August 25th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

New York's Bloomberg: We are all Muslims

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

In a smart commentary on the shrill Republican silence in the face of the "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense, Slate’s John Dickerson wrote that "with so much traffic on the low road in American politics, you'd imagine a politician or two might take the high road simply to beat the congestion."

Well, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to take the road less traveled.

We are now in the Islamic holy month of fasting called Ramadan, and Bloomberg hosted last night an annual iftar, or fast-breaking dinner, at Gracie Mansion.

In his his remarks, Bloomberg, who has previously supported the Park51 project in the name of both property rights and religious freedom, once again spoke truth to fear and hatred. He admitted that “there are people of good will on both sides of the debate." He acknowledged that the World Trade Center site is "hallowed ground." And he observed that “there are people of every faith–including, perhaps, some in this room–who are hoping that a compromise will end the debate.”

“But it won’t,” he said.

The community center can and must be built at the Park51 site, he said. Anything less would “compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom."

During his remarks, Bloomberg welcomed Talat Hamdani, whose son, Salman Hamdani, a paramedic and Ne York City Police Department cadet, died on 9/11. He also welcomed Sakibeh and Asaad Mustafa, whose children, he said, “have served our country overseas.”

Bloomberg brought home the point that the propaganda war now being waged on Islam in America threatens to undercut our counterinsurgency battle for "hearts and minds" in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “If we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad–if we do not lead by example–we undermine our soldiers,” he said. “We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security."

Bloomberg ended his talk by quoting some words from the embattled Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:

At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, ‘If to be a Jew means to say with all one's heart, mind, and soul: Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.'

“In that spirit," Bloomberg concluded, in words that echoed John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, "let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Church and state • Culture wars • Islam • Muslim • New York • Ramadan • Religious liberty

soundoff (1,202 Responses)
  1. Jeff E

    Jesus did not give us an option of picking and choosing what religion we wished to believe in, follow or endorse. Christianity means following and obeying Jesus Christ, period. "No man cometh to the father but by me."

    August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Chris R

      But God/Jehovah/Allah gave us all free will to do as we please. Maybe our choices won't lead us to Him but that's our decision.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Julia

      Which "version" of the bible are you referring to? King James, the Catholic one? You are quoting what you believe Jesus' words to be, but they are edited and in English! Jesus the prophet did not speak English, so what you are quoting is really a supposed interpretation of Aramaic correct?

      August 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • Victory Gin

      Jeff e...Sorry, I don't read from your bible, or any book of religion, to be exact. Does that mean I am not a citizen? Didn't think so...

      August 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Guest

      @Jeff E

      Of Course he did!
      What do you think he meant by "In my Fathers mansion are many rooms" ?
      Jesus was preparing just one room in His Mansion, because there are unlimited paths to God, He is 'The Lord of Many Ascents' you just have to decide you want to rise up to meet Him.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  2. RearViewMirror

    Just in case Conservatives forget......Bloomberg is a Super Rich Republican and not a Proud Democrat like President Obama. So, if you hate president Obama for supporting this Islam Community center 2.5 blocks from Ground Zero, then you better be ready to attack Bloomberg.

    Incidentally, their are already 2 Muslem Mosques just 2 blocks from Ground Zero since before 9/11.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • Jack Kegley

      I find this "my god is better than your god" conversation so tedious. Take the Christian/Jewish God (you know, the one of the Old and New Testaments). The one that eliminated all people on the entire planet (except an Arabic family headed by Noah). What is that called, how many perished? 2 million, 10 million, 100 million (we are talking the entire planet here). This Christian/Jewish God must really have been pissed. don't recall Mohamed's God Allah ever destroying the entire globe. Maybe a little perspective and literary license here.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  3. Patty

    Pam, You obviously don't know what the Quran tells it's muslims to do to unbelievers. That is why there are so many "extremists." They are doing what the Quran tells them to do. Jesus doesn't tell his followers to kill people who don't believe. Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies. allah on the other hand commands all muslims to destroy unbelievers. It isn't racism. It is obedience to RELIGION by a "false god."

    August 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Chaiah

      You, apparently, haven't read much of the Torah or the rest of what Christians refer to as the Old Testament where G-d tells the Twelve Tribes to kill...

