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. Chappel

    Fareed needs to removed from this program. We don't need another fella from India creating divisiveness and propagating racism in our country. I encourage all to boycott products of those companies advertising on CNN GPS. I am.

    October 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Kyle

      We don't need another fellah from India....... is a racist comment.... I hope you consider your thoughts deeply. America is a country of immigrants, joined in the belief of freedom of expression. To promote understanding is Fareed's goal, for through understanding can answers be found. Do you not agree?

      October 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • Chappel

        India is not a race. They are ape/s evolved from cokroaches.

        October 13, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  2. elsid3

    Fareed,
    Hats off to you. You have called a spade, a spade! problem with Islam is that the Arab brand is being sold as the sole model and this has neither the relevance nor appeal in parts of Asia, who are not Arabs. Huge petrodollars has been used to spread Wahabism. The reason why so many Islamists have risen eg ISIS,Al queda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab etc is because Arab Islam is NOT inclusive. Visit a temple in India and you will see a Muslim playing Nadaswaram. The Arab brand is a corrupt model which preaches 'might is right' and is against pluralism and inclusiveness. How else can you explain the barbarity of ISIS. See Malaysia,Indonesia, India and you will see a non-Arab Muslim perfectly normal. Move to Iraq,Syria,Libya and you see evil!

    October 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      For the life of me I can't understand your logic. Why would someone want to visit a temple in India and get rhaped? Devadasi is prevalent in these temples. Young girls are being sold to hindu pundits in these temples as s ex slaves.
      Please don't compare hinduism with rest of world religions. Hinduism is a cult. Sorta hippy movement was.

      October 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  3. Grumpy

    Lets be honest here ISLAM MUST DIE If you read the Quran there is no such thing as moderate Islam.

    October 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      Come on down ISIS is waiting for ya! Will you keep on talkin or go fight them? Ya scared, eh.

      October 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  4. Chappel

    Gabriel
    October 12, 2014. 1249 hrs

    WORLD MUSLIM POPULATION: Clock

    2,735,797,111Billion

    October 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  5. Chappel

    October 12, 2014. 1300 Hrs

    WORLD MUSLIM POPULATION: Clock

    2,735,795,124 Billion Strong and counting

    October 13, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply

    October 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  6. Jim

    Religion is the great ball and chain of mankind. How can we hope to travel the stars with this great weight infecting us?

    October 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • Blunt&Rude

      Ignorance, intolerance & bigotry are the greatest chains that bind mankind.

      Religious intolerance in the form of 'intolerance of religion' is no different and in many ways worse as it's usually accompanied by a dangerous level of arrogance.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  7. Chappel

    October 13, 2014. 1302 Hrs

    WORLD MUSLIM POPULATION: Clock

    2,735,812,143 Billion Strong and counting

    October 13, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply

    October 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • Ted

      Someday, science will invent a cure for your mental illness or an antidote for it. If all fails, the world will fight your lunatic religion of slavery and hate with more commitment than Ebola virus.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Reply
      • OneGod

        Now Ted, read what I told Chappel. How are you sounding different then him?

        October 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • doughnuts64

      You're off by a billion, or so.
      And most of the 1.7 billion that exist think you're a nut.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • suzie669

      Chappel,

      There is not enough drinking water or foods.

      What this 2.7 billions Muslims will do?

      Wars against infidels to take their lands, properties, water and foods? Then it is gone.

      Next, marry 4 wives = 16 children

      Starve??? Thirsty???? No more infidels to slaughter. What this 5 billions Muslim will do??

      Wait for your answer.

      Best regards,

      October 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  8. Chappel

    Fareed Zakaria, read my lips. Your biased bigotted reporting has been met with disdain. How will you look your children in the eyes and explain to them the polluted legacy that you have left them behind. Your logic is flawed. Your facts are wrong. Your journalism is unethical. I hope you can find salvation in this life. May Allah bless you nonetheless. We muslims are very forgiving.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • OneGod

      Mr. Chappele, you said "We muslims are very forgiving." Who are "we"? I am a muslim. I am not part of your "we". Take a chill pill dude. May Allah bless you nonetheless.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • chuckmartel

      chapel, Go back to your dark age sewer and blow yourself up you stinking pig.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • Doug

        Good one, bro. Very intelligent. Thanks for adding something worthwhile to the conversation.

        October 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • suzie669

      Chappel,

      You, Muslim, are very forgiving????????

      Can anyone on this blog know what Chappel talking about???????

