On air: The Crescent and the Cross



The BBC is running a major documentary series called “The Crescent and the Cross”.

Here, the presenter, Owen Bennett Jones,  (who will co-host WHYS tonight) starts a conversation about some of the things he discovered while making the programmes.

owen”  Perhaps Samuel Huntington was right. 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan all suggest a clash between two great civilisations.   

But the more one studies the history of Christianity and Islam the more complicated it seems.     

Some believe Islam and Christianity – two missionary faiths — can never live side by side. Yet there have been times of peaceful coexistence.  The Muslim rulers of Spain and the Ottoman Empire ran cities in which many Christians and Jews could practice their faiths in peace.   

Today, some mainstream politicians and moderate clerics go on to argue that the current conflict between Western governments and radical Islamists is an aberration. But that overlooks the plentiful historical examples of inter communal strife. 

An era of relative religious tolerance in Muslim Spain in the 9th and 10th centuries, for example, was followed by ferocious, religiously-inspired violence. First radical Islamists from North Africa fought Spain’s liberal Muslim leaders. Later the Spanish Catholics’ Inquisition brutally suppressed both Muslims and Jews.  

Today it is not unusual for advocates of inter-faith dialogue to talk of individuals finding different routes to heaven. But for most of the past 1400 years, Muslims and Christians, even when they managed to live side by side were convinced of each others’ certain path to hell.

And by today’s standards, both sides have always practiced discrimination. Even in the most peaceful periods of Muslim rule in Spain, for example, Jews and Christians had to pay extra taxes and wear distinctive clothing.  

The newspapers today are filled with accounts of radical Islamist fanatics who are prepared to kill themselves in suicide bomb attacks. And the news articles sometimes point out that these jihadis follow a long tradition. The followers of the Mahdi in 19th century Sudan, for example, marched towards British machine guns oblivious of certain death. 

But such articles tend not to refer to the many examples of fanatical Christians who hoped to reach heaven by dying at the hands of Muslims in, for example, the Crusades or as part of the Knights of Malta’s dogged defence of their Island in 1565.  

Many Westerners now believe they are the Islamists’ primary target. The history, however, suggests Christians have often been attacked as a consequence of internal Muslim struggles.

The, still unresolved, conflict between radical and moderate Islamists has repeatedly unleashed such powerful forces that in 11th century Spain, 19th century Sudan and arguably today too, Christians and others have been caught in the cross fire.  

The historical experience of Jews further confuses the picture.  The contemporary alignment of Israel and the West might seem to be set in stone but history suggests otherwise.  

There have been many periods in which the Jews have had more cordial relations with Muslims than Christians.  During the Spanish Inquisition many Jews found refuge in predominantly Muslim lands. Earlier, in the long struggle for control of Jerusalem, some Muslim leaders such as Saladin treated the Jews more humanely than many Christian crusaders.

The history of Christianity and Islam can be used to justify just about anything.  Both sides have experienced defeats and both can cite grievances: neither has a monopoly on virtue, victimhood or indeed, moderation.

It is always more complicated than it seems.   

Owen Bennett Jones.


Owen will co-host a WHYS on Tuesday Nov 10; below is the place to start the dialogue…

273 Responses to “On air: The Crescent and the Cross”

  1. 1 Tom K in Mpls
    September 30, 2009 at 19:05

    You forget the six pointed star in the title. The fundamentalists of these faiths are the single greatest threats to world peace. The only hope is to eliminate religion from government. An area in which the US is badly lacking. That is another reason why we are a target for Jihads.

    • 2 Adam
      November 8, 2009 at 19:37

      What is happening between the west and muslims has little to do with religion. It is about the west trying to take the resources of the muslims and make them to adopt thier culture as well. The west wants Muslims to behave like them, think like them so that they can depend on them.

      • 3 Tom K in Mpls
        November 10, 2009 at 19:34

        Actually, the most visible and violent elements are a minority whose faith is questioned by most people of their faith. The rest peacefully adapt and retain their culture as they wish.

    • 4 Patty
      November 8, 2009 at 19:46

      You are exactly right Tom. It’s the fundamentalists of religions that continuously cause the trouble. Religion should be eliminated from all governments in all countries. The US’s founding documents have a clause that separates church from state. Seems that in many recent elections, no one’s been following that. A big reminder needs to be sent out. The populous needs to stop getting all caught up in religion and force the political leaders to deal and campaign on the issues at hand.

      In governments who are soley a religious government, we should not be engaged with in any type or form. If that religious government wants to do business, they have to become a democracy on their own. We stay out and all UN and NATO forces stay out and let them sort it out themselves. They can ask for our guidance in “words” not our soldiers. Afganistan does not really want to become a democracy. Therein lies all our problems with this war. We are the only ones who wants the democracy.

      We fall right into the fundamentalists hands when we engage militarily with them. We give them exactly what they want, a war, so they can die in their honor. We should be staying out of all conflicts with religious underpinings.

      • November 11, 2009 at 14:01

        It would be unrealistic to say that if religion is eradicated from politics all will be well, OR it is only a few radicals who are causing the trouble. The truth is, it was the fundamentalist Jews and Christians workirng within the infrastructure of the state carved out Israel from the Arab land in fulfillment of the Tora and the Bible. Thus the seeds of discord in the modern era were sown. Even before President Obama was elected, he made very partisan statements about Jerusalem and then went to the Wailing Wall to pray with the Jews there. No American President can be elected without the support of the fundamentalist Jews and fundamentalist Christians. Bush, who has been described as a mad man by Gore Vidal (BBC AM programme), launched the modern Crusade by invading Iraq. Other like-minded states joined in. Religious fundamentalists are the cutting edge of Christians, Jews and the Muslims. When these fundamentalist minorities take up the cudgel and cause mayhem, the rest quietly acquiesce and make politically correct statements. So it is not just the minority who are the problem.

        Besides, the most provocative acts are establishing military bases in Muslim countries, trying to impose democracy, which is repugnant to Islam, on Muslim countries and trying to shove western culture down their throats. If America and its allies pull out, zip up and go home, there would peace. Time and time again terrorist suicide bombers have spelt out why they are causing the carnage. Will we ever learn?

  2. 6 anu_d
    September 30, 2009 at 19:56

    So what’s the discussion point …..or are we allowed to pick any on this wide subject

    My Points:

    =It’s adventrous doing a documentary on a subject so wide and deep…..for there is a big possibility it may barely scratch the surface and come across as flimsy.

    =There are radical Islamists…what about radical christians ( Evangelists, Missionaries flaoting the globe with conversion quotas)

    =Does Islam believe in co-existense ?

    • October 1, 2009 at 17:57

      yes Islam definitly believes in co-existance with people of other faiths. I can quote many examples of that. even a worse in the holy Quran says that if a non-believer asks for refuge, a Muslim cannot kill him and has to keep him safe. Islam tells us not to criticise other religions.

      • 8 Sophia Weisheit
        November 9, 2009 at 03:46

        I think the difference is this: If a non-believer approached a Christian and asked for refuge, his first thought would not be ” I want to kill this man, but I must first check the holy book to see if it is allowed.” The Christian would never have thought of harming the non-believer. Just by the fact that this prohibition is written shows that the first inclination is to kill or harm.

        At St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai the local Moslem Bedouins have been, and are being cared for when seeking refuge. They have been employed, fed ,and clothed from the dawn of Islam to this very day. In the 1100’s the Christian monks even built a Mosque within the monastery walls for their Bedouin quests. I don’t see this co-existance at any Moslem holy place. St Catherine’s Monastery is in possession of a Fatwa, written in the Prophet Mohammed’s own hand, granting St Catherine’s and its monks protection from harm due to their hospitality and protection of the local Bedouin Moslems. If co-existance is such a cornerstone of Islam, why would the Prophet himself feel the need to extend his personal written protection to a group of Christian monks?

    • 9 Maxine
      October 5, 2009 at 05:57

      What about the many Christian organizations who go about the world feeding the poor, giving medicine to the sick, building schools for the needy, helping in many disaster zones, to all in need, not by color or creed. Where are the Muslim charity organizations?

      • 10 jj
        November 8, 2009 at 20:00

        Every Moslem practices charity, giving to associations to help eradicate and ease ilness and poverty as an essential part of Islam. Daily life also incorporates acts of charity as well.

      • 11 Kat in Vancouver
        November 10, 2009 at 19:19

        Maxine, look into the work of the Red Crescent.

    • 12 Maxine
      November 5, 2009 at 08:37

      Anu_d. The radical Christians you mention, do they have a bomb strapped to their bodies under their clothes as the radical Islamists do? Are they sneaking explosives onto planes to blow every one up as the radical Islamists do. Do they perhaps fly civilian planes into high-rise buildings, such as the Islamists did that started all this mess that we now have in Afghanistan.? Suggest you stick to facts, as painful as they may be. Perhaps, just maybe, the truth will set you free.

      • 13 klito
        November 7, 2009 at 07:05

        That is so tragically ill informed. The truth,and there is only one truth,is a long way off from your complete lack of knowledge.

    • November 8, 2009 at 16:52

      Greetings in Peace,
      God considers Christians and Jews to be believers, according to His revealed last testament – the Recitation. He enjoins Submitters (mu-Islaam in Arabic) to protect them and their paths toward God, trusting a Submitter to marry People of the Book. Submitters may not argue about God with Christians and Muslims, and are told to say that the line between them is no more than a line between two floor tiles. In short, God views the remnants of His revealed guidance to the People of the Book to be sufficient that he will judge them by what they know. It is not for Submitters to confuse them and place their faith in God in jeopardy as a result of argument.
      wa salaam

  3. 15 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 19:58

    @ Tom

    We have separation of church and state here in the US. There’s a LOT more religion in governments of other nations. The UK has a national religion, the Church of England. The Queen is the head of that. Canada even mentions “God” in it’s national anthem. And not sure why you are bringing up Jews, as they mentioned that Judaism is not a missionary religion, does not proseltyze, while Islam and Christianity seek out converts and seek to expand, Jews don’t seek or want any converts and it’s very difficult to convert if you wanted to. Jews aren’t a threat.

    • 16 Ann
      October 1, 2009 at 13:20

      Sorry if this sounds petty but don’t forget the England is not the whole of the UK – there is Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales too. And in Scotland at least we have our own Church of Scotland and a fair few others as well. The Church of England is not really Scotland’s national religion.

    • 17 Miriam Hyde
      October 1, 2009 at 14:49

      “Separation of church and state”?

      What country do you live in?

      We still have “Banned Book Week”, governmental laws passed by “Christian” extremists, “family values” hypocritical politicians, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-genderism…on and on! Let’s not forget that we persecute “Christians” and want to do away with Christmas!


    • 18 Tom K in Mpls
      October 1, 2009 at 16:31

      The fact that religion is more prevalent in other countries does not mean it is not a problem here. It is a problem here. It is seen in many archaic laws. Examples: it is illegal to sell certain things on Sunday because it is a christian holiday. What about doing it for jews on Saturday? Or at prayer time for muslims? We as a nation state that swearing on a bible has value. It shocked, and in some eyes,
      invalidated the oath of President Obama when he used a koran. Why are religions allowed to escape property tax? The list is very long.

      As for mentioning jews, all three come from the same origin. Currently, jews are killing to grow in the only place where they have a government. It can be reasonably argued the Bushes provoked Iraq so the strongest muslim state could be weakened. The US is as guilty as any other religious state.

    • November 11, 2009 at 16:39

      Steve, you may like to ponder why during his election campaign Obama made such partisan statements about Jerusalem and followed it up with a visit to Israel and prayed with the Jews at the Wailing Wall. This was because every Presidential candidate has to appease the powerful Jewish lobby in the US in order to get elected. If elected, he must NEVER displease Israel if he wants to serve a second term. So religion is the life-blood of American politics. A religion need not convert others to its faith to start a conflict. Jews rely on the Tora for their title to land; this religion based land-grab is the cause of bloodshed in the Middle East.

  4. September 30, 2009 at 19:59

    and one more thing I must say; the image non-Muslims have about Jihad is completely wrong. You guys think that it is a war against non-Muslims. It is a holy war and every war cannot be named Jihad. Please get this point cleared out. The taliban say they are fighting a Jihad but this is just a non-Islamic war and not a Jihad. What ever these taliban are doing is not allowed by Islam. So Jihad is to save Islam and recent years have not seen that. It is not at all a war to eliminate non-Muslims at all. Islams calls for peace with all people. the word Islam itself means peace.

    • 21 jj
      November 8, 2009 at 20:05

      Jihad is living in such a way as to demonstrate the benevolence and mercifulness of Allah, ie living a good life. In a war this might entail being brave in the face of death, but in peace time it means being a good person, worker, parent etc.in accordance with the Qu’ran. Recent acts of terrorism are not really jihad, but an inappropriate interpretation.

      This section really demonstrates the need for people in the world especially most people in the US it seems to be more informed about Islam.

  5. 22 Kat in Vancouver
    September 30, 2009 at 20:15

    Interesting programme, but may I make one correction? Samuel Huntington’s argument in his seminal work “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”, addresses the notion that culture not religion that will be a source of conflict in the post-Cold War Era.

    As an IR realist, Huntington believes that politics of identity rather than religion will prove to be a source of instability in the so called “new” post Cold War era. I can safely say after studying IR for over the last two years now that the data in the field suggests no relationship between conflict and religion. So I do find that statement about Huntington a bit inaccurate and it could take away from a meaningful debate on the topic.

  6. 23 Bert
    September 30, 2009 at 22:58

    Also, if I may, I find the representation of the current Islamist conflicts as being a clash between religions to be mildly offensive. Why? Because that would depict an image of crosses be waved against crescents. One fanatical group against another.

    Most of us in the West might shrug our shoulders at such a scenario. Reality is far removed from that image. This is not quite as trite as “My God is right, your God is wrong.”

  7. 24 John in Salem
    September 30, 2009 at 23:16

    Religion, like any tool, can be misused by any opportunist with a basic understanding of it’s mechanics, and with so many people having an almost genetic predisposition to need it religion is one of the most powerful assets in the toolbox of social manipulation. The political class normally avoid invoking it in favor of nationalism as a banner to rally around for a number of good reasons, but there never seems to be a shortage of fools who think they can ride the dragon and not get burned.
    I’m looking forward to hearing this series.

  8. 25 Rowena NG
    October 1, 2009 at 00:14

    I believe that many have used “faith” and “religion” to twist and manipulate their own political, economic or power-influenced agendas. The Crusades was nothing but an expansion war of the Spanish, not a war on behalf of Cristianity, as they claimed, for example. And the way radicals use Jihad today is a clear manipulation of the scripture…. I believe that the solution to end the violence between ourselves is simple, yet hard to achieve: TOLERANCE.

    • 26 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 21:36

      @Rowena NG – then why is it that the leaders of the Crusades were primarily Anglo/French kings and German Emperors and their respective nobles, and not Iberian rulers and their acolytes. The war waged by Isabel of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon and their predecessors was a war of liberation against the Moroccan invaders & occupiers – arguably the first such war.

      The stated purpose of the Crusades was to protect the Holy Lands from the “heathens”. They were fought by Catholic fanatics who amongst other things took tens of thousands of children with them; not to fight, but to be sold to the enemy as slaves. Meanwhile the Crusaders went about other business, such as the sacking and occupation of Constantinople, thus weakening it for invasion by the Ottomans in 1453. The loot stolen from Constantinople, Damascus, Jerusalem etc can be seen today in the Vatican, the Doges Palace, Chartres, Worms and Aachen cathedrals etc – not much left in England thanks to the fanatical efforts of Cromwell’s Puritan New Army.

