for prostitution, (see Panorama Thursday 27th Mar. 08).

    This acquiescence with such deeply undemocratic religious practices has given encouragement to other long dormant and older religions ready to jump on the band wagon, (see Rowan Williams and his very muddle and much back tracked speech with regard to acquiescing with sharia law). These previously redundant clerics are try to reclaim their gender based power.

    It’s time we challenged such anachronistic religious cleric of all denominations and exposed the injustice in their dogmas. It’s time we brought to the fore misogyny and raised people’s consciousness to the level we have with regard to racism or else we will find women and girls without the language to challenge these religious patriarchs and their narcissistic ideologies

  13. March 31, 2008 at 14:22

    I welcome the rise of NO religeon over common sense, and criticsl thought. And keep it out of (my) government. They may not be mutually exclusive, but they are not compatable.

  14. 14 VictorK
    March 31, 2008 at 14:24

    Brett wrote, ‘The rise of religious intolerance regardless of which god they worship worries me.’

    This is – initially considered – a plausible view and is common enough amongst Western liberals, atheists and rationalists. But isn’t it at bottom a cop-out?

    There is currently in the world only one religion that charges its adherents, as a matter of orthodoxy, with fighting and killing those who don’t share their faith; uses violence and the threat of violence to silence critics; consistently inspires its followers to blow up innocent civilians, and if necessary to turn themselves into living bombs the better to effect mass slaughter; openly boasts that it is ‘totalist’ (i.e. totalitarian) in nature and not merely a religion, but a is a doctrine that embraces and must dictate politics, economics, family, mores, law and every other aspect of what we in the West would regard as civil society; that has proved itself utterly incapable of accepting modernity; and that makes it plain that it means to dominate and rule the world.

    Now, when there is only one religion at the present time with such a resume, what is the point of objecting to intolerance amongst them all?

    Nobody boarding a plane for a transatlantic fight would be afraid if they saw a party of Buddhists, or Hindus, or Southern Baptists, or Orthodox Jews, or Epsicopalians, or Quakers, or Wiccans, or Roman Catholics or even Satanists about to board with them. But people have been known to refuse to board a flight or insist on a ban when it comes to Muslims. Plain fact. Nobody else. Yet some of us will insist, in any debate on Islam, on cowering with fear about the supposed intolerance of all religions!

    One wouldn’t welcome the alleged ‘rise of Islam’ because Islam today, in the 21st century, is a uniquely intolerant religion, as well as being a largely failed way of life (as Muslim immigration to the West demonstrates). This is an objection that simply can’t be made to any other creed.

  15. 15 Muthee Mwangi
    March 31, 2008 at 14:28

    Hi WHYS,
    I’ll tell you one thing, i absolutely don’t mind the rise of any religion and those of us who regard the rise of Islam should just soul search themselves and determine the cause of their uneasiness.
    Religion has been an integral part of humanity and it is only now with the rise of secularism that we pretend that we don’t really need it but it has played a very positive role in the society.
    Why should the Vatican even concern themselves with the rise of Islam? Christianity has failed to give the essence of God and has had many unpleasant scandals while Muslims have evangelised their faith as an absolute way to living a righteous way.
    And by the way, Islam is not rising due to a higher birth rate in Muslims.

  16. 16 Anthony
    March 31, 2008 at 14:28

    I personally do not welcome it. I can not understand why it’s so popular. Muhammad was supposed to be a prophet, yet his miracle was writing the Koran (*which I don’t consider a miracle), who married a 6 year old, but did have her live with him till she had her first period at 10. It’s filled with a bunch of contradictions, it tells Muslims to kill all non-believers, and basically tells of world domination. Also, what kind of God would create Jews, and then tell Muhammad to kill them all? All these things add up to extremism. I know that the Christians miss-interpreted the Bible, but miss-interpreting the Koran is worse. Although the basis (total submission to God) is beautiful, there are so many horrible things that don’t make any sense.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  17. 17 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 14:29

    I truly believe all religions including islam stand for peace,its unfortunate some elements in the religion misinterprete the koran for their own extremist agenda. If the additions to islam are made up of the genuin muslims that wants peace, then its ok, but if the extremists increase in number, then there will be problems. We must also note that the rise in the islam population is mainly due high birth rate among muslims and not mainly due to conversions from other religions.
    Kwabena in Ghana

  18. 18 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 14:44

    Dear Ros,
    The issue of religion is paramount but some of the teachings are oppressive in certain areas of the world.For instance for us in Africa our traditional names were scrapped off in preference for the so called holy names.For me the true religion which is on the rise is that of equality and has respect for humanity thus humanism.
    Therefore, brainwash and imposition of religion have caused alot of suffering for us in countries that had to import christianity and islamic.

    Therefore, popularity of a religion should be measured on the practising of the teaching rather than attendance in a prescribed building.
    Iam not moved by the stastics of either catholicism or islamic as they are just indications on how man is desperate to find comfort in this world.

    For me the most popular religion is the one practised by humanists.


  19. 19 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 14:45

    Hey Precious Ros. WELCOME BACK to the WHYS studio and to your loyal listeners my good friend. I’m a practicing Muslim young woman who lives in Baghdad, Iraq. I’m feeling so proud of my faith. The Holy Quran and the sacred sayings of the Prophet Mohammed are forming my constitution for life. But I’m so sorry to say that the true Mohammedan Islam is declining in the face of Wahabism (a very extreme and corrupt version of Islam). The true Mohammedan Islam is the faith of the SILENT MAJORITY of Muslims. While Wahabism is the faith of a MINORITY of so called Muslims who own power and financial resources and can speak out for themselves very well. The influence of this MINORITY keeps rising, and they present themselves to the West as true representatives of Islam. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  20. 20 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 14:45

    the rise of Islam will bring insecurity and instability in the world.

    the world will be full of lawless and extremes.

    Joseph Demayen.
    Kongor, Southern Sudan..

  21. 21 archibald in Oregon
    March 31, 2008 at 14:53

    Religion, no matter what the faith, seems only to hinder the progress our ever expanding global community. It divides us into perceptions of truth that have no place in the modern world. Faith need not be organized, for if you have it you do not need others to affirm it.

  22. 22 Will Rhodes
    March 31, 2008 at 14:56

    The rise in radical Islam would worry me – but on the flip-side of this, how many Christians are allowed to practice openly in, say, Saudi?

    I really don’t care what religious affiliate you are – as long as you accept and are tolerant of all people whether religious or not.

  23. 23 Anthony
    March 31, 2008 at 15:06

    I don’t see why I keep seeing everyone saying how religion is basically a social cancer that holds back our progress. If it wasn’t for my belief in God, I would literally be killing those who get in my way for a woman I wanted, a job position I wanted, etc. If we all took an evolutionary approach to life, we would be having unprotected sex with everyone we could, and would just kill competition without a second thought.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  24. March 31, 2008 at 15:08

    17% and 19% equal 34%, leaving 66% of the world something else other than Islam or Catholicism. Both of these religions are notable in their appalling arrogance in regard to being the “true’ religion. Its no wonder there are so many wars in the world. Most of them are sectarian, and feed on water, land, and food rights.

    In this sense mankind at the start of 21st century is still as tribal and almost as barbaric as our primate forebears 4 million years ago.

    While it is critical to tolerate and respect difference, it is also absolutley critical that Islam and Christianity get a grip on reality and ABSOLUTELY give up their appallingly arrognat claims to “truth”.

  25. March 31, 2008 at 15:12

    Do you welcome the rise of Islam?

    Such a statement and/or question is very personal and might rise a lot of debate issues. I agree, read somewhere in these posts, that the question asks isn’t valid enough. Why?
    Religion has been here for ages, it belongs to the people. Whether it is Christianity, Islam, Hindu or Buddhism it doesn’t matter, it is all matter of belief and belonging or identifying yourself with others and written words.
    Do I care about the rise of Islam? Yes and No. No, Because I am not a religious person myself I don’t care about belief. But Yes if you look society wise, demographic shifts. The rise of Islam is a major happening. We always tell our selfs, that government and church are not combined in ruling. In my mind that is pure horse ****. There are almost as many mosques as churches. Rules are bend to positively discriminate Muslims in my country. Prayer rooms are build in companies because there Muslim co-workers need to pray several times a day, price for the most beautiful building (in Holland) has been given to a Mosque and so on.
    I am a strong believer of adjustment. Meaning that a country is entitled and needs to keep their own identity, culture and individuality. Immigrants (not necessarily minorities) have to adjust to the life style of the particular country, society, laws and order.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not against any religion, because most people are needy to have a fall back, a place where they can spill there worries other then spill it on real people. And a place where they can blame and forgive.

    But to close this post: Religion overall a menace to society. Not worthwhile fighting or dieing for.

  26. 26 Xie_Ming
    March 31, 2008 at 15:26

    Nationhood is based on shared myths, ideals, history language and values.

    Religion can be either secular (Marxism, etc.) or supernatural. Organized religion sets up an ideology for the people that exalts the priests or party as the elite.

    When a religion leaves the area in which it developed and seeks to become universal it will, if it is totalitarian, seek to destroy any competing values.

    The Anglo-Saxon idea of tolerance gives great room to any form of nonsense if moves under the label of “religion”. This is an error. Violent subversives of any stripe need to receive the same treatment.

    The Imam Kohmeini (Shi’ia) set up a totalitarian theocratic state with an ideology calling for universal revolution. The Wahabbi seek revolution with the traditional domain of Islam. The Israeli government-sponsored Gush-Emunim terrorists proclaim a universal revolution for fundamentalist Judaism.

    If Britain and other lands are not willing to defend their values against totalitarianism (supernatural religious or otherwise), they will deserve the result.

  27. 27 gary
    March 31, 2008 at 15:28

    Hello All,
    I don’t care. Islam may do or be anything it wishes. However, I don’t like narrow-minded, religious bigots, so if count yourself Muslim, Christian, Druid or Taoist and are bigoted, you’re not welcome in my house at all. I do not believe most Muslims are narrow-minded or bigoted at all. However, as with most faith-based organizations, the duty of the faithful is compliance while substantive decision-making is left to the few, or to the one, supreme leader. So what? In most faith-based groups this doesn’t matter so much, but modern Islam demands unified religious and political control. As well, a substantial number see all that is non-Islamic as anti-Islamic. The bottom line here is sort of ominous. Sooner or latter some of the more paranoid members of Islam will obtain a nuclear bomb, or two…and they will be detonated. How should the non-Islamic country respond? What responses will this draw from the Islamic world? It seems to me there exists a small, but finite, probability of an event (a faith-based world war III) even more stupid than humanity’s wholesale rape of the environment.

  28. 28 viola anderson
    March 31, 2008 at 15:39

    No, I do not welcome it. As a woman, I would not want to live under Islam, nor would I want my daughter to have to live under it. Should Islam loosen up and acknowledge the validity of other religions in the manner espoused by the Dalai Lama, I might feel differently.

    Anti-religion is not the answer, however. Religion has been hi-jacked by extremists, politicians, and hate-mongers of all stripes. They are the ones who quote the most horrific parts of books deemed “religious” by the so-called experts. The passages calling for tolerance and love of one’s neighbor and even of strangers are ignored or used to refute the truth of what they are doing. They use the one for their purposes of hate and violence and then take refuge under the other when they are called to account for their actions.

    Religion has always been an attempt to understand the universe we live in and our place in it. As knowledge increases so does understanding also. Trouble comes in when believers refuse to see that knowledge has expanded and insist on clinging to their old world view. Everything evolves. So should religion.

    British Columbia, Canada

  29. 29 George USA
    March 31, 2008 at 15:41

    Does the rise of Islam concern me?

    Yes, Islam has a mandate to force everyone to become Muslim.

    I am a Christian. That makes the conflict direct with my beliefs and knowledge of Almighty God.

    Western civilization and law are based on the Bible, not the Koran. They are totally different, with different values.

    The voices which seek the overthrow of all faith in God: the culture, laws, standards, and Western Civilization, ultimately promote the “other religion”, the satanist of the new world order.

  30. 30 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 15:43

    On e-mail

    I don’t welcome the rise of any religion. I’m not a fanatic that seeks to crush others ideals, but I detest superstition and the blatant disregard of reason. The world needs less religion and more people like Richard Dawkins and Taslima Nasrin.

    Ken in Cleveland

  31. 31 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 15:43

    From Kenya on e-mail :

    As a christian I am not worried about rising muslim numbers. I am worried that the values in and of christianity have been watered down. I would like to see more FAITH in ACTION. Cheburet, Nairobi.

  32. 32 mahamed geeljire
    March 31, 2008 at 15:48

    dear bbc, my name is geeljire live in country 100 percetage of its population has the religion of islam,
    in my opinioin or view the growing of islam and the rise of islam is peacefull and stability.our religion doesn,t allow torrorism and volience among the people
    is sweet religion.

    mahamed geeljire

  33. 33 Count Iblis
    March 31, 2008 at 15:49

    Julie P wrote:

    What I find troubling is a rise in religion.

