March 18th, 2011
03:05 PM ET

Pakistan kidnappings highlight dangers for religious minorities

By Nick Paton Walsh, for CNN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - He was abducted on the outskirts of the city, snatched as he drove alone, and vanished without trace.

She was grabbed nearly a decade later, also from her car, on the way to work at the distillery they owned together.

Her kidnappers, in testament to the anarchy gripping the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta, didn't even bother to hide their faces when they pounced, and let her driver go.

The kidnappings of husband and wife Faridon and Nilofar Abadan - both abducted from the streets of Quetta about nine years apart - highlight to many the collapse of law and order in the restless Pakistani province of Balochistan.

But because the couple are from the minority Parsi community - part of the Zoroastrian religion, a minority faith founded in ancient Persia - their fate highlights, some say, how prejudice against outsiders in Balochistan makes them easy targets for increasingly powerful criminal gangs.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Pakistan

March 18th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Franklin Graham sending 90 tons of aid to Japan

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The Rev. Franklin Graham on Friday was readying what he described as an airlift of more than 90 tons of emergency supplies from North Carolina to earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan.

“I want the people of Japan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them, that God does care for them and that he loves them,” said Graham, who is organizing the effort through his group Samaritan’s Purse.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • Christian Science • Japan • Leaders

March 18th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Woman who says she was forced to wear Santa hat gets $55,000

From CNN Raleigh, North Carolina affiliate WRAL:

Belk Inc. has agreed to settle a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that alleged the chain's Crabtree Valley Mall department store fired a woman because of her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit alleges that Myra Jones-Abid was working as a gift wrapper at Belk's in November 2008 when store managers ordered her to wear a Santa hat and Christmas-themed apron during the holiday season.

Jones-Abid is a Jehovah's Witness, and her religious practices prohibit her from celebrating holidays like Christmas, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full story about the lawsuit at WRAL.com

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • North Carolina • United States

My Take: Israel is the new Iowa for GOP presidential hopefuls
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January.
March 18th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

My Take: Israel is the new Iowa for GOP presidential hopefuls

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

American politicians used to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire, home to the first presidential caucuses and primary, to test the waters for a White House bid. In this election cycle, however, Israel is the place to tip your toe in those waters, at least for Republican hopefuls.

In recent months, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Rudy Giuliani have all visited the Holy Land. Yesterday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she will be traveling to Israel over the weekend to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palin, who was attacked during her 2008 vice-presidential bid for lacking foreign policy experience, has beefed up her travel resume over the last couple years. In 2009 she visited U.S. troops in Kosovo and Germany and addressed a conference of investors in Hong Kong.

Last year she traveled with the Rev. Franklin Graham to Haiti.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church and state • Israel • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Opinion • Politics • Sarah Palin

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.