March 26th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

How Islam shaped one rap artist

Editor’s Note:  CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T. April 2 on CNN.

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) — It’s noon on a Friday, and the parking lot at Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in North Philadelphia is quickly filling up.

One of Philadelphia's best-known rap artists, Freeway, jumps out of a black sport utility vehicle and dashes through the pouring rain to the prayer hall inside.

Islam has been a part of his life since he was a teenager.  Yet it wasn’t until adulthood that his faith changed who he was an artist.

“My faith means everything to me; it’s the thing that keeps me going every day,” the father of two said. “It’s my core, it’s my soul.”

When he was 14,  Freeway - aka Leslie Pridgen - took Shahada, the Muslim confession to faith. 

Since then, he's had to balance his Muslim faith and his credibility as a hip-hop artist. 

Freeway jump-started his career a decade ago at Roc-A-Fella Records under the tutelage of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Today, the independent artist has collaborated with the likes of Mariah Carey,  producer extraordinaire Jake One and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon.

When Freeway first hit the music scene, his pithy lyrics were laced with rhymes about hustling drugs and other aspects of ghetto life. But his approach to music has changed as he evolved as an emcee and matured as a man.

 “The fans can get more out of my music now because I have more of a message,” he said. “I’m more conscious about what I say now because in Islam we believe that you’re going to be held accountable for everything that comes out your mouth.”

Misogyny and the perils of street life have been a part of hip-hop since its inception, and Freeway is no stranger to the urban grind.

He lost a cousin and close friend to gun violence and had his own run-ins with the law, having served jail time for drug possession.

The life experiences the self-described “reality-rapper” so adamantly declares over heavy beats are what have shaped Freeway into the man, the father, the artist and the Muslim he is today, he said.

“I’m definitely not in the same situation I was in when I first started, when I was still in the streets running around doing a bunch of crazy stuff,” he said. “Every day is a temptation, every day is work.” 

He's not the only rapper balancing a devotion to Islam and trying to maintain a hard edge on his music, said Amir Abbassy, Freeway’s manager.

“Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip, Mos Def - they’re all openly Muslim,” he said. “In the music culture, anybody who has a little bit of fame fits that rock 'n' roll persona.”

Freeway was speaking at a Philadelphia school’s bullying workshop on the same day the controversial congressional hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans led by U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, were taking place in Washington.

Freeway said he felt the hearings unfairly targeted Muslims.

“It’s foolishness, it’s nonsense,” he said of the recent hearings conducted by the New York Republican. “You can’t judge a whole group of people for a few people making mistakes.”

Freeway got up that day at dawn for his first prayer of the day. In total, he will take time to pray five times throughout the day, a practice called salat, performed daily by many of the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.

Why Muslims pray five times a day

When Freeway is done rapping, his faith will be there, his manager said.

“His faith - that is his life,” Abbassy said. “ He doesn’t wake up with a microphone in his hand. He wakes up and prays."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Music • Muslim

soundoff (874 Responses)
  1. Tim

    I respect this man for standing up for what he believes, for living it, but not being controlled by the hate that has come to surround it. He's not pushing Islam on anyone, he's doing what he believes is right, and is trying to be a better human being. I want to be more like him. Actually caring, trying to be better, and trying to put more work into his passion, and giving more to his fans.

    The fact that he's a Muslim, and I'm a Christian has little to nothing to do with it. He seems like a good human, something the world could use more of, to keep the Westboro Baptist Church down, to stop the radical Muslims, and to keep shut the arrogant mouths of the atheists that spew hate all over anything with any semblance of faith in it.

    The hate has to stop for real progress to be made, from everyone, regardless what or who you believe in.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm |




      When the archaeological, geographical and epigraphic evidence is reviewed in detail, it is clear that the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have now been found. What is more, this evidence demonstrates that the Bible provides an accurate eyewitness account of events that occurred southeast of the Dead Sea over 4,000 years ago.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  2. Christian

    The reason that I choose not to be muslim, budhist, athiest, hindu or any other religion is because I choose to follow Jesus Christ. THE ONLY ONE THAT ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND LIVES TODAY

    March 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard


      Really? And you know this... how???

      March 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  3. bethe123

    @(B)iraq Hussein Osama

    LOL...What use is democracy? Obviously if you believe in Islam, you don't have a use for it.