  9. 27 VictorK
    October 1, 2009 at 07:50

    *’Two missionary faiths’, ‘peaceful co-existence’, ‘moderate clerics’, ‘practice their faiths in peace’, ‘religious tolerance in Muslim Spain’, ‘Inqisition brutally suppressed’, ‘caught in the crossfire’…
    *going by this I don’t have much confidence in Mr Bennett Jones & the BBC. Each of the noted terms, read in context, can be shown to be false to history but true to propaganda. Unfortunately there isn’t the space for me to write a long essay of correction & refutation on these few paragraphs, but this is a truly dismaying taste of things to come.
    *I wonder if informed and candid scholars of Islam such as Baat Ye’or, Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer,Srdja Trifkovic, Andrew Bostom, etc will feature in this series, or if it will be the usual thing of ‘moderate Muslims’ of the tame (and unrepresentative) Quilliam variety, and grovellingly apologetic but historically ignorant ‘liberal’ Christians?
    *I’ve always taken the view that Islam is a topic on which the BBC simply can’t be relied on. Mr Bennett Jones shows every sign of vindicating that opinion. Roll on the series.

  10. October 1, 2009 at 07:53

    Religion is just governance of the past that is permited to be carried over. It’s just the ignorance of governments and religious leaders that prolong this practice.

    • 29 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 21:48

      @Ronald Almeida – you don’t have to be religious to rewrite history – the BBC and other media outfits do it every day, even about events that happened yesterday!!

      E.G. 26/09/2009 – “Obama discloses the existence of the Qom nuclear plant at the G20 meeting in Pittsburg today”, nonsense the Iranians disclosed its existence ito an IAEA meeting in the preceding week.

  11. 30 Ibrahim in UK
    October 1, 2009 at 12:06

    The interpretation and re-writing of history is subject to political bias.
    Take the example of the Jewish Golden Age. It came about under Muslim rule in Spain which was generally accepted as being tolerant and inclusive. The majority of historians agree on this point. Yet some will emphasise the minority of historians who have an opposing view and paint that period of Muslim rule (and anything Islamic thereafter) in an aggressive light and will elevate this minority view to mainstream status.
    In any “clash of civilisations”, propagandists will increasingly focus on demonising “the enemy” and re-writing history to promote conflict and enmity.

    Today’s clash is not about religions or freedoms, it is about power and control. For example, the modern wars of the West are based on corporate profits not religious ideology. The West will happily ally with, support and finance any government (Islamic or otherwise) that does their bidding.

    Religion may be used as a cloak or motivational tool used by leaders on all sides, but is rarely the reason for war.

    • 31 Sharon
      November 11, 2009 at 10:02

      Ibrahim -” Today’s clash is not about religions or freedoms, it is about power and control.”

      I totally agree with you. The clash is political and economic, and not about religion at all.

  12. 32 VictorK
    October 1, 2009 at 12:57

    @Ibrahim: Muslim rule in Spain was a result of Jihad, i.e. invasion and conquest of an unoffending Christian nation. I’ve never heard a Muslim, or left-liberal Western apologist for Islam, acknowledge this or condemn it. Muslim rule was so wonderful that the Spanish maintained an intifada for 700 years (yes, 700) to liberate their country from the invaders & occupiers. Another fact that apologists for Jihadist imperialism are always silent about.
    *If the Americans were to colonise Iraq, having occupied it, I can guarantee they would introduce technological & cultural accomplishments that ordinary Iraqis wouldn’t have achieved on their own. Would that make the occupation more acceptable to the secular left, Muslims or Iraqis? But Spain – attacked, invaded, occupied, and with certain cultural accomplishments – is regarded by the same people as a wonderful thing and a fine example of Islam in action!
    *Imperialism is hateful, including the imperialism that’s been a central & orthodox feature of Islam from its inception.

    • 33 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 21:58

      @ViktorK – well said, the truth never hurts!

      I’d also like to remind folks that the the invasion and partial occupation of the Iberian peninsular by the “Moors”, was preceded by invasion and occupation of the entirety of North Africa by followers of Mohammed from the Arabian peninsular – that’s rarely mentioned either.

    • 34 jj
      November 8, 2009 at 20:09

      Iraq was a modern technological nation before Gulf War I!!!! It is the US who have destroyed this country, I don’t think they can be relied on to ‘civilise’ it.

  13. 35 steve
    October 1, 2009 at 13:45

    That people in the 21st century are being killed over a fictional being speaks volumes about the adherents of said religions.

  14. 36 VictorK
    October 1, 2009 at 14:13

    @Steve: “That people in the 21st century are being killed over a fictional being speaks volumes about the adherents of said religions.”

    Presumably that remark includes Judaism, the officially Jewish state, and Jews?

  15. 37 patti in cape coral
    October 1, 2009 at 14:13

    I don’t understand all this strife between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I just started reading the Koran as I don’t know anything about it, and there is one part that stood out in particular to me that Islam considers Jewish people and Christians “people of the book.” That appears to show a level of tolerance that Judaism and Christianity have never shown. But in real life, this isn’t the case. I just don’t get it.

    • 38 Tom K in Mpls
      October 1, 2009 at 16:41

      patti, the koran and the old testament of the bible are based on the torah. The jews were first, then there were two splits. These splits were instigated by Mohamed and Jesus of Nazareth.

      • 39 patti in cape coral
        October 1, 2009 at 20:43

        @ Tom – OK, so these are three sister religions, or Islam and Christianity are daughter religions of Judaism, and apparently this relationship is recognized by the Koran. You would think that this would make them more united, but I guess human nature being what it is…

    • October 1, 2009 at 22:50

      @patti: i agree with you on that point but sadly Muslims nowadays do not follow the Quran and infact one worse of the Quran also says that a Muslim has to grant refuge to a non-Muslim if he seeks it. so Islam is very tolerant for other religions.
      @tom: i don’t agree with you because Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) started spreading Islam in Mekkah, a city of polytheists and not Jews.

      • 41 Sreenivasan Ravichandran
        November 12, 2009 at 01:36

        @ naqi

        But I am left with an impression that Islamic terrorism is as a result of too strict an adherence to Koran. “In Pakistan the Madrasas (schools teaching Koran) are nurseries for terrorists”, is what the Pakistan Government itself acknowledges.

    • 42 jj
      November 8, 2009 at 20:09


      You get it.

    • 43 Adam
      November 8, 2009 at 20:40

      My dear Patti it is not difficult if you understand that Moses was sent by God to liberate the jews from bondage but after leaving the land of Pharoah they rebel against him.Jesus came as a messiah to save the Jews but they rejected Him. Muhammad came as a Messiah to christians and complete the message of Jesus who left quicker than expected but was also rejected. Each rejected the previous religion. Each consider its religion perfect even though christianity and Judaism speak of a coming messiah. You can only get the truth when you study and listen to the religion it self. The more you look at the followers the more you get confused. Read the books use your senses and decide for your self. We live in the era of greed, selfishness and individualism. It is not about faith but what do I get out fo it.

  16. 44 scmehta
    October 1, 2009 at 14:27

    You are thinking and talking like a good human being; But, with each passing day, we seem to be getting bad, and bad to worse, because we’re becoming less and less tolerant towards each other. However, I’m looking forward to the said series and would love to hear about how much we mean to each other as human beings, even while following different religions or faiths.

  17. October 1, 2009 at 14:34

    I enjoyed Rageh Omar’s “An Islamic History of Europe” (BBC) and also his “Islam in America” (Al Jazeera).

  18. 46 steve
    October 1, 2009 at 14:50

    @ VictorK, for those rare Jews that do kill over religious matters, sure. However most are secular. When Israelis, in the name of God, start crashing airplanes into office buildings, I would think they are more of a threat, but I notice it’s not Jews going around killing people all over the world for religious reasons.

  19. 48 Miriam Hyde
    October 1, 2009 at 14:58

    I don’t see how any of this can work out as long as:

    Christians see it their duty to convert people to Christ or banish them to Hell

    Mormons are not considered Christians, even tho they believe in Jesus Christ

    Protestants and Catholics see each other as pagans

    Every denomination of Christianity thinks they are the only correct ones

    Muslims believe they must make “Jihad” against non-believers

    Jews think they have the right to keep the occupied territories

    All religions tolerate, perhaps even encourage, extremists


    Did you ever notice that the world, if ruled by religionists, is just like a video game, where the win happens when you conquer the universe?

    • 49 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 22:08

      @Miriam Hyde – video game designers often take inspiration from religious fables and allegories, just like many novelists, especially those in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

    • October 1, 2009 at 23:34

      dear miriam,

      i agree with you completely but let me add something here that these things are provoked and carried out by extremists and not liberal religion followers.

    • 51 Maxine
      October 2, 2009 at 08:49

      As a Christian I can say that Mormans ARE considered Christians. Protestants and Catholics do NOT see each other as Pagans. Other Christian faiths include: Greek orthodox (Eastern Orthodoxy), Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s witnesses, Lutherans, Mennonites, Presbytarians, Episcopalian Church, Society of Friends (Quakers) Coptic, United Methodist, Wesleyan, Russian Orthodox, Baptists. And that’s for starters.

      • 52 patti in cape coral
        October 2, 2009 at 13:46

        @ Maxine – Really? My mom recently became a Jehovah’s Witness, and everyone in my family, from the Catholics to the Protestants, have all told her she is in a cult. I don’t care, I just want my mom to be happy and safe, and she seems to be.

      • 53 Sean
        November 5, 2009 at 22:27

        People throw the word “cult” around loosely, simply to discredit others they usually do not understand but who are different. The apostles were also called “a divisive sect’ by their detractors. My dictionary decribes “cult” as “–noun 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies”. Under that description “cult” would apply more to the Catholic church and to a lesser degree the Protestant churches.

        The only “ceremony” practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses is the annual Memorial of Christs death, which he commanded all Hebrew Christians to keep, on the same day as the Passover. Of course pagan celebrations of Easter and others have replaced Christ’s celebration, as any encylcopedia search will demonstrate.

        Your mother is probably happy because Jesus said that “the truth will set you free”. I’m glad you see the positive results of her search. Perhaps, in time, your extended family will become more open-minded too.

      November 10, 2009 at 17:49

      You Are right but.

      Its people that are screwed up. If the world was Atheist and had no one to follow, do you think there would be peace? Hell no! It would be Western Atheism and Eastern Atheism attacking each other for not being pure enough and of course we would have wars to defend our believe system over that hard line southern Atheists.

      The first national anthem was…”screw everyone else apart from cave 21”

  20. 55 Roberto
    October 1, 2009 at 15:07

    RE “” That people in the 21st century are being killed over a fictional being speaks volumes about the adherents of said religions. “”

    ———- Atheistic Communists seized and maintained power on the backs of tens of millions of their victims with nary a thought about any “fictional being.”

    People are genetically and culturally predisposed to the use of tools to alter there environment and symbols to organize disparate groups of people for unifying purpose, leading to unceasing thousands of years of wars, genocides, and unremitting violence, upheaval, and deaths.

    Whether via flags, faith, race, science, or business, these will be used for bloody purpose. “The Crescent and The Cross” has a nice cachet to it, and surely any attempt to examine history and religion to present to the public can’t be a bad thing, but as someone pointed, the scope is immense, certainly more than anyone’s lifetime, and majorities of unwashed masses could care less.

    One can hold out hope that a spark may take hold and lead to a millennium of peaceful relations and dialogue, but if nothing else, you have a showcase article that you can take pride in that some will enjoy.

  21. 56 Ibrahim in UK
    October 1, 2009 at 15:11

    Hi Victork, thank you for responding, I always enjoy reading your views and challenges.

    *Has anyone condemned or apologised for Alexander the great or his empire? What about the Roman Empire? Have they been accused of invading and conquering non-offending nations? What about the detailed stories of resistance? No, and it’s not a greco-roman conspiracy to hide these facts. Empires are judged by criteria and norms relevant to their time. The Islamic empire too should be judged by the same framework, and in that, historians have found, it shines brightly.

    * Today’s criteria for acceptable behaviour includes documented norms of the UN, international laws, human rights etc, today’s empires would be expected to exceed these norms to be considered a success. The US occupation of Iraq falls below these norms and expectations, and it certainly is not delivering a modern-day Golden Age for the people it has conquered.

    • 57 RightPaddock
      October 2, 2009 at 08:52

      Ibrahim in UK – a few facts rather than generalisations

      Not sure that Hindu’s of South Asia would agree with The Mughal Empire being a Golden Age, nor the Buddhists, nor the Persian Zoroastrians nor more recently the Iranian Bahai or Punjabi Sikhs.

      Nor the descendants of African slaves in Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. An East African slave trade was conducted by Arab and Persian traders from Zanzibar and elsewhere starting in about 700AD – i.e. well within your so called Golden Age. In Pakistan the descendants of African slaves are known as the Sheedhi.

      The Fatimid Caliphate enslaved Sicilians when it was under their occupation, they also transported slaves overland from sub-saharan Africa, though towns such as Timbuctoo, along with much sub-saharan gold.

      The number of slaves taken East & North across the Indian ocean and the Sahara were at least as numerous as those taken West across the Atlantic, and it was conducted over 13 centuries amd continued into the 20th century!!.

  22. October 1, 2009 at 15:15

    VictorK is right in saying there is not enough room here; and Complicated is hardly the right word for this subject. We keep on hearing about moderate this and moderate that but,it’s the hard liners that get centre stage all the time;what should we believe?

    Yes,Islam will believe in peaceful co-exsitance,as long as it holds the reins power,as will Christianity,it is only when they become balanced that trouble flares. Oh! by the way Rowena NG, I do not want tolerated that suggests I’m here on your sufferance.

  23. 59 Ibrahim in UK
    October 1, 2009 at 15:21

    Do a google search on Stern Gang and Irgun. Jewish terrorists were very active in killing Westerners, Arabs, Christians and Muslims alike in their religious quest for removing the Arab population from Palestine to create a home for Jews.
    Let’s not talk about state terrorism either.

    None of these religions can claim a perfect blame-free past, present or future.

    • 60 Patty
      November 10, 2009 at 07:24

      I have a question that I just don’t understand. Why do peoples, religions or otherwise, have to always be conquering somebody else? Why can’t they just stay where they are and be happy where they are with their own kind instead of killing others to believe their way?

      Why do the Muslim care that the christians are christian? Why do the Jewish care that the Muslims are Muslim? Why does anybody care what anybody else believes? Why is it so important? I just don’t get it. I mean, seriously, I don’t understand it. I was raised in many different christian religions and chose none. Why not just let everyone believe they way they want to, as long as they aren’t killing each other. Which is my point. Why does someone have to die because they don’t believe a certain way? Who says they can and have a right to?

      • 61 Sreenivasan Ravichandran
        November 12, 2009 at 01:27

        # Patty

        Religion needs space and resources to grow. Converts are like non-organic growth. In India we have significant population of Muslims, around 13%, and they wouldn’t have reached the figure if there had been no forced conversion in the past. In fact 1200 years ago the present day Afghanistan and Pakistan were populated by Buddhists and Hindus and their descendants have become the proponents of Islam. Do you think this could have been possible if the Arabs have not conquered these lands 1000 years back? It is paying rich dividends.

  24. 62 steve
    October 1, 2009 at 15:38

    @ Ibrahim

    Stern gang and Irgun were in the 1940s. It’s 2009 now. 9/11 was 8 years ago. There are bombings on a daily basis in Afghanistan/Iraq for religious reasons. There are periodic attacks and bombings in India and Pakistan as well.

    It was a religious question to remove the arab population? I guess that’s why Israel is 20% arab? They must be really bad at the ethnic cleansing you claim, let alone the holocaust that some people claim, given how the palestinian population has grown exponentially. Try again please.

    • 63 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 23:24

      @steve – the Jews claim possession over Israel, Samaria etc based on the situtaion in that part of the world almost 2000 years ago, i.e. prior to their expulsion by the Romans in the 1st century CE.

      Yet you castigate Ibrahim in the UK for having the temerity to refer to events that happened a mere 60-70 years ago.

      I suggest you too might try a little harder to overcome your cultural bias.

