October 11th, 2014
10:46 PM ET

Let's be honest: Islam has a problem today

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that "the Muslim world...has too much in common with ISIS," and the author, Sam Harris (a guest on his show) concurs, arguing that "Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas," I understand why people get upset. Maher and Harris made crude simplifications and exaggerations.

And yet, they were also talking about something real. I know all the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It is a vast world of 1.6 billion people. Places such as Indonesia and India have hundreds of millions of Muslims who don't fit these caricatures. That's why Maher and Harris are guilty of simplification and exaggeration.

But let's be honest: Islam has a problem today...There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrate violence and intolerance, and harbor deeply reactionary attitudes towards women and minorities. And while some moderates confront these extremists, not enough do so and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against ISIS in the Arab world today?

But now the caveat, Islam today, is important.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show

soundoff (1,656 Responses)
  1. Nick Shaban

    Let's be honest: Islam has a problem today???? : )

    NO MR. ZAKARIA IS TOO EARLY.........LET'S WAIT A FEW MORE YEARS TO MAKE SURE
    THAT ISLAM HAS A PROBLEM!!!! : )

    PLEASE LET'S NOT JUMP IN TO SUCH HASTLEY CONCLUSIONS!!! : )

    October 13, 2014 at 12:48 am | Reply
  2. Nick Shaban

    Let's be honest: Islam has a problem today??? : )

    NO MR. ZAKARIA IS TOO EARLY.........LET'S WAIT A FEW MORE YEARS TO REALLY MAKE SURE
    THAT ISLAM HAS A PROBLEM!!!! : )

    PLEASE LET'S NOT JUMP IN TO SUCH HASTILY CONCLUSIONS!!! : )

    October 13, 2014 at 12:55 am | Reply
  3. readerpan

    Too many muslims believe that religious RITES trump human RIGHTS. That is the major problem islam has.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:09 am | Reply
  4. musings

    Nobody noticed Islam until someone decided to take some oil – it happened back when they eliminated Mossadegh and installed the Shah of Iran. Yes, they liked Islam then, and some liked it even more as it seemed a bulwark against communism too. The jihadis of al Qaeda were encouraged as fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan and the Russian-leaning Serbs in Yugoslavia as it was breaking up. Remember/

    Fact is that honor killings (or the belief in same) have absolutely nothing to do with jihad. In fact they are old tribal ways which pre-dated Islam (even St. Augustine, a Berber, railed against it in his society, centuries before Islam existed).

    But Moslems were used to chase out communists – and guess what? Their indoctrination was paid for by us and our allies in Saudi Arabia. Now they are treated like dirt. Go figure.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:32 am | Reply
    • Butch

      ISLAM STRONG !!
      MUSLIM STRONG!!!
      THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!
      THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

      I AM SO PROUD OF BEING A MUSLIM !!
      ISLAM IS MY WAY OF LIFE!!

      October 13, 2014 at 3:04 am | Reply
      • jak

        You wanna go deer hunting with me ? I would love to get you in my crosshairs ,you coward!

        October 13, 2014 at 3:16 am |
      • Mosely

        You are terrorists. Muslims are peaceful people.

        October 13, 2014 at 7:39 am |
    • jak

      How about a few tactical nukes down their chimneys just to liven things up?

      October 13, 2014 at 3:19 am | Reply
      • Mosely

        Talk peace not war. Islam does not encourage such terrorist thoughts.

        October 13, 2014 at 7:40 am |
  5. Mach

    As long as worldwide Muslims poll near universal support for criminal punishment for apostasy and blasphemy, we can conclude it's more than a small minority of Muslims with a problem.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:53 am | Reply
    • Michiel Hegener

      Correct. In Britain 36% of all muslim men favour the death penalty for apostasy, in Egypt it's 86%. That means that there is not a tiny violent minority that's causing problems, as Fareed Zakaria assumes. It's the majority, stupid!

      October 13, 2014 at 7:43 am | Reply
  6. skater6000

    The Koran stands in direct opposition to the New Testament, and presents a false version of God.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:07 am | Reply
    • Butch

      ISLAM STRONG !!
      MUSLIM STRONG!!!
      THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!
      THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

      I AM SO PROUD OF BEING A MUSLIM !!
      ISLAM IS MY WAY OF LIFE!!
      WHAT IS YOURS?

