December 8th, 2010
03:04 PM ET
Editor's Note: This report comes from the CNN Wire staff in New York.
The controversial head of a Muslim congregation in New York announced the launch of a "multinational, multifaith movement" meant to improve understanding and build trust between "people of all cultures and faith traditions," according to a statement released Tuesday.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the public face of a recent political firestorm surrounding the construction of an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, is now spearheading what he calls the Cordoba Movement.
The initiative is meant to broaden his groups' work in promoting religious tolerance and "expand learning among Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of all faiths," the statement said.
"We must retake the discourse among religions and cultures from the hands of the extremists around the world who benefit from hatred and violence," Rauf said in the statement. "We must stop this downward spiral of hatred, mistrust and misunderstanding if our world is to have a peaceful future."
It is unclear how the initiative will work to accomplish that goal.
November 28th, 2010
06:48 PM ET
The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting.
A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque's imam told CNN.
November 24th, 2010
08:19 AM ET
Editor's Note: By CNN's Robert Howell in Killeen, Texas. In March, CNN's Soledad O'Brien will be premiering a documentary about being Muslim in America, looking at the controversy over the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. See more here.
When Wagdi Mabrouk heard the news about the shootings on Ft. Hood he remembers thinking how close he was to the alleged shooter.
"Nidal Hassan, I knew him very well. I prayed right beside him."
Mabrouk, a retired command Sergeant Major was overseas for work on Nov. 5, 2009 when Major Nidal Hassan allegedly opened fire on this base of over 50,000 soldiers. Though so far away, the news hit very close to home.
"It happened right outside our backdoor, it was unbelievable, it was just unbelievable. It just took us by surprise," Mabrouk said.
The deadly shooting of fellow soldiers by one of his own Muslim brothers is something he has struggled with. Something he knows tore at the fabric of this tight-knit Army town.
November 22nd, 2010
02:40 PM ET
Editor's Note: By CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff in New York.
The developer behind the controversial Islamic community center and mosque planned for Lower Manhattan has requested federal funding through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to support the project known as Park51.
The funding would come from money the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated to help rebuild the neighborhood after the 9/11 attacks. "Park51 has applied for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant," said Sharif El-Gamal, CEO of SOHO Properties, the developer behind the Islamic center.
In a statement, El-Gamal said the money would "in part fund social service programs such as domestic violence programs, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services."
November 16th, 2010
08:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: CNN's Maria Ebrahimji filed this Q&A.
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a second generation American Muslim, radio personality and a policy advisor in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.
In his new book, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, he challenges Muslims and non-Muslims to be stewards of the earth. He hopes the book will help rebrand Muslims from terrorists to environmentalists.
Here's an edited transcript of our conversation:
What does Green Deen mean?
Green has become the catch-all word for being environmentally friendly. Deen in Arabic means religion but can also be translated to path or way. So a green deen is literally an environmentally friendly religion.
November 15th, 2010
09:36 AM ET
By Barry Neild for CNN
He was an adventurer, a scholar, and possibly a spy - but as Dutchman Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje proved with his rare 1885 photographs and sound recordings of Mecca, he was also a pioneering multimedia journalist.
Snouck's extraordinary collection of sepia-tinted images of Mecca in a bygone age have gone on display in Dubai ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that originally drew him to the heart of Islam.
Accompanied by crackling, eerie soundscapes captured by Snouck using Thomas Edison's newly-invented wax cylinders, the exhibition paints a very different picture from the ornate and built-up Mecca familiar to modern visitors.
Among the newly-restored platinum prints, one image taken from a nearby hillside shows the Kaaba, the instantly recognizable cubic building considered by Muslims to be the holiest place on the planet.
But though the galleried compound which surrounds it is echoed by Mecca's contemporary architecture, the sparsely-built city of Snouck's era bears only a passing resemblance, as do the rudimentary travelers' tents on the dusty plains outside the city.
November 15th, 2010
09:15 AM ET
Editor's Note: CNN Correspondent Nima Elbagir is in Mecca for the Hajj and filed this report.
It is the most recognizable landmark of Islam’s holiest site, but it actually pre-dates Islam. The black cloth of the Kabaa, or the Kiswa as it is known, is the covering of “God’s House." For Muslims, the cloth itself an object of reverence.
And for nearly a century it’s manufacture has been entrusted to only a handful of local artisans.
November 15th, 2010
08:54 AM ET
Editor's Note: CNN Correspondent Nima Elbagir is in Mecca for the Hajj. She brings us this report on how the increasing number of pilgrims to Mecca is causing a billion-dollar construction boom.
I just prayed the evening prayer, the Maghrib, squeezed between a Cinnabon and a Movenpick ice cream kiosk, in an underground shopping mall. The Imam was piped into us over loudspeakers. It took me three days after our arrival in Mecca to pray within the courtyard of the Masjid Al Haraam itself.
This is my first time covering Hajj for CNN and my first actual Hajj pilgrimage and although I've seen the pictures but I was unprepared for the sheer mass of humanity. And even less prepared for how happy most of them seem to be, utterly joyous to have made it here, to have been called by God.
There is a crush of traffic jams and the searing heat. The heat is here to stay but the traffic jams might soon be a thing of the past. The Saudi Arabian authorities have quietly been putting into place the largest reconstruction project in the world.
Unbelievably, given its status as for one of the most visited places on Earth, Mecca itself is only 1200 kilometers squared (about 745 miles squared).
November 9th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: CNN's Ed Payne brings us this report.
American Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths are divided over what to do about a proposed Islamic community center near ground zero in New York, a new poll shows.
While some six in 10 Catholics and Mormons think another location should be found, less than a third of Muslims, other non-Christians and non-religious Americans feel the same way, according to the Gallup survey. Jewish Americans, Protestants and other Christians fell more in the middle.
No majority exists in any of the groups for building the center on the proposed location.
November 5th, 2010
02:43 PM ET
Editor's Note: CNN's Reza Sayah brings us this report from Islamabad, Pakistan.
Authorities in Pakistan are reporting a second deadly mosque attack Friday in the country's volatile northwestern region, a strike that killed four people and injured 18 others.
This follows a fatal blast that killed at least 67 people and wounded more than 80 others in a suicide attack that targeted anti-Taliban members at another mosque in the northwest, said government official Khalid Umarzai.
Both incidents occurred in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with the latest taking place during Friday prayers at Salman Khel village on the outskirts of Peshawar.
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.