    As has been said, instead of the grouping Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
    it is really Facism, Communism, and Islam...
    and your remark backs that up. Islam is opposed to democracy, and it is another reason Islam is not welcome in the USA.
    Get used to it, it is not going to change.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • juanito

      iam a catolic every one in my family is catolic we rrespect other peoples views and religions what we hate is people tryng to destroy our way of life and freedom we enjoy here in america and also cowards that dont fight face to face instead kill tousand of inocent peoples by bluing up buildings and you dang rite a will pick up a rifle and fight to my grave to defend my family my country my way of life my freedom and most imporant my american flag

      March 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  4. Mike

    Swaggart vs Deedat ( Is the bible word of God). http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3483872398662557243#

    March 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Just remember this;

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    [17:63] He said, "Then go; you and those who follow you will end up in Hell as your requital; an equitable requital.

    [17:64] "You may entice them with your voice, and mobilize all your forces and all your men against them, and share in their money and children, and promise them. Anything the devil promises is no more than an illusion.

    [17:65] "As for My servants, you have no power over them." Your Lord suffices as an advocate.

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    [17:70] We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.

    [17:71] The day will come when we summon every people, together with their record. As for those who are given a record of righteousness, they will read their record and will not suffer the least injustice.

    [17:72] As for those who are blind in this life, they will be blind in the Hereafter; even a lot worse.

    [17:73] They almost diverted you from the revelations we have given you. They wanted you to fabricate something else, in order to consider you a friend.

    [17:74] If it were not that we strengthened you, you almost leaned towards them just a little bit.

    [17:75] Had you done that, we would have doubled the retribution for you in this life, and after death, and you would have found no one to help you against us.

    [17:76] They almost banished you from the land to get rid of you, so they could revert as soon as you left.

    [17:77] This has been consistently the case with all the messengers that we sent before you, and you will find that our system never changes.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  6. notaracist101

    why can't islamics move back to their homeland. it will be worse for them as people become smart to their modus operandi. they flat out are not welcome here.................................. they talk crap about america but guess what. we are certainly doing better than any of their countries..........

    March 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      notaracist101 wrote: "why can't islamics move back to their homeland. "

      That could be said for the christians as well... Give America back to the original inhabitants... too bad the Mayans can't come back from the dead...

      March 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • LKJ

      A few times over the years someone has shouted at me to "Go home." And I find it very funny. My hometown is St. Louis, Missouri. That's where I was born, and my parents, and two of my grandparents. I'm a convert to Islam. And my children were all born in the U.S. also. So where should we go? Which country should we choose? This country is our home in every way.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • TheOne

      If your (notaracist) where did that comment come from ? well answer this I've heard plenty of white people to say go back to your homeland but where are they orginally from? It is not america, so why don't they ask themselves this question instead of everyone else? THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMMMMMMMMMM! But on a more positive note since we all are here together why not make the best of it instead of trying to belittle someone that doesnt believe or practice the same religion as you im not a muslim but i dont have any hatred towards them or other muslims because of the 9\11 event and things going on now because that says im discriminating against a race for example the KKK killed several of us and they still trying now but i dont hate all whites because of them see my point? Or should i be like you and tell them to go to there homeland

      March 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • bethe123

      @TheOne–" But on a more positive note since we all are here together why not make the best of it instead of trying to belittle someone that doesnt believe or practice the same religion as you"

      Nobody is belittling people. What is being belittled are the beliefs of Islam, which are vile. It is when Islamists cross the line and actually act on their vile beliefs that there is problem. The middle east and Pakistan are clear examples. But let's be clear, we will never make the best of it, as you suggest. Islam is vile and it will always be opposed in the USA.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  7. REG in AZ

    I don't know a whole lot about Islam but much of what I see has the tendency to just alienate. Not only with the radicals and the terrorists, although that is very significant, but also in things like how they don't want to translate the Qur'an into any other language from Arabic. There appears to be a whole lot of effort that goes into not being open and instead to being isolated. Then we all have become aware of their actually condoning violence, considering women to be inferior and other actions which seem in drastic contrast to our own. So much of what Islam presents seems to be about rigid control, about stringently controlling their people and having them blindly follow. Now maybe there is merit in having people be firmly devote but I suspect that with that complete control it easily leads to real abuse and, consistent with much of what has already been seen, that can be totally scary (especially when considering their aggressive recruiting and political agendas). There is considerable said about Islam being a peaceful and compassionate religion but while we don’t want to condemn a whole religion, we also really need to see actions that support those professed qualities, as so far the words have been mostly empty.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • LKJ