      October 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  9. Mitch

    Prophets and brainwashed followers have been around for centuries. Joseph Smith, Mohammad, Jesus,.. the religions formed are constructs to give people a teddy bear to take with them becuase they are afraid of the dark. Look at all the petty divisions they create. Look at why Sunnis and Shiites despise each other – all over arguments about which silly version of a story about Mohammad's nephew is true. Look at the petty divisions of the christian churches, and the horrific deeds during the Inquisition, or the bizarre antiquated behaviors of Jewish orthodoxy. Examine the ridiculous argument that "my religion is oldest, therefore must be the true religion" – and follow that logic. Would that mean that ancient paleolithic worshipping is the ultimate true religion? What about the ancient Greek gods or Zoroastrian faith? Why don't we ressurect Zeus and Odin and make more cool Hollywood movies out of them – then at least we get some entertainment value from them.

    John Lennon and Bill Maher are contemporary heroes for calling the emperor naked.

    Read: "God is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • neko shousui

      BULL!!

      October 13, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • Greg Lamb

      The problem Islam has is education. Education that is dictated by religion is not education but indoctrination. Islam being a total all inclusive way to live has full control over good practicing Muslims. There is no solution but that Islam change.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  10. business

    Fareed comes from India where mostly muslim community is very poor because most of them don't like to send them in science school only they send them in Madarsa where they don't like to teach about science even indian government is trying so hard to teach them science they take federal help but missuse the money.
    Fareed knows it but never reported it . this is new twisted story from ppl like Fareed started saying India and Malaysia have that many muslim .

    October 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • billbl

      Certainly, the madrassas are a great source of radical (unreal) ideas. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been doing a disservice to humanity by funding them and creating more religious fanatics.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • OneGod

      Bangladesh has two women prime minister leading the country since 1990

      October 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • JimBob

        Great! When will that happen in Saudi Arabia? You know, gods chosen people – who all other muslims will be serving in the afterlife. Oh, they didn't tell you about that when you visited mecca? Oops!

        October 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • hazmat

      Can we please stop with all this "Madrasa" nonsense? Madrasa is just the Arabic word for school, it has nothing to do with religion or ideology. If you go to a catholic school in the middle east it's still called a madrasa, get educated people...

      October 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  11. Mikon

    Thanks, Fareed. I love your analysis.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  12. harrisonhits2

    Islam doesn't "have a problem", it is the problem. Islam is the greatest evil in the world today and the modern day equivalent of fascism. The vast majority of muslims are extremist who live in extremist countries. Iraq, Iran, Syria, the vile human filth of isis, Pakistan, Indonesia, the rest of the middle east, every one of these places is populated with millions upon millions of extremists.

    The west needs to get over political correctness and stand up with a spine against the evil these people are doing. islam needs to be decertified as a religion and treated the same way Naziism is.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  13. Chappel

    Fareed is a disgrace to the journalust profession. He has no credibility. He is a plagiarist.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Raj

      and u are a muslim terrorist nut case..

      October 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
      • Chappel

        ALLAH O AKBAR.

        Come Come child. Join the echelons of civilization. Get away from reptile worship.

        October 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Doop

    "In 13 countries around the world, all of them Muslim, people who openly espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam face execution under the law, according to a detailed study issued on Tuesday."

    64 percent of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan support the death penalty for leaving Islam.

    Is it an extremist view to believe in the death penalty for "crimes" of apostasy or blasphemy? Yes.

    Is it an extremist view to believe in torture or imprisonment for "crimes" of apostasy or blasphemy? Yes.

    Even in Indonesia Sharia is enforced through violence.. This is accepted, condoned by those in Indonesia...

    "Acheh provincial government had paraded ... Public Canning Of Woman Offender Of Acheh Islamic Laws"

    I would argue 100's of Millions of Muslims, arguable the majority of Muslims agree with death or torture for apostasy and/or blasphemy. The majority of Muslims hold extremist beliefs.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      Funny. Reads like Gita Bhagavad. LMFAO.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Skippy

      Your figures are correct, but I'm not sure that the problem is being framed correctly. I'm sure that non-Muslims in those and other similar countries would feel similarly (heck, just look at all of the Christian fueled anti-gay violence in Africa going on right now). I know for a fact that the majority of Christians everywhere did feel similarly not too long ago. Your numbers also ignore that most Muslims in socially advanced nations do not agree with those socially backwards ideals.