  25. 64 patti in cape coral
    October 1, 2009 at 16:01

    Some time ago I recently watched a news report about a Catholic church in Mexico where a division developed in the congregation between the “traditionalists” and the more “modern” Catholics. They were actually in the street in front of this church, fighting, throwing glass bottles and other things at each other, and a lot of them were injured. And these were people of the same religion! My husband, a Catholic, couldn’t do anything but shake his head. I could have pointed out that this is why I don’t believe in religion, but why kick him when he is down? On paper, most religions wouldn’t allow for this kind of idiotic violence anyway.

  26. 65 patti in cape coral
    October 1, 2009 at 16:05

    -correction, please delete the word recently in the first line, I’m contradicting myself!

  27. 66 Jennifer
    October 1, 2009 at 16:34

    On proselytizing:

    There are people who proselytize and there are people who do not. This happens in all religions. Yet, some are content to force religion onto others even if they use violence. Last I checked, God only want people to believe in him if they so choose; not forced…and definitely not by killing people to get your point across or rewards. We do have the 10 commandments…hmmmm.

    What is considered proselytizing? Having a bible on your desk? Wearing a necklace with a cross/crucifix, what about mentioning God?

    One thing I think is interesting is that you don’t have to do anything really to proselytize around atheists; just mention God and they think that is what you are doing.

    • 67 RightPaddock
      October 1, 2009 at 23:55

      @Jennifer – hmmm, last time I checked God wasn’t even there

      I’m a paid up card carrying member of the Atheist’s league – my friends include a catholic and an orthordox priest, a Maronite family who attend mass every day, several ordained members of a Buddhist order and a number of Nepali Hindus. I enjoy talking with them about their respective religions, I don’t regard anything that they say as proselytising.

      I also find the idea of banning school nativity plays, bar mitzvah parties, eid celebrations, holi parties, wearing of crosses, yarmulkes, hijabs, turbans etc an appalling prospect, something that should only be expected in a totalitarian state such as Hitler’s, Stalin’s or Mao’s,

      The sort of thing we get on early Sunday morning TV drives me nuts, but so does Richard Dawkins.

      Incidentally some religions allow practitioners to be an atheist, e.g. Hinduism. All it means is that you don’t accept the existence of a Deity – it does not mean that you do not believe in leading a good and purposeful life and following the teachings of that religion. Apart from not accepting the existence of a Deity and on matters of ritual I regard myself as a good Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh …

      • 68 RightPaddock
        October 2, 2009 at 00:16

        I forgot to mention my Jewish friends, but they are cultural Jews, they never go to the synagogue and they certainly ignore the Sabbatical rules – they’re almost atheists, they call themselves humanists.

      November 10, 2009 at 17:54

      It’s a big deal if you are in Politics. I don’t want your Bible salesman making laws that effect me as a non believer, just as you don’t want me making rules for you Sarah.

  28. 70 patti in cape coral
    October 1, 2009 at 17:56

    I have to agree with Miriam and Tom in Mpls that although we are supposed to have separation of church and state here, it does not mean that religion is not a problem, and church and state are not as separate as they used to be. There is a lot more infiltration of christian fundamentalism in government.

    • 71 Patty
      November 10, 2009 at 07:37

      Hi Patti: Yea, I agree there’s more fundamentalism in government than should be. I wish polticians would stop it, but the public seems to lap it up. So they keep going with it, as it’s a “seller.” That’s how Bush Jr got elected. I’ve wondered, how do we get back to being a country with a separation of church and state. I don’t like seeing what I’m seeing. If the trend continues and all countries become religious states, wars will go on indefinitely. I hope I’m dead by then.

  29. 72 steve
    October 1, 2009 at 18:31

    @ Patti

    That’s not exactly true. We have people suing municipalities to remove christmas trees and nativity sets and people going nutes about the pledge of allegiance stating god, meanwhile these same people teach muslim prayers to kids as “diversity” education. Also muslim students are allowed prayer rooms in US public schools, which would never be allowed for other groups

    • 73 Tom K in Mpls
      October 1, 2009 at 20:14

      steve, in your reply to patti, the first sentence is wrong and the rest is correct. It is the inconsistency and conflicts that will always come up that make it essential to keep all religion out of government. If you claim equality and give preference to anyone, you contradict yourself. The rights of one ends when it conflicts with the rights of another. This is what draws the line.

    • 74 patti in cape coral
      October 1, 2009 at 20:34

      That’s true, but depending on where you live, all this suing isn’t working, and I definitely don’t see any Islamization (sp?) happening. If anything, I see a lot of christianity being pushed on people. Maybe I’m in the wrong state to be seeing this?

      I personally don’t have a problem with either of these religions, I just don’t think it’s a good idea for religion to be included in governmental power, I think it should be strictly secular.

  30. 75 Saut
    October 1, 2009 at 19:07

    @ Jennifer ‘On proselytizing’

    Frankly, I do not understand why some people get excited and agitated when God is mentioned. We are in the age of advertising, marketers are paying billions of dollars to convince us, the consumers, to buy the better car, toothpaste, jeans and vote for the better politician etc. What about ‘word of mouth’ endorsements : most of us are inundated with recommendations from relatives, friends and many others.
    As a smoker, I am often told by friends and acquaintainces that cigarettes are bad for me. So when I mentioned my God, Jehovah, in non-church settings, almost everyone goes ‘ballistic’. Hey! I am just making my recommendation on something that is good for their health and well-being. No different from recommending the experentially better mouth-wash or face-cream or fried noodles.

  31. 76 nora
    October 1, 2009 at 19:58

    If you can point to a mouthwash that has caused as many wars as religion, we should get together and take it off the market.

  32. 77 RightPaddock
    October 2, 2009 at 00:09

    @nora – cant think of any mouth washes, but a number of brain washes come to mind – Marxism, National Socialism, Fascism, Communism, Maoism, Cromwellian Puritanism; then there are the soul washes – but I suspect you already have those in mind yourself.

    And I can think of some noodle brands that we ought to ban:-)

    I thought Jehovah was the Jewish God, what’s he doing in church, shouldn’t he be in the synagogue.

    • 78 Maxine
      October 5, 2009 at 06:41

      RightPaddock; – Jehovah is the name that is given several times in the Bible to Jesus, hence we have the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is in all Christian Churches as well as the synagogue.

  33. 79 Kevin
    October 2, 2009 at 00:55

    The mere fact that one religious grouping claims special insight and understanding over another is contradictory to the very core of their respective beliefs. We would be amused by the ancients arguing over who was more powerful – Apollo or Zeus. Then imagine telling them that it’s neither – it’s our guy. Our problem is that we are very good at being right without really understanding what we think we are right about. In the midst of our ignorance, tolerance is our only salvation.

  34. 80 James Ian
    October 2, 2009 at 07:29

    I believe in and love God but I think any and all organized religions are, for the most part, self serving and evil.

  35. 81 Mansur Dawaki
    October 2, 2009 at 11:01

    The cries of religious intolerance in modern age to my understanding arose as a result of the current world view popularized by the irreligious and pseudo-religious west. A world view that ‘dietifies’ science, technology, economy and other temporal ideologies and sentiments. If we were to be at the golden age of Islam when it spread far and wide and asked those nations conquered by it, none probably would have complained of domination, in fact, they would have even said thank you for the liberation. It is not even surprising that these days, people view religion (not only Islam) as shackles that chains and bound individual freedom and liberty, and therefore need to be annihilated so that man can live as free as an animal; eating and mating as he so wishes.

  36. 82 Bristle
    October 2, 2009 at 13:24

    Religion has nothing to do with the worship of GOD. All religions are about one group of people who consider themselves elite (usually in fancy-dress to stress their self-importance) having POWER and CONTROL over those whom they consider to be their subordinates. and using their religious dogma to maintain and enforce their authority.

  37. 83 patti in cape coral
    October 2, 2009 at 13:34

    @ Mansur Dawaki – I don’t think that if a man were free of religion he would necessarily “live as free as an animal; eating and mating as he so wishes.” Most of the most morally upright people I know are atheists. Furthermore, I am going to say something that may be easier to admit in the anonymity of the internet. I think the reason I lean towards the belief in God is two-fold. For one, I think I believe because I want to believe. The other thing is that I’m afraid of death. I don’t want to cease existing. As difficult as life can be, the beautiful parts are really, really wonderful, and I don’t like thinking that one day it all ends. That is why although I think religion is man’s misguided attempt to get closer to God, I have trouble letting go of the idea that there is a God to get closer to.

    I have always admired atheists most of all, they don’t need to believe in a reward, or be afraid of punishment to behave as good, moral, kind, and upright human beings; however, I have heard some atheist belittle believers just as you just belittled nonbelievers. Everyone seems to want to belittle those who don’t agree with them, that is the most depressing thing about religion/atheism, etc.

    • 84 Tom K in Mpls
      November 4, 2009 at 18:25

      patti, i never read this before. Nice writing. What it comes down to is your view on the basic philosophical point of Socrates, he states that we are all ‘dust in the wind’. To some (you?) it is depressing, what we do doesn’t matter. To others, me, it is liberating, what we do doesn’t matter. In my view the phrase from Shakespeare explains it best, ‘to thine own self be true.’.

      • 85 patti in cape coral
        November 4, 2009 at 21:19

        `And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man’ Definitely words to live by.

  38. 86 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    October 2, 2009 at 19:23

    Hi Bennets.Religions will indeed destroy the humanity!

  39. 87 Mansur Dawaki
    October 3, 2009 at 00:22

    Patti, moral uprightness is not like philosophy to which everyone has a definition. Hardly can an atheist be morally upright, because the fundamental is missing; thats belief in God, Who sets the standard. He can however be humanly good, which does not entirely qualify him as morally upright. And to do good or avoid evil without hope or fear is like filling up a car’s tank and embarking on a journey without a destination – a resource waste.

    • 88 patti in cape coral
      October 5, 2009 at 13:05

      @ Mansur – I respectfully disagree, there are too many believers who do too much damage. People who do evil may be the ones that have something fundamental missing irrespective of their religion or lack of it.

      “And to do good or avoid evil without hope or fear is like filling up a car’s tank and embarking on a journey without a destination – a resource waste.”

      Who says atheists are doing good without hope or fear? They are hoping to do some good before they die, to help others, maybe to ease human suffering. They are simply not hoping for a reward, the good they do is enough reward. I guess that is the question. If it were proved that there is nothing beyond this life, that after this we just turn to dust, there is no hope of heaven or paradise, how many would still bother to be good? Atheists do it already. Of course, I’m not suggesting all atheists are paragons of virtue. There are good and bad, the same as any religion.

    • 89 Patty
      November 10, 2009 at 08:22

      Hmmm…….. a person can be morally upright and not have to believe in a god. Religion is not a requisite of anything. Religion is a choice made. Not everyone has to make that choice.

      No one has to live in fear. Fear is in that person’s own head. They create it themselves, then live it out, and usually draw others into it. There is no need for fear, it is a self-inflicted illusion. Fear foisted upon others creates wars, murders, suicide bombings, buildings crashed into by airplanes full of innocent people, etc. Fear is not good. And living in fear is a waste of a life. And life is precious, at least to most people who live on this planet. So I have to really disagree with your premise that one has to believe in a god. I don’t see a whole lot of good coming from some of these beliefs in gods, especially now a days.

  40. October 3, 2009 at 15:37

    I would like to see theology discussed and humility observed in both faiths and indeed in all religions since it is intellectually and spiritually tenable to assert that all have failed God so far.

  41. 91 viola
    October 3, 2009 at 19:06

    There are so many religions. The believers are convinced they, alone, know how to get to heaven because they are stuck in the belief that if what they believe is true, is actually true, then what others believe to be true can’t be true. Pretty nice worldview, believing you’re right and everyone else is wrong. Bear in mind that believing is not the same as knowing. We’re all free to believe anything we like except we are not free to believe that believing is the same as knowing, since that would be beyond belief. Ha!

    Even the non-believers who only accept religion through fear or ambition believe that the religion they follow for hypocritical reasons is better than the one others follow for equally hypocritical reasons.

    Follow the Dalai Lama’s advice. He makes better sense than all the rest put together. He always advocates peaceful coexistence. Even at a young age when his country was taken over by Communist China, he left his country to live in exile to preach and practice peace. Thank God?

    P.S. I’m not a Buddhist.

  42. 92 Jim Newman
    October 4, 2009 at 05:11

    Hello again
    Reading the comments that go before one thing stands out more than any other and that is the way people confound the Jewish religion with zionism. The Jewish religion preaches the love of god based on a mish mash of myths and historical falsehoods. Zionism is the hatred of everything based on a mish mash of myths and historical falsehoods.
    The Jewish religion involves only Jews by definition. Zionism is a political ideology that invites anyone of ill will.
    It is the zionists who do the damage not the Jews.

    • 93 Sharon
      November 11, 2009 at 10:35

      Jim – your view of zionism is totally void of knowledge. When the zionist State of Israel pronounced it’s independance, it openly stated it’s acceptance of all inhabitants, Muslim and otherwise, granting them equal rights. The State of Israel has been waiting for the Arab world’s acceptance since its inception. Israel would GLADLY give the Arabs the West Bank, if the Arabs would only leave them alone. The Arabs haven’t accepted any of Israel’s offers, till this day.

  43. 94 Gil
    October 5, 2009 at 05:17

    The two faiths can live side by side. What eventually happens is as people dialog they begin to learn each others differences and misunderstandings of one another. That’s not a bad thing. The bad thing arises when it becomes evident one or the other can not account for tenets of their faith to one who is not of their faith. It is unnerving and often a hostile response serves as a good guise for zeal for God.

    It’s a sore pont to learn of one’s inabilities and ignorance with respect to their own faith. It can fester to the point of extremes. Basicly, that inability and ignorance of faith to not have a worldview outside of one’s limited world is what results in some clashes of ideology and other more serious forms.

  44. 95 JanB
    October 5, 2009 at 12:47

    Religions can live side by side, only if superseded by a secular government, there’s this myth that theocracies, especially Islamic ones, respect the believes of all their citizens.
    This is plain BS: government sponsored discrimination exists within every theocracy just as it did in medieval Spain and the Ottoman Empire (for example: Iranian law states that judges have to be Muslims, the President must be a Shiite Muslim, there is a lesser sentence on killing a Jew or Christian than there is on killing a Muslim and if your passport says you’re a “Ba’hai” you will be barred from higher education, do note that they do not ask you what you believe in, they’ll just assume you have the same faith as your parents.)

    • 96 Patty
      November 10, 2009 at 08:34

      Well, there we are, more on how religions don’t “help” humanity, but indeed, help “destroy” it. I didn’t know about the Iranian law. Prejuidices run deep, and by the looks of it, forever. I honestly don’t know how these religions will turn out in the future. Will our World War III be over religions? It’s beginning to look that way…………..

      Anybody watch Star Trek, StarGate SG1, StarGate Atlantis? Here’s the thing. If we don’t stop the religion issues and wars over religions, we’ll never progress as a people, as the human race. We’ll kill each other off. We won’t get to go to the stars and see other galaxies, other planets, discover life elsewhere in our Universe. It’s shame, life shouldn’t be wasted on fighting over religion.

  45. 97 rr
    October 6, 2009 at 05:01

    We all talk about fundamentalism, fundamentalist Islam… Oxford Dictionary defines “fundamental” as “a central or primary rule or principle.” So a History student will tell you that the fundamentals of History is the identification of time periods and sources related to it and so on.

    Hence, the fundamentals of Islam can be said to be testifying that there is no God but Allah, praying five times a day, giving charity (zakath), fasting during the month of the Ramadan and visiting Mecca for Hajj.

    So, if a Muslim follows this as the fundamentals of his/her faith, then s/he (logically) is a fundamentalist of Islam. Let me ask you what is so bad about that?

  46. 98 Ronald Almeida
    November 4, 2009 at 18:14

    Some of the best comments have come out of this subject. Goes to show how strongly people feel about religion even if they don’t believe in it. It also goes to show how emotional people get about it. Most 0f all, it also exibits how little most have really thought about it themselves.