    I agree that this is very troubling. Religion is based on ideas that contradict science. This contradiction used to be purely academical in past centuries. But in today’s world, religion has become an obstacle in e.g. medical science. This does have a real impact on all of us.

    Now, if there is a rise in religion, even though religion is in direct conflict with science, then this suggests that children are not properly being educated about science in school. This is also a deeply worrying situation.

  34. 34 Brett
    March 31, 2008 at 15:51

    @ VictorK

    Now, when there is only one religion at the present time with such a resume, what is the point of objecting to intolerance amongst them all?

    Nobody boarding a plane for a transatlantic fight would be afraid if they saw a party of Buddhists, or Hindus, or Southern Baptists, or Orthodox Jews, or Epsicopalians, or Quakers, or Wiccans, or Roman Catholics or even Satanists about to board with them. But people have been known to refuse to board a flight or insist on a ban when it comes to Muslims. Plain fact. Nobody else. Yet some of us will insist, in any debate on Islam, on cowering with fear about the supposed intolerance of all religions!

    Correct, nobody boarding a plane for a transatlantic flight is afraid of anyone except Muslims. But does that mean that other religions arent as ignorant and intolerant?

    At my old College, I would see “Christians” daily in their crusade against the sinners standing around with signs and preaching that all other religions are going to hell, yelling obscenities at homosexual students passing by, harrassing the general student body, etc.
    The crazy christians in the middle of the US holding signs at the poor service-man’s funeral which read (among many) “God Hates *insert three letter word used for a male homosexual here*
    Look throughout history at the intolerance of almost any religion, and yes whether anyone wants to admit it or not, Christianity was a big player.
    So please in the recent events don’t get sucked into “My religion is better than yours”. Truth be told, most are intolerant and have a poor ground to stand on when denouncing other religions.

    Islam is intolerant, and so are many other religions. Thus my comment that I am concerned about all intolerant religions; This INCLUDES Islam.

  35. 35 Peter Gizzi
    March 31, 2008 at 15:54

    I was baptised a Roman Catholic to which I striongly objected. I have since had my Catholism officially revoked by The Archbisop’s Office. Add to that the fact I was born homosexual and another problem manifests itself. Few religions accept people being born this way, especially Islam, The Jewish Faith and Roman Catholism. I assume because they teach that “God made us”?

    I now consider myself an atheist. I feel it is wrong to impose religion on anybody unless they so choose. Obviously I worry about the rise of Islam as they may well wish to be rid of me. I also feel many people are forced into being members of religions as they are too frightened to say otherwise. This could lead to disinheritance or even death.

    I do not need God to know what is right or wrong. That is obvious to any decent person.

    I live in Gillingham Kent UK

  36. 36 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 15:54

    I’m curious why God hasn’t contributed to this HYS, that’s right, because he’s a fictional book character, and could no more write a post than Harry Potter can. And people get killed over this rubbish on a daily basis. Humans truly have to be the stupidest life form on earth.

  37. 37 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 15:59

    By e-mail from France

    I don’t think it matters which religions numbers rise as such, the problem is the rise of fundimentalism in any of the religions.
    Linda living in France

  38. 38 George USA
    March 31, 2008 at 16:19

    More conflict than meets the eye:

    If this WHYS topic exchange is any indication, here is what it looks like-

    Islam vs Judeo-Christian conflict will be used to lay the foundation for the new world order satanist.

    The Bible states in the last days of this age the antichrist will arise and take over.

    Perhaps Islam vs Judeo-Christan conflict is going to be, or is, the mechanism for that.

  39. 39 Anthony
    March 31, 2008 at 16:24

    I think what people here don’t understand, is that Man, no matter what, will find a reason to hate and kill. If its not religion, it’s the color of your skin, if it’s not that, it’s your political stance, if it’s not that, then it’s where you were born. If everyone was the same race, religion, and came from the same place, then Man would start to discriminate on how tall you were. You can’t blame religion. I think religion has done much more help than it has destruction. The US didn’t bomb Japan over religion.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  40. 40 Janet T
    March 31, 2008 at 16:26

    Good point Viola- I also would not want to live under Islam rule- Religion has traditionally been a way to control the populations and regulate societal mores. Though shall not………………………I think many people need to have a healthy fear of retribution in an afterlife to keep them on the straight and narrow- that said- my observations of the fundamentalist Islam- “rewards are offered in an afterlife for killing the barbarians that cannot/will not be converted”. seems contrary to the basics of any religious teachings, where life is usually held sacred. I guess my question is- what type of Islam?? There seem to be two very different groups. I think any religion that requires their faithful to follow guidelines that promote peace and harmony, kindness and goodwill towards their fellow human are fine- just please don’t try to convert me.
    Janet in Oregon

  41. 41 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 16:26

    As an agnostic, I’m frankly tired of the tribal religions of the Middle East.
    Scott in the States

  42. March 31, 2008 at 16:27

    God made man in it’s image – Thus man is god. Man created the bible. IT’S SIMPLE PEOPLE! If those in the world who believe in every word of the bible, Koran, or Torah, can see this book for what it is…a epic novel, then we could just turn to ourselves and the power we have to DO god’s work.

    So, to answer the question, it depends on whether the rise has to do with people with low self worth looking to something other that themselves to help them get out of whatever problems they’re having…and that goes for all religions.

  43. 43 VictorK
    March 31, 2008 at 16:31

    Xie Ming wrote, “The Anglo-Saxon idea of tolerance gives great room to any form of nonsense if [it] moves under the label of “religion”. This is an error. Violent subversives of any stripe need to receive the same treatment..”

    I have to agree. The whole problem with Anglo-Saxon liberalism is that it has no appreciation of the intolerable. It believes in granting all sorts of freedoms to all sorts of people and groups, including the freedom to permanently destroy a liberal (small ‘l’) society and liberal values.

    Freedom of religion, for example, should only apply to those faiths that are compatible in their outlook and practice with a liberal society. A religion that is committed to overthrowing a liberal society should enjoy only a limited freedom or none at all. Even an icon of liberalism like John Locke recognised this in relation to Roman Catholicism, which in his time time was not a religion that was fully compatible with English traditions of liberty or able to meet expectations of allegiance and loyalty to the nation.

    Our dismal experience of Islam in the West has brought me to the position that freedom of religion is not an absolute, and that no Western society should think itself obliged to grant to Islam the freedoms that are extended to other religions. A religion that is opposed to the values and freedoms that one’s society is based on automatically loses the right to appeal to those values and freedoms to protect itself.

    And it’s worth noting that every Muslim country in the world takes exactly this view of non-Islamic faiths in their midst; and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

  44. 44 Brett
    March 31, 2008 at 16:32

    “The Bible states in the last days of this age the antichrist will arise and take over.

    Perhaps Islam vs Judeo-Christan conflict is going to be, or is, the mechanism for that.

    Every large-scale conflict or incident is put into that context though… Its kind of like horoscopes, be vauge enough and whatever you say is almost certain to be true.
    So if Islam vs Judeo-Christian conflict is going to percipitate the end of time, then why not give eachother a hug and treat eachother with respect? Because neither side wants to do that. “My god is better than your god” or “My god is right, yours is wrong”-mentality is a hindrance towards peace amongst religions. This plus both of the followers’ beliefs that death will not matter because each side is right in their own eyes, thus they will go to heaven in the end, will surely usher in the end quickly if that is in fact whats happening.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  45. 45 Jonathan
    March 31, 2008 at 16:36

    How many goats do we have to sacrifice in this world before we can all get along??

  46. March 31, 2008 at 16:44

    It does not matter to me the increase of any religious entity as long as they persue their religion in a peaceful way. However there are two sides with regard to the followers of Islam on the one side there are peace loving muslims but on the other side there are extremists that have no regard what so ever in murdering innocent men women and children and accept blowing themselves up and causing death to others with the thought they will go to heaven. I think I am right in saying, that in the muslim Koran it states that infidels should be killed. The clerics and leaders of the muslim faith are the source of this problem, they preach and brain wash their followers to kill others whilst they themselves to not risk their own lives. I met the terrorist Richard Reid in Amsterdam a few days before he took the flight from Paris to Miami he tried to detonate a bomb during the flight but failed in the attempt. I clearly remember he was stone faced and seemed to live in another world, I asked him where in London he was from, he said Bermondsey, he just cut me short and said no more.
    Therefore it must be a concern to us all if many more followers are indoctrinated to do such evil deeds.

  47. 47 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 16:48


    So long as someone is willing to kill or be killed for their fictional beliefs, there will never be peace.

  48. 48 VictorK
    March 31, 2008 at 16:57

    Brett: yes, it’s not just Muslims that can be intolerant. But Muslim intolerance exists in a class of its own.

    You mentioned Christian bigots ‘…yelling obscenities at homosexual students passing by, harrassing the general student body, etc.
    The crazy christians in the middle of the US holding signs at the poor service-man’s funeral which read (among many) “God Hates *insert three letter word used for a male homosexual here*”’. Which is all pretty distasteful.

    But even that example confirms my point. One Christian denomination has appointed a gay bishop: are there openly gay imams anywhere on the planet (at least who are still alive)? Even the Catholic Church accepts homosexual orientation; it’s just the practice that it regards as a sin. Is there a comparably conservative branch of Islam that displays even this degree of tolerance and understanding? Of course not: homosexuals in a Muslim country who are unlucky enough to be discovered can normally expect to be punished for being who they are, including being put to death. There are Christian denominations that are unsypathetic to gays; there are others that are supportive of them. The rule here is diversity of opinion. Islam is as one in its condemnation and loathing of gays and its wish to inflict violence upon them. There is not even a hint of dissent on a subject like that. And there are very few ‘Christian countries’ in which homosexuals don’t enjoy full protection under the law and don’t enjoy the freedom to live there lives as they see fit: can you name many Muslim countries of which the same could be said?.

    There simply is no comparison. In the present age Christianity is amongst the least bigoted and least intolerant of faiths, even though not entirely free of bigotry and intolerance.

  49. 49 selena
    March 31, 2008 at 16:59

    To the person who said “If it wasn’t for my belief in God, I would literally be killing those who get in my way for a woman I wanted, a job position I wanted, etc.” I can only say that you are backing up what has been my experience with religious persons.

    The religious flock to religion because they fear that if they don’t they will commit some terrible sin.

    Many people who do not believe in religion are not too concerned with sin. They don’t have to prevent themselves from killing others for their own gratification. They have genuine compassion for the person, not a compassion, which they don’t truly feel, forced upon them by religion .

    Religion instills the concept of sin. It is this concept that breeds guilt for even breathing.

    If children were not taught that everything is a sin, the world would be a far better place.

  50. 50 Jonathan
    March 31, 2008 at 17:03

    @ Steve
    I know… If we run out of goats we can simply clone some more. We have certainly no shortage of sheep.

  51. 51 Jared
    March 31, 2008 at 17:08

    Greetings from Monterey Bay California,

    Personally, I am a Christian. I do find the more radical section of my religion distasteful. I believe in loving the sinner, not the sin. I recognize that I am not perfect. I am also not arrogant enough to think that I have the 100% correct view of God. I do not see the growing Muslim movement as a problem. Both Christianity and Islam have zealots that have given the religion a bad name. I don’t think paradigm shift will really have any affect whatsoever.

  52. 52 Mike
    March 31, 2008 at 17:10

    The rise of muslim fundamentalism terrifies me. It is a degeneration of a religion the same way radical catholicism was during the crusades, but with far more worrying consequences.


  53. 53 John in Salem
    March 31, 2008 at 17:10

    I don’t have a problem with Islam. It’s the fundamentalists who make life difficult, and that includes ALL religions.

  54. March 31, 2008 at 17:13

    Kalypso in Vienna, Austria

    Also in Ethiopia the muslims are becoming more than the Christians. As an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian I am quite worried about this trend.

  55. 55 Ruth
    March 31, 2008 at 17:16

    What’s worrisome is the explosive birthrates amongst Muslims. That’s why the number of people practicing Islam is on the rise and is surely a contributing factor to poverty, environmental degradation, and a myriad of other problems.

  56. March 31, 2008 at 17:19

    Ed in Houston Texas

    It’s time the citizens of African countries tell the leaders who thinks the seat of presidency they won at a certain election is not a lifetime thrown.

  57. March 31, 2008 at 17:20

    please help me out here…

    Is catholicism a religion of it own? I thought catholics belong to the Christian Religion. The Vertican should have made the comparism between number of christians and muslims and not catholicism and muslims. What does the Vertican consider the other Christian denominations to be?

    Sahr Sonny Junisa

  58. March 31, 2008 at 17:23

    Could Zimbabwawe turn into another Kenya?

    Adam in Portland, Oregan

  59. 59 Justin from Iowa
    March 31, 2008 at 17:25

    Its not our place to dictate or care whether any one religion grows or diminishes. Besides, as others have mentioned, its the fundamentalists in ALL religions which are trouble.

