Belief Beat

Belief Beat

Fun Friday: Team Jesus vs. Team Mohammed

Updated: Check out what else applies to 1 in 5 Americans, over at my Huffington Post column.

First, the not-so-fun news: The Rev. Franklin Graham went on CNN and perpetuated the misconception that President Obama was born Muslim because his absentee father’s family was Muslim. Memo to Graham: Like Christianity, and as opposed to Judaism, Islam is a faith — not also an ethnicity. In other words, you can’t be “born” to it — you have to believe it. Christians believe in Jesus; Muslims believe in the Shahada: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”


Good thing there are so many full-time religion reporters out there these days to clarify such erroneous statements… oh wait… 

Well, at least we’ve got The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, which continues to expose the tragic humor behind America’s burgeoning Islamophobia and the “Ground Zero Mosque” (not at Ground Zero, not a mosque) controversy. For a good giggle, check out last night’s battle between Team Jesus and Team Mohammed:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover – Team Mohammed vs. Team Jesus
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

My favorite line comes early, from Wyatt Cenac representing Team J: “You ever heard of a thing called the Bible Belt? That’s US! We’re the religion holding America’s pants up! Team Jesus!” (I think Team J takes this one, but hey, it’s been around longer.)


For some more fun, check out my Huffington Post column about the “1 in 5 Americans believes Obama is Muslim” story, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm

It – is – about Ground Zero. It’s symbolic.
It was no accident of public relations that “Córdoba Initiative” was chosen as the title of the Ground Zero mosque project. The city of Córdoba was the capital of al-Andalus, the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia, and the famous Córdoba Mosque was built atop the rubble of a destroyed church.
Peaceful conquest is a historical anomaly, however — from its inception until its long decline began in 1683, Islam expanded solely through violence. Wherever Islam expanded violently, it built mosques at the sites of its victories. The minarets rose over the rubble of destroyed churches, synagogues, and temples to stand as symbols of Islam’s conquest of the kuffar. The Córdoba Mosque was an architectural announcement of the Moorish triumph over Christian Iberia.
The Córdoba Initiative thus provides an obvious historical analogy to the Islamic victory on September 11th, 2001, at Ground Zero. The significance of the name and place will not be lost on any educated Muslim who hears about the project.
What has NOT been revealed is the source of funding for construction. What also has not been revealed are the parameters of the Shariah Index Initiative.
The Ground Zero Mosque has at least 6 mystery floors. We suggest that they’ll be used by the Shariah Index Project.
The Shariah Index Project was built by at least 14 Shariah experts. We have the identities probably of 7 of them, and Rauf should reveal the other 7 right away.
The Shariah Index Project generated at least 16 documents and maybe a final book, and Rauf should release all of these – right away.
The issues at stake in the Ground Zero Mosque and the Shariah Index Project are not about Americans supporting the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. Americans support that protection.
The issues at stake here are about Americans protecting the Constitution from Shariah-adherent groups using the protective guise of religious freedom to attack the Constitution itself – using a triumphal Ground Zero mosque as “the base” for a project to institutionalize Shariah in America.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Nicole are you Muslim?
Just wondering why do you hate Christians?
Mary you hit the nail on the head with this statement.
“Ground Zero mosque as “the base” for a project to institutionalize Shariah in America”
These people are not doing this to bridge any gap between faiths. They are not doing it to be nice…they are doing this for Allah. People of faith know this and care because they know what is to come if this gets built….nonbelievers whether they know or not,turn their heads and look the other way. They are the ones who call Chritians intolerant and bigots.
Nicole why if you think Islam is so peaceful don’t you move over there? Practice what they consider religious tolerance and do it the feminist way.

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Nicole Neroulias

posted August 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Nope, I’m not Muslim — not even close, actually. Just a freedom-loving American and an accuracy-loving journalist, trying to do my job here.
Carry on!