      August 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  4. Hawk

    What a man of enlightenment this mayor is. If one read his statements of bigotry towards the Seneca Indians of New York, it is hard to believe it is the same man. What a phony!!!!!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Josh

    Is the Major for the citizens of his city or not? Bloomberg is deaf to the voices of the 'common people of his city'. He hears and follows the money chants. Bloomberg's decision is unrelated to religion as he seeks higher reign in cashflow.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • TSRVT

      The mayor is correct to stand up against your ignorant lynch mob mentality. He's a good man, something you will never be.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Chaiah

      It is fortunate that the Constitution of the United States protects the rights of all and not just the majority.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm |


      August 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Deborah/KansasCity

      In America, just because a majority of people think your rights should not exist, does not make that right, moral or legal. Just ask black people, indians, gay people, or women.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  6. Jeff E

    He does NOT speak for me.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Guest

      @Jeff E

      You voted for him, of course he does...

      August 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  7. SC

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." – Benjamin Franklin

    August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  8. Solome

    agreed. look in other islamic countries or where there is a presence. there is isolationism, brutal enforcement of local islamic interpreted law, resistance to integration, eventual violence as in France, England or Denmark. Attitudes of prayer and violence. They say 'our way is the only way'.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  9. RE

    And that, my fellow citizens, is the truth. We are ALL of each others faith! Put the rhetoric aside, move on and let people go about life in Peace! Thanks Bloomberg!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  10. ALLAH

    Soon the Streets will flow with the Blood of the nonBelivers, the Infedels will be Crushed under the boot of Islam,, You will all pay the Price for your lack of Vision.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • SC

      Troll much?

      August 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • chris

      blow me...

      August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • LR

      It isn't everyday one can tell Allah to go to Hell. How about posting a photo?

      August 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • chris

      ill draw you a picture...

      August 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Ed

      I'm going to be persecuted because I wear glasses?

      August 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • free2comment


      You should bone up on your Arabic. Start here Apageinthelife blogspot com "Prismatic", 'Angels and Demons and How to Resurrect the Gospel' and if you are Truly Allah then you would recall the "Homeland I" and "Homeland II" love letters you sent me.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Carlton

      Read Allah's statement in these posts and that says it all. This is the Islamic agenda!!! To take over the world for their GOD (Allah). He's a false GOD they made up, but never the less, he's their GOD who inspires and motivates them through their doctrine (Quaran) and religious practices to conquer the entire world for him!!! You people need to wake the hell up!!!

      August 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Kate


      *holds up silhouette flashcards* You need to go back to your troll spotting course, you just flunked.

      Just sayin'

      August 26, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • AGA

      Why are you people so dumb? 'Allah' is some racist taking the name to portray Islam in a bad way.


      September 2, 2010 at 3:18 am |
  11. DM

    you are ignorant and bloomberg is an AMAZING mayor. deal with it

    August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Reality

      Scroll up the page and read all about the incidents of koranic-driven terror for the last 22 years. Obviously the follower of the koran are at war with themselves and the USA. Oil profits allow them to do that.

      August 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
      • hey_there

        I scrolled up there and found this
        Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims:

        Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.

        Samad Afridi
        Ashraf Ahmad
        Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
        Umar Ahmad
        Azam Ahsan
        Ahmed Ali
        Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
        Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
        Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
        Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
        Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
        Jamal Legesse Desantis
        Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
        SaleemUllah Farooqi
        Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
        Osman Gani
        Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
        Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
        Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
        Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
        Nabid Hossain
        Shahzad Hussain
        Talat Hussain
        Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
        Yasmeen Jamal
        Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
        Arslan Khan Khakwani
        Asim Khan
        Ataullah Khan
        Ayub Khan
        Qasim Ali Khan
        Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
        Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
        Yasmeen Khan
        Zahida Khan
        Badruddin Lakhani
        Omar Malick
        Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
        Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
        Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
        Raza Mujtaba
        Omar Namoos
        Mujeb Qazi
        Tarranum Rahim
        Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
        Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
        Naveed Rehman
        Yusuf Saad
        Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
        Shoman Samad
        Asad Samir
        Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
        Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
        Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
        Jamil Swaati
        Sanober Syed
        Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
        Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
        W. Wahid

        August 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
        • Geez

          I fail to see your point...

          August 25, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
        • hey_there

          It's because you are blind

          August 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
        • J. Adams

          You forgot Mohamed Atta and the names of the other 18 Muslim hijackers.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
        • hey_there

          It's a Christian thing to hate/kill anyone non Christian, Jews, Muslims, atheists anything different!

          August 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
        • mohammed was a murderer, Jesus was not

          the only religion that calls for the killing of infidels is ISLAM. Mohammed was a murderer himself. Compare him to Jesus. Do you homework before you post lies. You ain't gonna change the fact that islam is hateful and backward. Get used to it. You will hear that more and more in the future as people are getting aware of how bad islam is.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
        • Kate

          @Name I won't bother even typing

          Umm, you do know Jesus was associated with the Zealots, defined by chroniclers of the times as what would today be called a terrorist organization? He even had one of them as a Disciple – Simon the Zealot.