  60. March 31, 2008 at 17:26


    The release by the Vatican that the population of Muslims has overtaken the population of Catholics means that people want religion in their lives and systems, that they do not want secularism, that the hatred of Islam by the government of the USA and its determination to impose secularism on sovereign, independent and free people, through terrorism, has failed to achieve this satanic aim, and that the Pope should stop Catholics dinning with the USA and compromising our Christ-Apostolic heritage.

    Prince Pieray Odor

    A Catholic
    Lagos, Nigeria

  61. 61 Sue
    March 31, 2008 at 17:26

    I think my greatest concern is that Catholicism has a tendency to be viewed as an equivalent to Christianity. Christianity, it should be noted, is 33% of the world population, in comparison to the 19% of adherents to Islam.

  62. 62 Fiona
    March 31, 2008 at 17:27

    What concerns me is not the rise of the islamic religion, I celebrate diversity but there are passages which condone the suppression of the female spirit. Muslim nations have made it a practice to suppress the education and freedom of women and I would not welcome that. If there is a way that Islam can be practiced without this suppression then I have no problem with it. I truly hope that people can see how rich and important women have been to the advancement of society regardless of a few passages in the Quaran which would have them beaten and put to their beds alone.


  63. March 31, 2008 at 17:27

    Islam is a phony religion. Does anyone really believe that going to heaven means getting a harem of virgins to take care of your sexual needs? GOD is love, not sex. Anyone who reads the new testament of the bible, will learn GOD’s true plan for the people on earth.
    JESUS CHRIST is not a prophet. He is GOD. many people think that islam and CHRISTIANITY have the same GOD.
    they do not. The CHRISTIAN GOD is a trinity: GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT. It is a disaster that so many hundreds of millions of people have been led astray from GOD’s true plan. Read the NEW TESTAMENT. read John chapter 1 , chapter 14 and
    chapter 3:16. islam will not lead you to heaven.

    Eric in the United States

  64. 64 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 17:28

    Anon on e-mail

    I generally make a conscious decision to use my full name when posting on your blog because I don’t like to hide my views behind a pseudonym. In this case I actually thought if I say anything negative about Islam I should email rather then post because I was afraid of my full name being on the blog. So YES the rise of Islam is definitely important and terrorizing.

  65. 65 Venessa
    March 31, 2008 at 17:28

    Really, are people actually worried about who practices what religion? I don’t care what religion anyone chooses to subscribe to as long as those views are not forced onto others or into our governments. Do we not live in a time yet where tolerance is what should be taught rather than continued murder of others based on someone’s “superior” beliefs? People need to get over themselves and learn how to accept a multi-cultural society.

    Portland, OR

  66. 66 Annie
    March 31, 2008 at 17:28

    I just have to disagree completely with Brian from Canada, whose comments imply a ridiculous stereotype about a lack of “Muslim education.” Moreover, how is his statistic about published translations relevant? So what if Greece translates more? The cause is evident: translation is a luxury of capitalism, and much of the Islamic world is still developing (thanks to colonialism and racism). Whatever Brian points out is merely a symptom of a larger system, and in no way reducible to Islam or its followers.

    Annie from Canada.

  67. March 31, 2008 at 17:33

    Personally I don’t care whether or not Catholicism is less popular than Islam. However, I would be curious to know whether the change in demographic is in large part due to people leaving the church, or more from people desiring to joining Islam, or if its strictly from increasing population in predominately Islamic geographies.


  68. March 31, 2008 at 17:33

    The figures are incomplete. What you do not say is: is the overall number of religious persons increasing or not? The most worrying is the potential increase in fundamentalists being muslims, christians, jews, and so. Anyway the three monotheisms have the same root. So a bit more of one or the other is the same as long as the ratio of believours is not increasing. Fundamentalists christians or muslims are a real threat to humanity and to the universal values based on progress and science.


    Eric (Netherlands)

  69. 69 Rachael Ball
    March 31, 2008 at 17:33

    I want to know why you are having this subject on the show? Why is it being reported? Was this survey’s results reported in previous years, when we weren’t talking about Islam as much? This is just feeding the fire. It shouldn’t matter who has more followers. Unfortunately some people feel fear when faced with people who are different to them, particularly when they increase in numbers, or worse start to outnumber them! And that fear can turn into hate. Talking about this subject on the program is tantamount to inciting religious hatred.

  70. March 31, 2008 at 17:39

    As a Muslim I would rather see a smaller number of Muslims in the world who will have regard for human life, justice and tolerance.This increase in the number of Muslims in the world has come about mainly because of child birth which certainly makes many Muslims happy.But that is not what Islam is about.Unfortunately what I see Muslims doing in my country Iraq which is violently killing each other and the rest of the Muslim world being silent about it,only makes say that I am not happy at all about this increase in our number.

    Ayub Nuri

  71. March 31, 2008 at 17:39

    If religion was so important than why are less religious individuals and countries making so much progress. Does this not show that GOD is not biased towards religion.

    Thank You.

    Yogesh Raja

  72. March 31, 2008 at 17:40

    People would do well to read and analyse more than one book. Please stop believing in fables.

    Chris from Montreal

  73. March 31, 2008 at 17:41

    Ignorance and fear are at the core of any problem. Jewish Orthodox immigrants with quite different ways of living than “Americans” have settled in many parts of the US and the larger world with little external conflicts with those areas. Immigrant populations have surged and waned all over the world with the common intention being finding a better life for themselves, not to spread a doctrine. The time of blaming and projecting fear on those who are different is so last century. The guiding rule should always be the golden rule.

    Ahmed in San Francisco, US

  74. 74 akhil
    March 31, 2008 at 17:42

    I am from India, and now live in the US. I believe intolerance of any kind believes when any religion believes it is the only way to God. This includes Islam and Catholic Christians. I believe its time the world embraces tolerance to everyone like the jews and Hindus in India do. There is a reason India and China are progressing rapidly. Mao said, religion is the opium of the masses

  75. 75 Martin
    March 31, 2008 at 17:42

    I found Mohammed from Germany quite interesting. He claimed Islamic countries are not educationally or technologically worse than the west, but he is in Germany because of a stroke so I assumed he needed treatment that was not avaliable in his home nation.

    When religious beliefs are the main priority of a society, science (and hence technology) automatically suffers.

  76. 76 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 17:43

    Rachael, we discussed the subject because many people in the WHYS” community” are talking about it, following the Vatican’s statement. The world is changing- people have told us that it concerns them, or pleases them , as they are entitled to do. We once did a programme about anti-Semitism (a Jewish professor had written a book saying that criticism of Israel as a country always amounted to anti-Semitism)and got caller after caller accusing us of anti-Semitism simply because we were discussing it as a subject. I don’t think mere discussion of this issue amounts to religous hatred.

  77. 77 Nate, Portland OR
    March 31, 2008 at 17:44

    Did Mohammed from Germany just say “we must all submit to Islam”? Yikes! He mitigated it with a “moderate Islam,” whatever that means to him. This attitude that everybody must submit to Islam, but that the convincing should be done peacefully is rotten to the core. It results only in walls between Islamic and non-Islamic communities, and religiously sanctioned prejudice against non-Muslims in states and communities where Muslims dominate. Muslims seem to have great difficulty accepting the equality of those that do not accept their belief system. It helps only a little when this rejection of non-Muslim equality is mostly non-violent.

  78. 78 Bishlam
    March 31, 2008 at 17:44

    the other idea is that the radicals hate the moderate ones. so you will not see them ruling. you will see one type ruling (radical). I am really worried about the nations

  79. 79 Yani
    March 31, 2008 at 17:46

    Arab translations of scientific, business and engineering texts are irrelevant, since most under-graduates use English based text books imported from the UK and the USA.

    When the Vatican issues figures, its to create fear and drive people back to the church to buttress the fort.

    I question and very cynical of this whole idea.

    Where is the figure like; out of 1.6 billion Muslims, only 0.001% engage in violence!

    Please lets talk about some facts that mean something and not published for fear mongering.


  80. March 31, 2008 at 17:47

    I can’t help thinking of the old observation “There are lies; damn lies; and statistics.” You are building a discussion of listeners’ fears, views, and in a few cases hopes, by citing a terrifically incomplete summary: 17% Catholics – are they declining?
    rising? 19% Muslim – same question. BUT what about other protestant Christians; Jews; Buddhists; Hindus; and more??

    There isn’t enough data to have a useful discussion, is there?

    That said, thank you for World, Have Your Say!


    Redwood City, California

  81. March 31, 2008 at 17:47

    The irony is that all Jews, Christians , and Muslims are of the same Abrahamic, “One God”, religion.

    Who would want to be involved in that mess of murderers?

    No thanks!

    Reality is my choice!

    Tom from Oregon in the US

  82. 82 Anthony
    March 31, 2008 at 17:48

    This is what I don’t like:

    Click to access PolicyPaperEnglishFINAL(GeoPoliticalAffairs).pdf

    This PDF file has excerpts from different grade curriculums from Iran regarding the Iranian Global War Curriculum. Islam states that Islam must be the only religion in the world, no matter how you do it, including killing. That’s what really disturbs me!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  83. 83 VictorK
    March 31, 2008 at 17:48

    @Annie: Greece was a colony of the Muslim Ottoman Empire for some 400 years, far longer than any Muslim country was a colony of the West. But Greece is not hampered by a religious culture that stifles intellectual curiousity. That’s why it translates more than the entire Arab world.

    The Muslim world doesn’t exist in terms of modern culture: it has made no contributions to science and technology for centuries. Everything worthwhile in the world today is a product of the West, Japan and Korea, and increasingly China, India and Brazil also. The only practical value of the Muslim world is that some parts of it produce oil. Nothing more.

    The premise of the programme is flawed anyway. Advanced countries, regardless of their faith, have low birth rates; backward countries, regardless of their faith, have high birth rates. More Catholics are to be found in advanced countries; More Muslims are to be found in developing countries: the consequences follow. Islam is not more popular; it just has a higher birth rate. You might just as well have had a programme about ‘the rise of Africa’ based on the fact that there are far many more Africans being born into the world (even with the AIDS pandemic) than Europeans. Having lots more poverty-stricken Africans in the world is about as worth celebrating as having lots more poor and fanatical Muslims on the planet.

  84. March 31, 2008 at 17:49

    As an American, I would be uneasy about having a Muslim majority in my country. France and England clearly have problems integrating their immigrants, creating disenfranchisement , which leads to violence. Moreover, do we really need to embrace Sharia? Sounds like appeasement to me.

    Santa Monica, California

  85. March 31, 2008 at 17:49

    Islam promoting violence? That’s ridiculous. Sure, there are violent Muslims, but what about the Iraq Invasion? World War 2? Vietnam? World War 1? The American Revolution? The Crusades? How can we call Muslims violent and forget about all the systematic violence perpetrated by Christians and Westerners?

    Maggie Starr
    Portland, OR, USA

  86. 86 Winn
    March 31, 2008 at 17:49

    There will always people who are extreme in every religion. People forget that the Roman Catholic and Christian faiths (I grew up Christian) have caused violence in the name of their faith. The fear that is generated from the fear of a religion growing larger than another religion is intolerance and ignorance.

  87. March 31, 2008 at 17:50

    It’s important to remember that extremists exist in every faith but that doesn’t mean that they are representative of that faith. Have we all forgotten about all of the violence that has been done in the name of Christianity throughout history? Neither the Bible nor the Koran expresses the doctrines that have been used to justify violence in their respective names.

    Jennifer in Los Angeles

  88. March 31, 2008 at 17:52

    I am a “westerner” working in a very strict Muslim country and the reason I see for the increase in Islam is the mentality of continuing to have large families many times from multiple wives. And the fact that in most Islamic countries and also in our “western” countries those who leave this faith are killed and the fear of that will keep them from leaving where others religions do not have that fear. Also it is enticing for those who have the agressive mentality and it is a way of living out that agression in the name of a god.


  89. March 31, 2008 at 17:53

    I agree with the quote about science and religion in that science suffers. Many religious doctrines will say, “while science is searching for the truth, we have the truth and thus there is no need for it.” I find this to be very sad statement.

    Timmy in the United States

  90. 90 Guy
    March 31, 2008 at 17:53

    To all religions:
    Please let me go to hell in peace. I will let you go to heaven in peace.

    Thank you

  91. March 31, 2008 at 17:53

    Martin, I believe, commented that to the extent a society focuses its priorities on religious beliefs, its technological and scientific development will suffer.

    As with all generalities, there can be exceptions, however, I think that the western world bears testament to this as well, in the form of the religious persecution of early scientists such as Gallileo, Copernicus, da Vinci and others, who dared to contradict religious teachings by espousing scientific approaches to learning about our world.

    Portland, Oregon

  92. March 31, 2008 at 17:53

    I am an African American and I was raised as a Baptist. As I matured I began studying African Religions and Philosophy. I think that both faiths come from Africa, so it’s all good!

