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August 13th, 2010
10:10 PM ET

Transcript: President Obama at White House Iftar Dinner

THE WHITE HOUSE

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT IFTAR DINNER

State Dining Room

Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Please, have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House. To you, to Muslim Americans across our country, and to more than one billion Muslims around the world, I extend my best wishes on this holy month. Ramadan Kareem.

I want to welcome members of the diplomatic corps; members of my administration; and members of Congress, including Rush Holt, John Conyers, and Andre Carson, who is one of two Muslim American members of Congress, along with Keith Ellison. So welcome, all of you.

Here at the White House, we have a tradition of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties and seders and Diwali celebrations. And these events celebrate the role of faith in the lives of the American people. They remind us of the basic truth that we are all children of God, and we all draw strength and a sense of purpose from our beliefs.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Barack Obama • Muslim • Politics • Religious liberty

August 13th, 2010
09:55 PM ET

Obama throws support behind N.Y. Islamic center

President Obama threw his support behind a controversial proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero, saying Friday that "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country."

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," Obama said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The president's remarks drew praise from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced his support for the Islamic center last week.

FULL STORY

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Barack Obama • Islam • Muslim • New York

August 13th, 2010
08:55 PM ET

In ad, Louisiana Dem slams opponents 'serious sin'

Louisiana Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon is out Friday with a biting new ad that attacks incumbent Republican Senator David Vitter's 'sins,' as well as his voting record on women's issues.

The 30-second ad, entitled 'The Worst,' features a woman's voice combined with images of Vitter and his wife leaving a July 2007 press conference where Vitter admitted to having an extramarital affair and contacting an escort service.

The narrator says, "We know how David Vitter handled his serious sin."

Read the full post on CNN's Political Ticker

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Sin

Are these the relics of John the Baptist?
August 13th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Intriguing tale of John the Baptist's 'bones'

In a region already rich with archaeological artefacts, the excavation of a small alabaster box containing a few pieces of bone amid the ruins of a medieval monastery might easily have passed unnoticed.

But when Bulgarian archaeologists declared they had found relics of John the Baptist, one of the most significant early Christian saints, their discovery became the subject of rather more interest - prompting angry exchanges in the local media and even calls for a government minister's resignation.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science

August 13th, 2010
12:44 PM ET

Opinion: Why we needed an imams' declaration for peace

Editor's note: Dr. David Liepert is a member of the Calgary Council of Imams, comprised of 50 of Canada's mainstream Muslim faith leaders. He helped craft the Canadian Council of Imams Declaration, released Friday. He is author of "Muslim, Christian and Jew: Finding a Path to Peace Our Faiths Can Share."

By Dr. David Liepert, Special to CNN

Immediately before 9/11, al Qaeda was considered almost below most Americans' notice. One Washington Post/ABC News poll found that in early 2002, only 14 percent of Americans thought Islam encouraged violence.

These days, the popular perception of Islam is dominated by al Qaeda and its radical agenda. Al Qaeda has grown into a monster that dominates the American psyche, and many non-Muslims fear that the majority of Muslims are bent on violent takeover.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • Opinion

August 13th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

U.S. 'deeply concerned' about religious persecution in Iran, Clinton says

Hillary Clinton at the State Department on Wednesday.

The U.S. is "deeply concerned," about religious persecution in Iran following reports that the country has sentenced seven Baha'i leaders to 20 years in prison, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

In a statement, Clinton criticized what she called "the Iranian government's continued persecution of Baha'is and other religious minority communities in Iran."

"The United States is committed to defending religious freedom around the world, and we have not forgotten the Baha'i community in Iran," Clinton said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Persecution • Politics • Religious liberty

August 13th, 2010
04:52 AM ET

Muslims around the world: What does it mean to be Muslim today?

Editor's note: What are your thoughts on Islam today? Are you observing Ramadan? If so, how are you celebrating your faith? How do you think Islam has changed since the turn of the millennium? Send us photos or video or tell us in the comments below.

"We have a very big responsibility to show the true meaning and the true essence of Islam." That's what it means to be Muslim today, according to Nashwa Zakharia, a PR director from the United Arab Emirates.

She says it has been "distorted" and "misrepresented" by world events and the actions of some individuals.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Islam • Middle East

August 13th, 2010
12:44 AM ET

Bodies found on lake's shore may be missing Bosnian Muslims

As many as 50 bodies discovered on the shores of a lake at the border of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina may be those of Bosnian Muslims who disappeared from a nearby village in the 1990s, officials said.

The International Commission on Missing Persons and the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina discovered the bodies that are believed to be from the three-year Bosnian war that began in 1992, a spokesman for investigators said Thursday.

They were discovered along Lake Perucac, an artificial reservoir that is connected to a hydroelectric power plant. Lake water levels have been dropping as the result of recent maintenance, commission spokesman Jasmin Agovic said, and the dropping water revealed sites that have yielded bodies.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Violence

August 13th, 2010
12:37 AM ET

Canadian imams issue declaration to combat radical Islam

A council of Canadian imams is issuing a declaration Friday that it says represents the world's first nationwide condemnation of radical Islam by the faith's religious leaders.

"People have done many, many condemnations of terrorism but it has never been done well enough or complete enough to get people to pay attention and to say this is a point of sea change," said David Liepert, a spokesman for the Canadian Council of Imams, which is issuing the statement.

"This is us reclaiming Islam from radicals who want to promote conflict and promote violence," he told CNN.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Interfaith issues • Islam • Muslim

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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