          Just sayin'

          August 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm |

          Wow, you are pretty ignorant. the only ones I see flying planes into buildings, decapitating little girls and blowing up schools in the name of a religion are muslims. So stop portraying islam in a better light than any other religion. Islam is bottom of the barrel.

          August 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
        • emo

          In Africa Muslims kill Christians
          In Mid East Muslims kill Jews and Christians
          In India Muslims kill Hindus
          In Thailand Muslims kill Buddhists
          In Phillippines Muslims kill Christians

          And of course Muslims kill Muslims as well.

          August 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
        • TSRVT

          Dumbest post of the day. The world around, humans kill other humans. Stop being such a bigoted, racist toad.

          August 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
        • David

          In Serbia Orthodox Christians killed Muslims
          In India Hindus kill Muslims
          In the Middle East Jews kill Muslims
          In Ireland Protestants and Catholics kill each other
          In Mississippi Christians killed black people and Jews
          In South Africa Christians killed black Africans
          In America hysteria hysteria and xenophobia are killing common sense

          August 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
        • Reality


          Infidels learn from history and from their mistakes and unfortunately in many cases failed to read the section of the NT that preaches loving thy neighbor as thyself. Muslims do not learn from history or philosophy as they still live in the koranic dark ages of warmongering and dreams of world domination, all based on the mythical communications of one mytical "pretty, wingie, talking, thingie, named Gabriel to supposedly to a womanizing (11 wives) and illiterate Arab named Mohammed.

          Dave, if you are a Muslim, scroll back to the Five Step Program to Deflaw Islam.

          But it goes beyond these observations. It goes to the frauds pulled by the founders of contemporary religions. To correct the situation:

          Muslims should burn their copies of the koran for the 1400 year old con job that is pulled on them daily by the imams and ayatollahs. Christians should burn their copies of the NT for the 2000 year old con job that has been perpetuated on them by popes, bishops, priests, ministers and evangelicals. And Jews should burn their copies of the OT/Torah for the 6000 year old con job pulled on them by their past and current rabbis.

          August 25, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
        • Logan

          Seriously dude, do a search on how many Christians & non-muslims have been killed by muslims all over the world..

          There have been almost 16,000 (muslim) terrorist attacks since 9/11. Over 270,000,000 (yes, million) non-muslims have been killed by muslims since the "religion" of islam started.

          You either have your facts wrong or are trying to lead us astray.

          August 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm |


          August 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
        • ScottK

          Hey, if you dont like the religious freedom this country was built upon, you can move. Live free or die loses its meaning when you have to preface it with "but only if you're a christian."

          August 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
        • emo

          The mosque has nothing to do with religious freedom:
          1. No where in the constitution is there the right to build any house or worship anyplace one wants
          2. Islam does not believe in a separation of church and state
          3. The mosque is itself unconstitutional. The state Dept is using taxpayer money to promote the Imam's trip abroad to raise money for the mosque. A blatant disregard for the separation of church and state. The govt is directly promoting religion.

          Make no mistakes, the left demands the Ground Zero Victory Mosque be built, because the left hates the USA.

          August 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
        • JJ

          Islam terrorists overseas kill more Muslims than than anyone else. They hate each other. they really hate other Muslims that live and work peaceable with non-Muslims. Mohammed didn't get famous until he had murdered thousands and then his religion took hold in the Middle East. When he lived peaceably in Medina he only had a few hundred followers. Both Christianity and Islam have violent roots of oppression and tyranny. Education helps breaks the bonds of ignorance and mindlessly following a dying cause.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
        • joego

          yes! The most powerful thing you can do is to educate yourself and other about Islam. It is the only way for us to survive as a society. If we all understand the threat to freedom and democracy that Jihad and Sharia law pose we can come up with a hopefully peaceful solution to the problems. I recommend this site;

          citizenwarrior dot commercial

          August 25, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
        • Jeff A.

          I suppose that the three hundred poor Muslim souls who died in 9/11, to us are considered innocent victims. To radical Islam, they died for the cause, like so many suicide bombers. Therein lies the problem, and pretty well says it all. The question is, what is the cause again ??

          August 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
        • Reality

          Beyond 9/11:

          Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly by Sunni and Shiite suicide bombers- And Islam is a peaceful religion????

          August 25, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
        • joego

          According to Islam these people died in Jihad and will go to paradise so that is why the families are not screaming bloody murder like the rest of us. And that is why the rest of the Muslims say nothing in protest. Want to know more? I recommend this site;

          citizenwarrior dot com

          August 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  12. Depoleon

    I would like to make two points-

    The first being that Obama is absolutely correct in that we cannot sacrifice our values of freedom and block any kind of religious expression. Like flag burners- I despise what they do, but those who would stop them are truly far more dangerous.