    Gregory Stephens
    Houston, TX

  93. 93 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 17:53


    Dershowitz did NOT say that any criticism of Israel is antisemitism. What he said was that singling out Israel for criticism, in a world where many other bad things happens, IS antisemitism. Ever read those UN resolutions and proposals, one rather recently that only Canada objected to, that was going to create a special commission to single out Israel, in a world where there’s the Darfur thing, Chechnya, conflicts in other places in Africa. What’s so special about Israel that they wanted to single out Israel? That was Dershowitz’s point. I don’t think he’d be thrilled that you twisted his point into something it wasn’t.

  94. March 31, 2008 at 17:53

    I live in Oregon in the US and am listening now. One of your earlier emails said that Islam is “booming” because Muslims don’t use birth control! Where did they get that? I know many Muslims and I don’t believe that not using birth control is a tenant of their religion. Also, in the county where I live we have the Inter-Religious Action Network, formed in 2001, and invites people from all faith communities to come together to build respect for our diversity and to provide leadership for the improvement of life in Washington County, where I live. There is NO reason we can’t all live together with respect and coorperation.


  95. March 31, 2008 at 17:54


    Prince Pieray Odor

    Lagos, Nigeria

  96. March 31, 2008 at 17:54

    I believe that many people are looking for a spiritual release from the capitalist onslaught we all face daily, especially in light of war, global warming, etc. I believe more people are choosing Islam as opposed to Christianity because Christianity has come to represent the first world oppressive regimes and Islam can represent “the underdog to many”. I personally know someone who converted to islam and I am in the process of converting to Judaism. There does not have to be a divisive relationship btetweem islam and other religions. It is the governments/regimes/corporations we should worry about.


  97. March 31, 2008 at 17:54

    I’ve always held that religion is all about power; especially with the Catholic church. This announcement only confirms my belief; why would one be worried about this development if not for a perceived loss in power, i.e. “we’re not the largest group of faith in the world anymore” ?

    Sonoma, California

  98. March 31, 2008 at 17:54

    I absolutely agree that societies in which religion is the dominant influence automatically suffer in the scientific arena. It is my belief that religion is a man-made attempt to explain the unexplainable. Therefore, scientific explanations naturally take a back seat.


  99. 99 Darrin
    March 31, 2008 at 17:55

    ANY fundamentalist (meaning those who take a literal interpretation of the Bible, Torah, Koran etc) is a threat to a free Democratic nation.

    Critiques of fundamentalist Islam need to be balanced with fundamentalist Christians who seem to think Armageddon is going to occur any day now.

    The issue is not what religion a person chooses, or how many books are translated in country X or Y, it’s how educated, rational, and open minded the religious individual is.

    If the person refuses to accept the freedom of others to not practice their version of their religion, if a person demands that restrictions be placed on all of society so as not to violate their chosen religious tenants and articles of faith…. That is the threat.

  100. 100 Yani
    March 31, 2008 at 17:55

    Religion does not suppress science.

    The history of Islamic civilization saw the growth and the passing of scientific knowledge to the dormant dark-ages of Europe by ways of Muslim Spain.

    Optics, anatomy, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, engineering and other sciences were advanced during this 500 years of the golden era.

    Muslims and Muslim lands of today cannot hold a candle to those people from that great era.

    We all need to read more history!

    Ottawa – Canada

  101. 101 Jason
    March 31, 2008 at 17:57

    We need to stop drawing a line in the sand between science and religion. The Baha’i Faith talks about the harmony of science and religion being not only possible, but necessary in this day and age. To me this indicates a natural progress in religion from the days when science was viewed much the same as many people, especially scientists, view religion these days.

    Another note, religion has never been a source of war. Religionists mis-construing the writings of their religion for their own aims have, however, and this distinction needs to be recognized. Almost every religion in the world teaches that killing is wrong.

    Jason B.
    Toronto, ON, Canada

  102. 102 John in Salem
    March 31, 2008 at 17:57

    I totally agree with Martin’s comment. Religion, by definition, is regressive.
    When life is dictated by the irrational customs and beliefs of Bronze Age mythologies, science and technology will always suffer.

  103. March 31, 2008 at 17:57

    If Islam is tolerant and embraces liberty, why is there so much violence in response to the Mohammed cartoons? Events in Holland? I don’t buy into the quote peaceful minority & quote.

    Jason in the US

  104. March 31, 2008 at 17:58

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States. It is very important for those of us who live in an individualist culture to understand that Islam is based upon collectivist values. Of course religion is infused in every part of Muslim society! It is part of what holds their society together! We MUST work harder to understand other cultures in an effort to grow the necessary peace between us.

    Amy in the US

  105. 105 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 17:59

    Thanks Steve, but i wasn’t talking about Dershowitz, so it would be hard for me to twist his comments.Appreciate, as always your input.

  106. March 31, 2008 at 17:59

    I really do not think these numbers matter.From what we know ,there are extremists who have hijacked both christianity and Islam and seeking for prominence .What makes the Islamic extremist notorious is the fact that their extremism leads them to violence,unlike the christians.What both practitioners should learn is, to live together because the world cannot be one religion – if you ask me it would be quite uninteresting and there would harldy be any reason for the world to continue to exist.

    John in the UK

  107. 107 Rachael Ball
    March 31, 2008 at 17:59

    The thing is that the question you pose is “Do you welcome the rise of Islam?” We are not talking about the rise in the number violent fundamentalists or abusive husbands or any of the other stereotypes that people ascribe to Muslims as a religious group these days. You are asking “is the problem is this particular religion?” You are encouraging people to concentrate on the differences and encouraging tribalism but through religion, which in itself causes problems. If you had read my whole email previously you would have a clearer understanding of my point. People are using the words “backwards” or talking about the extremists. As Bryce said this is fueling religious conflict. Or hatred.

  108. March 31, 2008 at 17:59

    If everyone realised that god does not really exist, people would be a lot happier. Belief in god causes so much distress and believers dont realise it is actually an option.

    Robert in France

  109. March 31, 2008 at 17:59

    For me the issue is why the Vatican would release these statistics. Are they rabble rousing?


  110. 110 Daniel
    March 31, 2008 at 18:00

    I am realy conserned because they are forcing their view on other people, as I myself lived ten years in a moslim country the first thing I was told was this land is a moslim land so I should live accordingly, however, when they come to the west or non moslim country they demand things has to be done according to molsim tradition.
    The reason I believe they are growing is that they have no freedom to convert to an other religion or to what they think is right. That concerns me very much because they drow poeple to this religion by forc or by will then they tell one can not change his mind. This is a bandage. That is what conserns me

  111. 111 Ros Atkins
    March 31, 2008 at 18:00

    Dear Roz,

    I just joined the conversation so this point may have been made:

    I know many people who call themselves Christian but see the inside of a church once a year, if at all.
    How many of the Moslems are fundamentalists and how many others drink beer and eat bacon??

    Therese in Germany

  112. 112 Syed Hasan Turab
    March 31, 2008 at 18:02

    Religion always plays best role in society, any thing on extreem cause damage to the society, I dont care who is getting popular or in dominating position as long as is not damaging humanbeings physically & emotionally.
    Diversity is human nature & always brought strength in human society.

  113. 113 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 18:06

    Reagrding my earlier comment, this was the book we were discussing.


  114. 114 savane
    March 31, 2008 at 18:10

    Hi WHYS family. I’m a practising Catholic with liberal views. How could finding the religion that works for you be a bad thing? Should we be worried that people change their religion, or place of worship, but not their God?

    I went to Israel on a pilgrimage in 1985n my A-levels’ year in a group of 40 girls, chaperoned by two nuns and two teachers – I’m a Loreto Convent-girl and proud of it. Our group was made up of several Christian denominations, Muslims and Hindus.

    My religious awakening and tolerance was cemented by that visit especially when we went to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and I learnt the religious importance to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Each religion’s importance bound them to one place, and everyone there respected the other’s reason for The Dome’s importance.

    In Kenya, there are two institutions that are the fastest growing – evangelical churches and political parties! If you find the religion that works for you, GO FOR IT!!! I will always respect your choice, and you must do the same for mine!

    Am I worried about the increase? No! Am I worried about the growing intolerance and fanaticism? Yes!

    Nairobi Kenya

  115. 115 helarson
    March 31, 2008 at 18:14

    The rise of any religon worries me, they are obsolete methods of social control. Now at the same time I don’t believe in outlawing religon, as thinking beings(hopefully) we all have choice. If something lets you live a better more peaceful productive life grab on and ride till the wheels fall off. Just don’t tell me what I must believe, or how I should live my life.

  116. 116 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 18:18


    If you are referring to Finkelstein, who is very anti Israel, his point is that he claims that Jews tend to twist any criticism of Israel into being labelled antisemitism, when in reality, Professor’s like Dershowitz say that it’s fine to criticize Israel, but not to single it out for Criticism. The way you wrote your comment, you made it seem like Finkelstein thinks any criticism of Israel is antisemitism, and of course he doesn’t think that, if anything, he thinks it’s okay to single out israel for criticism and ignore everything else on earth. This is off point, I apologize, but the comments weren’t clear and I thought you were not accurately portraying dershowitzs’ view.

  117. March 31, 2008 at 18:18

    Both Catholicism and Islam are prevalent among people in very poor countries who have huge families. Islam accepts polygamy, which makes for larger numbers of children than monogamy. Is it possible for you to answer the question: this rise of Islam, is it caused by high reproductive rates or by conversion?

    Renee, Berkeley, California, U.S.

  118. 118 Tanko
    March 31, 2008 at 18:19

    Hi Ros,
    The rise of Islam should be a positive development. I believe that Islam, like any other religion, is a force for good.

  119. March 31, 2008 at 18:20

    Hi Ros
    The problem with Islamic propaganda in a country such as Iran is that the
    clergy and prelates have enormous funds and personnel at their disposal. Also, the fact that many countries in the region and in the West have been tolerant, and subdued, overt fundamentalist and extremist rhethoric continues. It is important to distinguish the religious and political elements of such rhethoric.
    Regarding the misuse of religion and predominantly Islam, in the financial district, our governments has betrayed the trust of the public. Many practices of Islamic banking are shrouded in secrecy, while in fact money is being manipulated in favour of the ruling clique and its supporters.
    I trust I haven’t strayed too much from the main issue, but definite restraints must be put on such practices. Once such practices take root, it will spread and take over, regardless of boudaries and frontiers, and destroy economic and social life as we know it.

  120. 120 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 18:20

    I think nobody has an issue with moderates, or better, secular people who at least are affiliated with a religion. My question is what makes a moderate. If you go up to any Jew and say Moses was a murderer, they’d probably think “technically, true, I know you’re trying to insult me, but who cares” whereas if you go up to a muslim and say “mohammed is a murderer”, even the most moderate will become upset, some of the less moderates would probably kill you for it. I think muslims take religion too seriously. Both Moses and Mohammed killed people, both comments were true, yet you won’t get a violent response from probably any Jew, but I challenege you to say Mohammed is a murderer in Pakistan. I have a feeling the minority you talk about will surround you instantly.

  121. 121 Rachael Ball
    March 31, 2008 at 18:25

    Mark, the book that Norman Finkelstein wrote was actually about an Israeli propaganda machine that swings into action every time there is criticism of Israel, and cries anti-semitism, and everyone shuts up. He actually lost tenure as a professor right after the book was published. The media is complicit in the conflict between religious groups in the slant that it can take. For example using a leading question that opens the doors to specific types of responses. And I find it interesting that your misunderstanding, or mis-remembering, of Finkelsteins point was the politically correct line.

  122. 122 Thomas Murray
    March 31, 2008 at 18:27

    I’m currently reading this in a Louisville public library that has the filters set so high that they have a VolumeLock on the thing, so I still can’t hear the show.

    This is so complicated an issue that I’m torn as to what to say…

    As an ex-Christian/Secularist/Deist I’d have to say of what little of the Koran I’ve read that it’s not a bad read; it opens well and gently prods the reader to turn the page. I can see how people can develop a devotion to it.

    On the other hand, it seems the week after 9/11 occurred, the headscarves came out, appearing on Muslim women (and there are a lot of them in the U.S.), in a metaphorical circling of the wagons.

    The sudden imposition of the headscarf might be viewed by many Westerners, and all Freudians, as the symbolic equivalent of warpaint, reinforcing the Muslim community’s us-against-them isolation from the world community, when Muslims should be seeking a common understanding with the west, instead adopting what many see as a belligerence — arms folded, minds closed, knives out, liberal Dutchmen dead — in a public attitude that brings to mind the admonition that Muslim’s are cutting off their nose to spite their faces.

    I understand that the European Community is enjoying, some would say suffering, an influx of Muslim’s so unprecedented that they threaten to overtake the economies of your entry-level occupations. We have a slightly similar problem in America with an increasing Hispanic population. (They prefer Latino west of the Rockies.) But, beside marijuana usage, illegal immigration (or undocumented alienation?) is THE MOST ignored, nay, unreported crime in the U.S. They put a roof on my apartment house last summer for Pete’s sake.