  47. 99 Tom K in Mpls
    November 4, 2009 at 18:36

    Leaving the question of the existence of any god out of this, religion is *the* global superpower. It cannot be ignored. All through history it has been the single biggest stated reason for killing. The same is true today. This is why it is so important to remove it from government. People need to be free to believe as they wish. It is wrong to have religion available as a tool to control military forces.

    It is not my stance on religion that fuels my enthusiasm on this subject. It is my desire to ensure freedoms of every type for myself and everyone else. When any discrimination, on any point or subject is allowed, it will grow as it can to any area of our lives that it wants.

  48. November 4, 2009 at 20:06

    Salaam guys,
    I am a 23 years old Iraqi woman who proudly practices Islam, and my best girlfriend at college Maryam is a devout Christian, she’s more like a sister to me… In my opinion different faiths and cultures can co-exist together and live side by side peaceful only when there’s mutual respect and understanding, and how can we achieve that ?! There’s this famous saying by Imam Ali “People are two categories, either your brothers in religion, or your equivalents in humanity”… If we all can focus upon the fact that ALL human beings are equal to each other regardless of their faiths and cultures, if we all can just eliminate the “superiority complex” and stop judging each other, then the state of mutual respect and understanding can be reached within no time… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 101 Sharon
      November 11, 2009 at 10:41

      Lubna, I think women have more of an openness and tolerant view of each other, and it should be women leading the world towards mutual respect and tolerance.

  49. 102 paul8222
    November 4, 2009 at 23:11

    If there are more like Lubna in Iraq in significant numbers then I give the place a fighting chance!

    Predictably from the preceding posts(Lubna’s among others excluded) this is a media timebomb.

    I suspect that much like Ulster very often it is people’s politics hiding behind religion which cause mischief.

    Did George W see himself as a 21st century Texan bible belt crusader against fundamentalist Islam? Certainly his foreign policy has produced a rift between Islam & Christendom.

    I suspect it is wiser to limit comment since we haven’t even been given a whiff of what the programme is about.

  50. 103 Ronald Almeida
    November 5, 2009 at 08:44

    Religion is a vehicle of culture and it is the differences in culture besides our beliefs that makes co-existence difficult. Food, clothing, way of life etc.

    On the other hand if we were all alike how boring and bourgeios the world would be. So we must find a balance between the two and respect each other.

    I think people are also different in their basic attitude. There are people who preffer the opposite, i.e. people who are different.(Like opposite poles of a magnet) While there are those who only care for their own. I personally believe the former are more progressive, because they see the faults in their own.

    In the end none is better than the other, only different.

  51. 104 Ibrahim in UK
    November 5, 2009 at 11:59

    Some people have a different perspective on this “clash of civilisations”. Some see it as a clash between capitalism and anti-capitalists. Most wars are not about religion, they are about money and power. Governments will gladly make allies of (and even install) ruthless dictators of any religion if they can benefit from them. Capitalists by default want more for themselves even if it means taking from others. Today the capitalists want lots of oil and gas which exists largely in the under-defended lands of Muslim populations. That is where this clash originates from.
    In your opening segment you write “The followers of the Mahdi in 19th century Sudan, for example, marched towards British machine guns oblivious of certain death”.
    The British machine guns were there for empire purposes, not for religious/democratic/civilisation purposes. Would we be talking about a clash of civilisations if the people surrendered to foreign occupation and interference, or is it only considered a “clash” when people fight back and commit counter-atrocities?

    • 105 Tom K in Mpls
      November 5, 2009 at 18:23

      While I agree that most wars are about power, the most common ‘stated’ reason is religion. It is a very powerful tool for manipulation. Non believers in power use it just as quickly as those that believe. It also was important to the British when they occupied India. Not to promote the Anglican Church, but because some local religions were more prone to violent resistance.

      Also, you confuse capitalist with pirates. Some capitalist are pirates and all pirates are capitalists. A true capitalist believes the only way a society can grow is if it’s economy is stable *and* adaptable. It requires growth and not monopolies. Even when someone goes for extravagant personal spending, they are creating jobs.

  52. 106 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 15:18

    The current conflicts are not part of a war between Islam and Christianity, it’s a war between liberal democracies and a very conservative Islam. Though I don’t deny the Islamic extremists with their lack of education may think we’re all missionary Christians and there are some conflicts in Africa which are really conflicts between Christianity and Islam.

    As the author of this thread points out Islam has always been hugely unstable and has even brought chaos, perpetual war and tribalism to countries that were highly ordered before.
    I think that what we are experiencing now are some of the last convulsions of a dying ideology: Islam will either undergo a huge modernist reform or die out over the next couple of centuries after their oil runs out and they get crushed between the more modern societies of Russia, China, India and the West, all of whom are historic enemies of Islam.

  53. 107 Tom K in Mpls
    November 5, 2009 at 19:46

    I believe there is another point that everyone needs to remember and consider. Even in the currently perceived most violent faith, the Muslim faith, the violent individuals are a minority. It is also true that violent individuals in all faiths have and do receive tacit support from a sizable percentage of others of their faith.

    Some like to point out that currently violent christians and jews are rare. As for the christians, they currently in general have a cushy life and are well entrenched in the governments of the expanding world powers. As for jews, they are Israel. They are pushing their growth using a formal military and the legal system of their government.

  54. 109 Ronald Almeida
    November 6, 2009 at 15:58

    On second thoughts I tend to agree with Ibrahim in UK, that this conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with religion or the clash of civilizations. All it has to do with is capitalistic greed. It seems to me that it is only the Islamic countries that have the guts to stand up to it. While most others are busy licking the boots of the uncouth west hoping to get some of the leftovers. The west through the ages has only consolidated itself by exploiting the rest of the world in the past and continue doing so.

  55. 110 Mike
    November 6, 2009 at 17:47

    Does anyone remember why the US & UK are in Afganistan?
    Where are the weapons of mass desstruction of Saddam?
    I think the US, who consider themselves to be World Police and Freedom givers need a a dark and shadowy enemy. Once they had communisim, now they have Al-Queada. I think they “need” each other to keep their people socially organised, focused on the threat.

  56. 111 karenJohnson
    November 6, 2009 at 20:21

    islam is a religion that teaches hate thier motto is death. to kill to kill to kill
    the man the called a phohet taught them to kill anyone who is not a moslem
    infidels. it,s the only religion in the world that i know of that has only one phophet

  57. 113 Dawit Yehualashet
    November 7, 2009 at 01:08

    There have been quite many instances in which Muslims and Christians have coexisted peacefully for centuries. One may take the example of Ethiopia where you have the two religious communities flourishing side by side since the days of Islam itself. You may also look into the Southern Spain where the Caliphate of Cordoba subsisted for so long. If we look into the history of interactions between the two communities, it is also characterised by remarkable periods of cooperation and coexistence. True, there have been many conflicts between two parties, but history books and our imaginations seem to be filled with periods of violence than peace. The current tension is between extreme voices between the two sides, and should not be characterised as a clash of civilization. I would highly recommend a book by Zachary Karabell titled, Peace Be upon You: the story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish coexistence. It is quite an informative book and timely and I would hope that Karabell is on your list of panellist.

  58. 114 Chris S
    November 7, 2009 at 06:01

    History proves that time and time again religion, all religions, have done nothing but cause strife, brought the destruction of countless civilizations and hindered the progress of humanity as a whole for thousands of years. We will continue to face this senseless scourge on mankind until it is purged from our psyche or wrenched from the control of infantile lunatics and their followers.

  59. 115 K ksm
    November 7, 2009 at 08:55

    no one exploits the other person. it is just that people allow themselves to be exploited and not fight back. We have heard of the silent majority in most parts of the world. if this majority stop being “silent” and take arms against the unjust ruling elite, whichever part of the world, then there won’t be any exploitation of any sort. but fight back you must for righteous reasons and NOT for extremists inclinations , jealousy or greed.

  60. November 7, 2009 at 12:15

    if people understand the freedom of speech,then crusades by both these two faiths can go along side by side.if we can respect politicians during campeigns,then crusaders can be given their time.

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  61. 117 Ronald Almeida
    November 7, 2009 at 16:56

    Dollars, Pounds and Euros is the only religion the west believes in. While those in Islamic countries in their ignorance really still believe in their culture and religion.

  62. 118 M.S
    November 7, 2009 at 16:59

    it is like white and black.. it can never be side by side.. while one ridiculing the other.. and competing for.. islamic world hasn’t even started its evolution yet.. rather than confronting the questions, the trend is so called modernization, but avoiding human factor.. and anything related.. ladies.. man..

  63. 119 Bob
    November 8, 2009 at 05:20

    It is fairly easy for individuals of different faiths to get along, very difficult to co-operate on a corporate level which is where Islam and Christianity have gotten to. Peace will start from the bottom, individual and rise, it will never start at the top and sink.

  64. 120 Glen Hards
    November 8, 2009 at 12:45

    Christianity, Islam; and Judaism; are the axis of evil; especially when it is state sponsered. Logic and reason, plus historical reality; have shown us just how evil these “the one true religion” concepts can be; and how destructive to human progress they are. No! They will never co-exist, or compliment each other. History has taught us that eventually, inevitably; these religions will destroy each other; as they are doing today. They make up a three headed dragon, and it will eventually devour itself; and anyone trying to tame it.

    Glen Hards, Wodens-folk soothsayer.

    • 121 Ronald Almeida
      November 10, 2009 at 16:49

      If like me you lived in India you might see a very different view. Majority always has more power, and power corrupts. No wonder every democratic and majority ruled govt. is corrupt.

  65. 122 Nabil
    November 8, 2009 at 13:51

    this is our world, we are responsible to make it a peacful planet. I libe here in England in homestay with English family and I’m Muslaim from the Middle East. I have been here for almost two years. The family and I respect each other’s faith. We try always to look for common things between the two faithes and leave the rest or not to discuss it or talk about it. I have just couples of questions:
    1- why we try to blame ourselves for mistakes done beforeby musliams or christines?
    2-why we do not distinguish sometimes between policy and religion?

    for example, Iraq war or Afghanistan war were a political war not a religous but the politations tried to make it a religous one to have more support. We should be careful when we deal with this topic RELIGON and POLICY.

  66. November 8, 2009 at 18:41

    Despite its name, as far as India is concerned, islam has been extremely BLOODY !!

    Any speaker who says, he is the true prophet and that there is only one god, is a true terrorist .

    So does any one who says that all of us are born sinners with ‘original’ sin, and we must take ‘refuge’ in a particular belief to be ‘delivered’.

    As long as some believe that yahweh promised them a ‘land’ which was theirs, as long as some others believe that , god sent his ‘son’ to redeem humanity, and others consider the aqsa mosque holy; so long as these ‘true believers’ remain dominant in the world, there will be no peace on earth !!!

    The lower case in all cases is deliberate

    Believe in this :

    And that inverted bowl we call the sky,
    Where under crawling coopt we live and die’
    Lift not thy hands to it for help,
    As it rolls on impotently, as thou or I.

    Credit due to the nonpareil Omar Khayyam

  67. 125 Daemon_ZOGG
    November 8, 2009 at 21:06

    I respect in all faiths.
    It’s blasphemy to all faiths, when the extremism of one faith seeks to destroy another. Respect one another, unconditionally, and you shall be welcomed by the god of your faith..

    – Peace 😉

  68. 126 Miles
    November 8, 2009 at 23:13

    “You are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind: You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator.” — Osama Bin Laden in “Letter to America”, 2002

    Interesting that the issue at hand is almost our lack of religion rather than religion itself. Also, the 2001 attacks were, according to Al-Quaeda, prompted by our meddling in the Middle East:

    “For more than seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples” — A 1998 fatwah from Bin Laden

    And how did we respond to the attacks? More meddling! I think that Al-Queada and other “radical”, militant Islam organizations have only developed an Anti-Christian rhetoric as an emotional call to arms, much like our own nation’s usage of the term “terrorist”. It simplifies, and is broadly applicable. Perhaps by destroying the head of Al-Queada, the “rational” side that saw its objectives and planned its moves leading up to 9/11, we’ve unleashed something far more savage; a movement of jihadists motivated purely by the rhetoric and not by the rationale.

  69. 127 PeterD
    November 8, 2009 at 23:37

    All wars are political in nature. The major religions have developed very strong political structures that also divide or consolidate people across national political boundaries. In the end it comes down to territory, power and money for the rulers who win. Nobody is “right” that’s for sure.
    I don’t have a global solution and I doubt if one exists, so we can only work step by step until someone gets a better idea.

  70. 128 Eric
    November 9, 2009 at 04:28

    I am begining to believe the problem is memory, what we remember. Muslims can use the crusades to justifiy what they do today. A grudge has no ‘end use date”. Only when people forget the past will they stop leaning on the past to legitimise what they do today. Does religion require people to seek vengence? The act of revenge only passes the baton of violence on, I can now feel angry and seek my revenge for the revenge to extracted.

    If everyone were to lose there memory, they’d have no reason to seek revenge and if that were the case they would forget religion too. A good thing for all.

  71. 129 Vivia de Mesquita
    November 9, 2009 at 11:26

    my name is de Mesquita which means from the mosque as my family came from Cordoba am a sephardi jewand all my forbears have Spanish names

  72. 131 Marzouq Zyoud
    November 9, 2009 at 13:04

    Hi All,

    There is a serious misunderstanding of Islam in general and Jihad in particular. I would invite anyone who wants to know about Islam not to count on press information or websites, so please read about Islam from the trusted resources including the Quran, and kindly know that you can’t be Muslim if you don’t believe in All of prophets (Mohammad, Jesus, Moses, David, Ibrahim ….).

    All the respect,

  73. 132 Maccus Germanis
    November 9, 2009 at 15:00

    Can master and slave co-exist?
    Islamic tradition has many rules for the subjugation of Christians, Jews, and Zoastrians, so that they may “co-exist.”

  74. 133 Eletta
    November 9, 2009 at 16:25

    I just hope your broadcast will not cause another religious riot in Northern Nigeria. When you talk about leaving together in peace the only thing that comes to my mind is the case of Land mines that causes more harms after the war than during the war. The issue of religious difference has become so fundamental that it is part of the way we look and identify ourselves.

  75. 134 Michel Norman
    November 9, 2009 at 20:18

    A bit of historical perspective here please – Mention of the “golden age” of Jews under Moslem rule is more properly discribed as things were less bad under the moslems at some stages of history than under the inquisition- its a but like saying a week in Pentonville prison in the 1840’s was better than a week in Belsen in the 1940’s. By 1939 33% of German Jews had left Germany after 6 years of Hitler’s antisemetic rule. 2/3 Believed that things would get better. By comparison – in 1948 99% of the Jews fled the Arab lands, none of them beleived that things could possibly even be good. Moslem tolerance of minorities is sadly a fiction.

  76. 135 paul andor
    November 9, 2009 at 22:12

    Like some people of same mind like always say: Leave religion for the qualified priest and leave politics for the qualified politician.

    I thank God that I am a follower of Jesus, hence I dont belong to any religion. The Lord did not establish any religion. Rether he came and gave himself for us. That is all

    • 136 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:01

      By definition, by religiously recognizing Jesus of Nazareth you are christian ( he is The Christ ) or jewish ( Jesus is a great prophet ). I appreciate and respect those that separate themselves from ‘formal’ religions. There are options in interpretations of all groups.

  77. 137 paul andor
    November 9, 2009 at 22:16

    Jesus did not establish any religion. What is religion about a son of God who gave his life for the world to reconcial man to God.

  78. November 10, 2009 at 10:58

    Believing in imaginary beings isn’t the problem, in my opinion… dictators are the problem.