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tom trinko

posted August 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Islam is not like Christianity or Judaism because it involves both secular and religious components and is violently intolerant of other faiths. True Muslims, according to most Imans, must constantly work–peacefully or violently depending on the Iman– to install Islamic law–Sharia– in any country they’re in. Given that Sharia law is anti-women and anti-Christian Americans have a moral obligation to oppose Sharia law and anyone who supports it. The man behind Park51 or the Ground Zero Mosque supports Sharia law. So just as I, a Roman Catholic, would oppose any attempt to force all Americans to eschew meat on Fridays on Lent, go to Mass every Sunday, or be taxed to subsidize Catholic Churches a good American Muslim has to oppose Sharia law.
Because the man behind the mosque has said that America is responsible for the deaths of more innocent Muslims than are Muslim terrorists–an incorrect statement given the long history of Muslim on Muslim terror including the long Sunni Sufi split–and that he supports Sharia law I don’t think it’s unreasonable or Islamiphobic to suspect a huge 15 story mosque, originally called by him the Ground Zero Mosque, named after a site in Spain where Muslims built a huge mosque on the ruins of a Christian Cathedral to celebrate their conquest of Spain might be a bit of Muslim triumphalism.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Shariah in the US ? With a mere 1% or less of the US population, Muslims will be thinking about Shariah in the US. Give me a break. I admire people’s imagination and creativity. Please come up with something that is at least close to the truth

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Peter Ramsey

posted August 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Joel Richardson writes in “The Islamic Antichrist (WND Press) that Muslims believe the Mahdi will rule the world under an Islamic Caliphate and that “Jesus” (Issa) will follow him and exort Jews and Christians to convert to Islam.
Lenin (Soviet Union) called for an alliance of socialists and Muslim radicals in 1924 to defeat the west.
Today we have Barack Hussein Obama in the White House.
Time Magazine’s poll that 1 out of 5 Americans believe Obama is a Muslim is not that surprising, given his comments about Islam.
As for his claim that he is a Christians, it’s not surprising that many Americans are skeptical given that his last pastor was Jeremiah Wright (God damn America) and that Obama has funded overseas abortions.
The Book of Revelation says the Antichrist (666) will appear at the time of the 6th seal, the 6th trumpet and 6th bowl (vial in the KJV).
The Bible says Jesus will return at the 7th seal, the 7th trumpet and the 7th bowl when Gog and Magog (Iran and Russia) will attack Israel in the valley of Armageddon.
Given current events – Russia is fueling Iran’s nuclear power plant, I find the Biblical prophecy to be rather compelling.

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Peter Ramsey

posted August 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Sharia law is completely incompatible with the Constitution but Obama has added Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. It should be noted that Kagan intervened 9 times in Obama elibility cases.
I see Obama as the most incompetent president since Jimmy Carter and the most cynical president since Richard Nixon. His pious hypocrisy regarding the Ground Zero Mosque and his sudden love for the Second Amendment is rather ironic given his record of denigrating Christianity. Hopefully the American people will not elect Obama to a second term and will vote out the liberal idiots in November.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Whoa! Such heated discussions. Nicole DID say “FUN” Friday, right? So, does anyone mind if I lighten things up by getting back to the Team Jesus vs. Team Mohammed image?

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Robert C

posted August 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Hey anonymous. Go ask any citizen of Brussels what is close to the truth. You might just be surprised.

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Robert C

posted August 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Hey anon. Try asking a any Belgian citizen of Brussels what is close to the truth. You might be surprised.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Robert C: “Hey anonymous. Go ask any citizen of Brussels what is close to the truth. You might just be surprised.”
“Hey anon. Try asking a any Belgian citizen of Brussels what is close to the truth. You might be surprised.”
I once tried talking to a man in Brussels. He was 6’4″ and full of muscle. I said “Do you speak my language?” But he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm

“Sharia law is completely incompatible with the Constitution but Obama has added Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.”
Is there any connection there? Kagan is Jewish.
I hate the idea of Sharia law and would fight it, or any Christian fundamentalist version of it, in the US, but I support Muslims having the same religious rights as, say, Christians and Jews.
Let’s see what the Wikipedia article says about practice in Muslim majority countries:

The legal systems in 21st century Muslim majority states can be classified as follows.