      You raise some good points and ask some intelligent questions. The Qur'an has been translated into many other languages, but we do retain the Arabic and teach that to our children. The reason is because we don't want to lose the essence of the message. Every time a piece is translated, something changes and often something is lost. Over time, the original message can be greatly changed–you've probably played the "telephone game" as a child so you know what I mean. That's the reason we hold on to the Arabic. It is hard for some people, including me. I converted when I was 23 and by then my mind wasn't as ready to take on a very different language. I've struggled with it since then and prefer to read the Qur'an in English so I can at least grasp the basic meaning. But all of my children learned Arabic, and how to read the Qur'an in Arabic, starting when they were in preschool. There are other ways we are different, too, but why should someone need to "blend in"? I've always been a non-conformist and never felt the need to follow the crowd. And I have no problem wearing the headscarf in middle America or even praying in public when the time comes. This is who I am. I'll accept you and I hope you'll accept me too.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Hana

      You are right, you apparently dont know very much about Islam. You only know about the negative aspects of Middle Eastern cultures. Islam is not culture and culture is not Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims forget this as well. If you live in AZ, I will invite you to attend a friday prayer at the Mosque in Tempe near ASU. You might learn more about the religion itself. I am not intending this to be an attempt at conversion, I truely believe that God will reach out to those he chooses, he does not need me for that. But, this is intended to open avenues of education and understanding.

      I am a woman that converted to Islam several years ago. I studied for years before I made that choice. I made that choice while completely single, so it had nothing to do with any man like everyone assumes.

      I can honestly tell you that the Quran is translated into many languages. The difference is that the translations are not concidered to be THE Holy Book, but more of a study guide. Keeping the Original Arabic language as sacred helps to maintian the aunthenticity of the texts. I have several translated copies in English and one in Spanish, and it is posted on the internet in various laguage options. So, no, Islam is not all that isolating with the Quran.

      I can also honestly say that ISLAM does not subjucate women. In fact women are given a great deal more freedom and rights in Islam than in Christianity and Judaism. The major difference of view point is that American/Western culture has changed over time to incorperate a seperation of Church and State where rights and laws are no longer governed by religion and then women had to fight for those rights over the last 100 years and are still doing so in many cases. But, in Middle Eastern countries, the cultures became increasingly male dominated and took quotes from the Quran or other texts to try to justify their choices. However, even within those systems, women maintian a great deal of power, they just learned to work around pitfalls. The interesting part is that in many of these countries, it is the women who put the pressure on other women, not the men.

      And the violence comes from lines taken out of context to justify political propogandas. Just like some Christians will use the Bible to justify blowing up Abortion clinics or something. Any religious text can be taken out of context to justify almost anything. That is human nature. The violence somes from angry and desperate people who happen to be Muslim and use their faith to support poltics. In almost every case of there being a quote from the Quran, even remotely talking about violence and punishment, there is another line a little bit further that reminds people to be patient, compasionate and/or merciful.

      I am Muslim living in AZ, and I live a rather typical American life. I choose to wear hijab. I refrain from alcohol and cigaretts. But, I go out with friends and family (of many religious backgrounds) and pursue hobbies and travel. My husband is Syrian and understands Islam the same way that I do, so he supports me in my choices and my life. There is nothing isolating about it.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "I can also honestly say that ISLAM does not subjugate women. In fact women are given a great deal more freedom and rights in Islam than in Christianity and Judaism. "

      As a Muslim woman who is given more freedom, can you date and marry a non-Muslim?

      I think I hear the shackles on you Hana.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Mark from Middle River.

      Hi there, how are you, I see still asking the same question for months now? Seems you have intentions to marry a Muslim women? Although do not know what is holding you from knowing few maybe by then you will convert to Islam? As I feel or know that a Muslim woman would accept you if she felt or known that you out of sign of love would be ready to learn more about her faith and that you would be ready to give up your belief for her as a start before you become convinced...guess no mother would accept to see her children divided between their mother's and father's faiths....?!

