October 9th, 2014
09:45 PM ET

Let’s be honest, Islam has a problem right now

By Fareed Zakaria

There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrates violence and intolerance and harbors deeply reactionary attitudes toward women and minorities. While some confront these extremists, not enough do so, and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in the Arab world today?

The caveat, “Islam today,” is important. The central problem with Maher’s and Harris’s analyses are that they take a reality — extremism in Islam — and describe it in ways that suggest it is inherent in Islam. Bill Maher says Islam is “the only religion that acts like the Mafia, that will [expletive] kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.” He’s right about the viciousness but wrong to link it to “Islam” — instead of “some Muslims.”

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. Saratoga

    My good wishes to Malala and people of Pakistan.

    October 11, 2014 at 9:09 am | Reply
    • Scalamanger

      What an achievement!! Muslims are the best. Peaceful people.

      October 11, 2014 at 9:14 am | Reply
  2. Scalamanger

    My good wishes to Malala and people of Pakistan.

    October 11, 2014 at 9:12 am | Reply
  3. Sormosa

    Can you please come up with new stuff, CNN?

    Don't forget moslems won the Vietnam War for you yankees and ended the cold war by beating the Soviets/ Indian nexus in Afghan war.

    Thankless Americans.

    October 11, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply
  4. Sormosa


    Ler's go visit Hinduworld. We will defecate on sidewalks. We will p iss on roads. We will eat what we secrete.

    Raype galore. E Coli everywhere. Cannibalism rampant.
    BO capital of the world. A hindu wonderland.

    Incredible India !!!

    October 11, 2014 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • Memey

      Hey Fareed, you from India, eh boy?

      October 11, 2014 at 10:49 am | Reply
  5. Memey

    The question is,do I swallow after I suk a Paki dikk? Yes. I most certainly do.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • Sormosa

      Don't you India hindoo men have s ex with your daughters as part of hindoo ritual per Gita Bhagavad

      October 11, 2014 at 11:29 am | Reply
  6. Sormosa

    I suk muslim dikks. They are so sweet and sour.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Sormosa

      Don't you hindoos suk Lord Shiva's dikk and make your mothers and sisters sukk them too in India?

      October 11, 2014 at 11:27 am | Reply
  7. Sormosa # 2

    Paki dikks are so tasty

    October 11, 2014 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Sormosa

      Hindoos would know better. Do you hindoos sukk dikks or shove them up your a zz or your mother's p ussy.

      October 11, 2014 at 11:31 am | Reply
  8. Sormosa

    The problem in India is that national and local politics are controlled by Hindu fanatical groups such as Shiv Sena which are akin to KKK. These are extremist groups with a neo nazi bent And hindutva agenda. They are anti minorities and anti foreigners. They have been massacring and rayping the Sikhs and bulldozing their temples. Hope the young generation of Sikhs tracks those responsible down and bring them to justice.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:32 am | Reply
  9. Sormosa

    Hindu fanatical Hindutva groups such as Shiv Sena's weapon of choice is RAYPE. They believe in controlling masses by social, economic and spiritual intimidation and humiliation. These terrorists groups in India are the most barbaric in nature and are still living in the medieval ages .

    October 11, 2014 at 11:33 am | Reply
  10. deniz boro

    So let's realy be honest about it. Although you did not post my previous comment. ISIS offers a free ticket to an "all inclusive" playground for all the sadomasochist of the World. You cannot call this a sole problem of Islam. Islam happens to be the excuse this time. Look back into history and please do review the inquisitions, the Roman arenas and – sorry to say- the Crusaders and not to forget the Nazi. This barbaric mass hysteria or blood lust is inherent to humanity.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:37 am | Reply
  11. deniz boro