    Or as a told one recent arrival, a Latino woman (properly:– Latina), in a tourist shop in L.A.’s pueblo district, “Man! Am I glad you guys are Catholic!”

    Seriously, though, it seems to me that the problem isn’t the clash of opposite cultures, but that there are so many of them.

    The Third World would solve very nearly all of their problems if thay didn’t have so many children. If they, as Europe, China and the U.S. strives to do, could achieve zero population growth then let their populations attrit, they, and we, would find many of their burdens being lifted.

    But when is that going to happen?

    Food, fuel, housing, water, all affected by a rising population by peoples too selfish to face the problem and practice some self-control.

    Though I’d be all for them if Muslim’s finally got us Western men to throw out our neckties.

    Well, I’m late again and they still haven’t turned the terminal’s sound on. Oh, well.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

  123. 123 Mark Sandell
    March 31, 2008 at 18:30

    Thanks again Steve – and Rachael. I didn’t “mis-remember” anything, i was merely (and obviously i’m now regretting it)pointing out that some people think- regardless of the topic- that simply discussing an issue is somehow adding to the problem. Next time i’ll use a different example…..

  124. March 31, 2008 at 18:32

    Elections in Africa are a waste time,they don’t reflect the will of the people but the will of the government in power.


  125. March 31, 2008 at 18:37

    I have a comment and hope people find interest in it to debate about it. I always wonder why Africans with the struggle to educate their people dont seems to trust even those they are suppose to trust for jobs.they give jobs to foreignes expecially the “whiteman”.example is construction works and coaching of footballers. During the African cup of nation played in Ghana I realize Ghanaians were asking why people like Tony Yebour and Abedi Pele can’t caoch our Ghanaian players. The young player Andrew Ayew was coached by his Father Abedi Pele. The money that would go to a black man goes to a foreingner and we seems to be shouting we are poor. People who also stay abroud and come back to Ghana seems to be seen as experience and better than a home trained and educated person. I want Africans to know that we are harming our own people and hindering development if we continue.


  126. March 31, 2008 at 18:37

    I don’t really mind the increase in Islam. My only worry is the uncanny relationship between Islam and terrorist activities. And what the spread of Islam will herald for global security.

    James in Nairobi

  127. 127 John Barry.
    March 31, 2008 at 18:38

    The rise of Islam is worrying because simply by writing this, I could be signing my own death warrant ! If one believes that the ‘Holy books’ of the Jews,Christians and Muslims are really the word of God,….then one MUST believe that horses can fly and snakes (and donkeys in the old Testament) can talk.
    I do not believe such myths and fail to see why I should ‘respect’ people who do !
    Peace be to all.

  128. 128 George USA
    March 31, 2008 at 18:38

    “So if Islam vs Judeo-Christian conflict is going to percipitate the end of time” Brett


    No Brett,

    the new world order, which is Illuminati/luciferian/satanist is the antichrist “religion”,

    so those who hate all God fearing worshipers are the hallmarks of the end of this age.

    Those here who voice antagonism to God, mock the fear of God, and blame religion for

    every ill, will fit into the new world order “religion” perfectly,

    as they are already there with doctrine for it now.

  129. 129 Scott Millar
    March 31, 2008 at 18:41

    The teachings of religions are not created equal, it is ignorant and naive to claim equatability. Bigoted oppression is constantly hide under an umbrella of religious freedom. Specific beliefs of individual religions are excessively important and thoroughly relevant to explain the culture and politics of nations. Even in a perfect democracy if the entire population is of a singular faith this will very much shape the governance by proxy. If we want a world free of oppression and bigotry then this is of the utmost importance.

    -Portland, Oregon

  130. 130 Ana Milena, Colombia
    March 31, 2008 at 18:49

    🙂 Hi!
    Rather than the rise of any religion, what we should be concerned about is the rise of intolerance and ignorance. THAT would be the issue and, sadly, these keywords have been closely connected to religion throughout history.

  131. 131 Elena Layla
    March 31, 2008 at 18:55

    Please be aware that there is no base difference between the 3 major religions. They are all based on the acknowledgement, submission, and love of 1 god. All these religions have 2 aspects which is spiritual and worldly. before we argue the difference or the rise of one religion we must look at the unity of these 3 religions. All 3 of these religions believe in a supreme master who is the creator of this vast universe. who is unique in it’s perfect being from which nothing resembles. God is aware of everything- of the rise of Islam.

    Islam is exactly the same as the teaching of the founding father of all 3 religions- Abraham. Islam is Judaism. Islam is Christianity. Christianity is submission to Allah, to one God. Judaism is submission to one God, Allah. All 3 of these religions love their 1 God. LOVE-ISHQ. Ishq is pure love and belief in 1 God that gives all abundance to us in this World. We all believe that there is a negative energy (Shayateen, Satan etc) that tries to pull us away from the Ishq of Allah.
    All 3 believe in Judgement Day where we will have to take full responsibility for how we lived our lives here in this World. This is the heavenly, spiritual relation that ALL of the Abrahamic religions concede as being completely shared.
    It is the material/physical aspect that separates the 3 abrahamic religions. All of these practices were built at different times for different circumstances for differing groups of people. These religions have to be different, obviously. The Judaic people pray differently than the Christians than the Muslims. They all observe different holidays/day. These are nuances that are not important when you have pure love and submission to the One creator, God, Allah, Yehwa. These differences that people try to use to divide the believers of Allah of God of Yehwa are evil and not lovers of Allah, of God of Yehwa. To bring up a topic such as the “RISE OF ISLAM” is complete nonsense. If you believe in submitting to 1 supreme God, you believe in Islam (the submission to Allah swt). We are all born Muslims, it is a matter of living that takes us away from the Ishq of Allah. These differences that we scream and fight about have nothing to do with the true believers of the love of God.
    Please allow me to explain what the word Islam means. It does not refer to a group of people that follow certain rituals, have a certain language or dress a certain way. Islam refers to a unique stage of mind, heart and body. 1. Mind is to believe that there is a creator of this vast universe with this highly scientific structure. That the creator is so supreme and perfect that he has everything in its control. We as human beings as intellectual entity to acknowledge him to appreciate him and to submit to HIM-God. We believe that we are created for a purpose to be here, to use our intellect to choose what is right and wrong.
    2. The heart. We believe in our hearts that we have no ability to make anything happen without the WILL of a supreme being. We cannot make the ocean tides rise. We cannot make the night come faster or the day longer. We cannot make new stars form. We cannot even make seeds sprout unless Allah swt wills it.
    3. All 3 religions believe in the advancement of our physical body over all other of Gods creatures. We have the ability to acknowledge because of our 6 senses to identify and appreciate the Supreme power of the Universes. We all believe that there is a unique negative force that will always try to misdirect us. Unfortunately because of language we have different words that have created different ideas about the same energy that is prevalent in all of the major religions.

    As a consequence the relationship of these 3 Abrahamic faiths have a unique value. As a person, if we follow that value precisely that person will attain a peace, tranquility, and love, enlightenment. In Arabic the word that describes those values is the word “Salam” which has the letters s-l-m. Islam is made of those same letter s-l-m. In Hebrew they say “shalom” and in Aramaic they would use the word “khalom” to describe that comfort in peace and love.
    None of us are Muslims unless we practice that pure peace, love and enlightenment and tranquility. We are all hypocrites whether you are a Jew, Christian or “Muslim” if you are not practicing the love through the heart of God you are not practicing your religion.

    It is advisable that we use a manual to understand our car. It is with our lives that we were given a manual to live by. Why would we use a manual for 1980 Audi when we have a 2006 Ford? Allah swt, Yehwa sent down through the Angel Gabriel a new manual as described would happen in the old testament and new testament to the beautiful sweet prophet Moh’d saws so that we could live our lives in a way that opened us up to our spirituality clearly. If we live by the laws of the Sharia and the Sunnah we open our spirits to the opportunity to be one with God at all times in our Mind, heart and body. That is Islam, that is Judaism, that is Christianity. That is the Love of Allah swt.
    Thank you for reading and trying to see this point of view.
    As-salam alikum.

  132. 132 Scott Millar
    March 31, 2008 at 19:00

    You can’t separate the “rise of any religion” from the “rise of intolerance and ignorance,” as Ana Milena suggests; they are closely related. The rise of bigoted and oppressive religions results in a rise of intolerance and ignorance. Consequently the rise of religion is of paramount concern to those who value broad-mindedness and freedom.

    -Portland, Oregon

  133. March 31, 2008 at 19:02

    The Indonesian President obviously needs to deflect popular anger at his inability to provide basic standards of living to the Indonesian people by constantly nagging about an unimportant video clip on the internet.

    Robert in Indonesia

  134. March 31, 2008 at 19:03

    Dear Rajan
    The caller who said that Islam is incompatible with science is just plain wrong.

    During the age of enlightenment Islam gave us the science of astronomy, named the stars, and spread universities throughout Moorish Spain.
    The Catholic church on the other hand had Galileo under house arrest and the Conquistadors massacred infidels and non Christians without mercy.
    Today the spread of HIV is still regarded by Catholics as God’s retribution for sodomy and condoms remain outlawed even though it kills millions of their dirt poor heterosexual followers. The shameless abuse of children by their unmarried priests has been constantly covered up. Right wing Christians in the US can’t bear to see most of the world’s remaining oil in the hands of Islam and decide to annex them since, of course, they have God on their side. Zionists continue to spit in their eye of Palestinians whilst building more settlements in the West Bank. No wonder we have rampant terrorism seemingly without end.
    I was a C of E choirboy but was abused by our church organist. Religion will be the death of us all ;- “I’ve had a gut full”. Thanks for a great programme.


  135. March 31, 2008 at 19:04

    None of us has the right to finish the job for ZEC. Sule Musa, Freetown. Sierra Leone

  136. March 31, 2008 at 19:04

    MDC’s success will lead to a greater stability for Zimbwabe. Mugabe must accept the results.
    David, Uganda

  137. March 31, 2008 at 19:05

    The world knows that results slow due to Africa’s backwardness yet Mugabe is being demonised by the West. Shame!

    Ben-Bennett, Kaduna

  138. March 31, 2008 at 19:05

    I surely can smell blood Kenyan style, AU please act NOW.

    Joe, Nairobi.

  139. March 31, 2008 at 19:05

    The only solution to election rigging in Africa is establishing international electoral commission.

    Drileyo in Uganda.

  140. March 31, 2008 at 19:05

    The AU should be ready to deal with the fallout from a rigged election in Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe has declared that he can’t lose even if the opposition wins.
    Johnson, Liberia

  141. March 31, 2008 at 19:06

    Mugabe wil have to stand down its time for change. People won’t take this nonsense anymore. Zimbabweans have suffered enough.

    Cidalia mozambiq

  142. March 31, 2008 at 19:06

    Catholic vs islam. Who cares? Zimbabwe issue more important.

    Bruce Lusaka

  143. March 31, 2008 at 19:07

    We’re talking about population growth, and not popularity of Islam. If more people are born into a backward religion, then I feel sorry for them.

    Marcus, Liberia

  144. 144 steve
    March 31, 2008 at 19:07


    Your argument is weak for several reasons. First, the accomplishments you list from Islam are 500 years old at the newest. How about something now? Why do the scientists from muslim countries come to the west? Why is science so stifled in their countries? My country has sent a man to the moon. What has Saudi Arabia ever done since the year 1500?

    That’s nice that Muslims introduced Universities to Spain. But what have been nicer would have been for muslims to not have invaded spain? Just maybe?

  145. March 31, 2008 at 19:09

    The growth of islam over the vatican is realistic in that the bottom line is about faith and peace which is islam’s foundation.


  146. March 31, 2008 at 19:09

    Islam has been around before 2001 and nobody was concerned. I am concerned with the world agenda that is likely to drive more muslims to fanatism.

    Mohamed, Nairobi

  147. 147 zs - american in kuwait
    March 31, 2008 at 19:10

    I don’t think we should worry about the rise of any one religion in particular– it’s the lack of education and understanding of history of the world we live in that plagues our global community. Being an American in Kuwait, I understand that there is so much that i do not know about religion. tolerance is golden, yet it is a forgotten practice

    also was shocked by the Canadian individual who ‘thought’ that Muslims are not well educated in science and technology! He has no idea what he’s talking about! BBC should interview educated individuals on their show who come with hard facts and statistics, not speculation!

