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June 9th, 2010
06:05 PM ET

Anti-Islam Freedom Party makes strong showing in Dutch elections

The far-right, anti-Islam Freedom Party of controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders more than doubled its seats in parliament in elections Wednesday, beating analysts' expectations by coming in third, exit polls showed.

The party is set to go from nine seats to 23, the Synovate projection predicts.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Politics

June 9th, 2010
04:55 PM ET

Pope the musical

This Friday in a new musical about Pope John Paul II opens in Rome. CNN Producer Hada Messia files this report from our Rome Bureau:

Written by a priest and acted by priests, a musical dedicated to Pope John Paul II’s life opens in Rome this weekend and plans on touring Italy for the rest of this year and next.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture & Science

June 9th, 2010
04:39 PM ET

Unenlightenment and the 'Holy Land'

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and legal fellow for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, D.C.

As a global community, we would probably like to believe that our ongoing human experiment has been driven by the enlightened advancement of collective human thought. Because as Mahatma Gandhi said, "I have nothing new to teach the world. ... Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills."

Yet the current mix of perpetual war and poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism raises the question of whether the human race has completely lost its collective mind.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Opinion

June 9th, 2010
04:32 PM ET

Bikini or headscarf - which offers more freedom?

Krista Bremer writes for Oprah.com:

Nine years ago, I danced my newborn daughter around my North Carolina living room to the music of "Free to Be...You and Me", the '70s children's classic whose every lyric about tolerance and gender equality I had memorized as a girl growing up in California.

My Libyan-born husband, Ismail, sat with her for hours on our screened porch, swaying back and forth on a creaky metal rocker and singing old Arabic folk songs, and took her to a Muslim sheikh who chanted a prayer for long life into her tiny, velvety ear.

I imagined Aliya embracing shopping trips to Whole Foods and the stack of presents under the Christmas tree, while still fully appreciating the melodic sound of Arabic, the honey-soaked baklava Ismail makes from scratch, the intricate henna tattoos her aunt drew on her feet when we visited Libya. Not once did I imagine her falling for the head covering worn by Muslim girls as an expression of modesty.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture & Science • Interfaith issues • Islam

June 9th, 2010
04:16 PM ET

Religious conservatives want immigration reform

A group of conservative evangelical leaders (including Rev Sam Rodriguez, seen above) broke with their political brethren Wednesday, coming to Washington to push the White House and congressional leaders to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status.

Political conservatives have long balked at an immigration policy that includes what they term "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, but the evangelicals see the issue differently.

"A significant part of our churches and denominations are part of the immigrant community so we have a very close connection and a very great interest," Leith Anderson, president of the influential lobbying group National Association of Evangelicals, said Wednesday, " ... but our interest is really rooted in what the bible teaches how we treat people and how we treat particularly people who are aliens or strangers in the land."

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Evangelical • Politics

June 9th, 2010
04:52 AM ET

My Take: The flotilla’s lessons for Mideast peace advocates

Editor's Note: Jeremy Ben-Ami is president and founder of J Street and a former deputy domestic policy advisor to President Bill Clinton.

By Jeremy Ben-Ami, Special to CNN

I had the good fortune of spending last week with Ami Ayalon, former commander of Israel’s Navy and former director of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service), as I processed the lessons and consequences of the Gaza flotilla.

Who better to help reflect on the deeply troubling events than one of Israel’s most decorated military heroes – who happens to have commanded the very naval commando unit that carried out last week’s raid.

Here are some important lessons I learned.

One, distinguish between victory and revenge. If your enemy hits you (rockets from Gaza, metal pipes on a ship deck) it may be satisfying to hit back harder (Operation Cast Lead, taking over a civilian boat with commandos), but ask whether such actions bring you closer to real victory.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Israel • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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