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March 9th, 2010
11:27 PM ET

Justices to hear military funerals protest case

A small Kansas church that has gained nationwide attention for protesting loudly at funerals of U.S. service members will receive a Supreme Court hearing over free speech rights.

The justices Monday accepted an appeal from the father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq over efforts to keep members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating near memorial services and burials.

The Marine's family won a $5 million judgment from the protesters, which lower courts overturned.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

March 9th, 2010
12:49 PM ET

What's behind slaughter in Nigeria?

Gangs of machete-wielding Muslims have been blamed for the weekend slaughter of hundreds of Christian villagers in Nigeria, but analysts say it would be wrong to assume the conflict was rooted in religion.

Men armed with gun, knives and machetes launched a pre-dawn attack on the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot, and Ratsat, south of the city of Jos, on Sunday, setting fire to homes and killing at least two hundred people.

The government, led by acting President Goodluck Jonathan, has issued a red alert for the region amid fears of revenge attacks and calls for justice by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.

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Read more about Nigeria's bloody religious history

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 9th, 2010
12:17 PM ET

Fatwa a blow to terrorist recruiting?

A fatwa, or religious ruling, issued this week is roiling theological waters after it took aim at those notorious for targeting others: terrorists.

The anti-terrorism fatwa by renowned Muslim scholar Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri pulled no punches, declaring that terrorism was "haraam," or forbidden by the Quran.

"This fatwa has the potential to be a highly significant step towards eradicating Islamist terrorism," Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank based in London, said in a statement.

Manan Ahmed, assistant professor of Islam in South and Southeast Asia at the Institute for Islamic Studies in Berlin, agreed, calling the fatwa "unprecedented."

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 9th, 2010
12:13 PM ET

Muslim scholar's fatwa condemns terrorism

Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri announces his fatwa against terrorists.

A Muslim scholar has issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, that says suicide bombers are destined for hell. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri condemned terrorism and criticized Islamic extremists who cite their religion to justify violence.

Ul-Qadri's 600-page fatwa is "arguably the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date," according to the Quilliam Foundation, a London organization that describes itself as a counterterrorism think tank.


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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 9th, 2010
12:05 PM ET

Report: 'Marginalize extremists, not religion'

Religion is a growing factor in world affairs, but the U.S. government tends to view it through the lens of counterterrorism. That's the conclusion of a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The success of American diplomacy in the next decade "will be measured by its ability to connect with the hundreds of millions of people throughout the world whose identity is defined by religion," the report says.

"The challenge before us is to marginalize religious extremists, not religion," it concludes.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 9th, 2010
12:03 PM ET

March 9th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Monastery raided over child sex abuse claims

Authorities have raided a monastery in southern Germany as part of a probe into allegations that priests sexually abused children there, prosecutors said.

Eight former students at the Ettal Abbey boarding school have reported that they were abused in 1954 and in the 1970s and '80s, the abbey has said in a statement. The head of the monastery and the school headmaster stepped down last week.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

March 9th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

March 9th, 2010
11:38 AM ET

45 years on, Selma priest remembers Bloody Sunday

The Rev. Maurice Ouellet remembers the day vividly: March 7, 1965. As he walked out of church after serving Sunday Mass, he encountered silence. Then sirens.

"Everything was dead, still," said the priest, now 83. "It was haunting. Then the sirens started going. Every kind of siren in Selma was blowing. And I just knew something terrible had happened."

Standing on the steps of St. Elizabeth's - Selma, Alabama's "black" Catholic church - the young white priest was about to witness one of the most iconic days of the civil rights era. It would come to be known as Bloody Sunday.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Journeys • Leaders • Politics

March 9th, 2010
11:35 AM ET

Egypt restores historic synagogue

With just a few dozen Jews left in Egypt and a public that's deeply critical of Israel, Cairo is not the most obvious staging ground for a government-funded restoration of an historic synagogue.

But a small group of Jews from around the world gathered in Egypt's capital on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the rededication of a 12th-century religious school once used by one of Judaism's most revered figures, and a neighboring 19th-century synagogue built in his honor.

The $2 million, 18-month restoration project of the Rav Moshe synagogue, in an area of Cairo once called "the neighborhood of the Jews," was financed by the Egyptian government.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science

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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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