  79. 139 Nigel
    November 10, 2009 at 12:09

    Many wars have been fought in the name of religion but at the end of the day they all had to do with power, territory and wealth. The fundamentals today are no different. Where I live the population is divided 45% Christian, 23% Hindu, 10% Muslim, 5% Indigeneous Belief, and the rest of the people of no faith or other faiths. In the main we live well together but with the coming of the US fundamentalist Christian missionaries we are begining to see a line being drawn between the religions (both social and religious) as the fundamentalist Christians pursue their financial targets and build their churches based on hate for the “Heathens” and an almost robot-like conditioned belief that they must be “save” them by conversion.

  80. 140 scmehta
    November 10, 2009 at 13:25

    Peaceful co-existence of different faiths is becoming more and more difficult, may be because, our anthropogenic development/advancement is flawed; we’re increasingly becoming less and less tolerant towards each other, especially in matters of our beliefs and faiths. Although we may not like to admit, yet the fact is that we are fast losing faith in the divine power or the almighty God; every sect of any society or religion wants to have a god of its own, suiting its own convenience, interpretation and manipulation. Therefore, the evil and exploitative forces have now become all the more united, and domineering in its inhuman conduct, to dominate the civilized world; If we’re to defeat such forces, then we better get united and fight for the common cause of making our world more peaceful and humane, by freeing it of terror and extremism, and not delve and lament on the past, bad and sad events of history.

  81. November 10, 2009 at 14:01

    The entire history of Judaism, Christianity and the later invention of Islam is steeped in violence, murder, oppression, war and worse. One must, however, take into account that all historical recordings and anthropological evidence clearly shows that human beings have been a warring and blood thirsty species from the very beginning. Although most of the world only ever thinks of those three religions when discussing such evils, they forget how many of us who are from traditions far older are, to this very day, the victims of violence, hatred and murder at the hands of both Muslims and Christians. My family are Domari Egyptian, often associated with Rom (Gypsies) and suffer greatly. Hindus are under constant assault in their homeland by Muslims, and a great friend of mine had to flee Bangladesh with his family because of constant death threats for being Buddhist. People might have themselves convinced that their wars are religiously based, but ultimately it is nothing more than satisfying one of the basest and oldest of human instincts.

  82. November 10, 2009 at 14:26

    Hi Mr. Owen Bennett Jones
    TEHRAN –All religion is geared to domination. Salaheddin happened to be a general. Religion degenerates into power struggles.
    Required: A good repertoire of Latin liturgy or Arabic or Hebrew, spiced with a dozen saints or martyrs for effect.
    That’s until someone bigger comes along, as, in our case, the Guards Corps – and protesters trample on Seyd Ali’s posters. .

  83. 143 sascha
    November 10, 2009 at 14:40

    All religion lacks a clear clarification of what the term God or Gods is, so without a sensible definition theism is incoherent, at the very best.
    It is best to embrace the truth as it really is rather than to persevere in deception, however pleasing and assuring it seems to be.

  84. 144 sascha
    November 10, 2009 at 14:41

    Firstly, religion lacks a clear clarification of what the term God or Gods is, so without a sensible definition theism is incoherent, at the very best. It is best to embrace the truth as it really is rather than to persevere in deception, however pleasing and assuring it seems to be.

  85. 145 gary
    November 10, 2009 at 14:48

    It is not that Islam and Christianity cannot coexist, elements within each decide every day to make coexistence impossible, and every day’s efforts are met with success. Past sins by each serve as examples of acceptable behavior for both. Their equality under God is fact; but each views this fact as myth.

  86. November 10, 2009 at 15:26

    Can the cross and the crescent co-exist?
    Although at their core, Christianity and Islam are religions (routes to God and to a good life) there is a lot more to religion (generally) than its Scripture and rituals – religions have generally created a strong sense of community among their adherents. So when laws or policies are initiated, adherents react to it as a community of affected persons rather than as adherents.
    So when the cross clashes with the crescent it has a lot to do with the communities’ drive for self preservation and perpetuation. It is a natural human instinct to try to confront challenges as a group rather than alone.
    They will continue to co-exist, co-struggle, co-fight and co-peace…:D

  87. 147 Roy, Washington DC
    November 10, 2009 at 15:37

    Religions being “convinced of each others’ certain path to hell” (to quote Mark’s post) highlights one of the weaknesses of organized religion. It’s not an inherently bad thing to be religious, but when it starts to make you intolerant of others’ beliefs, that’s when there is a problem. History is full of examples of this, so I won’t go into too much more detail in this post.

  88. 148 Maccus Germanis
    November 10, 2009 at 15:42

    Does Mark Sandell actually expect newspapers to report on events of 1565?

  89. 149 viola
    November 10, 2009 at 15:53

    Religious freedom as practiced in the U.S., Canada, and like countries does not mean that people who practice a specific religion can do anything they like because it is part of their religion. It means only that governments are forbidden to endorse or make any one religion the official religion of the country or to favor one religion over others.

    Both Catholicism and Islam prefer to be the official religion as it gives them great power.

  90. 150 Gary Paudler
    November 10, 2009 at 16:09

    Education-Resources-Politics: Politics and government are primarily about exploiting resources; material, financial, biological and human. Politicians who are concerned with wealth and power do not benefit from an educated population. An ignorant population seems always to seek refuge in religion and cynical governments exploit that nexus. Enlightened governments, the Scandinavians come to mind, stress equality (demonized in the U.S. as “socialism”) rather than concentrating wealth among a few at the expense of the many. Owen Bennet Jones’s piece reminds us, depressingly, how far we have not come; we still confront ignorance and violence with ignorance and violence.

  91. 151 George Williams Bangirana
    November 10, 2009 at 16:16

    There are two worlds; The Ideal and the Real.
    In an ideal world, all faiths and religions can co-exist peacefully. In Reality, they will always be suspicious of others. All Religions preach tolerance and peaceful co existence _ @least to the best of my knowledge- , All religions seem to love peace and hold it dear.
    Paradox is; Why then do they go for each other’s throat over flimsy issues?
    Its just human nature. If two people can find it hard o live peacefully with each other, how would anyone expect ideologies to look at each other peacefully?

    Indeed, I find Owen’s intro a bit skewed. I do not think it is totally neutral….
    In Uganda, the biggest fights are one sect of islam against another and pentecostal christians against the traditional faiths, but not between islam and christianity.

    Ideally, it requires everyone to respect diversity of all so long as it also accepts your own diversity.

    My Pound’s worth

    November 10, 2009 at 16:19

    The whole confusion created by the mainreligon rests on THEOLOGY & RELIGION or RELIGIOUSITY or RITUALISM. To me these are two different entities. One is a branch of human philosophy while the other deals with the behaviour of worshipers or constitutions of sectarian beliefs. Currently our pains comes from prejudiced subsets that think that they are the whole or part of it.
    Religion in most cases recruits adherents as slaves who are not allowed to own their mind. I do not at the moment feel comfortable with these too religions. I have no clash with theology.
    I cannot at the moment reclaim my African religions which promoted coexistence with the natural world since Africa is already out of touch with its religious past. All in all, I do not feel that any deficiency for not afilliating with any religious movements. The principals behind God and creation are universals. All of us are born with a trailing cloud of immoratlity. This is what i want to see in people and nature.

    • 153 patti in cape coral
      November 10, 2009 at 18:24

      @ Arthur – “All of us are born with a trailing cloud of immoratlity.”

      What a beautiful phrase, definitely evokes an image in my head.

      • 154 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
        November 11, 2009 at 08:42

        @ Patti,

        Thanks. I have as well admired your world view which has given me lots of insights into day to day things in such a beautiful way. You are one of the oldies in this blog and I make sure not to miss your notes.

        Yes we are perishable in the end, so are trees, so are the animals and elements that sustain us but you cannot ignore our immortality through constant renewal through conception and florishing generation after generation. I appriciate and love to be part of this endless chain. It goes down and then up; you would still be right if you say left and right and the other way round. Why limit yourself?

    • 155 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:09

      You may be interested to know that there are still strong groups of Native Americans that are holding on to their old religions. In an absurdly broad statement, it has been found to not conflict with Christianity and focuses on mans interactions with aspects of nature.

  93. 156 Elias
    November 10, 2009 at 16:37

    While the Catholic Church has its own agenda and has its own standards as to what is right and what is wrong, it does not mean their teachings are always right,
    The Crescent which represents muslim followers of the Koran and its teachings. The Koran states that all infidels should be killed. In which case how could it be possible for those followers of the cross be able to trust muslims who are followers of the Crescent?.

  94. 157 Keith M. Jordan
    November 10, 2009 at 16:41

    You only need to look at the basic tenet of every religion to determine the answer to your question on whether Christianity and Islam can co-exist. This tenet is the following: There is only one truth and one way to find truth and that is by following the teachings of my religion.
    No matter how much these religions try to accomodate other beliefs, they still believe that they are fundamentally correct and others are fatally flawed. The more fanatical believers of each religion will always use this fact to justify persecuting those of other faiths or those who are non-believers. So in the long run, you will always have conflict between religions because they each believe that they hold the one and only correct view.

  95. 158 Elias
    November 10, 2009 at 16:41

    Muslims follow the teachings of the Koran which states that all infidels should be killed, so that there is little hope for the followers of the cross to trust followers of the Crescent.

  96. November 10, 2009 at 16:43

    Satan is the great liar and confuser. He wants to lead mankind away from the truth. The truth is contained in GOD’S only Holy book, The Bible. JESUS’ life was prophesied by more than 300 writings in the Old Testament and he perfectly fulfilled them all. JESUS said: “I am the TRUTH, the WAY and the LIFE,” John 14:6. He also said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise,” Mark 13:22. Beware of being led by religions. It is not about religions, denominations or institutions. It is about our personal relationship with JESUS the CHRIST, for HE also said, “none come to GOD save through me,”
    John 14:6. JESUS also commanded us to “love each other.”

    • 160 Ronald Almeida
      November 10, 2009 at 17:14

      Can the cross and the crescent coexist? Of course, if all the insane comments on ‘World have your say’ and those who post them can.

  97. 161 Denise in Chicago
    November 10, 2009 at 16:52

    Despite what some Muslims may say, I don’t believe they really wish to co-exist with those of other faiths. They expect everyone else to make efforts to understand them, but don’t expect the same of themselves. When I hear of mass killings by a Muslim, I’m saddened but not surprised.

  98. 162 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 16:54

    24 people blown up in pakistan due to religion. Care to inform people in the muslim world, that like the bible, the koran is a work of fiction?

    • 163 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:16

      It has been proven that the Bile is a combination of documented historical fact and fiction meant to pass on messages of morality. The debate is on which parts of most of the Bible is fiction. Then there is the question of the meaning of passages written in other languages, translated into archaic English and read by modern man.

      But archeology has scientifically proven that it is not pure fiction.

  99. 164 Linda from Italy
    November 10, 2009 at 17:02

    I’ve just listened to OBJ’s first programme and I think we are in for an interesting ramble through various interpretations of history, as that is all we can do with history, rather like “holy books”, i.e. you read into it what you want to. Interesting point about the wackier “Christian” sects, mainly started in the US, is that they cleverly eschew lots of what Jesus is supposed to have said about things like “love thy enemy” and rich men and eyes of needles, not to mention the very LITTLE he said about sexual taboos, so they go back to the Old Testament for all their fire, brimstone and smiting and to justify their fondness for violence and oppression.
    Religion is a construct of society, just like other ideologies which don’t necessary have a god figure, up to a point they are a way of making sense of human existence, but also give us all an excuse to vent that most unpleasant of human characteristics – prejudice and hatred of what is different.
    The resurgence of intolerant religiosity we have witnessed over the last 3 decades worries me as it is indeed creating this myth that people can’t coexist with different sets of beliefs, no matter how silly some of us may consider them – must be symptom of a sick society.

  100. 165 Linda from Italy
    November 10, 2009 at 17:17

    P.S. I’m a “plague on all your houses” sort of person. Having had a pop at certain branches of Christianity, it also never ceases to amaze me how, whenever certain Muslim individuals perpetrate atrocities in the name of their god figure and their own interpretation of their heap of dogma, there is no protest, no holy war declared against those people by the supposedly “moderate”, civilised people who share the basis tenets of the same faith. All we ever get is something like “REAL” Islam preaches love and peace etc., and a sort of aggrieved reaction with the implication that non-Muslims are a) too stupid/ignorant to understand, or b) we are wilfully indulging our own prejudices.

  101. 166 Colin Sundaram
    November 10, 2009 at 17:20

    10. 11. 09

    I think Islam is going through a transition period and I believe Christianity had gone through a phase like the one Islam is swimming through now a couple of hundred years ago. The dark ages of Christianity was something similar to what Islam is passing through. Human beings do not like to change much until forced to accept changes. But changes happen. Another point I would like to point out here is that Christianity has become too liberal in its outlook of day to day life of human beings whereas Islam is some six hundred years behind in its views on human living. Christianity had given paramount importance to knowledge based education and it paid off well in liberating the mindset of the majority of Christians to accept the world with liberal views. On the other hand countries where Muslims were in majority the ruling elite wanted to keep them in darkness under the cover of the false religious restrictions to cling on to power. In Muslim majority countries politics is religion based and the religious texts/edicts are used to keep people under a kind of iron curtain like the one existed in erstwhile Communist Block.

    The advent of internet based communication will help people to know what is happening across the world and the kind of backwardness existing in the Muslim world etc. Once change starts to embrace Muslims the results of it will be much faster than the change that slowly changed Christianity over longer period of time.

    • 167 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:23

      An interesting thought on the change. But like others, you are asking fundamentalists to state that their beliefs are wrong because the world has changed, so god must.

    • 168 Colin Sundaram
      November 11, 2009 at 17:22

      11. 11. 09

      Indeed Tom. If you jog your mind back through the million stages of transformation of human life has passed through since genesis you would agree that God has to change. The Rulers of the yester – the Kings – were accepted as God’s human form and people used to believe that he/she was a God in human looks. Even today the Thai people consider their revered King as man-God.

      Bible says Sun is orbitting around the Earth and Copernicus and Galileo found it the other way round and what was the reaction of the Clergy then. And fortunately the Chistian religious elite skip such subjects these days from their sermon whereas the Muslim clergy still make their followers believe that the Universe was created by the God the way it is said in Koran. How many offspring Adam and Eve had? Two boys only. Does it make sense. Wherever and whenever change need to be accepted one has to do it wisely in my opinion.

  102. 169 Shannon in Ohio
    November 10, 2009 at 17:25

    Some (not all) Fundamentalist Christians here in the U.S. are quick to talk about Muslim suicide bombers, jihad etc., but remain strangely silent about radical evangelicals who murder doctors who preform abortions, or bomb women’s clinics. A “red blooded American Christian” blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City–including a day care center full of babies.

    Terrorism is just that–terrorism. It is carried out by radicals who twist their own faith until it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the actual teachings of Mohamed or Jesus etc. It is up to the rest of us, whether we are religious or not, to keep talking to each other–and keep trying to reinforce the fact that most people in the world wish to live peaceful dignified lives. I stubbornly (and perhaps naively) persist in believing that respectful dialogue will ultimately trump the fanatics.

    November 10, 2009 at 17:31

    I am no fan of Evangelical Christians, but I have to say this much for there churches some of them are evolving as time goes on, Women have a large role to play and they are mostly adapting to the modern world and the things that are important to their followers today. No more torture or stoning has taken place in at least a year. The only worrying trend is there involvement in politics and their constant interfering in government policies that we have seen over the last few years.
    Keep it for Sunday!

    On the other hand Islam as you say is a 9th century religion and is best suited to that time. It seems to be very rigid believe system with no room to adapt to the world of today. Just look at their lands and the way they are governed. Never mind death sentences for cartoonist who quite innocently draws an image of their profit. Separation of Church and State is a must!
    Keep it for Friday!

  104. 171 Richard in Mpls
    November 10, 2009 at 17:35

    Archaeological evidence and written documentation, while difficult to interpret and with a margin of error measured in centuries, suggest that the present conflict isn’t specifically between Christianity and Islam. The region and the two principal parties have been in conflict for about 4,000 years. Events of the last 4 decades appear as an extrapolation of the previous 4 centuries. It seems fundamentally that all the inhabitants of the southeastern end of the Mediterranean Sea vehemently believe that the land belongs to them.

