By Stacey Samuel, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Forty-five days after a deadly shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple, hundreds of Sikhs and their supporters lined the halls of Congress on Wednesday for a Capitol Hill hearing on hate crimes and the growing threat of domestic terrorism.
“The recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was a tragic hate crime that played out on TV around the country,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who chaired the hearing for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
“It was not the first tragedy based on hate, and, sadly, it won’t be the last,” Durbin said of the shooting, which left six dead and four wounded in addition to the gunman, who took his own life. “But it should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to combat the threat of domestic terrorism.”
By Ashley Fantz, CNN
(CNN) - Restrictions on religion spiked throughout the world between mid-2009 and 2010, including in the United States, says a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The U.S. was among 16 countries, including Switzerland, where hostilities jumped during that time period. Pew examined 197 countries, assigning a score between from zero to 10.
Zero represents the least restrictive and 10 the most. There are two categories - governmentally restrictive and socially restrictive.
By the CNN Wire Staff
Editor's note: Read a version of this story in Arabic
Damascus, Syria (CNN) - As the 18-month-long Syrian conflict festers, the government and the opposition welcome and need Christian support.
But some Christians fear radical Islamists have been swelling rebel ranks.
CNN's Nic Robertson recently spoke with Syrian Christians in the Damascus countryside town of Maaloula.
Christians make up 10% of the population. Syria is ruled by a government dominated by Alawites, whose faith is an offshoot of Shiism. The regime is opposed by an opposition with a large Sunni presence.
Some Christianssupport the government, others the opposition. Many want to know what an opposition government would mean for them and are apprehensive.
From Erinn Cawthon, CNN
New York (CNN) - A controversial advertisement that critics say is hateful toward Muslims will appear in New York City subway stations starting next week, despite the city's attempts to halt the campaign.
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ad, which reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
The authority's decision was overturned last month when a federal judge ruled that the ad is protected speech under the First Amendment.
Jihad - Arabic for "struggle" - is considered a religious duty for Muslims, although there are peaceful and violent interpretations of what it means.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which produced the ad, has been fighting to place the message in New York's subway system since last year after the authority refused to display it.
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) – Defense attorneys for a senior Roman Catholic official convicted in the child sex abuse scandal said this week that prosecutors persuaded a defrocked priest to falsely admit to sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in exchange for their client’s conviction.
Monsignor William Lynn, 61, was found guilty in June of one count of child endangerment, and is serving a sentence of 3 to six years at a minimum-security facility. The trial judge denied bail pending his appeal.
The trial marked the first time U.S. prosecutors charged not just the priests who allegedly committed abuses, but also a church leader for failing to stop them.
In a motion to reconsider bail pending an appeal filed Monday in Pennsylvania Superior Court, defense attorneys say they learned in August that defrocked priest Edward Avery passed a polygraph test before the trial and revealed that he did not know, and never touched, the former altar boy he pleaded guilty to abusing.
“This came to my attention very late in the game,” said Thomas Bergstrom, defense attorney for Lynn. “Ultimately, (Avery) did plead guilty because prosecutors were dangling 20 years in prison in his face if he didn’t plead.”
Just days before the landmark trial began in March, Avery, 70, pleaded guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 2½ to five years.
By Arielle Hawkins, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: Putting the 'jab' in 'hijab': Girls beat up Iran cleric when he tells them to cover up
They may be a far cry from their Western counterparts fighting for the acceptance to breast feed – or go topless – in public, but two girls clobbered a cleric recently in a small town in Iran, when he admonished one of them to cover herself more completely. The cleric said he asked "politely," but the girl's angry reaction and some pugilistic double-teaming with her friend landed the holy man in the hospital, according to an account in the semi-official Mehr News Agency.
CNN: 5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'
Since the news broke Tuesday about a scrap of papyrus containing the line in Coptic, "Jesus said, 'My wife..' " questions have rocketed across the world about what this means. We put many of the big questions to leading scholars, pastors and people in the pews to find the answers.
By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @deanofcomedy.
(CNN) - Newsweek's cover story "Muslim Rage" has inspired a comedic rage.
The magazine's newest issue features an article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who purports to lecture the West on how to best handle Muslim rage. Newsweek, in an effort to promote the article, turned to Twitter, asking people to tweet their thoughts on the article, followed by the hashtag #MuslimRage.
What happened next was not what Newsweek or Ali could have anticipated or wanted. Instead of an academic discussion about the article, or hate-filled diatribes by Islamophobes, it turned into something extraordinary.
Thousands of tweets bearing the hashtag #MuslimRage filled Twitter, showcasing satire at its best - the type, by definition, which uses "wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly."
By Ben Brumfield and Shirzad Bozorgmehr, CNN
Tehran, Iran (CNN) - They may be a far cry from their Western counterparts fighting for the acceptance to breast feed - or go topless - in public, but two girls clobbered a cleric recently in a small town in Iran, when he admonished one of them to cover herself more completely.
The cleric said he asked "politely," but the girl's angry reaction and some pugilistic double-teaming with her friend landed the holy man in the hospital, according to an account in the semi-official Mehr News Agency.
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.