By Tara Kangarlou, CNN
(CNN)–Gold, red and green gift boxes decorated a large Christmas tree in a popular food court in the Islamic Republic’s bustling capital of Tehran. Nativity scenes of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus added color to the windows of shops across this lively city, a small symbol of the growing number of Iranians embracing the Christian holiday.
Iran has a population that is 98% Muslim, and the government is widely recognized for its repressive rulings, censorship and efforts to cut ties with the United States and the West, but more Iranians are openly celebrating Christmas and expressing their desires to be part of the global celebration.
On Christmas, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad released a statement praising Jesus as "the messenger of humanism and grace" and noted, "I believe that the sole way to save the man from severe moral, social and cultural crises is returning to the exalted teachings of the great messengers of God."
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:
Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Domino’s Pizza founder, Tom Monaghan.
CNN: Pizza magnate wins temporary ruling on contraception coverage dispute
The billionaire founder of Domino's Pizza has won a temporary court victory, with a federal judge blocking enforcement of part of the health care reform bill requiring most employers to provide a range of contraception and reproductive health services. Some business owners and their staff see that as a violation of their religious rights.
Tweet of the Day:
My prayer as we enter another year: May God bless us with peace the world-over! Aameen!— Waseem A. Sayed, PhD (@waseemsayed) January 01, 2013
My prayer as we enter another year: May God bless us with peace the world-over! Aameen!
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.