  148. 148 Rachael Ball
    March 31, 2008 at 19:10

    Ok Mark, a little less sarky!! And, I was trying to refine my point. You have a responsibility in the way you present this piece. The way the question was phrased invited people who already have prejudices, to air them to millions of people around the world. I accept that because people in the WHYS community were discussing this surveys results (and as someone else wondered earlier, why did the Vatican release these results? “Are they rabble rousing?”) that it was a valid topic for debate. But the way the BBC chose to phrase the question, I believe was irresponsible.
    If you had indeed asked why the Vatican had released or even carried out this survey? Or why, in this day and age, it matters to people how many of any different group there are? Or indeed whether the rise in religion in public life/politics/news is a concern?
    If you counted the news words since 9/11, I’m sure there would be a substantial increase in the number of words, written or spoken, in the media about religion, and still increasing. I believe that this emphasis on religion and it’s differences is further encouraging conflict. OK, it’s a part of the story, and has been made so by some very large stories news wise. So even more reason to be very careful about the way this stuff is presented. People are consumed by fear and anxiety in these times, the world has changed. The media has enormous power, and the BBC is not “talk radio”!

  149. March 31, 2008 at 19:11

    I am a british convert and love islam, more real muslims are a good thing as islam REALLY is a religion of peace and misunderstood.


  150. March 31, 2008 at 19:12

    What value do muslims add to those around them? How tolerant are the muslims towards other religions?

    Matthew in Lusaka Zambia

  151. March 31, 2008 at 19:18

    I honestly don’t care for religions nor do I care to wave any governments flag. I saw a film clip of the murder of a gay man that was carried out in a Islamic village.

    The whole village came out and they spit on the bound gay man, cursing and throwing things at him. They laid him on a table and jabbed him in the rear, in and out with a sword. Then they lifted him up and set him on a 5 foot fixed sword on the ground. The sword went in at the buttocks through his body and out through the upper part of his chest.

    The world has got to loose their concept of a good and evil God and governments their police and armies. If it isn’t benevolent to all, I want no part of it.

  152. 152 carlos
    March 31, 2008 at 19:21

    Good day WHYS family,

    I am more than a bit curious as to why the Vatican though it necessary to release this bit of info. What is the motive of the Vatican? To scare us (make us fearful of Muslims)? To increase anti-muslim sentiments? Why were these statistics released at this time? Was is meant to shore-up the republican base for November’s general elections in the USA? We saw this fearmongering tactis by George Bush in the last election.

    It is signifcant that the emphasis was placed on Catholics vs. Muslims and not Muslims vs. Christians. I believe the Catholic church has unconsciously admitted what many of us knew all along that they are in fact another religion apart/set aside from Christianity. This is a very significant and welcomed (though inadvertent) admission on their part. This will lessen the confusion amongst people of the world who see this great gulf between the doctrines of practicing Catholics and most protestant Christians.

    Finally, I am very concerned about the rise of Islam not because I am intolerant of another religion but because Islam seems so intolerant generally and disrespectful of women. I would have been equally concerned if I heard of a reported increase in communism, hinduism, catholicism, Buddism etc. because they are all much too conservatism/intolerant of change.

    People should be free to live their lifes and serve God according to the dictates of their conscience. I don’t know of any other religion except bible based protestantism /Christianity that has a healthy respect for human rights. Islam, Buddhist, Hinduism, Catholicism, Confusionism etc. do not have a tradition of healthy respect for human rights and human worth.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica

  153. 153 Xie_Ming
    March 31, 2008 at 19:30

    The question was too broad.

    Let any who mention “God” define exactly what it is that they are talking about.

    We will see that it is an amorphous symbol used in various projective systems. Priests and party will manipulate the symbols (much easier than handling facts) to get the result that they want.

    That result is usually power.

    Unfortunately, the con carries with it insecurity and the consequent drive for total power (pleonexia).

    [Mao said “My God is the Chinese People”. I think it was Marx who said “religion is the opiate of the masses” and Freud who said “religion is a neurosis”. One could quickly construct a religion about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or a rock (J.L. Borges)]

    To reiterate: the danger is universalist totalitarianism, whether it is secular or supernatural-religious.

  154. 154 savane
    March 31, 2008 at 19:31

    Hi WHYS family. I’m a practising Catholic with liberal views. How could finding the religion that works for you be a bad thing? Should we be worried that people change their religion, or place of worship, but not their God?

    I went to Israel on a pilgrimage in 1985 my A-levels’ year in a group of 40 girls, chaperoned by two nuns and two teachers – I’m a Loreto Convent-girl and proud of it. Our group was made up of several Christian denominations, Muslims and Hindus.

    My religious awakening and tolerance was cemented by that visit especially when we went to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and I learnt the religious importance to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Each religion’s importance bound them to one place, and everyone there respected the other’s reason for The Dome’s importance.

    In Kenya, there are two institutions that are the fastest growing – evangelical churches and political parties! If you find the religion that works for you, GO FOR IT!!! I will always respect your choice, and you must do the same for mine!

    Am I worried about the increase? No! Am I worried about the growing intolerance and fanaticism? Yes!

    Nairobi Kenya

  155. 155 Marsha
    March 31, 2008 at 19:36

    All organized religions are archaic manifestations of an early stage of human consciousness. Early man “needed” a superiour voice ( in their head) to tell them right from wrong. Today’s intelligent humans don’t really believe in a shimery figure in the sky or hoards of virgins to be any where to reward any man for anything they have done.

    It’s time we all grow up and learn to think for ourselves.

  156. 156 Jonathan
    March 31, 2008 at 19:57

    Any set of beliefs that are not supported by any evidence is intolerable and is, in my view, arrogant.
    We accept notions in science due to their reasonable nature. We should not accept any set of beliefs that are not founded in reality. There may be a god, although I find it hard to believe in something that never changes, but we shall meet whatever is out there through the study of our universe… What really fascinates me about religions that have a spiritual book (Bible, Koran), is that in their words they use the term human, man etc. What happens when we evolve to the point when we are not man?. Not Homo Sapien Sapien..

  157. 157 David Kemp
    March 31, 2008 at 20:03

    I’m not worried about the rise of Islam. I am not even sure its true that the the religion is growing. The population in countries where, culturally, relgion is a) deeply rooted and b) mainly thought of along islamic lines may be growing, but that’s not the same thing as people choosing for Islam.

    We tend to consider religion to be something a baby can inherit at birth and ican be legitimately adopted by the mentally underdeveloped – we dont even baulk at the phrase “a C of E kindegarten” – even though God must be deeply dissapointed that such weighty metaphysics is deemed unworthy even of conscious thought!

    Even using the “bums on pews/knees on prayer mats” definition of “rise”, my vague recollection of history lessons is that the tide of Islam rose a lot higher (from a western european perspective) in the middle ages with not entirely negative consequences.

    I’m no scientist, but I have the impression that “lock, stock and barrel” religion is generally on the decline. This is not surprising given that two obvious benefits of religion are as a source of explanation and a promise of a posthumous reward for the unbearable suffering in this life. All the day-to-day “why?”s are more than taken care of by hum drum science and life is getting generally more bearable with the centuries.

    Another important historical role of religion has been the transmission of ideas on morality. Here the message gets somewhat muddled by generous admixture of myth, fossilised cultutal norms and tribal feuds, but the basic survival kit – “be nice to others” – usually figures somewhere. I think there are still situations today where one religion or another keeps the moral flame alight so in that sense I would be worried about us going completely “cold turkey” from such practices.

    No one has yet asked me if I am for or against religion (it just doesnt come up in conversation – maybe I should change my friends). If they do I hope I would remember to say that I am for any religions that encourage moral behaviour and against those that dont.

    What worries me about all this is any claim that you cannot be moral without religion. This implies that morality is about something other than the way you treat others. If you believe that then you are, by definition no less, capable of the greatest inhumanity.

    Unfortunately this is sadly confirmed by the holy carnage we get to see every day on our TVs.

  158. 158 John Smith
    March 31, 2008 at 21:18

    I am a Christian Roman Catholic, and when I heard the statistics my first thought was what is the significance of this? I think that religion needs to come up with some meaningful ways to help society rather than focus on who has what share of the population.

  159. 159 Scott Millar
    March 31, 2008 at 21:52

    Elena Layla would like us to believe that the similarities between planet earth’s three major religions are what matters rather then the differences. Well, the devil is the details! If it wasn’t, there would be no need for three distinctly separate branches; one would be just fine.

    -Portland, Oregon

  160. 160 Neal H
    March 31, 2008 at 23:41

    I’d have to say that while I value the freedom of religion in the US (and the freedom from it if one desires) that Islam makes me very nervous and that has absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 or the war in Iraq.

    What makes me nervous about Islam is the theocratic nature of Islamic governments, the roving morality patrols, the subjugation of women, the persecution of gays, and the absolute apparent lack of a sense of humor about their faith. All other religions can grin and take it but the slightest hint of criticism or humor about Islam and it’s riots in the street.

    For an ancient religion it really needs to grow up, in my opinion. It makes christianity and catholicism appear positively progressive and modern by comparison, and that’s hard to say.

  161. April 1, 2008 at 00:37

    All religions have come to earth from sky have equal signficance in the sight of ALLAH ALMIGHTY.

    Shouldn’t be biased,look which religion teach love affection and brotherood is great,which religion provide us best principle of humanity and justice is unique.

    Which religion gives us social system based on complet security and prosperity is good.

    Further more, will have to see which religion have been declared by ALLAH ALMIGHTY that is considred,

    Some options before you,consider carefully take a right decision for saying welcome to rise.

  162. April 1, 2008 at 02:11

    As a practising Catholic myself, I am not sure what the numbers are supposed to mean in terms of the rise in Islam or the comparable decline in Catholicism (which I take it to mean!), across the world. What I do know, though, is that the figures would indicate that, at some level, there is an urgent need to know what is going on inside these various bodies. In other words, does the actual increase in numbers of persons across the world who are members of the Muslim faith/religion equates to a rise in political/militaristic, Anti-Western sentiments?

    And, if so, is the answer an equivalent increase in in the numbers of persons who are part of Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism? Cause, if that is the case, then, we are all in trouble! We need to focus less on the numerical politics and more the theological basis for finding common ground. This would help us to communicate better both within and across cultures!

  163. April 1, 2008 at 03:42

    The statistic I want to know more about is the number of people who believe in the tooth fairy also.

  164. 164 Robert Jago
    April 1, 2008 at 05:55

    Absolutely not. I would far rather have a paper tiger faith like Catholicism, than a living, breathing fire and brimstone faith like Sunni Islam. I absolutely do not welcome it – it’s a big step in the wrong direction. As I said on my blog here (http://rjjago.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/islam-worlds-largest-religion/) the 21st century was supposed to belong to the Jetsons, not to the iconic ‘Rage Boy’ of the Islamist protests. We as a planet are going in the wrong direction.

  165. 165 Ahmad Hammad
    April 1, 2008 at 10:10

    ‘Justice’ is the one-word definition of Islam. Then who would not like to see the rise of it? Who would refuse to Justice?

  166. 166 George USA
    April 1, 2008 at 10:34

    Elena Layla

    Thank you for that beautiful essay.

    You present: recognition of God, submission to God, and the Love of God.

    We agree on that.

    Jesus said:

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life,

    no one comes to the Father except by Me.”

  167. 167 Ashraf, Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    April 1, 2008 at 11:13

    I find it strange that people who champion democracy should say that the continual rise of Islam is wrong!! For their information, in case they have missed it, is that it is people who revert to Islam!! We are talking of humans. No matter how much dirt people want to put on Islam, when people discover what is Islam really, they welcome and revert to it. This point is being missed by the people who have posted comments here.

  168. 168 Will Rhodes
    April 1, 2008 at 12:05

    I think that VictorK mentioned the rights of gay people in Islam – as far as I know there isn’t any, and a point that is never picked up on.

    The president of Iran did stipulate that in Iran there are no ‘gays’ like in the US. What that actually meant is beyond me. This is something that isn’t put out too often I fear. The rights of a person seems to be subjugated by those who control the religion – the head of the church/faith as it were.

    From what I have heard and read the rights of a person is OK under Islam as long as it is the rights determined by those who lead it.

    Again I ask, “Why isn’t Christianity allowed in the majority of Muslim nations? What do the leaders of those nations have to fear from Christianity? If you are genuinely tolerant of religion you would let your religion stand up for itself against all-comers. This doesn’t happen in Islamic states. If Christianity was allowed I feel that you would be asking ‘Is the rise in Christianity in the Arab world a good thing?'”

    # 123 Mark Sandell March 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks again Steve – and Rachael. I didn’t “mis-remember” anything, i was merely (and obviously i’m now regretting it)pointing out that some people think- regardless of the topic- that simply discussing an issue is somehow adding to the problem. Next time i’ll use a different example…..

    Why regret something that you were informed about?

    some people think- regardless of the topic- that simply discussing an issue is somehow adding to the problem.

    Perfectly valid point, Mark!