      March 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  8. sargeanton

    When muslims get bored with murdering Jews and Christians, they usually start murdering each other. There has to be a way we can make this work more efficiently to the latter end.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  9. PeterVN

    Sad that with all the ser-ious news such as the com-pound dis-aster in Ja-pan and the viol-ent strugg-les in the Midd-le East, news of a relig-ious c-rapper is promin-ent on this site, and even that there is a "bel-ief" bl-og.. For sham-e. Dow-n with relig-ion and its fair-y tales.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  10. hamza

    every decent human being has an obligation to stand up to this redneck terrorism.they ar hiding behind witchhunt.i lived in tennesse and that is a state firmly in the claws of church,no wonder they resort to fascism.many people make nice money on tv or in the newspapers hatemongering.america got 10.000 dead in this conflict.muslims are not bedouins any more,america cannot push them around anymore.the new governments in muslim countries will be very nationalistic and will certainly stand up to imperialism.we american muslims have to stand up to the ones who want to make us third class citizens,based on race and religous beliefs.america has a tradition of freedom and injustice going hand in hand-founding fathers were fighting for liberty,but have denied that same liberty to people enslaved on their own peoperties.kids at schools learn that slavery existed "because the times were such",instead of the truth-that white people were garbage.i want to prevent such logic to be used on muslims in america.propaganda is extremely strong in america,stronger than in ussr or nazi germany.people who were born in palestine are called terrorists for wanting to be citizens of the country they were born in and incoming europeans who stole the land by the means of force and terrorism,are considered ok.that is america.white people take the right to scrutinize me,though the government of the land trusts me and protects me with given citizenship.who the hell are these fellow employees,neighbours or anyone else i meet to re-tailor american laws and belittle me and make me problems at work and apply "zero tolerance" policies on me?i want to be free here,i want evryone to shut up and leave me alone.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  11. Indonesian

    When I read the comments I just realise how shallow some of american are, they mixed-up between middle east culture and islam teaching.
    Can you see from our point of view? How your country did to the iraqi and afghanistan. Did we all say, christian are terrorist???

    March 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Muneef


      No Christians were not who did that to Iraq and Afghn... 
      Those were done by an army that knew not or believed not in God and Religion...Infidels I suppose they might be called that are even worse than the previous ones who were in Afghn before them..
      Do you think religious ones would have done what has been done there? Example the prisons acts practiced in Iraq?
      Those were non religious ones living in a supposedly Christian country.... You can even see from reading within the posts that religious ones sound fearful from those non religious ones who are taking the country over...
      So should think the weaker religion should be replaced with a stronger religion to bring those with Ego back to their senses reminding them that after all they are still humans and not above God..

      March 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  12. Andrew

    If anyone sincerely wants to learn about Islam, visit this website WHYISLAM.ORG
    Ther you can find articles, pamphlets and even a toll free line to call and speak to someone live that can answer your questions. Again, the website is WHYISLAM.ORG

    March 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  13. hamza

    thank you cnn for giving us an opportunity to show real america.this country is full of haters.all time the stories about high human rights standards and freedom are repeated in public,while on the ground i see entirely different stuff.fascism in america is alive and well.just go through comments here,same on cbs,worse on fox,and you will find tons of insults,spitting,invitations for annihilation of muslims.one cannot even say truth,because there is only this christian truth in america.we all know what has been done to palestinians,iraqis.how many times have afghans and pakistanis been accidentaly murdered by ten or twenty?what really happened on 9/11 is that 20 muslim guys said that here it is how it feels when someone inflicts pain on you.for decades muslims are subjected to american/israeli barbarism and terrorism,so these 20 guys decide to give americans a portion of their own remedy.what is really behind hatred towards muslims?money.american christians were robbing half of the world for decades,which translated into high living standard for american christians-a high school graduate was able to grab a $60.000/year job.money is trickling now.big houses full of everything are becoming past.solution-church is a hotbed of hatemongering and traditional rotteness of american christians is blooming in this environment,resulting in blame for all muslims,based on open fascism.american christians consider themselves only real americans and want the rights that they had in 1950-ies,to lynch and be released by all white juries.even nowadays we have white cops gunning down person of color and let go.my point is to point to what americans are hiding-there is fascism in america.american churches,especially baptist ones are menace.various preachers like pat robertson(correct name?) have no business been on tv,that is the last garbage.the message to american christian haters is:leave muslims here and abroad alone.if you don't like us,that is your own problem,go and hang yourselves.islam is on the rise and it is wise to start changing foreign policies in america.

    March 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • bethe123

      Your post speaks for itself.