      October 13, 2014 at 3:06 am | Reply
    • jak

      AMEN

      October 13, 2014 at 3:20 am | Reply
    • susan

      meh. they're both fiction.

      October 13, 2014 at 3:28 am | Reply
    • Michiel Hegener

      A false image of God? The Koran is, according to muslims, the word of Allah, God has nothing to do with it. And Jesus, as all Christians can tell, spoke the word of God. As it is obvious that the source of the Koran, with all it's calls to violence and jihad, cannot possibly be the source of the words of Jesus, it it clear that Allah and God are two. Allah is not God. (And this has nothing to do with the question whether Allah exists and whether God exists.)
      So, the Koran doesn't present a false image of God, but rather a correct image of Allah.

      October 13, 2014 at 7:36 am | Reply
      • Al

        Anyone so stupid to stay in islam is stupid indeed

        there is no god but NO god

        October 13, 2014 at 7:55 am |
  7. Rjsenterp

    Islam is a religion stuck in the 6th century AD. It is a violent religion and obviously cannot coexist with other religions. Forcing women to completely cover themselves, not allowing them to drive, raping them whenever they want, killing others who don't believe as they do, etc., etc. it's time to end it once and for all.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:22 am | Reply
  8. GnatB

    Problem with Islam, is it doesn't have the "out" that the other Abrahamic religions do. Namely that Judaism and Christianity can say that what the bible says is merely interpretations of what god said and/or meant for a specific time/place. So they can change and adapt somewhat to changes in culture/morals.

    Islam doesn't have that out. One of the foundations of Islam is that the Koran is precise dictation meant for all time. A lot of what ISIS is doing is a fairly precise interpretation of the Koran. This makes it rather difficult for muslims to speak out against it.

    When the Koran says: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." -Qur'an 9:29. That's precisely what muslims must do. Fight everybody who isn't muslim until they either convert, or pay tax (jizya). Guess what ISIS is doing? If you're in their territory you can convert to islam, die, or pay tax. True muslims can't say well, that was an interpretation meant for a certain time/place, or point to a certain sacrifice that effectively rewrote the rules. They're stuck with what the Koran says.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:34 am | Reply
    • Chien

      Could it be that the word "fight" in spiritual sense might mean differently, instead of killing the person ?
      One can fight against temptations by avoiding occasions to sin,
      fight against injustice by non-violence protests,
      fight against non-believers by living the faith authentically by example with good deeds and do good for others and avoiding being bad influenced by the secular culture away from the faith.

      October 13, 2014 at 4:36 am | Reply
      • Zetttta

        It can definately mean that, but the part about them paying taxes more implies physical domination over them, not spiritual. Am I right?

        October 13, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  9. Bill davis

    Sounds just like the Republican Party

    October 13, 2014 at 2:38 am | Reply
    • bucdale

      or an SEIU Union Protest.

      October 13, 2014 at 6:40 am | Reply
    • Bob

      Tell that to all the blacks the democrat party lynched during the Jim Crow period.

      October 13, 2014 at 6:54 am | Reply
      • shamgar50

        Then when LBJ embraced civil rights, most of the bigots fled to the Republican party. Guess you forgot about that.

        October 13, 2014 at 7:17 am |
      • Moses

        Bob, your grandfather and great grandfather, who lived during the jim crow era, WERE Democrats. Go look it up.

        October 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  10. Chabote

    AL QAEDA/TALIBAN AFFILIATED
    TERRORIST GROUPS IN INDIA WITH GLOBAL REACH: MULTINATIONALS

    RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEWAK SHANG (R.S.S.)
    VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD (World Hindu Council)
    HINDU MUNNANI
    ARYA SAMAJ
    SHIV SENA
    BHARATIYA JANATA PARISHAD (BJP)
    SANT SAMITI
    HINDU MAHASABHA
    BAAJRANG DAL

    LEADERS: Narendra Modi/ L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray(EXTERMINATED)/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    October 13, 2014 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • Chabote

      Do we have a trial date for Modi? At the ICJ, The Hague.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:51 am | Reply
    • Ragini Darshan

      The story is about problems in Islam not in India. Stick to the story. Writing about other peoples problem does not solve problem in your religion. None of the parties in India is looking for international recognition or kidnapping foreign journalist and beheading them. Pointing out other people's problem does not justify the actions of Muslim terrorism. Religion is man made so does terrorism

      October 13, 2014 at 6:25 am | Reply
      • Ardhanari Agarwal

        Hitlers followers in the US had a rally that was well attended in Madison Gardens in the 1930s. Its just a repeat of history but as it was then, people are not paying attention to this growing terror until it is too late. Its a pity but we don't really learn anything from history, do we.