  169. April 1, 2008 at 12:06

    I’m a Musslim and I consider every human been as my brother and every soul is holly ,,,our prophet Mohamed ordered his army not to kill a woman or a child or an old man or even not to cut a tree or kill an animal during any battle,,,,even if our enemy did,,,,,it’s too clear in our religion and in all the prophet mohamed sayings that ((If you kill any human been it’s as big as if you kill all the human been)),,,,, The problem now is that most of muslims know nothing about their religion, and they really need help,

    when I read the book of secret (Rhonda Byrne) it was as I was reading the quran or as if I was reading some of the prophet muhammed sayings,,, and the same happen to me when I read any book of the western civilised values,,,, they all come from the same source,,,, myself I see no difference between the islam or crisitinity or even the western civilised values, it just the stupied way the people insist to find differences between each other,,,,
    peace be upon you all.

  170. 170 Yasir
    April 1, 2008 at 12:25

    Do you mind which religions we do or don’t follow?
    Visions of religions that cause divisions are improvisions that need revisions. I am not exactly sure if what is meant be “mind” is being upset, annoyed, worried or not caring. Usually “Do you mind?” resembles annoyance. However, from the wording I am sensing an unorthodox intended meaning from the author of “Do you care”. Accordingly I’ll reply. All even oddballs have the right to answer there preferred call. I prefer welcoming religions to interfaith dialogue.

    Does the steady increase in the percentage of us who practice Islam please you, worry you or leave you entirely unmoved?
    Being a Muslim myself this might appear biased to others. Since I believe Islam is the truth I naturally am pleased to see people laminate their horizons with the infinite right light. I rather think true adherents to religions are few nowadays. People of other religions think Muslims are all devout because they pray five times a day and they think that must be hard work. However, it became more like a cultural custom or habit. Some pray but sway all day every which way from the chardonnay on the clay tray. Some pray but bray hearsay everyday as a gateway from the horseplay.

    Does the number of us who are religious (whatever the faith) matter more to you?
    Most major religions contain provisions as rescissions of indecisions and precisions as diversions of collisions. More sincere adherencies restore dear coherencies.

  171. 171 Ros Atkins
    April 1, 2008 at 12:42

    I am a humanist. However, the rise of Islam is an important step on the way to greater understanding among civilizations of their own strengths and weaknesses. To transpose Islam, in some of its basic forms, from ugly fundamentalism, requires an new pride and understanding of the true value of Islam. Just as a confrontation within the Christian religions in the USA and elsewhere can lead to a gretaer understanding of evolution, so to can greater knowledge within Islam lead to the ultimate acknowledgment and acceptance of the scientific truths of evolution.. Meb Cutlack.

  172. 172 Des Currie
    April 1, 2008 at 12:43

    Hey Ros,
    As a Biblical scholar I once endeavoured to determine the meaning of a particular passage in the bible, Revelations 20:10 to be exact, and it reads “where the beast and the false prophet are”.
    A few clicks on the computer and you can look it up, http://www.bibles.net, is good.
    Now, having found it cast your mind around the possible loction of this sea wherin which the Devil is cast.
    Now try to vision who could be this false prophet. It is not the guy on the corner saying, “The end of world is nigh”. More likely a prophet who would have swayed a great many, and needles to say he had to be post Revelation.
    Then try again on the nature of the beast. A look at the section a bit further back where ‘that great city” is destroyed (18:10) gives a clue as to the nature of the beast, it would seem that the beast is a cow.
    Now find where the false prophet and the beast meet and you have a location.
    Of course the entirity of the point is an extrapolation of the value of mentioning a false prophet in The Bible.
    Would it be that hard for us to take one step more and name him?
    I could, and you could publish, but then the third and final world war would be upon us, and me with my army boots in the shop.
    Des Currie

  173. 173 Ros Atkins
    April 1, 2008 at 12:57

    As far as I am concerned all religions are false,as we simply come from energy,and are eventualy recycled as energy and only energt. Regards Henry

  174. 174 Chen
    April 1, 2008 at 13:18

    I don’t care what people believe, I care what they do to other human beings. A person can be an angel in his thoughts, but he can act as a devil.

    There are two quotes that conveys the “recognition of God, submission to God, and the Love of God.”:
    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.”
    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
    The author of these great words was a famous Christian by name of Adolf Hitler.

    By the way, George. W. Bush also claims to be a true Christian and constantly consulting with his “higher father.” The more than one million dead Iraqis must be very grateful for the salvation.

    To say some religion is “better” than others is laughable. I guess those people don’t the smell of burning “heretics” on stake, the blood of long religious wars in Europe, the moans at courts of inquisition, and the cries of witch-hunting? No religion can be more dangerous and ominous than the religion of ignorance.

  175. April 1, 2008 at 13:50

    Africa should not be colonizes if all the African Nations agreed to have adapted the International Political system for creating their Unionist Party and have its own Coalition Forces. Deeply I belief that, it’s going to happen, but the most significantly that never allowed Africa ,to have such a system, is that, African People’s struggling through God belief” which is Muslimization and Christianity” this trend doesn’t allow them to have a good governance system that can create democracy in the Continent that is most errand principle that abreast African leaders as well as it happen many African Nations, that” their leaders stated that they can not be command by Christian and Christian can’t have dogma through presiding of Muslim leader, that is why Africa is become mostly complicated through none-governing system, corruption and none-democracy. And in my point of view” Africa is going to Change within nearer epoch”.

    And Thanks

  176. 176 ALI HASSAN
    April 1, 2008 at 13:54

    I welcome the rise of the population of practising Muslims in the whole world.

    Whether you attribute this to mostly reproduction/recreation or not, it is a FACT that many westerners are converting/reverting to ISLAM in their thousands.

    This puzzles many, and is happening in spite of the negative media attitude and coverage about Islam.

    I regret that many Muslims attempt to ‘explain’ their faith in a way that sounds like they are apologetic and with their heads low. We should embrace Islam fully and hold our heads high. There’s NOTHING to be ashamed about Islam.

    Islam is a wonderful faith – the only TRUE religion. The world will defintely be a better place with the number of PRACTISING Muslims RISING. There shall be more understanding, tolerance and Love.

    May ALLAH guide us all to the right path.



  177. 177 HICHAM
    April 1, 2008 at 14:03

    I was raised in a muslim family but I never considered myself a religious person. If I were born in a christian or jewish family i would have the same attitude toward religion. I have been living most my life in a muslim country and there are all kind of people there, religious agnostics atheists non religious you name it. “The rise of islam” as a headline is meant to scare you guys but i feel that those of you who are well educated well traveled and consequently have met moderate progressist muslims in their lives don’t seem to have the same reaction to this headline. My point is the ansewr to this ignorance is to get out and traveled the world and meet people face to face and talk to them you will probably change most of your radical views on others. Islam is not a perfect religion as all other religions. Demonizing muslim people is not going to bring an end to your problems. In the contrary it will increase hate intolerance and more conflicts and wars. Remember what the demonization of the jews by the nazi regime of Germany resulted in: HOLOCAUST. Do you really wonna another Holocaust to happen?

  178. April 1, 2008 at 14:05

    iam muslim, about a rising of islam its something we cant do any thing towards it.
    its somthing private.
    my problem in islam is it can be evil and it can be good at the same time.
    quaran contain good words and others bad words which courage haterd and deface other people and other ideas describe them as nonsense and dirty people.

    so most of muslims popular organizations says islam is tend to be mercy and tolerant with others on the other hand i always heard in the local mosque that
    other people who is non muslims are bad and dirty and will go to hell.

    so although iam a muslim iam confused which openions is true

    So you will not find final reply whether islam is tolerant or hatered.

  179. 179 Steve, US
    April 1, 2008 at 14:17

    I’m fine with it, and even happy, as long as the increase in Muslim populations doesn’t lead to an end of secular governments and a shift toward Islamist governments as has seemed to be the preferred model in nearly all countries with a Muslim majority, and as long as a rise in Islam doesn’t mean a rise in oppression against followers of other religions or their rights and practices.

  180. 180 VictorK
    April 1, 2008 at 14:31

    @ Will: you wrote, “Again I ask, “Why isn’t Christianity allowed in the majority of Muslim nations? What do the leaders of those nations have to fear from Christianity?”

    I think Muslim countries handicap, repress and outlaw Christianity out of self-preservation. Not only is Christianity a more humane and appealing creed, it is generally a more aestheically attractive one too. Consider the Catholic and Anglican churches with their beautiful ceremonial, wonderful music, superb liturgy (the Book of Common Prayer and King James Bible, and the Latin Mass), visual sumptuousness (especially the Catholic Church) from magnificent church architecture to statutuary to ornament and decoration, and the often fine hymns that can make church attendance a truly uplifting comunal experience. Islam, by contrast, is rather dull, joyless and uninteresting as a spectacle, and can only really compete when it comes to mosque architecture.

    Given a free hand Christianity would win Muslim hearts and minds with ease.

  181. 181 HAKIM- Algiers
    April 1, 2008 at 16:00

    What do you mean by the rise Islam? Iszlam has always existed so as Chtristianism, bettter for you to use to the word intolerance, history showed that intolearnce in Europe with the rise inquisition , but this doesn’tb mean that chiristianisim was a religion of intolearane, so it is with extremisim in Islam,one shouldn’t assimilate extremisim with the religious faith. Going back to history , the only period where the jews lived in peace , it was the time when Andalusia (Spain) was conquered by Muslims, and as soon as the Spanish inquisitors took power they persecuted them, once again they fled to North Africa to find shelter in an Islamic land and lived in harmony among Muslims.

  182. 182 savane
    April 1, 2008 at 17:01

    Thoughts that make me think, hmmmh????

    On Islam:
    At the height of the IRA movement, were people as intolerant of Catholics as they are of Muslims today?

    On Zimbabwe’s election results:
    Last night’s show re introduced me to my dinner!

    I have flashbacks to Kenya post-voting and -election violence. It was a long night!

    My Zimbabwean family: both citizens and leaders:

    Please don’t go where we went!

    Nairobi Kenya

  183. April 1, 2008 at 17:31

    no matter whether the islam is rising or not but the thing we need to observe is to move in the right path, as every religion preaches the same for the peace and welfare of the society.

  184. 184 Farhan
    April 1, 2008 at 17:47

    Well, I welcome the rise of Islam.

    Not because I am a Muslim by birth but because I have chosen Islam
    as my path.

    Lets not just post vacuous opinions here as that is not what educated people do.

    To the atheists and agnostics I ask: Do you think that the heavens and the earth and all that is between them were created by themselves? All the interdependence of the things in this world is a coincidence? Does that seem logical to you.

    To the deist I ask:: Do you think that there is no purpose to life? Purposeful creation is a reflection of a Wise Creator. If we are intelligent enough to seek purpose in everything we do, then how can we attribute purposelessness to the One who created us and gave us the intelligence to seek a purpose in our actions?

    To all, it is my humble request to use reason based on facts and logic to arrive at a conclusion. The conclusion for the Correct Worldview – the True Path – the Purpose of Life.

    Please read the book ‘A brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam’ for a brief and authentic understanding on Islam.

    We talk about open-mindedness now lets practice by sincerely trying to understand what Islam is and what it stands for.

  185. 185 Joe
    April 1, 2008 at 23:39

    Rise of any organization, be it religious or government, which limits my liberty to live my life as I see fit greatly concerns me. My concern about fundamentalist religions and tyrannical governments is that they believe they know better than I do on how I should live. I strive to live a humanist, sustainable life, helping my fellow humans and trying to be considerate and tolerant of others, as I would hope people are to me. However, when I am told I cannot drink alcohol, listen to music, read certain books, hold certain beliefs, or if the organization does not believe in equity between peoples, then I will protest. If protest doesn’t work and it turns violent, then I will fight. Life is precious, but life without liberty is meaningless and “You can’t talk to a man with a gun in his hand.” **

    But should we hold as an example of Christianity the U.S. and its leader, George Bush, responsible for killing over 100 thousand Muslims? George Bush is an evangelical Christian and the U.S. is becoming more evangelical and fundamentalist all the time. Taking this perspective, I can truly understand why Muslims are fearful of Christians.

    ** Pink Floyd? – can’t remember

  186. 186 Joe @ USA
    April 1, 2008 at 23:55

    Ruth wrote “What’s worrisome is the explosive birthrates amongst Muslims. That’s why the number of people practicing Islam is on the rise and is surely a contributing factor to poverty, environmental degradation, and a myriad of other problems.”

    This is the true problem, but it is not only limited to Muslims. I believe this is more a problem of ignorance of the limits of the world we live in, or of male dominion. Every person, also meaning every religion, needs to start living within the earth’s limits. In the U.S. it is not population as much as it is consumption and waste.

    We can either kill the earth by overpopulation and deforestation, or we can kill the earth through garbage and greenhouse gases.

  187. 187 Papa Hopkins
    April 2, 2008 at 03:43

    I was born muslim and I have been aetheist most of my life and I find it upsetting that when some people talk about Islam they make it sound as if it is a scary thing.
    Once people understand the fact that religion is strictly a personal experience (even the Koran emphasizes that aspect) then the seperation of religion and government becomes possible and prosperity ensues. The separation of church and government happened in Europe ( after a lot of religious upheaval) and that gave rise to the Renaissance and that in turn gave rise to the industrial revolution and that led to putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. All the industrial countries that are enjoying prosperity, freedom and democracy are secular governments . Obviously secularism works.