      I don't think that it is the particular religion that is at issue, but the social development of the regions in question. Regions like the Middle East, parts of Asia, and Africa are behind the rest of the world socially. Why is it surprising that they act as such? We can trot out numbers and then pick any trait we want to blame it on...why stop at religion? Or we can actually look at the underlying causes and try to figure out how to work towards fixing them...which we don't want to do because then we might have to fix some of the same underlying causes of violence in our own countries.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  15. Chappel

    ISLAM STRONG!!

    The world is yours.. Break away from the shackles of suppression that you have been subjected to. YOU HAVE A DREAM ....OH YES YOU HAVE A DREAM AND THAT DREAM SHOULD BE FULFILLED. These are the words of Martin Luther King that are so applicable to you. We shall call it 'Republic Of Aspirations' a 'State of Islam' in mind, body and spirit.

    Come with me and I will lead you to your zenith.
    Follow me and I will show you the light.

    MOSLEM STRONG!!!

    October 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • Raj

      eff allah.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Chappel

        ALLAH O AKBAR !!

        October 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Raj

        what nw ? u raging infidels...

        October 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Dwight

    Most Islamist, like many Christians, etc don't know thier source text and history. Islam was created by Mohammed many years after Judiasm and Christianity formed and even mentions them in their text and yet also condemn them as corrupted. Mohammad set out to rid the world of these corruptions and swept across the Middle East into Asia and into Eurpope killing people and converting by the sword. These fundamental Islamist only seek to do the same thing following the route of Mohammad and the Koran encourages this. Christianity on the other hand was founded by Jesus who converted by His word, no violence taken and NT scriptures encourage this route, no violence against others.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      ALLAH IS GREAT !!
      GOD IS GREAT !!
      ALMIGHTY IS GREAT !!

      MOHAMMAD (PBUH) IS GREAT !!

      MOSLEM STRONG!!!

      THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

      THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

      INSHALLAH !! GOD WILLING !!!

      October 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Raj

        allah is a joke and the pedophile mohamed is the joker.

        October 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Chappel

        ALLAH O AKBAR

        October 13, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Vincent

    I disagree with calling them extremists, they follow exactly what Islam teaches. The religion itself is the problem. Maybe it's a small minority, but that's still many millions of Muslims.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  18. billbl

    Critical and open discussions are the means to change erroneous ideas (including religious). Without free inquiry into every subject including religion humanity will not advance. There is too much repression in some Muslim areas to such openness and the social pressures and regimentation keep everyone in line. The Internet and access to it and cable news may penetrate and let them hear new ways of thinking. This will help radical Muslim societies to become more a part on humans advance towards civilization.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  19. Chappel

    ISLAM STRONG !!
    MOSLEM STRONG!!!

    THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

    THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

    INSHALLAH !! GOD WILLING !!!

    October 13, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  20. Chappel

    ALLAH IS GREAT !!
    GOD IS GREAT !!
    ALMIGHTY IS GREAT !!

    MOSLEM STRONG!!!

    THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

    THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

    INSHALLAH !! GOD WILLING !!!

    October 13, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Raj

      eff u and ur violent pedophile prophet

      October 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply
      • Chappel

        ALLAH O AKBAR.
        Come join the enlightened people. Get away from worshipping crawling critters and clay deities.
        ALLAH O AKBAR

        October 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Ted

      Yes, the finish line is yours – go right of the cliff into the eternal oblivion where you and your murderous religion belongs.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      Chappel, please just stop with all this. Religion, in and of itself, is a great EVIL that should be stamped out. Anything that preaches beliefs such as Islam is indeed terrible. One day, the world will rise up and stamp it out. As Karl Marx stated; " Religion is the opiate of the masses. "

      October 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  21. Ted

    Islam has a problem, and it is called Koran, the most narcissistic and murderous piece ever written. Even Hitler's Mien Kampf is kindergarten book comparing to Koran calling for force conversion or mass murder of all humans on Earth. Pure Evil.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      ALLAH IS GREAT !!
      GOD IS GREAT !!
      ALMIGHTY IS GREAT !!

      MOSLEM STRONG!!!

      THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

      THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

      INSHALLAH !! GOD WILLING !!!

