September 11th, 2013
09:24 AM ET
Opinion by Nathan Lean, special to CNN
(CNN) – The attacks of September 11, 2001, were unthinkable, and are rightfully memorialized with the somber reflection that marks other tragedies of our nation’s past.
From the Oval Office that Tuesday evening 12 years ago, President George W. Bush addressed the stricken nation with a message of hope.
“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America,” he said. “This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace.”
Sadly, though, out of that dark hour came more darkness.
November 12th, 2012
05:53 AM ET
By Ben Wedeman,CNN
(CNN) - Thousands of supporters of various Egyptian Salafi groups gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday calling for the immediate implementation of Islamic law.
Before midday prayers, speakers called on the government of President Mohamed Morsy to move quickly to implement Sharia. Morsy won the office as the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party.
About 10,000 demonstrators advocating for Sharia filled the square, chanting in unison, "The people want God's law applied."FULL STORY
March 2nd, 2012
05:00 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – A major American Muslim group is embarking on a national campaign Friday to clarify a word it says has been given a bad name by recent global and domestic politics: Sharia.
The Islamic Circle of North America says its effort is aimed at “educating Americans” on what it says is the noble meaning of Sharia through conferences, billboards, and TV and radio PSAs.
The group is also launching a national hot line to answer questions about Sharia and Islam.
For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Sharia describes a way of life, from dietary laws to a code of moral life. For some conservative American critics, the word is sinister – connoting a draconian legal code that they contend threatens to subvert American law.
September 6th, 2011
03:29 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) – Ten years after 9/11, Americans are wrestling with their opinions of Muslims, a new survey found, and where Americans get their TV news is playing a role in those opinions.
Nearly half of Americans would be uncomfortable with a woman wearing a burqa, a mosque being built in their neighborhood or Muslim men praying at an airport. Forty-one percent would be uncomfortable if a teacher at the elementary school in their community were Muslim.
Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values.
May 4th, 2011
03:00 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Osama bin Laden wore the mantle of a religious leader. He looked the part and talked a good game, but his theology was a radical departure from traditional orthodox Islam.
The pitch to join al Qaeda did not start with an invitation to put on a suicide vest but, like other religious splinter groups and cults, took advantage of disenfranchisement and poverty.
Bin Laden had no official religious training but developed his own theology of Islam.
"We don't know that (bin Laden) was ever exposed to orthodox Islamic teachings," said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University.
The writing of ideologues in the Muslim Brotherhood influenced bin Laden heavily, Moosa said.
"He takes scriptural imperatives at their face value and believes this is the only instruction and command God has given him - unmediated by history, unmediated by understanding, unmediated by human experience. Now that's a difference between Muslim orthodoxy and what I would call uber- or hyperscripturalists," Moosa said.
May 3rd, 2011
11:54 AM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
Shortly after we learned of the death of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said his body would be treated in accordance with Islamic traditions. What those officials did not say is that there are two Islamic burial traditions: one for ordinary Muslims and another for martyrs.
For ordinary Muslims, the body is washed and then wrapped in a plain white shroud for burial. For martyrs, however, the body is not washed and it is buried in the clothes the martyr was wearing when he died. This is because a martyr’s blood is a badge of honor — proof positive that he died in service of Islam.
May 2nd, 2011
06:31 PM ET
(CNN) - Many Muslims around the world expressed confusion Monday after a senior U.S. official - without elaboration -– said that Osama bin Laden’s body had been buried at sea “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.”
“That made me curious, because there is no such tradition that requires a man who dies on land to be taken out and buried to the sea,” said Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic Studies at American University.
It is common for a Muslim who dies at sea to be buried at sea because one of the main fundamentals of Islamic burials is that the body must be buried within 24 hours before it starts to decompose, Ahmed said. If a land burial isn’t realistic within that timeframe, a sea burial must take place.
But he had never heard of someone dying on land and being buried at sea.
Later Monday, one of President Obama’s key advisers clarified the administration’s decision, saying that even though bin Laden died on land, there was no land to bury him on.
May 2nd, 2011
04:48 PM ET
Editor's note: Imam Khalid Latif is a chaplain for New York University and Executive Director of the school's Islamic Center.
By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN
I was sitting in a KFC in Brooklyn on Sunday night (halal for those who are worried) with two of my students when my phone started to buzz like crazy as friends, colleagues and family let me know that Osama bin Laden was dead.
As we drove back to Manhattan, President Obama began his address and we watched it on an iPhone and played the audio from 1010 WINS-AM radio.
The students then went to their dorm, and I drove around Manhattan. I found groups gathering here and there, including a larger one in Times Square, but I made sure to make downtown my final destination. I knew I would find something there that my eyes had wanted to see for a long time.
April 2nd, 2011
01:00 AM ET
CNN's Soledad O'Brien sits down with Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, who describes the basics of Sharia law and the difference between Islam and Sharia law. O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt on “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door,” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET April 2 on CNN.
March 30th, 2011
10:46 AM ET
Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.
Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.
Hena dropped after 70.
Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.
Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena's family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.Read the full story
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 and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.