Islamic community center developer seeks federal funding
November 22nd, 2010
02:40 PM ET

Islamic community center developer seeks federal funding

Editor's Note: By CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff in New York.

The developer behind the controversial Islamic community center and mosque planned for Lower Manhattan has requested federal funding through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to support the project known as Park51.

The funding would come from money the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated to help rebuild the neighborhood after the 9/11 attacks.  "Park51 has applied for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant," said Sharif El-Gamal, CEO of SOHO Properties, the developer behind the Islamic center.

In a statement, El-Gamal said the money would "in part fund social service programs such as domestic violence programs, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services."


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

November 22nd, 2010
01:55 PM ET

Bobby Bowden on football and faith

CNN's Reynold's Wolf sat down with legendary football coach Bobby Bowden for a conversation on faith.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Content Partner • Florida • Leaders • TV • TV-CNN Newsroom • United States

November 22nd, 2010
01:03 PM ET

My Take: My top 3 books for the hotel nightstand

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

If you have ever contemplated being stranded in a hotel room without electricity, you might be happy to hear that the Gideon’s ubiquitous nightstand Bibles are no longer your only reading option. For some time, many Marriott Hotels have featured copies of the Book of Mormon, and, now, according to Kate Shellnutt at the Houston Chronicle, Hare Krishnas have placed roughly 7,000 copies of the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita in 100 Houston-area hotel rooms.

Some will doubtless see this development as the beginning of the end of all that is good and godly in Christian America, while others will read it as a reason to rejoice in U.S. religious pluralism. For me, however, the arrival of Arjuna and Krishna (the heroes of the Gita) alongside Jesus and Mary and Joseph Smith in hotel room nightstands prompts this question:

If you were stuck for a week in a hotel room with no television and no Internet connection, which religious books would you want to have along? For the sake of discussion let’s say there is only room for three other books, alongside the Bible. Which books would be in your holy trinity, and why?  The Quran? The Kama Sutra? The Tao of Pooh?


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Books • Opinion • United States

November 22nd, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Arguments to take place in Oklahoma over ban on Islamic law in courts

Editor's Note: From CNN's Matt Smith

A federal judge will hear arguments Monday on a temporary restraining order against an Oklahoma referendum that would ban the use of Islamic religious law in state courts.

Oklahoma voters approved the amendment during the November elections by a 7-3 ratio. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations challenged the measure as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order November 8 that will keep state election officials from certifying that vote.

"What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma," Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter and the lead plaintiff in the suit, said earlier this month. In addition, he said, the amendment would invalidate private documents, such as wills, that are written in compliance with Muslim law.

The amendment would require Oklahoma courts to "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases" and "forbids courts from considering or using" either international law or Islamic religious law, known as Sharia, which the amendment defined as being based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Read the full story here.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • Quran • United States

November 22nd, 2010
12:23 PM ET

Anti-Facebook pastor admits to tryst

A pastor who preached on Facebook temptations, admits to a three-way relationship with his wife and a church assistant.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Church • Pastors • Technology

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.