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 (1,666 Responses)
  1. James Offenthal

    Fareed is a divisive and biased personality in America. We don't need him here. Go back to India with your filth.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:57 am | Reply
  2. Ex-Muslim

    Mr Zakaria, your post is full of sound bites and is not substantiated by any evidence to your claim that Islam is not a violent religion. All I hear you saying when you counter Maher and Harris is that the world's Muslims are not all violent but that tells me nothing about inherent violence in Islam as other religions born at that time and part of the world were. As a native speaker of Arabic and one who grew up reciting and analysing the Quran and Hadith, I can point to you more than one example where Islam is a violent religion. To make things even worse, the Quran is filled with contradictions and paradoxes – on the one hand, it encourages tolerance & peace and then in other verses, there are blatant calls for violence and terrorism. The faith was a product of its times and those times were violent. Islam was spread through the sword and that is a historical fact that even Muslims are hard pressed to deny. I feel you are adding nothing to the public debate apart from apologist rhetoric...

    October 14, 2014 at 10:32 am | Reply
  3. Just Converted Muslim

    After studying Islam for several years alongwith ither religions for a good 10 years, I concluded that Islam was the most enlightened religion and THE only peaceful religion. Therefore, I converted to Islam. That was the best decision decision of my life. I love Islam as it has provided me a very blissful and peaceful way of life. Al Humdo Lillah.

    October 14, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Just Converted Muslim

      BTW I am a cardiologist in NYC.

      October 14, 2014 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • Sneeks

        Lmao. Suuuuuuuuuure you are. Liar.

        October 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Renaissance

        I betcha you just had a massive myocardial infarction ya "Sneeky" hindu vermin. Run and go suk Shiva's dik before you die and reduced to wood dust.

        October 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • Epiphany

      Amen. I embraced Islam in the 1990s. My son, a Colonel in US Army converted a few years ago after his tour in Afghanistan.

      October 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  4. Sarah Rosemary Maloney

    Mr. Zakaria please go away. I don't like nor trust plagiarists.

    October 14, 2014 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Sneeks

      Now that's a point that hasn't been brought up 900 times already!

      October 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply
      • Renaissance

        Does not seem the point has gitten across to Fareed apologists. Take the porcupine haired fella back to India-Stan with ya. Do us Americans a favor.

        October 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  5. Karl Lyle

    Modern day genocide was invented by Hindoos and implemented by India in Indian Held Kashmir and in Gujarat. Their leader Modi is complicit. To date hundreds of thousands of folks have been murdered. Slaughtered in cold blood. Moslem holocaust.
    The world watches. UN plays the fiddle. Hindoos celebrate. THERE WILL BE PAYBACK. WATCH !!! HISTORY IS A GREAT TEACHER !!!

    October 14, 2014 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Sneeks

      Oh shut up already.

      October 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Reply
      • Renaissance

        You f ukkin hindu b@sta@rd from India. F ukk off. Ya muther fukker person with BO.

        October 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  6. Ashley

    I mean do you expect anything but bigotry from a third world personality from India who wears suits but deep down he comes from a country where the culture is one of women and minority bashing and cheating of all sorts.
    If you have any self respect you would resign, Fareed Zakaria.

    October 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • Sneeks

      Ashole, be silent.

      October 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Reply
      • Epiphany

        You don't sound like a very polite person. Nor respectful to women. Are you sure you are not from India where they treat women very poorly?

        October 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  7. revrickm

    Ultimately, Islam suffers from the same malady as all other Abrahamic religions – differences in interpretation. Islam makes a big deal out of the purity of the Quran, and that over the centuries it has been recited, copied and printed without any changes from its original form. That argument is moot. The violent branches of Islam negate any Islamic claim as to the purity and changelessness of their religion. Just as within Christianity and Judaism, different sects of Islam have arisen, each with different "interpretations" of what the Quran means, and how it should be followed. In the end, Muslims themselves can't agree, just as Christians and Jews can't agree. The crux of the problem with ALL religions - every religion and many of its follower are selfish, egotistical, power-hungry humans.

    October 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Ain't that the truth

      Thank you, my friend. You have spoken the ultimate truth! ALL religions are basically screwed up. How true. How sad. Christians, Muslims, Jews...... they all murder and thieve in the name of their God........... shame on all of them.......... may they all go to hell and suffer eternal damnation............. maybe we humans should ban all religions???????? Can we just be nice to each other.......... no matter what your race or religion???????? How about that for a new start???????

      October 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • Renaissance

      I think you are wrong on several fronts. The most important being that Islam is the most enlightened and sophisticated religion that has ever existed. It is truly god's gift to earth. Islamic legacy is the most enriched of all.

