January 5th, 2011
03:14 PM ET

Opinion: Resist terror with more houses of worship

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and legal fellow for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington.

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

With the recent deadly attacks on Christian churches, the maniacal terrorists of al Qaeda seem to be aiming at unraveling the neighborliness among Muslims, Jews and Christians throughout the Middle East that has existed for centuries.

In Baghdad, 58 people died in a bomb attack on a church; in Alexandria, Egypt, 21 people were killed and about 80 injured in another bombing.

Of course, al Qaeda has not limited its attacks to Christianity. Before its attacks on churches, al Qaeda was targeting mosques all around the region.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Christianity • Egypt • Houses of worship • Iraq • Islam • Judaism • Mosque • Opinion

John Paul II could move toward sainthood this year, report says
File photo from October 21, 2003 shows Pope John Paul II saluting the crowd as he arrives for an ordination ceremony.
January 5th, 2011
02:58 PM ET

John Paul II could move toward sainthood this year, report says

By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia, CNN

The late Pope John Paul II could take a big step toward sainthood as early as this year, a longtime Vatican journalist reports.

He could be beatified in a service led by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican by the end of 2011 - an event that would be certain to draw hundreds of thousands of faithful.

Medical and theological experts have credited John Paul II with the healing of a nun whose order prayed to him after he died in 2005. Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre says she was cured of Parkinson's disease.


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

January 5th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

European Coptic churches on alert after attack

Coptic churches around Europe are expressing fears for their safety following a New Year's Day attack on a church in Egypt that had been listed on an Islamist website.

The same site, which is affiliated with the al Qaeda terror network, listed 16 Coptic churches in Europe, including four in France and three each in England and Germany.

Germany's Federal Office for Criminal Investigations said it has notified state authorities of a general terrorist threat against Coptic Christians living in Germany. A spokeswoman said the office issued the notification after the threats were discovered on the site.

"It's up to the state authorities to decide how they react to such a threat," said spokeswoman Barbara Huebner, without going into detail about the threat.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Coptic • Europe • Violence

Radical cleric returns to Iraq from Iran
Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has returned to Iraq after three years spent studying in Iran to become an ayatollah.
January 5th, 2011
02:23 PM ET

Radical cleric returns to Iraq from Iran

Radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has returned to the country after more than three years in Iran, according to Iraqi state television and websites maintained by al-Sadr's followers.

The Shiite cleric has been in Iran since early 2007, apart from a public appearance in Iraq in May 2007.

He has been studying in the Iranian city of Qom to become an ayatollah, the title given to high-ranking Shiite Muslim religious scholars.

Read the full story here about the return of al-Sadr to Iraq.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Iran • Iraq

January 5th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

My Take: The Shah's Son and the Contagion of Suicide

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

News of the suicide of Alireza Pahlavi, son of the former shah of Iran, took me back this morning to my first year of college and the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

A member of the shah's royal family was in my entering class, and one of my best friends was from the Iranian capital of Tehran. So I got to see the personal side of what seemed to many Americans to be a matter of faraway import—that is, until the taking of American hostages in November of that year.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Death • Ethics • Iran • 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.