May 20th, 2010
07:14 PM ET

Musharraf backs Pakistan's decision to shutter Facebook

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told CNN tonight that he backs Pakistan’s decision to shut down Facebook this week in response to an online group calling on people to draw the Prophet Mohammed. Here’s what Musharraf - who said today that he plans to return to Pakistan to re-enter politics - told Wolf Blitzer:

You cannot have photographs of the Prophet Mohammed - leave aside going for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. It's most unfortunate. We must understand, these are sensitive issues. And for the sake of independence of media, liberty of speech, we cannot hurt sensitivities of millions of people. We must not do that. I am against that.

Musharraf, by the way, is huge on Facebook, with more than 200,000 friends.

Full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Politics

May 20th, 2010
04:51 PM ET

Pakistani Muslim rocks against extremism

Salman Ahmad is a devout Pakistani Muslim on jihad - but his holy war is a rock 'n' roll battle against intolerance, he says.

He's the frontman of the band Junoon. He's sold 30 million albums. And he says music is a powerful weapon against extremism.

"My own personal narrative tells me that arts and culture is mightier than the sword," he told CNN during a tour of the United Kingdom Thursday.

Read the full story

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Culture & Science • Islam • Uncategorized

May 20th, 2010
03:58 PM ET

Jenny Sanford: Surviving sex scandal with faith

From HLN's Lisa Sileo and Mike Galanos:

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was back in the news recently, trying to rekindle the romance with his “soulmate” Maria Belen Chapur. The governor’s affair broke up his 20-year marriage to Jenny Sanford and threw her and her four sons into the midst of a political sex scandal.

She was forced to live this betrayal - her nightmare - in the media spotlight, in front of the entire world. Yet through this family heartbreak, she emerged stronger.

We still wonder how she got through it all. Her answer: Faith.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Faith • Politics • Uncategorized

May 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

What makes people happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. But is there a secret ingredient to being happy?

We asked five faith leaders of varying perspectives to answer the question, "What makes people happy?" Their answers showed that happiness comes from meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.

And if you're looking for perfect happiness, it doesn't exist. But imperfect happiness does.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders

May 20th, 2010
10:44 AM ET

My Take: Everyone chalk Mohammed?

Secular students chalked smiling stick figures on campuses labeling them 'Mohammed;' Muslim students reacted by adding boxing gloves and re-labeling the drawings 'Muhammad Ali.'

Editor’s note: Greg Epstein, an ordained Humanist rabbi, serves as the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe” and chairs the national advisory board of the Secular Student Alliance.

By Greg Epstein, Special to CNN

If I told you groups of atheist and Muslim students around the country have been breaking out boxing gloves, and the outlines of bodies have been marked in chalk on the ground, you’d worry, right? And you should, though fortunately it doesn’t mean anyone has been physically hurt yet.

Rather, it means the latest in a series of controversies over drawing the Prophet Mohammed has arrived: “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” scheduled for Thursday, May 20, has gained tens of thousands of online followers, riling fears and anger on many campuses.

iReport: Why I choose to draw Muhammad


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Islam • Opinion

May 20th, 2010
10:18 AM ET

Is Miss USA a Muslim trailblazer?

She's always wanted to be a beauty queen and her dream came true with one of the biggest titles – Miss USA 2010 – Rima Fakih.

As soon as the announcement was made, the labels appeared. She was described as Arab-American, Lebanese-American, Muslim-American. She became the center of controversy overnight after pole dancing photos surfaced and spread across the globe just as fast as an outlandish rumor started by a U.S. neo-conservative blog that she's a spy for the Shiite Lebanese group Hezbollah, designated by the U.S. and E.U. countries as a terrorist group.

It's hard to gauge which claim could possibly hurt the new Miss USA more: the racy pictures or the unfounded rumors alleging she is affiliated with Hezbollah. One thing is certain, the Internet feasted on the story and different groups with different agendas jumped on the opportunity this story afforded them.

Read the full post on CNN's news blog, This Just In

Update 1:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post had a headline we thought was too provocative.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Islam

May 20th, 2010
08:56 AM ET

Pastor-iReporter: How I devise my church sign messages

Editor's Note: After Illinois minister Darrel Brandon submitted one of the most popular pictures in CNN's recent church sign iReport solicitation - of the sign in front of the church he pastors - we asked him to write about how he devises messages for his sign..

By Darrel Brandon, Special to CNN

As pastor with the Illinois Clay City Christian Church, one of my responsibilities is changing the message on the sign in front of the church. But it’s more an opportunity than a responsibility. Our building is on Main Street, the busiest street in town, so hundreds of people see my messages on the sign who will never hear my messages from the pulpit.

I put a lot of thought into what goes on that sign, getting ideas from a variety of sources - including thoughts that come to me during sermon preparation. I must keep in mind that I only have room for 20 characters and spaces per line, with a maximum of four lines.

To keep people reading, I change the sign once a week.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Houses of worship • Opinion

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.