      October 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Reply
      • revrickm

        Renaissance....everything I just stated is a fact. You said I was wrong on several fronts? Please list each "front" where I am wrong and refute each. By the way, since you seem to be defending Islam, are you Sunni? Shi'ite? Sufi? Ahmadiyyas? None of these?

        Even in the current conflict Muslims are killing each other. Over what? Interpretation.

        October 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  8. Epiphany

    Sorry to say it but I have never been trusting of people with slick greased hair coming from yonder lands. I think they use mustard oil on their hair in India. Now this fella just spreads hatred all over. I am talking about Mr. Zakaria. He strikes me as a gold digger who would sell his wife to make some dough.

    October 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  9. Renaissance

    Thanks to Islam we saw the renaissance. The muslims pulled the world out of dark ages. We should be thankful to them.

    October 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • druffmaul

      Muslims pulled us out of the Dark Ages? OK. Well, then I suppose that does indeed give them the right to pull us right back into them, which is exactly what groups like ISIS are attempting to do. Should we be thankful for that as well?

      Zakaria is talking out of both sides of his mouth here. He's in complete agreement with Maher and Harris' point. He's just trying to say it in a less offensive way.

      October 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • sanman

      Whaddya mean "we", Pakistani? Why should "we" infidels be grateful to a bunch of 7th-century nuts who support ISIS and its beheadings? The 7th-century was part of the Dark Ages, and so are those who worship it.

      October 19, 2014 at 1:27 am | Reply
      • luke

        The Dark ages were predominantly a Western/European geographical phenomenon. Furthermore, the eastern world, east of Constantinople were intellectual modernist and fundamental preservers of Greek/Roman knowledge.

        October 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  10. Renaissance

    Hindu fundamentalists are opposed to much of mainstream science and history. In 2013, for example, a Hindu nationalist group filed a lawsuit in California over the content of several world history textbooks which they claimed were discriminatory against Hinduism. In reality, most of the changes they were seeking were to whitewash history to cast their beliefs in a better light – they wanted to soften or delete references to polytheism, s exism against women, and the caste system in ancient India. Although the lawsuit was dismissed, it showed that Hindu groups are not above attempting to rewrite history to serve apologetic ends.

    October 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • get over it

      And you think "white people" have not tried to whitewash history to their own ends????? Get over it, you nutcase!!!!!!!!! Most of the "history" books that are out there are mere "biased" opinions and viewpoints about what really happened..........

      October 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
      • Crockett

        So when are you guys gonna stop raiping and I ncest in India? You wanna whitewash it also, eh hindoo boy?

        October 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • sanman

        That poster is a Pakistani – you can tell by his obsession with mentioning Hindus anytime his precious Islam or Pakistan are named. The fact is that Indians recently celebrated their mission to Mars, and signed cooperation agreements with NASA. Backward Pakistan and its anti-scientific mentality can't compare. They persecuted their only scientific Nobel Prize winner, Abdus Salam, because they felt he was a heretic from an un-Islamic sect. They even vandalized the man's grave over it.

        October 19, 2014 at 1:26 am |
    • jn

      pakistani muslims want to talk of science? Have you still come to terms with the sun setting in a muddy pond as your quran states? By the way Indians have reached mars. Have pakistanis come out of caves yet?

      October 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
      • Champ

        Tell me, hindus who don't know how to build toilets ( you s hitt on the streets) how can you even build a doghouse. LMFAO.

        October 14, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
      • jn

        As if you pakistanis are any better

        October 14, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
      • Touch Down

        Why are you fellas from across the pond in India jealous of your neighbors? They divorced you years ago. Move on.

        October 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
      • jn

        Jealous of what? A failed state that knows nothing but export of terrorism?
        That is a good laugh. Continue the comedy show….

        October 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
      • Touch Down

        Focus on building toilets in BhaRAT and feeding the starving hindoos in Endia. Hindoos can't even stand buildings. ED problems. LMFAO

        October 14, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
    • sanman

      Pakistani, you keep trying to conflate Hindus with your crazy ISIS brothers. Even now the Taliban created by your Pakistani Army and ISI have declared their obedience and support to ISIS and its leader Al-Baghdadi. Your hero Bin Laden, whom you sheltered across from your National Defence Academy, would be smiling proudly from his watery grave.

      October 19, 2014 at 1:23 am | Reply
  11. Thank you Fareed

    Thank you so much, Fareed Zakaria, for having the courage (being a Muslim!) to admit that Islam has a problem. Your ignorant brothers will probably issue a "Fatwa" against you for your courage, but do not be afraid of them. What you have spoken is the truth. Just like Christianity and Judaism have some serious flaws, so does Islam. The problem remains the "blindered" view that all religions have. They denigrate other religions so that they can reign supreme over them. How human. How silly. How ignorant. Can we just ban all religions, due to this fatal flaw???????????