    A solution? Obtain a multi-generational agreement that they all have a right to exist in the space, declare permanent physical boundaries and enforce them.

    Is this feasible? Questionable.

    An alternate solution, perhaps believed and promoted by some in the region, is mutual assured destruction, or the Armageddon prophecy. In this context, the ongoing conflict appears to be a Nash equillibrium, with both sides attempting to avoid total annihilation.

    Given the duration and intensity of the conflict over all this time, the notion that by an understanding of the past, one can predict the future would suggest that there is no solution on the immediate horizon.

    • 172 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:26

      It is not just ownership. It is what is to be done with the sites. Some wish to tear down sacred structures to rebuild others.

  105. 173 Bert
    November 10, 2009 at 17:36

    It’s not crescent vs. cross. It is medieval superstiions vs modernity. Can these two coexist?

    If the religious fanatic is a fundamentalist Christian, potentially coexistence is possible. Because the funadamentalist Christian is NOT commanded to kill anyone. Quite the contrary. So aside from the annoyance of having to listen to memorized, formulaic phrases, everyone else can live his own life.

    Obviously, those who feel the need to kill those that don’t agree with them will always be a scourge on humanity. It doesn’t matter what ideology drives them to this belief. There is a basic and irreconcilable incompatibility if physical annihilation of the disagreeing party is the mandate.

  106. November 10, 2009 at 17:37

    Religion and tolerance go hand in hand. We just have to look at examples of dynamic societies where Inter-racial harmony, relgious tolerance and world understaning are intertwined; so very important in this globalized world of ours. Yet religious bigots use religion for their own purposes especially for their own personal advacement. Many multiracial and multireligious communities have coexisted in harmony. Singapore is exemplary, a dynamic city state where multiracial and multireligious communities work and live side by side. Born just 16km from Singapore, actually in Malaysia, I was able to observe the wonderful tapestry of cultures and religion for the first 20 years of my life. Tolerance and understanding cemented this wonderful fabric of social harmony between the races. Muslims, Christians and Hindus living and working side by side. If this is possible there, the israelis and Palestinians could learn and follow the example of singapore and Malaysia. Now living permanently in Europe, I feel so sorry that israelis and palestinians are not able to bury the hatchet. Christianity and islam are two great religions. Only mutual respect and pragmatic wisdom could break the log-jam in the Palestinian territories..

    • 175 Esther from Israel
      November 11, 2009 at 11:15

      Pancha – very interesting to read about the co-existence you experienced in Malaysia. Since you mention Israelis and Palestinians, I can tell you that Israel is waiting for the day that the Arabs will accept the State of Israel as part of the community of the world. It is the Israelis who have made offers of territories that the Arabs will not accept. Israel has become cynical over the years – whenever it makes offers, the Arabs refuse, and Israelis feel they can’t trust the Arabs anymore. It is all very sad. I wish I could believe in co-existence in Israel, but I don’t think it will work. Looking at the Palestinian education system and text books, one sees how they teach to hate Israeli Jews.

  107. November 10, 2009 at 17:41

    Though all religions are different paths that lead to GOD(for believers),looking at the History of Cross and Crescent ,right now it seems it might not be possible for them to coexist,however cynical this may sound.
    So long as Christianity believes and practices proslytisation and Islam in intolerance and violence co existence seems to be a mirage.
    Unless people of both Religions understand the percepts of their religions in its true meaning with out being mislead by Clerics and Clergy,and practise what is taught rather than what is fed to them – it is far removed from what they have been led to believe by these jokers,who thrive on Religion as a business.All sacred books are avaoilable now;read and learn what these great souls have to say;discard what has been said for the society of their times and follow what is applicable to present society and we shall see a changed society.And Remember,Religion is intensely personal;if I may so, as personal as sex is.

  108. 177 Peter_scliu
    November 10, 2009 at 18:05

    This is not a clash of great civilisation but a clash of imperialism and the oppressed.. Christians are not the target , the imperialist powers are.
    The forced acceptance of the nation of Israel and the perceived injustice by the muslim world.

    • 178 Bert
      November 10, 2009 at 18:48

      Peter, while I agree that it’s not an issue of crescent vs cross, I cannot agree with you that the root problem is Israel. You know why? Because I see daily in the news about some new atrocity of one Moslem sect against the other.

      So, let’s get real. Seems to me that the Israel angle is a smoke screen. The behavior that is the common denominator here is killing those that don’t agree, and even being suicidal in the effort.

      THAT is the culture with which the rest of the world has to try to coexist.

      • 179 Tom K in Mpls
        November 10, 2009 at 20:30

        And Bert, this time I disagree with you. While I wouldn’t say Israel is a root cause, it is a focal point for all fundamentalists. Therefore a valid facet, but not a ‘smoke screen’.

  109. November 10, 2009 at 18:10

    We don’t have to go back to ancient history, just 90 years ago. The Allies had promised the people of the Middle East their freedom if they would fight the Ottoman Empire. Then after World War I, Britain and France broke their promise and divided up the area.

    Since then the West has installed puppet rulers and overthrown democratic rule. It’s a war for power and resources. The Christian/Muslim war provides the excuse.

    So why shouldn’t the people of the Middle East fight back?

  110. 181 Peter in jamaica
    November 10, 2009 at 18:17

    I love to look for great quotes to place at the bottom of my emails or as my message on my messenger. I work in a office where my boss/owners say that they are Christians which i really take as a joke. Business and religion dose not mix. Just as Religion and Politics can not exist in the same forum. As such I came up with this quote, and please correct me if I am wrong.

    “Where science allows for questions, creativity and imagination for the individual……..Religion dose not, it relies solely on the faith of what was written by others without question, without the creativity and without the imagination of the individual”.

    Peter Walker (2008)

    If the west allowed religion into Business and politics as much as the middle east dose we would not be as far ahead, technologically, as we are now.

  111. 182 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 18:32

    @ Per Fereng

    “Since then the West has installed puppet rulers and overthrown democratic rule. It’s a war for power and resources. The Christian/Muslim war provides the excuse.

    So why shouldn’t the people of the Middle East fight back?”

    I suppose Spain willingly submitted to Islamic rule, and the Muslim forces at the gates of Vienna were there to have tea with the Viennese and Jan Sobieski was a tea delivery man? Can you say double standards? Islam has a history of attacking other nations, it’s not just the “evil west” that does this. Muslims occupied spain for 800 years, FAR longer than any of us evil westerners have ever occupied a muslim nation..

  112. 183 James
    November 10, 2009 at 18:49

    The charge that Islam, historically, and as a religion, is intolerant, really is turning the tables when one remembers various facts. For example, the fact that not a Muslim is left alive in Sicily or Spain or Apulia. Not a Muslim was left alive and not a mosque left standing in Greece after the great rebellion in l821. The Muslims of the Balkan peninsula (once the majority) have been systematically reduced with the approval of the whole of Europe, and how the Christian under Muslim rule have in recent times been encouraged to rebel and massacre the Muslims, and how reprisals by the latter have been condemned as quite uncalled for.

    • 184 Bert
      November 10, 2009 at 19:18

      Perhaps, James, but then again, why don’t we call the presence of Islam in Sicily, Spain, and Greece, “imperialism” to begin with? Islam was not native to those parts. So if it is “western imperialism” that Islam is fighting now, why was it not “Islamic imperialism” that those countries or regions fought off back then?

      I don’t subscribe to this point of view, by the way. I’m just trying to make the point that Islamism today is behaving much as medieval societies behaved centuries ago, and that the religious angle, and even the Israel angle, are but excuses.

  113. 185 viola
    November 10, 2009 at 18:52

    All religions can get along if all followers of those religions can comprehend that they cannot possibly know what God is, let alone what God wants people to do or think. We are to God as the cells of our body are to our conscious selves.

    Our functions within God’s “body” are determined by our “purpose” within that body. Kill each other and you “kill” parts of God’s body.

    If those thoughts make me a “nutter” so be it. This is part of my ongoing meditation on the subject.

  114. 186 Patty
    November 10, 2009 at 18:54

    “Hmmm Tom, sorry, beg to differ. “Even in the currently perceived most violent faith, the Muslim faith, the violent individuals are a minority.” This “minority” has bombs, suicide bombers, automatic guns, grenades, rocket launchers, millions of dollars to spend on vehicles and weaponry paying high salaries to anyone who will join them–world-wide. They immigrate to countries and then promote violence, getting more followers every day. In Britian, some mosques have been found to contain bomb-making materials and instructions. I have seen news broadcasts of Imams living in Britian preaching hatred and death toward the British in the mosque. What is their reason for immigration to the US, Germany or The Netherlands? They say religious persecution in their homeland. What? They immigratae to a free country and promote murder and bomb the peoples in the country they just immigrated to, in the name of their god.

    They immigrated to the US, studied in our schools and drove airplanes into our buildings and were headed towards the White House, killing thousands of people for no reason, except that these people were non-Muslims. They have members in just about every country, even if they are not personally connected to each other. I don’t consider these extremist people a “minority.” Does anyone have any idea what the numbers are of the innocent people killed by these extremists in the past 10 years all over the world? India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, the US, Britian, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Bali. I can’t even remember all the countries that have had suicide bombings by the Islamists in the past 10 years. I wonder if those dead, and the relatives of the dead, think the Islamist extremists are only a “minority.”

    • 187 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 20:41

      I don’t disagree until I get to your last sentence. It is empty sensationalism. I have known about two dozen foreign born Muslims. On those rare times this topic came up they were mildly hurt and very agitated. They clearly opposed the violence. To my poor sampling that is less than 5%. According to what I hear here, it is far lower than that. I never implied violent extremists of all philosophies and or religions are not dangerous. They are dangerous and very effective as the body counts and your baseless assumption shows.

  115. 188 Elias
    November 10, 2009 at 18:58

    The relationship of christianity and Islam is as distant as the moon is to the sun.
    There can be no closeness as the teachings are opposite to each other.

  116. 189 Shannon in Ohio
    November 10, 2009 at 19:09

    I would like to ask the gentleman in Ramallah what he thinks of the new initiative coming out of Jordan to promote dialogue between Christians and Muslims in particular. Will it be effective? How much attention is this receiving in countries with a Muslim majority?

  117. 190 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:11

    @ Per

    How was today’s suicide bombing in Pakistan because of Israel?

    Maybe it’s time to stop blaming everything on the Jews?

  118. 191 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:16

    Question for Owen: If you walked into a Mosque in London, wrapped in an Israeli flag, how tolerant would the reaction be to you?

    • 192 Tom K in Mpls
      November 11, 2009 at 18:44

      Anyone anywhere doing something that is obviously intended to be antagonistic will always be unwelcome. A very lame question.

  119. 193 Maccus Germanis
    November 10, 2009 at 19:16

    There is a distinction to be made between the faiths (as they are defined by their central texts and traditions) and the varying adherance of people that claim allegiance.

  120. 194 Kat in Vancouver
    November 10, 2009 at 19:17

    I think they can co-exist but in the last 30 years it is clear that they are in a mode of competition not seen since the crusades.
    Things in common:
    1. They are both growing faiths which has put them in the spot-light.
    2. Both faiths have radicals: Fundamentalists in the US and radicals in the middle east.
    3. Both have different branches or sects aka: Shia and Sunni vs. Protestant and Catholic.

    1. Christianity is centralized especially seen in Catholicism whereas Islam is highly decentralized without a Pope or central leader.
    2. Different “holy books”.
    3. Different Profits.

    • 195 Kat in Vancouver
      November 10, 2009 at 21:46

      Also both religions have used their religion as a basis for legitimizing both their empire and the expansion of their empires at different points in history.

      Ex, Holy Roman Empire, the Berber’s, and the Umayyad’s.

  121. 196 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:20

    @ steve – You should do more research. 9/11 was NOT religious, nor are the daily bombings, religion is the scapegoat excuse but NOT the real reason for these problems.

  122. 197 James
    November 10, 2009 at 19:21

    It wasn’t until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance. Before the coming of Islam, tolerance had never been preached as an essential part of religion. For the Muslims, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three forms of one religion, which, in its original purity, was the religion of Abraham: Al-Islam, that perfect Self-Surrender to the Will of God, which is the basis of Theocracy.

    Read the Prophet Mohammed’s (peace be upon him) Charter which he granted to the Christian monks of Sinai. If you read it you will see that it breathes not only goodwill but actual love. He gave to the Jews of Medina, so long as they were faithful to him, precisely the same treatment as to the Muslims. He never was aggressive against any man or class of men; he never penalised any man, or made war on any people, on the ground of belief but only on the ground of conduct. The story of his reception of Christian and Zoroastrian visitors is on record. There is not a trace of religious intolerance in all this. And though the Muslims of later days have fallen far short of the Holy Prophet’s tolerance, they have always given special treatment to the Jews and Christians. Indeed the Laws for their special treatment form part of the Shari’ah (Islamic law).

  123. 198 Giancarlo
    November 10, 2009 at 19:21

    When every religion will be able to isolate its own radical and extremism sides and avoids that they speak on behalf of the religions then it will be possible to start a mutual base for communication.
    So it is a job that needs to be done from the inside.

  124. 199 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:23

    @ eric USA – the bible was written by MAN not Jesus or God, many many years after Jesus was alive, so how can someone possibly quote Jesus?? word for word, I mean come ON really? just another said american believing whatever is pressed upon him, so sad.

  125. 200 Maccus Germanis
    November 10, 2009 at 19:23

    Is it Mr. Jones intent to represent the Crusades as a natural outgrowth of Christian principles elvolving outside of any influence of Islam?

  126. 201 Nate, Portland OR
    November 10, 2009 at 19:23

    The Middle East studies professor from Oxford (I think, may have missed that detail…) just made the claim that communities that feel under stress are less tolerant. While thats generally true, I’m wondering if a stronger statement about Islam may be true: that it is only tolerant when it is dominant. Can your experts comment on that?

    I’d appreciate any responses (here or on air) don’t reply by focusing on individuals who just want to go about their daily lives. Most Muslims clearly fit that definition. Does the religion, from its sacred texts, allow for tolerance when (1) Muslims are not a significant minority (suggesting Islamic rule is not likely – therefore wait) and (2) Islamic ideals are not explicitly part of the ruling government.

  127. 202 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:24

    How come virtually all of Palestinian christians have left the middle east?

  128. 203 James
    November 10, 2009 at 19:28

    In Egypt the Copts were on terms of closest friendship with the Muslims in the first centuries of the Muslim conquest, and they are on terms at closest friendship with the Muslims at the present day. In Syria the various Christian communities lived on terms of closest friendship with the Muslims in the first centuries of the Muslim conquest, and they are on terms of closest friendship with the Muslims at the present day, openly preferring Muslim domination to a foreign yoke….

    The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) did not ask the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to become his followers. He asked them only to accept the Kingdom of Allah, to abolish priesthood and restore their own religions to their original purity. The question which, in effect, he put to everyone was this: “Are you for the Kingdom of God which includes all of us, or are you for your own community against the rest of mankind?” The one is obviously the way of peace and human progress, the other the way of strife, oppression and calamity The tolerance within the body of Islam was, and is, something without parallel in history; class and race and colour ceasing altogether to be barriers.
    Nobody should think that toleration is a weakness in Islam. It is the greatest strength of Islam, because it is the attitude of truth.

  129. 204 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:32

    Maybe your Palestinian guest says relations between muslims and christians is not a problem in Palestine because most of the Palestinian christians have left?

    I would love to hear Egyptian christians (copts) and their opinion of whether muslims and christians get along in Egypt…

    Remember that really long civil war in Lebanon? That was Muslim vs. Christian and lasted many years. How quickly people forget or ignore.