    " How many mass rallies have been held against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in the Arab world today?". Before this question you have to ask how many Democratic Countires which has a Muslim majority IS THERE?. The nearest country may be Turkey. And the World has seen the GEZI RALLIES and the response of the Turkish DEMOCRATICALLY CHOSEN GOVERNMENT. Somehow the idea of democratic expression of ideas and Muslim belief do not seem to sit well together. But the said DEMOCRATICALLY CHOSEN GOVERNMENT of Turkey Of the GEZI RALLIES was more or less REELECTED. That may mean the Muslim people of such countries have a different concept of democracy (apart from any dictionary meaning).
    But let's face it Christianity was born in the year 0 and was reformed in about 1789. Muslim religion was born 350 years afterward and did not have a reform or reneissance. So we may look forward to see a reformed Islam in about. 2139.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • deniz boro

      Just keep in mind that USA government did send her support messages thoroughout.

      October 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  12. deniz boro

    Plus, the people living in the vicinity are afraid to comment. To go out and express ourselves. Well at least those WHO believe in democracy and are more than willing to use the democratic and peacefull means of expressing our point of view are afraid. I personally do not want to die by a machetta, or Doner knife of a man running amog in Istanbul streets. A man WHO was later let loose by Turkish law.

    October 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      Just keep in mind that USA government did send her support messages thoroughout.

      October 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  13. deniz boro

    By the way Fareed... It may be your given post to concentrate on Islam religion issues but I do feel you fall just too often off the point. I suggest you have a field work hereabouts to catch up with basic realities.
    SO ANGRY NOW. I was trying to keep cool and forget about the Gulf War, Arabic Spring and all the mass some BIG HEADS created. Just for OIL.
    And after all the massing (...cking up) they did with the balance of the region they still dare to ask such questions or make comments.
    And even kind of force Turkey to send groud troups to clean up their mass.

    October 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      Just keep in mind that USA government WILL send her support messages thoroughout.

      October 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  14. deniz boro


    October 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  15. Cornithia

    Islam does not have a problem.

    It appears to me that Muslims are the fastest growing segment of world society today. As others are withering away the Muslims seem to be rising again with their contributions as was the case historically when they ruled India and Europe and left behind a legacy of science, art, architecture, culinary et al. One only needs to go to Spain and India to witness this.

    October 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      I will answer you tomorrow Cornithia. Tonight I am beyond reasonable expression. But this Isıs situation was (as far as I am concerned tonight) a result of the mendling of OIL COMPANIES. The RETRO stage started as soon as Saddam set fire to the oil wells in ...... in the First Gulf War during tthe senior BUSH regime.. IT IS EASY TO FIRE UP THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PEOPLE. AS OUR NOW-PRESIDENT IS SO WELL IN. THE REAL LEADER OR GOVERNOR OF PEOPLE SHOULD CLOSE THE GAPS. BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. WELL, THATS NOT A FEAT FOR ANY COMMANER. CAVVIAR FOR THE GENERAL.

      October 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  16. Cornithia

    Let us focus on the causes of terrorism and try to fix the issues. They have been hanging out there for over 60 years ...Palestine….Indian Occupied Kashmir where genocide has been ongoing for decades by predominantly hindu Indian army.

    October 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  17. deniz boro

    Take two maps one of the geographic lay of oil...

    October 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  18. deniz boro

    I had cabbage and sardines for supper yesterday and I just farted. A wet one.
    It's a stinker.

    October 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      this comment was not one of my own. Funny as it is. I do warn CNN.

      October 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • deniz boro

        However, even the attempt to coppy my comments "I had cabbage and sardines for supper yesterday and I just farted. A wet one.
        It's a stinker" brings you out.

        October 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
  19. deniz boro

    See Fareed. On a CNN Forum line they do use my name to comment. So if your line is sooo protected......???????????????

    October 11, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Reply
  20. deniz boro

    Do find this person, can you?: "I had cabbage and sardines for supper yesterday and I just farted. A wet one.
    It's a stinker" however this is a representative of your forum applicants. Nice way of tracing quier peope. Even if they maddle with CNN WEB-Lines. Shall I call for my web cleancing service if CNN fails
    This happened to me 3 times on CNN INTERNATIONAL FORUM. This is not acceptable.