    October 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Crockett

      Fareed is a stooge in the hands of CNN and CIA in spreading plagiarized propaganda. He has lived in subjugation in the hands of India hindus throughout his life in India and therefore sought asylum in USA. He is scared of what will happen to him and his family in India should he not do the bidings of his masters. He is probably being threatened as happens to most expatriates from India ... threatened by the Indian government and RAW who is very active internationally in tracking and monitoring its citizens down. I feel sorry for Fareed. he should go on a sabbatical and spend time learning about Islam and become more knowledgeable. Right now he is p issing on himself.

      October 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  12. Crockett



    October 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • sciophobiaranger

      Islam is strong in fairytales and made-up stories. Muhammad was a war lord. Join the 21st century.

      October 15, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  13. billbl

    These suicide bombers are willing to give up their lives on Earth for a promise eternity in heaven. Of course, there is no real evidence that there really is a heaven to go to. Someone needs to tell them that they will never see heaven by killing innocent people.

    October 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  14. Renaissance

    Hindus raipe bcoz they believe it to be good karma and that they will be reincarnated as Lord Shiva or Kaali Maa. Little do they know in America first we throw them in jail for bubbas to feed off b'fore the karma thing kicks in to be reborn as rats. Bad karma.

    October 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • jn

      There are more muslims in US jails than hindus. There are also more pakistanis in jail than Indians.

      October 14, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Touch Down

        Are you doing time for Raipe? Recall your country people from yonder India ie Rajat Gupta, Khodragando, Sanjay Chpotla, Krishnamurthy etc. are doing time in our American jails. No chicken masala for them. Big bubba dikks in lieu.

        October 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
      • jn

        @touchdown – you must be talking about your pakistani terrorists – your top export to other nations.
        Also, have you pakistanis finished off the ahmadiyas and the shias or are any still left in pakistan. (And we won't talk about all the other minorities that have been already eliminated)

        October 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • Touch Down

        Go have your umma rub shiva's linga and slide up her hindu c untt.

        October 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
      • objective observer

        touchdown is such a pathetic human being. he has such low self esteem in himself and his perverted faith that he tries to insult such deep and timeless religions like hinduism that spawned mystical yet still healing practices such as prayer, yoga, buddhism, karma. your prophet married a 7 year old girl and meets the definition of a pedophile. go look your pathetic self in the mirror before you open your toilet of a mouth, your low self esteem waste of humanity. youll probably be reborn as a weed growing out of fecal matter looking at what you are now

        February 15, 2015 at 1:00 am |
  15. Carl Myers

    Let's be honest Mr. Zakaria, you stink at journalism. Your ethics are rotten. Is that how you were brought up in your India. The hindu wasteland.

    October 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  16. Champ

    Get lost Fareed. Take a boat back to BhaRAT and enjoy the smell of s hitt in that raipeland. Frigghin hindu terrorists.

    October 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  17. Rosenfeld

    Just took a flight from Newark, NJ to Chicago. This guy sitting next to me was smelling like rotten onions. I asked him where he was from. He muttered Tamil Nadu, India. I apologized politely to him and told him that I was nauseous due to his BO. That I will call flight attendant to move to another seat. I did so but none were available. Halfway through the flight he opens up a tupperware. It had some kind of fish curry. The smell coupled with his BO did me in. B'fore I could get up I started throwing up all over including into his curry. I was sick. The doctor on the flight helped me move to the toilet. Thank you. I was later told that guy from India kept on eating his curry and licking his fingers in sheer joyful ecstasy. More power to him. I have landed at O'Hare and am still sick from the odor.

    October 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  18. Fareed: Take a Hike, Today.

    We don't need Fareed's juvenile and polarizing journalism in America. Take the pay for the rest of the year and walk.

    October 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • Fareed: Take a Hike, Today.

      Yes, this is Rosenfeld trying to get the message across.

      October 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • jn

      Son, do you even know what is the meaning of "juvenile". Did you ask your mummy her permission before using her computer?

      October 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      • Touch Down

        Your umma was being raiped by pundit.

        October 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
      • jn

        We all acknowledge that you are 4 years old. Now go home, little boy. Don't pick fight with adults or we will make you cry. Stick to gull danda with the other 4 year olds.

        October 14, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • Apres'

        Run along and go clean your bottom on the rsil track in bombay.
        Raipe your daughter when you return ya hindoo with BO

        October 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
  19. Apres'

    The Khmer Rouge trial and guilty verdict sends a loud and clear message to all those leaders who undertook genocides. Payback time.

    It is time to stand up Modi of India and send him to The Hague to face trial of murders and genocides in Gujarat et al, India ..... committed against the minorities.