    • 205 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 21:00

      I have a Coptic friend. He was on the loosing side in the ’67 war. From him, what I get is there is a strong respect but a general dislike. The Copts were a majority but, as they see it, they are loosing this due to the laws that allow Muslims to have four wives. They are being out bred. As long as no action is taken against one side by the other, things will be fine. Kinda obvious eh?

      Things are getting worse. Muslims used the excuse of the swine flu to literally kill many Coptic businesses by killing all pigs. More like this is likely to happen.

  130. 206 Joseph A. Migliore
    November 10, 2009 at 19:33

    Is it possible for the two monolithic religions to coexist in modern-times?

    There is also another dynamic that the mainstream, at least in the West fails to conceptualize. You have to study Islam, such as I, as an academic to know the impact of Islam on a person, or on a society. Comparing Islam to Christianity is not an accurate assessment, it is simply not possible. There is no premise for such a comparison. Besides, a theological debate would be that both religions, Islam and Christianity adhere to the fact, that each one saw itself, as the bearer of the final revelation, for Islam the Prophet Muhammad, for Christianity, Jesus.
    Besides Sharia (Islamic Law), and theoretically speaking, Islam does not distinguish between religion and State. Moreover, in Christianity, religion is viewed and seen as a single compartment of our daily life or lives. Contrary, in Islam, religion is your entire life, not a single compartment of a person’s life. Other aspects of a person’s life such as, social contact, jurisprudence, family law, military service, education are all secondary, they revolve around Islam and the Quran. The Quran and Islam are your entire life and if you practice a conservative form, it’s even more influential.
    I discuss this dynamic in more detail in my thesis which I am currently writing. My thesis problem statement, address this vary dilemma (between Muslims residing in Italy and Catholicism), what Major Nidal Hassan once said to a physician colleague at Walter Reed; “I am a Muslim first and a American second..” It’s a conflict in religious identity, meaning, a conflict between Islam and its compatibility in living a Western form of secularism and with the premise of traditional Christian values.

  131. 207 Ms. Hill
    November 10, 2009 at 19:33

    I guess I must be very naiive. I don’t understand why any religion does not practice what it preaches when it comes to tolerance. Tolerance is a basic unselfish practice that should be understood and practiced by any religion.

  132. November 10, 2009 at 19:34

    All the countries pofessor yusef mentioned only have about a 1-2% Christian populaton,Iraq is the highest with 4%.Co-exsistence occurs where one or other of the religeons has a large majority.When they become roughly equal trouble flares.

  133. 209 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:37

    @ steve seriously, your “jewish” comments are unfounded. Why are the Jews stealing land from the muslims? America and American businesses like the major steel companies helped and believed in the cause of the Nazis. america did not get into the WWII until japan attacked america where was the concern over jews being killed before, hell we even adopted the practices of “cleansing”. forced sterilization of retarded people and other people that were not ideal. anyway…america refused to take the jews from europe they sent them away..this in combination with WWII era practices that combination has led america to be very sensitive about it’s appearance not to be anti-sematic and it was england’s guilt that led them to look the other way when arms were smuggled in to arm the zionists in palestine. which allowed them to basically take over and exhile the palestinians Even the Torah and Bible give credence to the fact

    • 210 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 21:07

      Melissa, you take too many things in the US past out of context. But technically you are right. To back my agreement, you forget what we did to our own people includes the biological warfare against the Sioux of the Dakotas, Japanese detention camps and the Trail of Tears. No country has a clean past.

  134. 211 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:38

    that it may be the holy land, but it was the land of the Philistines. a recognized land..belonging to a people..but okay to take it over because God said so. and now everyone looks the other way..no matter how badly Israel behaves…as to not appear anti-sematic. how about not appearing unjust. the basic argument is still that a group of people are being subjecated, oppressed, killed, excluded..for being different. i don’t quote others i make it up myself

  135. 212 Shannon in Ohio
    November 10, 2009 at 19:39

    How do peace-loving people of faith–both Christain and Muslim–promote the fact that they are both People of the Book? Will this help? Will it fall flat?

  136. 213 Kat in Vancouver
    November 10, 2009 at 19:39

    As an atheist, fear just seems irrational and I agree with Owen’s point. It doesn’t seem rational to fear another belief system if they both believe in the same God. Shouldn’t they fear non-believers more?

  137. 214 Alan in Arizona
    November 10, 2009 at 19:40

    If a religion wants peace the leaders should make it simple. War in the name of religion and you will be removed or excommunicated from the religion. If you don’t believe in peace you can not be part of a religion. Anything less is criminal.

  138. 215 Half-Not
    November 10, 2009 at 19:40

    This is not up for dispute! Religions cannot live side-by-side in any meaningful way. The inherent nature of an ideology, that believes it is the true ideology, means there will never be true harmony between the groups. Unless by harmony you mean, being tolerant or really: being fake!

    This ‘making nice’, that many suggest, is absurd because it allows the inherent smug absurdity of the religious to be seen as just another facet of a person’s way of life. This attempt at polite society to view religion on the same level as liking Proust or apple pie is ridiculous. If you are a devout believer in any major religion it means by proxy you think less of anyone who is not part of that religion, not only do you think less, but you generally believe at some point, by god or by man, they deserve death and damnation.

    And, yes, on ethical grounds it only makes sense to rate religions, because they are not all equal in how their members treat each other or how their culture functions. Religion is not a race, it is a belief system. And, like any belief system it should be up for scrutiny.

    Liberals (which I am one) also need to stop trying to shelter the religious flocks, that happen to appear as the underdog—this is an unintelligent cause.

  139. 216 Maccus Germanis
    November 10, 2009 at 19:40

    Only in minority Shiite sects is the Quran open to greater “interpretation,” by a living Imam. For the bulk of Sunni tradition -and most Shiites for that matter-, adherents will have a hard time reconciling their modern lives with the Islam defined by Mohamed’s writings, life, and traditions.

  140. 217 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:41

    The difference between Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) is not the religion, but rather the follower. Both christianity and judaism have some extremist things in their holy books, but fortunately todya, the vast, vast majority of christians and jews are very secular. Christianity had a reformation. Islam has not had one. There is no shortage of muslims that take their religion literally, and very seriously. For them, it’s a way of life. For christians, it’s maybe going to church once a week, or for jews, going to synagogue 3x year. It’s a small part of our lives, but a large portion of the lives of muslims. Given the things the holy books say, in the 21st century, taking it literally is DANGEROUS.

  141. 218 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:41

    You mention Islamic spain, and examples of harmonious coexistance. But do you think the christians there willingly let in the muslims , or perhaps did the muslims invade?

    • 219 Kat in Vancouver
      November 10, 2009 at 19:45

      @ Steve – Islam controlled most of Southern Spain during the crusades and they actually preserved portions of the bible that the Christians of the time were destroying. The bible would not be the way it is today without Arab assistance in the preservation of historical documents.

  142. 222 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    November 10, 2009 at 19:45

    I think that the current conflicts have little to do with Religion and more to do with inept and misguided governing.
    1.When Pakistan was established they seemed to be trying to move as far away as possible from being ‘Indian’. Instead, they worked hard at being more ‘Saudi’ than the Saudis themselves.
    This , combined with the social, cultural and financial disparities in Pakistan made it fertile breeding ground for every divergent idea to find a home, to mature and to proliferate.

    2.The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and a great mess has ensued.
    3.Somalia is a failed State. Etc.
    Islamic countries have been going through more stress from within in the 20th century. They have not been able to find solutions and what we have now is just the end result .

  143. 223 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 19:45

    @ Melissa

    The rules of the land, the Ottomons, muslims themselves, sold land to Jews. Do you have a problem with that?

    Is really 1% of the middle east too much for you? Jews cannot even have their historic homeland, that’s just too much for you?

    • 224 Ibrahim
      November 10, 2009 at 20:26


      Historic homeland? Look in the Old Testament, the Jews were given permission to massacre the people of Canaan (“everything that breaths”) and take the land for themselves (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). So in fact it’s the Canaanites historic homeland not the Jews (not that it stops anyone from claiming that it is their promised land). By your logic this gives the descendants of Canaan the moral right to reclaim the land for themselves and empty it of all foreign religions. It’s just 1% of the Middle East, and even less than 0.1% of the whole world. Surely no one would mind a bloodbath for less than 0.1% of the world.

  144. 225 Maccus Germanis
    November 10, 2009 at 19:46

    I meant Mohamed’s dictaction of course. He did not actually write.

  145. 226 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:47

    Prophet Mohammed didn’t “write” anything he was illiterate.

  146. 227 patti in cape coral
    November 10, 2009 at 19:47

    @ Joseph Migliore – I just had a question. If Islam is the driving force of a person’s whole life and embedded in the culture, in contrast to Christianity, which is only one aspect of a person’s life and culture here in the west, do Muslims think that western culture is a part of the religion as well? When Muslims see music videos with scantily dressed girls gyrating, and all that sort of thing, do they see it as a part of the western religion? Maybe that is part of the misunderstanding between Islam and Christianity?

    • 228 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 21:18

      Religion, no. Culture, yes. I have a Coptic friend. That is an Arabic Orthodox Christian. There is a much bigger difference between his Arabic culture and mine than with any Arabic Muslims faith.

  147. 229 Bruce - Texas
    November 10, 2009 at 19:48

    To the caller that just stated that Muslims believe Jesus was a Muslim… Jesus walked His earth 1400 years before Islam even existed; how could he have been a Muslim?

  148. 231 Jessica
    November 10, 2009 at 19:51

    I have a question. Muhammad was born in the 6th century, several hundred years after Jesus was born. If this is the case, how can Jesus be a Muslim? I’m not trying to be condescending. I’m just curious.

  149. 232 Alice
    November 10, 2009 at 19:52

    This comment is intended for the discussion of “the Cross and the Crescent”:

    Regarding intermarriage: I have a Protestant woman cousin in Germany who married a Catholic man. His conservative parents were initially upset that their son had “married an outsider”, even though both young people were schoolmates in the same small town in Bavaria. Luckily, their attitude has softened over the years as the marriage went on.

  150. 233 Melissa
    November 10, 2009 at 19:52

    @ steve, don’t be ridiculous. I have NO PROBLEM with people sharing Jerusalem as it’s sacred to EVERYONE who’s religious. I have a problem with being being FORCED from their homes and shoved into refuge camps or “ghettos” because people with Money and Power can do whatever they like?

    Jewish people can live and do live everywhere, they have their land Israel, why the need to expand? why the need to become the aggressor and oppress others as was once done to them?

  151. 235 Tom D Ford
    November 10, 2009 at 19:53

    Someone asked if Islam evolves.

    What I wonder is, can all of humanity evolve up and out from under Religion?

    Will mankind grow up and put away such childish things as Religion, the belief in a supernatural being?

    We know that all of the good things that surround religion, The Golden Rule, ‘even as you treat the least of these”, social justice, etc can be taught and reinforced without requiring a belief in a supernatural being, so when will we get to that?

  152. 236 Half-Not
    November 10, 2009 at 19:56

    Q – Why are religions not tolerant?

    A – Because religion is not a tolerant concept. You can’t ask people to do the impossible. Religion is by definition intolerant. Believing you are part of a group that will be saved, live forever, go to heaven or has a direct line with god, is a fool-proof recipe for intolerance. The whole point of religious ideologies is explicit intolerance. Pretending that these groups can or should be tolerant is deception of the most egregious kind.

  153. 237 Ana Markosian
    November 10, 2009 at 19:59

    Ana Markosian

    I don’t understand… Muslims keep insisting that they recognize and respect other religions, especially Christianity and Judaism, but at the same time they label Christians and Jews a as ‘non-believers’. Does i make any sense????

  154. 238 Gari
    November 10, 2009 at 19:59

    We can absolutely live together in peace. I’m a believer in Christianity, but I treasure the friendships/acquaintances that I have with people who are followers of Islam.

    For me it is about respect for others, and loving other people, even those with whom we have differences. I find it unfathomable how a person who claims that they truly love God can have hatred in their heart for others based solely on that person’s religious beliefs. We are ALL created in the image and likeness of God, and in my view Muslims and Christians believe in the same God, we just refer to that God by Different names. I call God “God”, while those who follow Islam call this being “Allah”

  155. 239 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
    November 10, 2009 at 20:00

    Jesus was Muslim whether we like it or not because Allah (and the Prophet Muhammad) say so. If we look at the Quran we will understand this it’s proper context., Moreso there is no any place in the Bilble that suggest that Jesus was a Christain. Jesus never heard this word call Christain

  156. 240 Bruce - Texas
    November 10, 2009 at 20:01

    I meant to say that Jesus walked 600 years before Islam; it is 1400 years old.

  157. 241 Scot
    November 10, 2009 at 20:02

    I am very uncomfortable when I hear “any” religious leader trying to tell me what God wants me to do. Whether it’s a crazy Christian Minister telling me to mistrust others based on the color of their skin or a crazy Muslim Cleric telling me to wage jihad by blowing up innocent women & children, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that God is not using them – they are using God. From my experience, those on both sides who appear to fear the other most seem to be those with the least contact with one another (generally the socially disenfranchised, under educated and globally naive.) These are the logical targets of religious propaganda be it church, group or state sponsored and they generally make up the lion’s share of the soldiers on the front lines of the battles. Thank God! Allah be Praised! You can never have enough canon fodder.

  158. 242 steve
    November 10, 2009 at 20:04

    “Jesus was Muslim whether we like it or not because Allah (and the Prophet Muhammad) say so. If we look at the Quran we will understand this it’s proper context., Moreso there is no any place in the Bilble that suggest that Jesus was a Christain. Jesus never heard this word call Christain”

    So if I write a book and call Jesus a Mormon, that makes it true?

    • 243 Ibrahim
      November 10, 2009 at 20:32

      If I write a book and say the Holy Land is the homeland of people with blue hair, does that make it true?

    • 244 Tom K in Mpls
      November 10, 2009 at 21:29

      According to the Bible, Jesus was a practicing Jew. Known for debating ( and worse ) in the temples. Those Jews in his lifetime that believed he was The Christ were by definition the first Christians. The religion was not formalized until about 600 years latter according to most.

  159. 245 Bert
    November 10, 2009 at 20:04

    See, by making the issue one of cross vs crescent, the debate too often devolves into the religious beliefs professed by these religions.

    Whereas, as some of your callers have said, the West does not define itself by a religion. So all these minutiae about what the religious beliefs are, what they allow, is just distraction. In the West, and certainly even in the US, even most people who consider themselves religious do not adhere to their religion as a daily guide for their every action and thought.

    If the Taliban and their associate Al Qaeda did not exist, we (the West) would not even BE in Afghanistan, would we? There would be no reason. It’s not Islam, but Islamism, if you will, that is the issue here. The fundamentalist, intolerant, suicidal variant.

  160. 246 Manoj(US)
    November 10, 2009 at 20:13

    I am a Hindu . If we go back and look into the history of religion. Hinduism and Greek pagentism were beyond doubt the oldest religions. But after the Muslims and Christians started dominating the world specially the Indus valley subcontinent they started their level best to eradicate the old religion and bring their own. Mughals,Turks..are the best examples. Is allowing Woman to cross-mary to have a muslim birth but not allowing Muslim man to do the same fair?Converting on the sole power of money and aid fair? ..Hindus were always tried to be abused for their multi-faceted believes but it remains as the oldest and still striving religion. Isnt it because Hinduism doesn’t believe in converting nonbelievers by force, expanding itself beyond so called conquered border or converting the world by might or terror..Isn’t it embrassment for people with other belief?. Shouldnt muslims and christians learn from this?…I believe this issue should be first resolved or else neither one may be the last top exist as time passes by.

  161. 247 Irene
    November 10, 2009 at 20:16


    Read a book before you post. The U.S. Government has a history of sponsoring terrorism throughout the world, most conspicuously the bombing of Cambodia, the ousting of Mossadeq of Iran in the 1950s, assassinations of democratically elected leaders in south and central America, the attack on Panama in 1989, and
    the attack on Iraq was a terrorist act comparable to Hitler’s attack on Poland. George W. Bush considers himself a Christian as to most of his supporters.