        October 13, 2014 at 7:52 am |
  11. Chabote

    Raping, chopping heads off and stuffing bodies in wells is the hallmark of hindu culture and form of terrorism that has been in existence for centuries . That is why the entire region is reeling in terrorism for so long. The world needs to address the terrorism emanlating from India
    Hindus and their gods wrote the book and the Standard Operating Procedures on terrorism::;:::

    Lord Shiva is god of destruction in Hinduism. He is a head chopper in chief of India. He even chopped his son Ganesha's head. He is the fabric of Hindu culture.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:48 am | Reply
    • Butch

      This cult hindooism is sooo disgusting

      October 13, 2014 at 2:55 am | Reply
  12. Butch

    At least five Indian leaders/prime ministers/presidents have been assassinated by hindu fanatics. Several genocides have either been undertaken in India or ongoing as we speak.
    Indian immigrants in western countries are engaged in crimes of d espikable nature...doctors rayping patients, defrauding insurance companies, insider trading, and so on. Hinduism is an extremist and violent cult whose manifesto is so medieval and barbaric that it is causing all the terrorism
    In the region.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:55 am | Reply
    • Tracy

      I always knew hindus were terrorists. Just read Gita Bhagavad. It is an SOP on terror.

      October 13, 2014 at 3:14 am | Reply
  13. Butch

    Terrorism is rampant in the region in part financed by Indians. We need to revisit our relationship with India. American taxpayers will not tolerate this anymore. We need to take care of our own populace going forward. We cannot be exporting jobs to India or giving it financial or technical handouts. It has become too big to govern or create any value for western countries or even for its own population. India needs to be carved up into smaller independent states to be a viable economically and geo politically.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:56 am | Reply
    • sparky

      And ye shall know the paki by his unoriginal talking points.

      October 13, 2014 at 3:25 am | Reply
  14. Butch

    ISLAM STRONG !!
    MUSLIM STRONG!!!

    THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

    THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!
    I AM SO PROUD OF BEING A MUSLIM !!
    ISLAM IS MY WAY OF LIFE!!

    October 13, 2014 at 3:02 am | Reply
  15. Tracy

    I for one am not an apologist for Islam. Islam has been around for thousands of years. Many books have been written and translated on Islam. It is one of the, if not the largest, religion in the world. It is the fastest growing. It is a way of life. Islam has a rich legacy that is out there for everyone to see.

    October 13, 2014 at 3:09 am | Reply
    • sparky

      Muslim-on-Muslim killing in Syria and Iraq is a fine example of that legacy.

      October 13, 2014 at 3:29 am | Reply
  16. Tracy

    Fareed Zakaria is an insult to the Americans and CNN. He is an extremist and a zealot. Plus he is incompetent.
    He must go.

    October 13, 2014 at 3:12 am | Reply
  17. Abacus

    There are two balls of fire globally. Israel and India. One larger than the other just like my sweaty balls.
    All you have to do is map out terror on a map and you will see these two cults right in the center.

    October 13, 2014 at 3:16 am | Reply
    • sparky

      You start four wars and lose them all. Good going.

      October 13, 2014 at 3:29 am | Reply
  18. Joe McGee

    Islam is a trash religion. Muslims eat my feces. Butch is an idiot. Islam must be destroyed.

    October 13, 2014 at 4:17 am | Reply
    • p

      Don't know about that but it surely is the least tolerant one.

      And how can they say that Allah is the only God when Islam was only founded around 1500 years (Prophet Mohd. lived between 570 to 632 AD). Christianity existed much before that (Jesus lived between 7-2BC to 30-33AD). And Hinduism has been known to have existed for over 500 years!

      So clearly other religions existed before Islam and so did other Gods. It is ridiculous to say that those Gods do not exist!

      October 13, 2014 at 5:48 am | Reply
  19. Chien

    All terrorists will be eradicated from the earth like the Nazi, sooner or later !