    We shall never forget.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Reply
    • jn

      Another 4 year old from pakistan.

      October 14, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Reply
      • Apres'

        You hindoos raipe newly born per CNN

        October 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
  20. Apres'

    Fareed. Get on a donkey cart and be gone to Hindoostan. Go raipe over there to your heart's content.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  21. Apres'

    Have some self respect, Fareed. You are being used as a pawn. If you are gonna sell yourself do so for big bucks not the pittance they are giving you.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • Tapper

      Fareed is a plagiarist. As most Indians are. That is how they get through US Universities.

      October 14, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Reply
      • Rana


        October 16, 2014 at 7:36 am |
  22. Apres'

    Terrorist Hindus:::

    Beginning of Gandhi's letter to Hitler.

    "Namaste, My Fuhrer. I implore you to propagate the Aryan race and remove all semitic impediments in this endeavor. We look forward towards your wisdom and guidance with respect to dealing with British and exterminating Jews. I continue to expound on my hobby of banging my goat and niece Manu. Of course not to mention other tender aged boys and girls and my cow ... Lakshmi. Your Obedient Servant , Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi."

    October 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Honest Advise

      Well, now we know how Mahatma Gandhi befriended Hitler and encouraged him to holocaust and purify race while advising Jews to be placid.
      I always knew that midgety t wit was no good.

      October 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Reply
      • AA

        yes and he was gay....

        October 16, 2014 at 8:37 am |
  23. Honest Advise

    My advise to you Fareed: get on a boat and git outta town to some cave in India. We in America are not racists.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  24. Tapper

    EBOLA?E Coli? Food poisoning? Occasional Diarrhea? Runs? Bloating?

    Folks, think thrice before eating in an Indian restaurant. Watch the cooks in the kitchen scratching their b ollz and fingering their a zz and then handling food without washing hands.

    On top of that Hinddooos dont bury their dead. The carcass finds way to restaurants. There is no accounting of human bodies. Kid you not.

    Google Aghoris

    October 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  25. Tapper

    So, Fareed when you were a student in India how about them raipes ya'll students were involved in ova dere? Can you share your experiences with us?

    October 15, 2014 at 4:20 am | Reply
  26. Atom

    Zakaria, uncharacteristically adds little to the conversation except to throw in with Harris using a lighter tone. While Zakaria's language may be less charged, a close examination of both segments will reveal the conclusions are one and the same.
    If you watch the original HBO clip with Maher, you'll see that Zakaria agrees with Maher and Harris that the best available solution is to enable the reformers inside the religion. (I would also add socioeconomic development as another solution – Brookings says that helps reduce fanaticism too 🙂

    As I see it, the problem with Zakaria's proposed soft landing here is the fact that there is simply no room for settlement with fanatics. I'm sure Zakaria has read Eric Hoffer & Russell Bertrand. There is simply no overlap in the ven diagram between those with, and without, cognitive dissidence. Supernatural group think is impermeable and totally elastic. It's only limit is the imagination of the eye of the beholder. The solution is more, not less of the straight talk like Sam Harris and Bill Maher provide.

    There is no time for soft landings and courtesy to bad ideas that create a petrie dish for fanaticism to thrive unchecked. Manmade totalitarianism devolves into genocide when it goes unchecked by rational thought and/or constructive criticism. Straight talk. I applaud Zakaria's efforts here in re-stating the same calls for reformation in a different tone and with a different sense of urgency. These same concepts should be expressed in many keys to resonate with more people.


    Although Zakaria may be correct that there are 14 centuries without abrahamic clashes in civilizations, ALL OF THE ABRAHAMICS would do well to remember why Judeo/Christianity reformed. Otherwise, the next fourteen centuries will not be as peaceful as Zakaria hopes as the next batch of charioteers of the gods seems ever worse than the last.

    Here's why to my mind, the past is not a proper forecaster of the likelihood of Abrahamic civility.

    The world has changed. Humanity's imaginative innovation is its defining glory. Our innovation now allows one fanatical cleric (or one "Lone Rat" as FBI directors like to say) force their worldview on others, under pain of death, using nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Straight talk is needed to defeat these extremists who will use our most dangerous weapons not to assure mutual, but actual, destruction. This is a stark contrast and important distinction.

    That is why more, not less, urgent straight talk should eventually resonate. Thank you. Atom Woolz

    October 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  27. LOL

    Subhannu Allah.... Why are you guys fighting so much in the comments section? Peace!

    October 15, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  28. Ali Ahmed

    Islam never had and never will have a problem....
    Extremisim is a problem that exist in people or community.
    Unfortunately most of these persons belong to the third world countries where a few people use any religion to exploit majority to achieve power.

    October 16, 2014 at 8:22 am | Reply
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