August 23rd, 2010
01:55 PM ET

Religious leaders speak out against International Burn a Quran Day

Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, stands in front of his church in Gainesville, Florida

Response so far to an event billed as a Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope has been "overwhelmingly positive," a minister in Gainesville, Florida, told CNN on Monday. The event is planned in response to a local church's International Burn a Quran Day.

As part of the Gainesville Interfaith Forum - made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus - Trinity United Methodist Church will host the event September 10, the night before the planned burning of the Quran.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture wars • Florida • Interfaith issues • Islam • Quran • United States

August 23rd, 2010
11:43 AM ET

Imam behind controversial New York Islamic center speaks

Editor's note: CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom files this report from Abu Dhabi

The imam behind the controversial mosque and Islamic center near New York City's ground zero said Sunday that he hopes the project will develop "an Islamic approach that allows for harmony and understanding among all religions and other ideas."

The remarks from Abdul Rauf, who has rarely spoken to the media since his proposal for an Islamic center set off a firestorm of controversy this summer, came while the imam is on a State Department-sponsored trip to the Middle East.

Rauf spoke with the newspaper Bahraini Al Wasat before he was scheduled to appear at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Bahrain, the newspaper's editor said.

In the interview, to be published Monday, Rauf praised freedoms that Muslims and others enjoy in the United States.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Foreign policy • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

August 23rd, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Tree beloved by Anne Frank falls down

Editor's note: If you've got pictures of the historic Anne Frank tree send them to CNN I-report.  We'll post some of the best ones.  Here's an early submission.

A chestnut tree beloved by Holocaust victim Anne Frank as she wrote her diary in hiding in the Netherlands fell down Monday, the Anne Frank House museum told CNN. The tree, which was more than 150 years old, had been diseased since 2005 and had a support structure to help keep it upright.

But it fell early Monday afternoon, Anne Frank House representative Maatje Mostart said. "It's a pity. It's an important tree," she said. "Anne Frank looked down on it from her hiding place. It was the only piece of nature she could see." "Something went wrong with the support," she added. "Happily it fell the right way. It didn't fall on the secret annex or on a person, so that was a relief for us."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Europe • Judaism

August 23rd, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Faith-based fashion company helps women rescued from human trafficking

Editor's Note: CNN's Nicole Cukingnan files this report from Washington, DC about a religiously minded fashion company.

Former model Giselle Meza’s career allowed her to visit exotic locations and world-renowned sights, but it was witnessing the worst violations of human rights that stuck with her throughout the years.

“The more I would go on great assignments around the world and if we’re in Africa for a shoot…we were using that beautiful backdrop for pictures and for making so much money,” she said. “But behind me were these beautiful little children and women that were really just experiencing a lot of need and injustice.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • United States

August 23rd, 2010
10:41 AM ET

Muslim woman suing Disney

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Culture & Science • Islam • Muslim • United States • Women

August 23rd, 2010
10:34 AM ET

Muslim women who wear the hijab and niqab explain their choice

Photos by CNN's Angie Lovelace, text by Soraya Salam of CNN's In America unit:

When you look at Aliya Naim or Nadia, they don’t want you to see objects of beauty, nor do they want you to see women constrained by societal standards.

Instead, they say, they want to be judged by their intellect and personalities. They say it’s the reason they don’t show too much more.

Both Muslim American women cover themselves from head to toe in adherence to their faith’s promotion of modesty and humility. Like most Muslim women who cover, they do so only in front of men who are not in their immediate family.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Islam • Journeys • Women

August 23rd, 2010
10:32 AM ET

Soup kitchen feeds Jerusalem's poor

Editor's Note: CNN Correspondent Paula Hancocks files this report from Jerusalem about a Jerusalem soup kitchen that caters to Muslims during Ramadan.

At one o'clock on the dot, dozens of children burst through the door of Khasiki Sultan soup kitchen, clutching their pots and pans.

Sent by their families, they jostle for position in front of steaming vats of chicken and soup, waiting for their pots to be filled with food for iftar - the breaking of the fast at sunset.

This is a daily ritual in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City, and for hundreds of families it's not just for Ramadan. The al Aqsa Waqf has been filling the bowls of needy families for 450 years, aided by private donations.

Full Story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

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.