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When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs
The Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh, clashed with federal agents in 1993 in Waco, Texas.
April 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – An angry outburst at a mosque. The posting of a suspicious YouTube video. A friendship with a shadowy imam.

Those were just some of the signs that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accused of masterminding the Boston Marathon bombings, had adopted a virulent strain of Islam that led to the deaths of four people and injury of more than 260.

But how else can you tell that someone’s religious beliefs have crossed the line? The answer may not be as simple you think, according to scholars who study all brands of religious extremism. The line between good and evil religion is thin, they say, and it’s easy to make self-righteous assumptions.

“When it’s something we like, we say it’s commitment to an idea; when it’s something we don’t like, we say it’s blind obedience,” said Douglas Jacobsen, a theology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Culture wars • Egypt • Fundamentalism • History • Islam • Jesus • Leaders • Moses • Muslim • Quran

Imam: I wouldn’t give Boston suspect last rites
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, shown in a 2009 photo, died Friday. In accordance with Islam, he should have been buried the same day.
April 21st, 2013
03:30 PM ET

Imam: I wouldn’t give Boston suspect last rites

By Moni Basu and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

(CNN) – Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early Friday, and according to the rules of Islam, he should have been buried by now. But his severely wounded body is still being held to determine a cause of death.

"We are waiting for more information," said Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Boston Medical Examiner's Office. He wasn't sure when a cause of death would be released.

Tsarnaev, 26, had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday that doctors could not tell which ones had killed him. He'd engaged in a ferocious battle with police in which more than 200 rounds of gunfire was exchanged. He and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, also allegedly hurled improvised explosive devices and handmade grenades at officers. FULL POST

- CNN Wire editor

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • Terrorism

Suspects tied to Boston bombings
April 20th, 2013
07:39 PM ET

Muslim leaders condemn bombing suspects

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor

Washington (CNN) - Muslim leaders in Boston and elsewhere have distanced themselves from the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, condemning the deadly terror attack and saying they feared reprisals against their communities.

"I don't care who or what these criminals claim to be, but I can never recognize these criminals as part of my city or my faith community," said Yusufi Vali, executive director for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area.

"All of us Bostonians want these criminals to be brought to justice immediately. I am infuriated at the criminals of these bombings for trying to rip our city apart. We will remain united and not let them change who we are as Bostonians." FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Faith Now • Islam • Massachusetts • Muslim • Quran • Terrorism • Violence

April 4th, 2013
03:34 PM ET

Bikini model: I'm a faithful Muslim

(CNN)–Is her job at odds with her faith? CNN's Alina Cho reports on Muslim bikini model Maryam Basir.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith Now • Islam • Muslim

Lawyers seek to limit New York police surveillance of Muslims
New York University students attend a town hall last February to discuss police surveillance of Muslim communities.
February 5th, 2013
02:04 AM ET

Lawyers seek to limit New York police surveillance of Muslims

By David Ariosto and Olivia Smith

New York (CNN) – Civil rights lawyers filed papers in federal court Monday seeking to prohibit the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslim communities when there is no evidence that they are linked to terrorism or other illegal activities.

The department's demographics unit - or zone assessment unit - was put together with the CIA's help after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The unit has acknowledged that it engaged in monitoring that included Muslim-owned business and mosques across the New York region.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Muslim • New York

My Take: New Year’s resolution – don’t get murdered
A man cries as he prays at the graves of the victims from the May Lahore attacks against Ahmadiyya community mosques July 14, 2010 in Chenab Nagar, Pakistan.
January 5th, 2013
04:00 AM ET

My Take: New Year’s resolution – don’t get murdered

Editor’s Note: Qasim Rashid is a national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Follow him on Twitter @MuslimIQ.

By Qasim Rashid, Special to CNN

(CNN)–My New Year’s resolution is to not die for my faith. I’d hoped that 2012 would bring a revolution among Muslims and Muslim-majority nations to free oppressed minds.

Yet I find myself still waiting to not die.  That’s the “curse” of being an Ahmadi Muslim in too much of the Muslim world.

Ahmadi Muslims believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) is the long awaited messiah and Mahdi the Prophet Mohammed foretold, sent to unite mankind and establish peace. But this isn’t an evangelical piece, so please, keep reading.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim • My Take • Religious violence

December 7th, 2012
04:01 AM ET

Church Threatened Over Muslim Convention

(CNN affiliate KTLA) - An Episcopal church in Pasadena has been getting hate mail over its decision to host the annual convention of a Muslim American civil rights group. All Saints Church in Pasadena will host the Muslim Public Affairs Council's 12th annual convention on Dec. 15, which is expected to draw about 1,000 people.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Episcopal • Interfaith issues • Muslim

Paris Hilton whips up a storm in holy Mecca
Paris Hilton, photographed here at a party at her private residence in Los Angeles last December, tweeted about the opening of her store in Mecca in November.
November 21st, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Paris Hilton whips up a storm in holy Mecca

By Catriona Davies and Latifa Azdi, for CNN

(CNN) - As an American socialite and hotel heiress, Paris Hilton has built up a global brand on her sexy image - and sometimes very few clothes.

But many believe she has gone a step too far in opening a store selling luxury items in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Hilton's rise to worldwide fame was boosted in part by a homemade sex movie that went viral online in 2003, days before the debut of her reality TV series "The Simple Life."

This does not sit well with many in Mecca, which attracts three million Muslim pilgrims from around the world every year.

All Muslims who are able are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, and non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city. Most Saudi women cover themselves fully with a black abaya.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Islam • Muslim

My Take: Muslims must engage politically, look outside themselves
Muslim Americans must exercise their right to vote and be part of the process, says Khalid Latif.
October 25th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

My Take: Muslims must engage politically, look outside themselves

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

My wife and I were on our way into Bed, Bath and Beyond in late August when I decided to check my office voicemail from my cell phone. I told her I'd meet her inside. When I did, she asked whether I had any messages.

"Just one,” I told her. “I was asked to deliver an invocation at this year's Republican National Convention." She responded with a smile on her face, "Of course you were," and then showed me the pillows she’d selected.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Faith Now • Islam • Muslim • My Take • Politics

Philippines, Muslim rebels reach peace deal
October 8th, 2012
04:45 AM ET

Philippines, Muslim rebels reach peace deal

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The Philippines has reached a preliminary agreement with Muslim rebels after 15 years of talks, the president announced Sunday, marking a major milestone after decades of militant insurgency in the nation's troubled south.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has fought for decades for an independent Islamic state in southern Philippines. It has been blamed for rampant attacks in the region.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Muslim • Philippines

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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