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Interfaith group protests ad that says 'Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'
Opponents of the New York City subway ad unveiled their own ad on Tuesday.
September 25th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Interfaith group protests ad that says 'Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) - Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders gathered in New York to protest advertisements that claim "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad" smattered across 10 city subways stations Monday and to debut a counter-ad that is due up in the same stations at the end of the week, according to the interfaith group.

"I am Muslim," explained Adem Carroll of the Muslim progressive traditionalist alliance on the steps of New York City's City Hall. "On a personal note, when I ride the subway and see messages smeared that demean me, I am scared."

Carroll is speaking about an advertisement originally rejected by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority that reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Israel • New York

July 30th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

The politics of Romney's Israel trip

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Israel • Judaism

My Take: Iranian leader’s statement that nukes are sinful deserves a close look
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons.
March 13th, 2012
02:25 PM ET

My Take: Iranian leader’s statement that nukes are sinful deserves a close look

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

(CNN) - As politicians in Israel and the United States beat the drums for war on Iran, it is worth remembering that Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is on record against nuclear weapons.

In fact, according to a statement read on August 9, 2005, at a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he issued a fatwa declaring that “the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Fatwa • Iran • Iran • Iraq • Islam • Israel • Middle East • Opinion

My Take: Does Netanyahu's Bible gift to Obama mean war?
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House this week.
March 8th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

My Take: Does Netanyahu's Bible gift to Obama mean war?

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

Being president is stressful. Even the presents you receive can turn your hair gray.

Take the gift Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bestowed upon President Obama on Monday: a copy of the Book of Esther. This book, which appears both in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament tells a tale that Jews commemorate on Thursday with the holiday of Purim.

In this tale, set in the Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE, Persians plot to destroy the Jews. The villain of the story is Haman, whom Netanyahu described in his AIPAC speech on Monday as “a Persian anti-Semite [who] tried to annihilate the Jewish people.” The hero is Esther’s cousin Mordecai, who urges Esther, the queen to Persian king Ahasuerus, to prevail upon her husband on behalf of the Jews.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Obama • Politics • United States

Jewish leaders blast ultra-Orthodox use of Holocaust symbols in demonstration
Ultra-Orthodox Jews wear prison uniforms and other symbols associated with the Holocaust in a protest Saturday in Jerusalem.
January 2nd, 2012
12:50 PM ET

Jewish leaders blast ultra-Orthodox use of Holocaust symbols in demonstration

Jerusalem (CNN) - Israeli political and religious leaders are condemning a weekend protest here in which ultra-Orthodox Jews used symbols identified with the Holocaust to allege they are being unfairly treated by other Israeli Jews over their beliefs.

Ongoing religious tensions in Israel reached new heights Saturday when a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews marched in concentration camp uniforms and donned yellow Stars of David, which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Demonstrating against what they viewed as incitement against the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli media, about 1,000 ultra-Orthodox men marched through the streets of their neighborhood.

The chairman of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum and memorial, criticized protesters for making what he said was a “false comparison between the reality today to the Holocaust."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Israel • Judaism

October 12th, 2011
09:23 AM ET

Shalit swap based on 'ultimate value of human life,' rabbis say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)–
Israel's government approved an extraordinary deal Tuesday night - agreeing to release more than 1,000 Palestinians from prison, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis, in exchange for a single slender young Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

But the exchange of 1,027 inmates for a single captive does make sense in a Jewish context, Rabbi Arik Ascherman explained Wednesday.

"Judaism places ultimate value on human life. Therefore in the Jewish tradition, in Jewish law, redeeming captives trumps just about everything else," said Ascherman, of Rabbis for Human Rights. "It takes priority over anything else you can possibly do."

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Ethics • Israel • Judaism

September 26th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Google makes 5 Dead Sea Scrolls searchable

By Kevin Flower and Izzy Lemberg, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) - In a perfect blending of 21st-century advances with the cutting-edge technology of an earlier age, starting this week internet users can, for the first time, use Google search and scanning technology to examine five manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Google and the Israel Museum unveiled the project Monday in Jerusalem with the launch of a museum website that allows users to interact with the ancient texts in a way impossible just a few years ago.

"You have the capability with high-resolution definition to look at the scrolls in a comfortable setting - to enlarge them, to magnify them, to translate them into English and to search for words, phrases or verses that you want to find on your own," said James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum. "It really allows for your own interactive research with the material."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Israel • Technology

Mideast action at U.N. casts spotlight on Christian Zionism
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says his Christianity commands him to support Israel.
September 23rd, 2011
08:12 AM ET

Mideast action at U.N. casts spotlight on Christian Zionism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - As the Palestinians push for statehood recognition this week at the United Nations, perhaps no group has spoken out more against the gambit - or has been more outspokenly supportive of Israel - than Christian Zionists.

"As a Christian I have a clear directive to support Israel," Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said in New York on Tuesday, after delivering a speech blaming the U.N. and President Barack Obama for the Palestinian statehood push.

A U.S.-based group called Christians United for Israel, meanwhile, this week organized a campaign of more than 45,000 e-mails of support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"As you stand before the representatives of so many hostile nations," the e-mails said, "we want you to know that you are not alone!"

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Israel • Politics

Egypt bans export of ceremonial palm fronds for Jewish holiday
Jews buy fronds of the date palm, called lulavs, for the holiday of Sukkot.
September 20th, 2011
02:13 PM ET

Egypt bans export of ceremonial palm fronds for Jewish holiday

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Egypt has forbidden the picking and exporting of palm fronds used in the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot, leaving Israel scrambling to make up for the shortage.

But one Egyptian customs official said the ban so far has not been implemented.

The fronds of the date palm, called lulavs, are waved during Sukkot, which celebrates the ancient wanderings of the Jewish people after their exile from Egypt. The seven-day holiday begins on the evening of October 12.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Egypt • Holidays • Israel • Judaism

September 6th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

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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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