  188. 188 Connie
    April 2, 2008 at 05:12

    The atheists here need to worry about the rise of Islam as your freedom of speech will be curtailed along with everyone else’s if Islamic law becomes the law of any land.

  189. 189 Ashraf, Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    April 2, 2008 at 05:18

    The question ‘Do you welcome the Rise of Islam?’ is itself strange. It is as if something undesirable is happening!! The smear campaign continues against Islam. As long as this goes on by media houses like BBC, Fox news etc it is difficult to get people to understand Islam. But please do note that inspite of all this, people choose Islam, once they discover the truth. Obviuosly another ‘WHY’should be asked:
    ‘Why are people reverting to Islam inspite of all the seemingly negatives in the media?Are these negatives real? If so, then why the rise in Islam? If not, what is the positive message of Islam that people like and therefore revert to?’
    I suggest Ros that these questions be raised. That would bring out a real discussion.

  190. 190 munim
    April 2, 2008 at 07:26

    As I was reading these comments i have found that some people misunderstand Islam.I am not saying that to defend aganist this religion but it is the truth. Let me give you some examples: they think that Islam calls to kill unbeliever. This is absolutely incorrect.Islam doesnot allow to kill ant or bee without good reason. Another misconcept that some people think that Islam =terrorism but Isalm condemn any mean of aggresion without any logcal excuse (as defend your country aganist any attack or invasion). This is the era of globalization the age of knowledge so i think it is better to reread about Islam from the pure and fair references.

  191. 191 Madhu
    April 2, 2008 at 08:43

    Does that mean that the picture would be even slightly different if there was predominance of Christians or any other religion? Even a hindu tortures other Hindu. evil is within us, not in the name of religion.

    Again if there is any god, he’s within us.

    April 2, 2008 at 09:17

    I don’t see any reason why the number of people who practice Islam should be compared to those that Roman Catholic christainity.Roman Catholic christains although are more in more in number than other christain denominations,but they are not the only people who practice christainity. When the munber of people who practiceEastern Orthodox christainity, Oriental Orthodox christainity, Anglican, Protestant and their subdivision are combined together we will be far ahead of them.

  193. 193 Ghazi Abdullah, Bangladesh
    April 2, 2008 at 09:39

    The Quraan clearly instructs to all of us muslim to be tolerant to all other religion and live with each other in harmony and peace (please read up to verses no. 6) – its our fault (the muslim) that we make other assumption and interpret the verses differently to fulfill our own agenda.

    The higher number of muslims should be a good thing for the world to achieve peace instead now everyday we have to justify our existence.

    بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

    Surah – 109 Ayahs: | 1-6 |

    لْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ (1

    Say (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)to these Mushrikûn and Kâfirûn): ”O Al-Kâfirûn (disbelievers in Allâh, in His Oneness, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar, etc.)!

    لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ (2

    ”I worship not that which you worship,

    وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ (3

    ”Nor will you worship that which I worship.

    وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ (4

    ”And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.

    وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ (5

    ”Nor will you worship that which I worship.

    لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ (6

    ”To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islâmic Monotheism).”

  194. April 2, 2008 at 12:06

    this is Husein Maiase, Syrian student in sydney Australia.

    it is not important what do we beleive as long as it does not contradict the law. I do not beleive that relegions are responsible for peoples’ behaviour, in spite they may affect it in general. what is really concern me the wrong understanding of the relegion, misinterpretation is common and so often people take literal meaing of words exposing themseleves to wrong understanding, this is exactly the case with many muslim people. Islam is good relegion it calls people to behave in good manner, it is like christianity or any other relegion, however people do not interpret it correctly in some occasions. there is grwoing gap between cultures this is mainly attributed to the wrong understanding and the wrong association between relegion and some people acts. for example Islam is terrible relegion because many terrorists were from muslim background, I say here that American soldiers who killed tens of thounsand of people around the world do not represent the christianity, in spite of most of them are christian, and christianity cannot be blamed because of their conducts. this way it is wrong to associate islam to terrorism.

  195. 195 Samir Youssef
    April 2, 2008 at 13:34

    For some reason there is a misconception that living with the “intolerant” Christians in the west is as bad as living with intolerant Moslems, and therefore living with intolerant religious people is the same. I beg to differ based on history and current events. Even though people tend to equate the inquisition with intolerant Moslems, the Moslem extremists are notoriously, systematically and more distractive. Watch what is happening in Iran, Iraq the Palestinian territories and even Turkey. They pretend tolerance until they reach power, and before you know it, they turn on everyone who does not follow their orders. Unfortunately, the Quraan tells it straight, that Alla is the only god (and don’t be decived if they tell you that it is the same thing as God), and also tells them that Islam is THE true, correct religion and that the Quraan is the only non-man-made and not-tampered with book. The Quraan goes further to order the Moslems to wage war (the true definition of holy war or jihad) on those who do not accept or oppose those principals.

    I am glad I will die before the Moslems take over again… for those sentimental misled young and “tolerant” minds and whose who oppose Christianity just because they can, based on the western principals of freedom of expression, I say: Good luck when Islam takes over. Look forwards to days like those of Tehran, Cabool and Gaza.

  196. April 2, 2008 at 14:00

    Farhan: “To the atheists and agnostics I ask: Do you think that the heavens and the earth and all that is between them were created by themselves?”
    One word: Evolution

  197. April 2, 2008 at 16:30

    Is religion the problem or fear? I find that here in politically correct to the point of nausea Eugene, Oregon, USA, it’s okay to bash Christians and group them together. I think George Bush has given Christianity a bad name. My brother-in-law and sister are promise keepers and they are kind and accepting to me, their queer relative, more so than the rest of the family.

    I don’t believe in a pecking order of oppression, ie that’s it’s okay to bash some groups and not others. What is more important than the name of the religion is the people who live it.

    We all grow up with fear and bias from family and culture. My Catholic father worked for civil rights for people of color but his own family had no rights.

    I find that if I stop looking at the labels and see the human being I can find something to connect with no matter how much I disagree. To me that is the foundation of ending oppression and divisiveness. Rather than argue I ask people where their beliefs came from, who taught them. When someone feels heard and seen they are less likely to be antagonistic.

  198. 198 steve
    April 2, 2008 at 16:52

    Farhan: “To the atheists and agnostics I ask: Do you think that the heavens and the earth and all that is between them were created by themselves?”

    Space is just a vaccuum. A vaccum can have always existed, and will always exist, though you need someone sentient to perceive it, but it will still be after we are all dead and gone. Where did the matter come from? Don’t know, but at least I can admit that than claim some deity created it. If that were the case, if you don’t think the Universe could have always existed, has God always existed? If so, then why cannot the universe have always existed? If God hasn’t always existed, what or who created God? What created that which created God?

    Fact is, nobody knows the truth, and will probalby never be a truth, but the people who believe in science can admit we dont’ know, while religious people claim they they are right, everyone else is wrong, so wrong in fact, you go to hell if you dont’ believe as I do. Religious people have always been wrong about science, medicine, and the universe, so it’s not hard to believe they are still wrong in their belief that God created everything. Can you admit that you don’t know the answer? i can admit that, can you? Or do you HAVE to be right?

  199. 199 Papa Hopkins
    April 3, 2008 at 02:04

    Farhan, God, any God, is an idea and ideas do not create physical things.

  200. April 3, 2008 at 10:50

    Papa Hopkins: “…ideas do not create physical things”

    Without ideas there can not be physical things. Without ideas we would live in a empty world.

  201. 201 Zainab
    April 3, 2008 at 12:57

    salam Alikcum
    Religion is the belief in Allah, the Creator of the whole Universe. Religion is born with the birth of Adam (peace be upon him) the first human, and the first prophet, Allah has sent him so as to show mankind the path of good. All the The divine messages are shared in three bases: 1-the Oneness of Allah, 2-the belief in the prophets (peace be upon them) , and 3- Day of Resurrection. Allah has created people, free minded, and has put in us the characteristic of Curiosity, an instinct motive for FACT. we think and Ponder in the issues especially the issues that widely spread. until we get the TRUTH.
    And of course, Islam is one of the most important issues that media tackled “negatively” at the present time. The religion of Islam is the divine message sent to reform human life, establish justice, and liberate man from injustice, corruption and perversion. Islam is the true religion which was the only religion kept safe from distortion and falsification. The Islamic basic rule is “There is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256). The human goals of the Islamic message are many, the main ones of which are:
    1. Stressing the single origin of mankind and the cancellation of racial, national, class and color barriers among human beings.”O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware” (49:13)
    2. Establishing justice among people. “Surely We sent Our Messengers with clear signs, and sent down with them the Book and the Scales of Justice, so that men may conduct themselves with fairness” (57:25)
    3. Fighting crime, subversion, aggression and corruption on earth.
    4. Distributing resources equitably to all members of society with a view to nip in the bud the formation of any category of economic or social classes.
    5. Liberating mankind from the shackles of the oppression and servitude of tyrants and realizing freedom and dignity for man.

    For all that i do welcome the rise of Islam.
    yours truely,

  202. 202 George USA
    April 4, 2008 at 02:35

    It seems those who want Isalm and Judeo-Christians to fight one another, pitting God fearing men against one another, would be a better group to battle.

    But if we are forced into a new version of the Crusades, a rise in Islam is OK- target rich environments are more fun.

  203. 203 Rufaa
    April 6, 2008 at 16:23

    MORE MUSLIMS THAN CATHOLICS. THIS SEEMS TO HAVE CAUSED a knee-jerk reaction in the West.Does this make you worry? I am left shuddered to read a steady stream of texts expressing an inreasing global Islamophobia.The WHYS bloggers seem to have so vividly expressed it. Islam- the anti-modern, excessively prim and conservative religion of the Silicon age. None of them choose to speak about the justice and equality it brought to the world.The history of Islam suffered heavy distortion and grotesque representation of its true form. The West and pseudo- Muslims have set to give the world a completely different story.
    One rich in bias and hateful agenda.
    Speaking of anti-modern and oppossition to scientfic discoveries, Islam made a significant contrubution to Mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany.
    The West hates Islam yet its a peaceful religion. Good Muslims don’t want their religion to be interferred with. The West punched the air when the Turkish Muslims talked of interpreting the Hadith. Islam in Turkey was set for major reforms!

  204. April 6, 2008 at 18:45

    I am disagree with all those saying religion is a great hindrance in the way of progress.

    There was no science but religion which provided us fundamental principles of society,gave humanbeing aunique knowledge about the creation of univers.

    We should refrain to make religion a disputed matter and avoiding saying anything which make the reason of bloodletting situation among groups and nations as well.

  205. 205 James Welkerun De Majok
    April 29, 2008 at 09:44

    It’s Splendid for me to say something about the dogma between Muslim and Christain” in my point of view is that” Whom are the most chaotic, Corruptist and disbelievers in the World? and Whom are the people’s that can force God laws to the governance systematic and turned the words of human to be God words?
    In the first answer, i can think, Its Muslim .because they turned the God to be non-dogma and turned the human word to be God words like what was happened in Historical of Prophet Mahomed” Indeed the soothsayer Mahomed is not a male” she’s female who pretended herself to muslim as a male” that’s why” you can get muslim passing urine down like a lady whether male or female because these traits of believe were obtained from her. and second to it” the reasonality that all the Muslim did want to eat pig is the main source that Mahomed misleaded them as well as she attempt one of christain to go with her in the Desert were she dig down her water pot. they go and walked around it and when they feel thirsty, she told christ that if you have a power bring water now but christ answer that bring yours first, then she run to the place of water that she dug down , meanwhile pig have already dig-out her water and broke the water-pot, then she feel very ashameful and come to report that she have no power in the movement , then christ pull-out grass and water come out from the Earth.
    Basically we have to learned more and more about such a great chaotic and corruptist people’s that can mixed the rule of the Nations with God’s Words. in my decision let tell you Dear Partners Muslim such a governaning system is not good leave it , there’s no state that can to go to Mosque on sunday and also the same to christain there’s no state that can go to Church on Sunday, and there’s no State that can go to Mecca, it’s an individuals like pilgrimages who use to go. and there’s no state or Nation that can make a corruption, It’s an individuals and there’s no State who can requested embargo while there’s a democracy, justice, and equalities.

  206. 206 Safura Houghton
    March 9, 2009 at 16:57

    The Quran actually states
    ‘”Let there be no compulsion in Religion: truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah (one God) has grasped the most trustworthy hand hold, that never breaks. and Allah hears, and knows all things.” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:256)

    Therefore nobody has the right to force anybody to do anything they dont want to. Those on here who criticise Islam so much, please look at ISLAM and not the Muslims, as so many of them give everyone a bad name by practicing a cultural/changed/diluted version of Islam…

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