Sharia in the secular Muslim states: Muslim countries such as Mali, Kazakhstan and Turkey (which is under pressure from religious political parties) have declared themselves to be secular. Here, religious interference in state affairs, law and politics is prohibited. In these Muslim countries, as well as the secular West, the role of Sharia is limited to personal and family matters.

Muslim states with blended sources of law: Muslim countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Morocco and Malaysia have legal systems strongly influenced by Sharia, but also cede ultimate authority to their constitutions and the rule of law. These countries conduct democratic elections, although some are also under the influence of authoritarian leaders. In these countries, politicians and jurists make law, rather than religious scholars. Most of these countries have modernized their laws and now have legal systems with significant differences when compared to classical Sharia.

Muslim states using classical Sharia: Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf states do not have constitutions or legislatures. Their rulers have limited authority to change laws, since they are based on Sharia as it is interpreted by their religious scholars. Iran shares some of these characteristics, but also has a parliament that legislates in a manner consistent with Sharia.

So most Muslims live in countries where it either doesn’t affect the law or ultimate authority goes to the politicians and the constitution. In other words, while no doubt Muslim fundamentalists, like Christian fundamentalists, would like to take control of their countries they have not been able to do so. And in countries controlled by fundamentalists we can take a lesson about those who want to make the US a “Christian nation”.
And with the examples of Taliban brutality before them it should be easy to rebuff the fundamentalists for a long time.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Yeah! Why can’t we all just be from the Land Down Un-dah?
Oh, wait. Cuz then we’d better run, we’d bettah take cov-ah… eee-yah…. (flute solo)

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Robert C

posted August 21, 2010 at 12:25 am

Having lived in Paris for awhile years ago, I often had the opportunity to visit Brussels. It was once a beautiful city. Last trip I meet a gang. None over 5’5″, but they had no vegemite sandwiches to offer ( horrible things anyway how the Aussies can stand them….) only knives. Moroccans. Robbed me of everything I was carrying. Police were exasperated and claimed that the immigrant wave intended to clear the city of Belgians and impose their own laws. Once a peaceful city, crime exploded. Interfaith attacks on the rise. You don’t want to visit Brussels these days. Antwerp isn’t much better.

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posted August 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

quote: “Muslim states with blended sources of law: Muslim countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Morocco and Malaysia have legal systems strongly influenced by Sharia, but also cede ultimate authority to their constitutions and the rule of law. … politicians and jurists make law, rather than religious scholars. Most of these countries have modernized their laws and now have legal systems with significant differences when compared to classical Sharia.”
Malaysia has fully functioning Shariah courts.
Individuals who wish to renounce Islam, as in the 2007 case of Lina Joy who was baptized a Christian 10 years before petitioning the court, are transferred to an Islamic tribunal. Lina Loy appealed the decision, but her appeal was rejected by a three court panel of Judges who ruled that “a person who wanted to renounce his/her religion must do so according to existing laws or practices of the particular religion. Only after the person has complied with the requirements and the authorities are satisfied that the person has apostatized, can she embrace Christianity…. In other words, a person cannot, at one’s whims and fancies renounce or embrace a religion.”
A Hindu who was forcibly converted to Islam at the age of 7 in an orphanage, returned to Hinduism, married a Hindu, but was not allowed to legally identify her Hindu husband as the father of her children.
The Christian and Hindu minorities are routinely discriminated against.
or the Hindu American Foundation’s Report on Human Rights’ Violations.

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posted August 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

Interesting stories mary. Thanks. Certainly the ability to quit a religion is of great importance and it speaks badly of a religion that it would force people to stay in it. I’m not aware of Christian churches currently doing that, though there was a long history of it and social pressures can make it tough to change.
There are things about Islam I think are very bad. But I also think, at least in the US, religions need to compete on the basis of people’s knowledge in the marketplace of ideas, not on the basis of the religion with the most power making it hard for other religions to build churches.

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Hidden Worlds

posted September 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Thanks for the post! Very interesting, thanks for the video clip, too.

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