    The second point being "What are the Muslims thinking?" Should we have erected a McDonalds’ 2 blocks away from the Hiroshima's ground zero in 1954? Should I wave my American flag in front of my German neighbor’s yard on every May 7th? NO! Just because the Constitution gives me the freedom to do it doesn’t mean I’m not a tasteless schmuck.
    In a time when the Muslim faith is viewed with such negativity, it would behoove them to quietly and respectfully choose another sight. Shoving it in our face is like having Mel Gibson as a Public Relations rep.
    Nuf said.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  13. Marsha Bohe

    Please bear with me; this is significant. A few decades ago, the Nazi Party members in the Chicago, Illinois area requested a permit for a march and rally which was denied. The ACLU jumped to their defense and there was all kinds of talk about "Freedom of Speech" and the "Right to Peaceably Assemble." LOST IN THE REPORTING WAS THE LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION OF THE PLANNED MARCH – right through a predominately Jewish Residential Area in Skokie, Illinois where Halocaust survivors lived. Not usually mentioned in all the preaching about "freedom of speech" was the FACT that the Nazi Party, like numerous others, had frequently been granted permits to demonstrate & rally – ON THE PLAZA ACROSS FROM CITY HALL. They weren't just exercising their right of free speech; they wanted to terrorize the residents. Most of us decent people wondered about the RIGHTS OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TO BE SAFE IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS? No one was denying their constitutional right to express their views, repugnant as they were.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  14. BossMan114

    This is a christian nation. We don't need Islam. We never did and we never will. Muslims care about their mother countries in the middle east first and America last. Go back from whence you came and build your mosque there.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Jim

      point that out in the constitution.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • SC


      "This is a christian nation"? Hmm, someone forgot to tell the Founding Fathers that...read this from the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli:

      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

      August 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Billy

      Jefferson on adding "Jesus Christ" to the VA freedom of religion act:

      The insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

      You know, Thomas Jefferson, one of your Christian Founding Fathers?

      August 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Chris R

      This is, in no way, a christian nation. This is a secular nation and may it forever stay that way.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Deborah/KansasCity

      See that is where you are wrong. This is not a Christian nation, we are not a theorcracy, we are a democracy, so far anyway. This is an American nation and all religions are welcome.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • DD

      If BossMan114 had half a brain he/she would realize that the overwhelming majority of Muslims don't live in the middle east, but Indonesia, and oh yeah the constitution which your ilk quotes and supposedly defends provides the right to worship as one pleases, regardless of their faith.

      August 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Kate


      I'm sure the Muslim soldiers buried at Arlington thank you for recognizing their sacrifice for our country. Shame on you.

      Just sayin'

      August 26, 2010 at 1:16 am |
  15. LR

    Over my dead body...if it's up to them!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  16. John Harrison

    The Headline says"New Yorks Bloomberg We are all Muslim", no where in the article is Bloomberg quoted as saying" we are all Muslim". Why would you put that faleshood in the headline ? Trying to anger people? Don't misquote people!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  17. MRC

    I don't know a lot about the context of these comments but I have to say that the guy continues to impress me. I have a bad feeling his comments are going to limit his political career but I admire the man for having the courage to say what needs to be said in the way that it needs to be said.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  18. eli lee

    If we are all Muslims why doesn't Michael Bloomberg put on a burqa while making his pronouncement ?
    What a great showing of solidarity it would be for him to align himself with the millions of women around the world who are living far far less than equal lives in societies where male supremacist religions are powerful.

    Time to let the bell of freedom ring for all women.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  19. Wzrd1

    You are absolutely right. His espousal of that silly first amendment. How about we have it repealed?
    Then you will have the right to shut up.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  20. Pam

    Patty, your comments reflect an ignorance that is heartbreaking. Muslims didn't create 9/11. Terrorists pretending to be Muslim created 9/11. Suicide in Islam is a sin, as is killing of innocent people – the hijackers are destined for hell. Those terrorists represent Islam the same way the KKK represents Christians. Should I blame Christians for all racism in this country? By your reasoning, Christians went around lynching black people and harassing Catholics and Jews – not KKK members. And, you certainly don't speak for all 9/11 families. Plenty of 9/11 families support building the mosque. Have you read the Quran? Where does it say that Muslims are to kill nonbelievers, just for existing? Killing innocent people is a grave offense to Islam. Don't spew hatred unless you can get your facts straight.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
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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.