      October 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  22. Ted

    Islam = Pure Evil

    October 13, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      ISLAM = STRONG
      ALLAH O AKBAR

      October 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  23. Don

    Victor Hanson has the most thoughtful perspective on the topic, the last paragraph is below... http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=7787

    "Finally, pretending that modern jihadism has “nothing to do with Islam,” and spinning pleasing distortions of Islam’s theology and history, will not help sincerely reform-minded Muslims, for they know that there is no historical or theological foundation for these flattering fairy tales, which consequently lack authority in the eyes of most of their fellow Muslims. They know their own history and religion too well, unlike the Western apologists who tell esteemed and learned Muslims like Khomeini and Tantawi that they don’t know their own faith. Indeed, a movement to create a genuine liberal-democratic Islam would be truly “radical” from the perspective of traditional Islam and its beliefs, as the continuing failure of liberal democracy to take hold in the Middle East demonstrates. But most of all, such fantasies endanger our attempts to destroy a committed enemy who is motivated by a storied history of conquest and domination, and inspired and justified by the most cherished beliefs of millions of their co-religionists."

    October 13, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Chappel

      ALLAH IS GREAT !!
      GOD IS GREAT !!
      ALMIGHTY IS GREAT !!

      MOSLEM STRONG!!!

      THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU!

      THE FINISH LINE IS YOURS !!

      INSHALLAH !! GOD WILLING !!!

      October 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  24. Chappel

    October 13, 2014. 1345 Hrs

    WORLD MUSLIM POPULATION: Clock

    2,735,832,143 Billion Strong and Counting

    October 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • Ted

      Faster than Ebola.

      October 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • chuckmartel

      Go back to your dark age sewer and blow yourself up you stinking pig.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  25. Yakobi

    "some moderates confront these extremists, not enough do so and the protests are not loud enough."

    That's because the vocal, intolerant minority threatens to kill anyone who disagrees with them, including moderate muslims.
    Nothing will change until the majority of muslims quit giving tacit approval and take a stand against the militants who have hijacked their religion. Oh, and when they stop funding the militants, too.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • HumbleE

      It is false to say that Muslims do not speak out against extremists, not just those who call themselves Muslim but those who call themselves Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. Just look at any website of a major Muslim organization, such as ISNA. It is also silly to say that they are afraid of Muslim extremists. In fact, they are far more likely to be the victim of a hate crime at the hands of non-Muslims. But I honestly do not recall Christians protesting loudly against the Lord's Resistance Army, Jews against settlers, or Buddhists against the Burmese. It seems that Muslims do more to speak out against injustice than members of other faiths, and are still told that it is not enough. The only reason I can see is that there is a political motivation behind defaming Muslims.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Reply
      • Yakobi

        "Just look at any website of a major Muslim organization, such as ISNA."
        SOME (predominantly Shiite) muslims oppose radicals such as ISIS for political purposes, while others secretly support them by sending them money and weapons. Let's not forget that what an Islamic organization says (in English) doesn't necessarily match its actions. To pretend that muslims by and large are outspoken against Islamic extremism is ludicrous.

        "In fact, they are far more likely to be the victim of a hate crime at the hands of non-Muslims."
        In fact, just the opposite is true. A muslim is far more likely to die at the hands of another muslim for violating some perceived threat against their religion than at the hands of a non-muslim. Honor killings alone account for far more muslim-upon-muslim hate crimes than all the non-muslim upon muslim attacks in the whole world.

        "It seems that Muslims do more to speak out against injustice than members of other faiths"
        When it's perceived injustice against muslims by non-muslims, to be sure. You can't get them to shut up about Israel, no matter what country they're from. But when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan–nothing. All the terrorist attacks on India by Pakistan state-sponsored infiltrators–zip. When Assad used poison gas on his own people–only the Turks said anything, and again, for political reasons.

        Although a few tentative voices in the muslim world might brave the fanatics enough to criticize them, at the same time other wealthy muslims are sending the extremists arms and money, often via purported muslim "charities". Don't forget that CAIR–the outspoken critic of any perceived anti-muslim affront in the U.S.–was named an unindicted co-conspirator by the DOJ in supporting terrorists groups.

        "The only reason I can see is that there is a political motivation behind defaming Muslims."
        I think they're doing that all by themselves with both the actions by the huge number of extremists and sympathizers in their religion and by the tacit approval of their actions by the majority.

        October 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  26. Ted

    Every second, a muslim is killing or abusing someone. Now.. Now.. Now... End Islam – NOW!

    October 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  27. Ali Akbar

    The only problem with islam is that it exists.....

    October 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  28. Tango

    F Islam and F the muslim's who keep killing. I say drop more bombs. Sooner or later, they will vanish.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  29. Tango

    Chappel–Go eat a pork sandwich.

    October 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  30. JimBob

    How about if all religions agree to eradicate the fundamentalist portion of their own religion? What a peaceful world this would be!

    October 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
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