  162. 248 Irene
    November 10, 2009 at 20:19


    Afghanistan would not be in the mess it is today were it not for the United States policy of fighting the cold war by proxie. Google “Zbiegniew Brezenski” and read for yourself how he bragged publicly about getting the soviet Union embroiled in it’s own Vietnam.

  163. 249 NSC London
    November 10, 2009 at 20:39

    There are very, very few examples of peaceful Muslim co-existence with other faiths. A tiny, tiny fraction of Islam’s inability to peacefully co-exist might include:

    The burning of Smyrna
    Fort Hood
    Egypt (persecution of Copts)
    Southern Phillipines
    China’s Uighurs
    UK – 85 Sharia courts
    France – 700+ no-go areas for Non-Muslims

    I see very litte evidence to suggest that Muslims can co-exist, probably because Islam demands that it’s followers establish the “religion of peace” as the dominant religion in any region it exists.

    The gentleman earlier who said this: yes Islam definitly believes in co-existance with people of other faiths. I can quote many examples of that.

    Is patently incorrect. I would be happy to provide the passages that clearly demonstrate this is not true.

  164. 250 Shannon in Ohio
    November 10, 2009 at 20:43

    To be honest, I am just out of patience with religious people who refuse to budge. I amnow going to listen to the memorial service for those killed last Thursday at Ft. Hood–which will include Christians and Muslims–including the shooter’s Imam.

  165. 251 Saf
    November 10, 2009 at 20:54

    This is such a false and sensationalist debate to have at all.

    Why do Christians and Muslims fight? Why did Christians discriminate and murder Jews up until 60 years ago? Why did the Serbs and Bosnians hack each other to pieces? Why did Protestants and Catholics massacre each other in the 1500s and are still suspicious of each other to this day? etc. etc.

    This to me has nothing to do with Religion and more to do with human nature and politics. Why are we so obsessed with Religion? Why are we so afraid of Islam? Those are the real questions. Instead of (once again) immediately looking at what may be wrong with the other, how about a little introspection and trying to find out why are we so nervous about another religion that we (obviously) know very little about besides the formatted cliches we are fed on mass media.

    I refuse to engage in a debate comparing one religion to another, one culture to another, or one ethnic group to another, it is wrong and is the reason why such conflicts exist.

  166. 252 Abram
    November 11, 2009 at 04:30


    “If the religious fanatic is a fundamentalist Christian, potentially coexistence is possible.”

    Well said, Bert! Saying a “Fundamentalist” to a Christian, should be seen as a compliment — Christianity indeed has a foundation — which is Love. This is the most important thing not found in other faiths. The lack of love breeds hatred. That’s why we find school textbooks in countries like Saudi Arabia still teaching to hate Christians and Jews — I saw it myself, and was saddened. I believe, as long as Christians have the overhand in a society, all sorts of faiths and ideologies could live side by side.

    • 253 Tom K in Mpls
      November 11, 2009 at 18:50

      A fundamentalist is normally described as someone that follows a literal interpretation of the holy text. They are very intolerant of change and other interpretations of the writings.

    November 11, 2009 at 11:27

    Religions can exist only when some conditions have been met. But there are dilemas which are difficult for them to surmount unless they shed out their prejudiced posture which rests on this; that they use the credulity of their succeeding generations to cover up their criminila past if any and then continue engaging us in fallacies coated with sweet sophistry for coverup.
    Would the Christians tell us who sanctified the witchhunting of crusades in the middle ages? No.
    Would judaists tell there was sanctity in the wanton slughter of cananites and all that gentile stuff? Again, No.
    Finally as an African, it is good to hear talk on the reparations for slavery question even though I think it aught to be left alone because even Africans took part in it.
    In the same vein, can the Muslim world tell us that it is a victim. The question is; of what? Taking millions of Africans as slaves, custrating the men thereby making the race dissappear altogether without admitting? Can they account for this? Where is their Homer, Colin Powel? Where is their Obama and would they have allowed him to be a ruler in their country even today? We are all criminals in a way but we don’t want to come out of that cacoon. Why?

  168. 255 Esther from Israel
    November 11, 2009 at 11:39

    I listened to the program and heard the professor from Ramallah. I was chilled by his remarks. He was talking about Muslims and Christians living peacefully “here in Palestine”, and referred to Haifa and Nazareth, which are in Israel proper. And then to make sure we all understood his intention, he said “When I say Palestine, I mean Israel, the West Bank and Gaza”. That is his view of Palestine, engulfing the State of Israel. I am chilled to the bone.

    Since he is a professor at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, his remarks cannot be taken lightly.

    • November 11, 2009 at 12:29

      Muslims, Christians and Jews did live together peacefully in pre-Zionist Palestine (as the area now 78% occupied and 22% controlled by Israel was called for centuries) and could do so again in a single democratic state with freedom, equality and justice for all – the “one-state solution” envisioned by many.

      • 257 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
        November 12, 2009 at 08:28

        Those years (era) which precedes Zionist era were era when the muslim controls Palastine. The History are there to judge this. Those age was a peacefully and equity and justice prevail. There was freedom of worship therein.

  169. 258 Ibrahim in UK
    November 11, 2009 at 11:50

    Re: Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim:

    Musims believe all of God’s prophets were “Muslim” in the sense that they were all servants of God who completely submitted to God’s will and commands (which is the definition of Muslim).

  170. November 11, 2009 at 12:18

    Unfortunately, most of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves lie beneath Muslim-occupied lands. This peril for them is greatly amplified by Israel in their midst with its hegemonic ambitions, collective paranoia, massive weaponry, and symbiotic sickness with the world’s equally hegemonic superpower.

    As science has replaced supernaturalism in providing understanding, empowerment and destiny control, religion matters less in everyday life today than it did a few hundred years ago, and even then Muslims, Jews and Christians lived peacefully together in Palestine and elsewhere.

    Religion is simply used as an artificial we/they distinction to manipulate people into conflict serving the hidden interests of the powerful. The real question is whether the people who own the oil and those who want the oil can live peacefully together, and whether the warmongers can be held at bay by the rational forces of mankind.

  171. November 11, 2009 at 15:48

    Is it about religion well if you say the occupying armies are all christians and the occupants are mulims then maybe your right but, this is not what we are told. We are told it is to stop terrorism against the west. This is not the Crusaders against the Saracens each bearing its own religious symbol. How many of the soldiers are christian in real life, we all say we are as a matter of fact. Unlike the majority of Muslims the majority of so called Christians are non practising, and I am sure the ordinary soldier does not see it as a holy war in the real sense. Yes we know the internal struggle is religious in that fanatical elements want to enforce their will and religious interpretation on others. In America religion is a powerful force and comes in many guises, and I can believe they would see it as a religious war but, I would be surprised if British troops do, I could be wrong.

  172. 261 Ronald Almeida
    November 11, 2009 at 18:14

    I am beginning to see that all this has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
    People get uptight only because they feel personally attacked when someone attacks their religion. More often than not they themselves have nothing to do with their own religion except having being born into it. It is just an excuse to say I am better than you are. Religion is just the excuse. Usually people never seem to have problems with others unless some occurrence, often even accidental incites it.

  173. 262 M Ariely
    November 11, 2009 at 20:06

    Christianity and Islam are both converting religions claiming to be the sole worldwide legitimate religion.

    Christianity emerged as a faith of peaceful change, then changed to a converting by force religion and lately is trying to appear once again as a peaceful converting religion

    Islam is one religion and government worldwide enforced by swords .
    Unlike Christianity they are keeping their original dogma. without any sign of change.

    For peacefull coexistanve both religion should:
    *give up their desire to convert the mankind to their belief
    *accept people right to other believes
    No chance to peaceful coexistence

    • 263 Ibrahim in UK
      November 12, 2009 at 12:04

      * People convert today because they choose to. Faith is a matter of the heart which cannot be enforced by fear or swords. The era of conquest is over. The clash today is not about Muslim civilisation converting Christianity, it is about Muslims rejecting and reacting to foreign invasions and interference in Muslim lands. (e.g. Afghanistan did not try to convert the Soviet Union when Afghanistan they were fighting back against the occupation. The Palestinians are not trying to convert the Jews that are occupying Palestine)

      * Again, history shows that not only was there relative peaceful co-existence, but even the Jewish Golden age occured under Islamic rule.

      Would you like to add to your list that the Jews should give up their desire to claim Arab land for themselves as the “promised land” and desire to create a Jewish majority state by dispossessing and expelling the majority of the indigenous population? Or is that not a condition for peaceful coexistence?

  174. 264 M Ariely
    November 11, 2009 at 20:47

    Emkaye comment: ‘Israel is the cause of bloodshed in the ME”

    !!!!:Emkaye I challenged you to prove your statement!!!

    Look at the whole regional conflicts.
    Over 14.000.000 Muslims have been killed in intra Muslims wars since 1948
    The number of Arabs killed in all Israeli defending wars is approximately 60000.
    I can prove the numbers!
    Can you prove your statements?

    The conflict involving Israel is not the longest, or the bloodiest, or the most widespread of the region’s conflicts

    Following a partial list:
    1: Egypt invasion of Yemen 2: Syria invasions of Jordan and Lebanon
    3: The Iraq Iran war 4:Iran invasion of Quite
    5:The Kurds conflicts in Turkey, Iraq,Iran
    6:Cyprus to de facto partition after Turkey invasion
    7:The Shui –Sunna conflict 8:Lebanon civil wars
    9:Sudan civil war against the Christians and the Darfur genocide
    10:Algeria civil war 11:Morocco war with Polisario
    12:Lybia invasion of Chiad 13: Somalia civil war
    14:Yemen civil war 15:Christians communities chased all over the ME.

    Question; Why the Arabs are hiding all their wars and endless social, political and economic problems by blaming the defending Israel

    • 265 Ibrahim in UK
      November 12, 2009 at 13:11

      Possible Answer: Because they are ruled by dictatorships and forbidden from expressing their outrage at the existing internal problems (and hence criticism of the leader or the leader’s friends), but they are not forbidden from expressing outrage at the existing external problems (one of which is the Israel conflict).

      The existence of internal conflicts and divisions within the “Muslim civilisation” are not the cause of conflicts with other civilisations, they are the catalyst, inviting foreign interference. However, If the intra-Islamic issues were resolved and the muslims united, it would be much harder for Western countries to invade and interfere. The conflict would turn into a “Cold Conflict” which has a much lower body-count and bigger potential for turning into a non-conflict.

  175. 266 NSC London
    November 12, 2009 at 13:50

    Ibrahim wrote:

    “People convert today because they choose to. Faith is a matter of the heart which cannot be enforced by fear or swords.”

    That’s absolutely untrue. Please tell that to the Egyptian Copts, Christians living in Saudi Arabia, the Phillipines, etc. who have forced to either convert to Islam or live as brutalised dhimmis paying high jizya (the taxes which non-Muslims must pay in order to live in Muslim lands). So yes, “conversion” is sometimes a matter of faith, and sometimes it’s a matter of not wanting to live like a second class citizen.

    Ibrahim also wrote: “The era of conquest is over.”

    Sadly, the era of conquest has just begun. The “third jihad” is here, the greatest weapon is the womb.

    • 267 Ibrahim in UK
      November 12, 2009 at 17:02

      A Muslim citizen pays an Islamic “tax” called Zakat every year which is a way of wealth redistribution and is a form of Islamic worship. Non-muslims don’t partake in that form of worship, they don’t pay the Islamic Zakat, they pay a “tax” called Jizya instead (under certain conditions).
      Minorities had the status of Dhimmi, which was similar but more liberal to the status minorities had in other countries at the time.
      Compared to the taxes and rights they had as minorities under other rulers, history agrees they were treated better under Islamic rulership (hence a Jewish Golden Age under Islam etc).

      The Jizya has not been in place for more than a hundred years.

      In the modern day, Egyptian Copts don’t pay different taxes to the rest of the population.

      Not sure what you are refering to in Phillipines either, 90% of the population is Christian. Maybe you meant Muslim Indonesia? But their constitution guarantees freedom of worship (and no extra taxation etc).

  176. 268 Michel Norman
    November 12, 2009 at 17:22

    Ibrahim- The history of the Jews under Islamic law was one of persecution, the short “golden age” of which you write was by comparison to the Spanish inquisition, and the “normal” experience of Jewish life as a discrimination under Muslim rule – Hitler did not invent the yellow star – it was instituted by the Moslems as one of the forms of special clothing to be worn by Jews. If life was so wonderful under moslem law then why did 99% of the Jews flee Arab lands given the first opportunity? Why is it that their are almost no Sephardi Jews in the Israeli peace camp and the descendants of the Jews from Arab lands overwhelming vote for the right wing parties?

  177. 269 Raymond Peter
    November 13, 2009 at 02:55

    Religion like the seasons have a Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

    That is the reason that they come on a time line for different times to different people.

    Usually the Religion once it comes froma certain place take on some of the old “garments”of the former religion. There are many examples of this and it will be too long to comment here. You could write to be via my e address.

    Spring time is the time of change of people from the former to accept a new idea till most of the former ones accept the new way of life and a “Golden Age” is bron. As time goes on the religion gets focilised and institutionilised .

    Then comes the Winet Stage when the old way of life ceases to dominate our lives. This is the time of a new Revelation for a New Day. and aghain the cycle is repeated.

    This is happening to all Religions

  178. 270 Michel Norman
    November 14, 2009 at 09:09

    Ibrahim – Lets try an experiment – you give us the name of one Arab country – and then we can describe the lives of the Dhimmis there- But in general terms – the same “zionist propaganda” by which you probably mean that just as Mecca is the center of Muslem prayer, so Jews direct their prayers to Jerusalem, the Jewish annual cycle reflects the seasons in the Land of Israel, Jews prayed for 1900 years for the return to their own land and the restoration of Jerusalem, in all of their prayer services, remembering the grief of the loss of the temple at every single Jewish wedding that has taken place since AD70, those same hopes and yearings were present for both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews – which does not explain the mass emigration of the Jews from Arab Lands.

    Looking forward to your choice of a country -you no what why not pick 3

  179. December 5, 2009 at 01:09

    Man has been governed from time to time by various systems like dictatorship, monarchy, orligargy, demagogy, aristocracy, Caliphate, Sultanate, Imamate, democracy, papacy, theocracy, etc.

    Islam has been a dictatorial authority like the Caliphate, Imamate and Sultanate. This has worked for the last thousand over years but now they are moving into a democratic environment.

    People had accepted the dictatorial authority of Islam till now. The people simply left the governing to the elite but now they are given the franchise to vote which is alien to the Islamic all and sundry. So they are learning to accept this new system with a lot of turmoil. Also the ones who come to authority by the democratic process then adopt the dictatorial system to govern the peoples.

    Islam will tolerate a benevolent dictator but once the rulers allow cronyism, or gets corrupt then the people demand a change. This is what we are noticing in the various Islamic systems exiting today.

    One has to go to the elections and vote for the most suitable person ( not the Party) who possesses all the rudiments necessary to govern including a incorruptible character, pure in deeds and actions, When such qualities are noticed whether man or woman then they decide to vote for him knowing that they will deliver the goods and will not pander to his lower nature nor be swayed by the changes and chances of time.

    Also the electeers then must let the ones elected to govern not to interfere when things are not going their way.

    Is such a system possible. Can man ever arise to occupy this lofty spiritual state whether he is a Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu.

    The world awaits such a awakening for man to mature to establish a system which can become the foundation for laying the World Order of man where all can live in peace and harmony.

  180. December 8, 2009 at 10:28

    The views are very interesting by all the participants in this blog.

  181. December 15, 2009 at 01:58

    Two of my views written to you in late November have not been included in the above list.

    You will find that my articles are to promote unity and harmony and not to be a cause of strife and contention.

    Kindly ley me have your opinion on this


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