    October 13, 2014 at 4:44 am | Reply
  20. Keith Sealund

    While I always appreciate Mr. Zakaria's efforts are impartiality and sober analysis, soft peddling the threat posed by Islam is disingenuous and has proven wrong (for all the reasons listed in his article). All religions are goofy, and as Mr. Zakaria points out Christianity had its brutal period but has since "mellowed". At this juncture Islam, be it the radical end or not, has a problem with self determination, the corner stone of modern western societies. This fundamental flaw makes it incompatible with the modern world and denying this fact merely prolongs confronting reality and dealing with it. To Mr. Zakaria's point, no we cannot just outlaw a religion, but we can drag it into the full light for critical analysis and begin the process of either changing it, isolating it (see where that got us), or destroying it. This is a battle over ideology and will last for generations. Take Care!

    October 13, 2014 at 5:00 am | Reply
    • Al

      If you took away the threat of death for so many things in islam, there probably would be an exodus of 90% of adherents. That would cure islam the ham

      October 13, 2014 at 8:03 am | Reply
    • donald corliss

      If this is the Keith Sealund I know hello my friend and I completely agree with your views here

      December 9, 2014 at 12:43 am | Reply
  21. p

    To all my Muslim commentators here:

    The chief of Hezbollah said that he would prefer if all Jews moved to Israel so that he doesn't have to hunt them down around the world and can kill them all in one place.

    My question to my Muslim commentators here is this... Are you For It or Against It?

    October 13, 2014 at 5:42 am | Reply
    • q

      I fart in your general direction.

      October 13, 2014 at 6:17 am | Reply
      • p

        Your Allah did not give you brain or what?

        October 13, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
  22. Ragini Darshan

    The story is about problems in Islam not in India. Stick to the story. Writing about other peoples problem does not solve problem in your religion. None of the parties in India is looking for international recognition or kidnapping foreign journalist and beheading them. Pointing out other people's problem does not justify the actions of Muslim terrorism. Religion is man made so does terrorism.

    October 13, 2014 at 6:23 am | Reply
  23. Somebody

    Let me offer some advice to the Muslims who may be disparaged by all the comments on here. Do not apologize. Do not make excuses. Do not feel as if you owe anyone explanations. The world is full of degenerates that place an exceedingly high level of importance on the few thoughts they have. You'll be better served not to play into their hands.

    October 13, 2014 at 6:37 am | Reply
  24. Charade

    Does anybody know when Fareed's last day will be at CNN. The Afghan guy replacing him is in town.

    October 13, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
  25. Parsus

    A 10-year-old tribal girl was raiped by at least 10 members of a hindu kangaroo court in a Birbhum village, India on Monday night as punishment for having an affair with a youth from another community. She is in critical condition after the assault and is clinging to life in spite of the raipists stopping her from reaching a hospital. Welcome to
    to the world of hinduism. ISIS will have a blast in India.

    October 13, 2014 at 7:16 am | Reply
    • Mosely

      Hindus doing what they do best .... Raipe!

      October 13, 2014 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • p

      Send ISIS to India and see how they get bombed back to stone ages by the Indian Armed Forces

      October 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  26. Fred

    Been saying for years, the deafening silence of the "moderate" Muslim is as good as a confession of their complicit guilt.

    Want to know the difference between a moderate and an extremist Muslim? An extremist Muslim wants to chop your head off. A moderate Muslim wants the extremist to chop your head off!

    October 13, 2014 at 7:17 am | Reply
  27. I AM

    Islam would be better thought of if the Muslim states would band together and stop the ISIS threats to each of their countries. But, ISIS is the base of their religion. It's the militant tea-party of ISLAM.

    October 13, 2014 at 7:23 am | Reply
  28. Mosely

    ISLAM STRONG!!
    MUSLIMS VERY STRONG!!
    VIVE LE ISLAM !!
    THE FUTURE BELONGS TO ISLAM!!

    October 13, 2014 at 7:28 am | Reply
    • dustieryder111

      hey butch...
      no more virgins available. how about some sheep and a jar of grease.

      October 13, 2014 at 7:32 am | Reply
      • Mosely

        They must all have been raiped by your hindoo cousins in India. Go est some curry ya smelly s kunk.

        October 13, 2014 at 7:34 am |
  29. Mosely

    While Catholics are busy banging boys on the altar... While the hindoos are raiping underage girls on running buses, while the jews keep on indulging in i ncest.... The muslims are building this world. Islam is the future of this world.

    October 13, 2014 at 7:32 am | Reply
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