    October 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  21. deniz boro

    Else ..Well do not please send links to me to comment on your topics. As of now

    October 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  22. deniz boro

    And I mean it!

    October 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      not my comment

      October 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  23. deniz boro

    this is my comment though (you pest keep out of it)..

    October 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  24. Deseret

    Chattisgarh, India is among states which have a culture of stripping women naked, forcing her to march naked on village streets while she's being beaten, assaulted, kicked and sometimes burnt to death. Usually, in such incidents women are accused of being a tonhi who's involved in witchcraft and black magic practices. This was first such case when a woman was targeted for having an extra marital affair.

    A woman was marched naked, beaten and assaulted on streets in Jashpur's Farsabahar area on Saturday night.

    October 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  25. Ferhat Balkan

    I find it amazing that the media portrays Islam as some sort of unified religion imbued with fundamentalism... Nothing can be further from the truth. There are nearly 2 billion Muslims on Earth, that's 1 person out of 4. To suggest that all Muslims are the same is a bigoted statement. It's sad to see people like Bill Maher suggest it is. Islam is in fact the most diverse religion in the world. There is no single leader for Muslims such as the Pope for Catholics. There is not a single man who is in charge. Let's take for example the Arabs. Islam originated in Arabia, but Arabs make up about 10-15% of all Muslims. Every Muslim majority country (whether it's a secular or non-secular) has different rules, different cultures, different views of the world. Countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey all have moderate views of Islam and each of those countries has very different cultures, laws and systems in place. Over the past century or so, you've seen a lot of conflict in the Middle East, but it is all due to the discovery of "black oil" when the West started to interfere in the internal politics there and even so far as drew the borders of countries such as Syria & Iraq. All these Western countries are now treating Middle Eastern countries like their own personal gas pumps or gas stations. Let's be real, Islamophobia is here and most Western countries flaunt it all over the media. That these horrible Muslims are all out to get them. It's irrational fear driven by corporate politics to excuse the wars in the Middle East.

    October 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      Muslim is one religion which says "THERE IS NOTHING BETWEEN THE MAN AND GOD"...Realy nothing else... No herersay, no other person, no other artifact...That is why when Muslims bend down to pray towards Kabe no one should stay or past in between. That is off course symbolic. But it also implies that for a (well) true Muslim there is nothing in between Allah and Kul (the person)

      October 30, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  26. chri$$y

    Amen @ Ferhat! Amazing isnt it. Sad actually that the government and the media justify causing fear as an means to "protect us"! There is NO justification to fear mongering!

    October 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      most retardad way of politics.Works on uneducated folks with limited way to free information.

      October 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  27. Nagga

    What's the deal with the photo-shopped photos of Baill Maher and Sam Harris to make them look like sinister demons? Rational argument and reasoning not working? That's really low and take away any logic in the piece.

    October 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  28. Aaron

    So get Sam Harris on your show and have an intelligent discussion without the crazy NOT-intelligentt discussion format that happened on Maher's show. Every time I've heard Sam Harris debate and speak he has come across as intelligent and respectful of his audience and co-debaters or host. Sam's being hit with quite a bit of defamatory trash talk that any intelligent person should reject out of hand. People are commenting on his writings without ever having read them. Help your audience understand the POV Harris brings without all of the attending banter that distracts from the kind of real communication that people need.

    October 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  29. deniz boro

    Ta Ferhat. However I do believe everybdy got the mesage.
    As for "had cabbage and sardines for supper yesterday and I just farted. A wet one." It is almost a summery of the macro situation. :))
    May I PLEASE get back to my retirement in silence. Thanks in advance

    October 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  30. brink70

    The problem with Islam is that the rest of the world is finding out what its all about. We're finding out what the religion says to do because people are doing it. That's the problem with Islam. Muslims actually are doing what the religion tells them to do, is the problem with Islam. And that's also why it will eventually become illegal to practice... punishable by the same rules as Islamic apostasy... and as sane.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:05 am | Reply
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