      March 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      Any dim-wit that counts on an invisible buddy to save them is an impediment to humanitarian progression. I'll be glad when all of you believers have gone the way of the dodo bird.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Joe

      Hamza it's fortunate that most Muslims are rational and peaceful, not delusional like you. You belong to a small faction that uses religion and warped political views to justify terrorism. Also, you clearly don't the meaning of the word "facism." A good example would be the Nazis or your beloved Al-Qaeda, which is an Islamic facist group. The U.S. is certainly militaristic, but it is by no means facist.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • hamza

      you have illusions,joe.when your pocket is empty,you will see this people different way.plus,you would have to be a foreigner to know.i happen to have worked with some christians from my country when 9/11 happened.they all expressed the joy because you were hit,in our language of course.they said like this:americans got what they deserve.and that is uniformly wat europeans think,too.there are fewer and fewer placeswhere americans can safely visit.why?

      March 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  14. ME

    I thought this was supposed to be a comment section to the rapper Freeway balancing his faith and his street cred as a rapper!!!! smh at all y'all racist and jungemental sons of mothers! :))

    March 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  15. bretheren


    March 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  16. alex

    I often think of what I would do if I had the powers of, lets say "Dr. Manhatton". Basically the powers of god. The first thing I would do is rid the world of all religion and impliment state law around the world to maintain order. I'd probibly do this by any means, including killing millions of people who didnt comply. Scary thought. But honestly, religion is definantly a barrier for the successful growth of the human race. I think any reasonable intellegent person would agree.

    March 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Muslim

      Are you seriously comparing God to a comic book superhero?

      March 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Muslim wrote: "Are you seriously comparing God to a comic book superhero?"

      Why not? They're both fictional...

      March 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • dgfgddfre

      Lardhead: leave it to you to promo your ghey azz athiest hommo-in-the-corner religion.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard


      Judging by the level of intelligence (?) displayed in your post, I gather that you're a follower of a religion...

      March 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  17. Yours Truly

    Can a Muslim please answer this question? How is it the Quran can call Jesus a prophet but yet they believe he is a liar? Jesus said he was the son of God. So if Muslims believe this to be false, Then how can you call him a prophet?? Isn't that a very big contradiction? No Muslim has ever been able to answer this question for me..

    March 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Aasim Soomro

      Jesus never said he was the son of God. He might have said he was the slave of God or the servant of God, but not His son.

      March 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Muslim

      No Muslim has ever claimed Jesus to be a liar. We simply don't believe he is the son of God, since God has no descendants, ancestors, etc. God is God. We also don't believe the he said he was the son of God. If he never said this, then there is no way for us to consider him a liar.
      Jesus was a messenger of God. He was a great man, but for even a man such as him, it is blasphemy to say that he is God's son. Actually, in one way, he is God's child, just like all humans are. But he is not a literal child of God, and this is where Christians and Muslims fall to disagreement, and a main reason why conservative, orthodox Christians speak out against Islam. Just because we believe something different.

      March 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • AYousuf

      I hope this this helps you a little. Mary, as in Jesus' mother was a virgin...as Muslim always believed he was created by Allah...therefore he is the messanger for Allah not son of God.

      March 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jesus is God

      Jesus did more than say he was the son of God, He said that He was God! He said before Moses, I AM.

      March 26, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • LKJ

      It's been quite a few years since I've read the Gospels, but I don't remember any passages where Jesus said directly that he was the Son of God. In addition, Biblical scholars know that even the earliest Gospel was written at least 40 years after Jesus and could have been subject to interpretation. The Gospel of John was written about 90 years after Jesus and was probably written by a Greek Jew who had converted to Christianity and was trying to convince other Greek Jews to convert. That particular Gospel is full of philosophical references, some dating back to ancient Greece. The synoptic Gospels were less interpretive, but there are within them some passages that even Biblical scholars doubt existed in the originals (such as the story of the adulterous woman).

      March 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  18. Mookster

    Nice! More Pro-islam propaganda! Keep it coming CNN we love your unbiased journalism.. ahahahaha

    March 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      Go watch Fox. You obviously don't understand what "bias" is in the field of journalism.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  19. NL

    "Lets ask women and minorities in Islamic countries, then write an article."
    There are muslims in other countries and there are muslims in America. Arguing that they behave exactly the same everywhere is like saying that all Christians worldwide behave like the Bible Belt variety, which is completely absurd, right?

    Every religion has enough good parts to be practiced in a way which benefits not only the adherents of that faith, but the rest of their country as well. Every religion can produce good citizens. It's people who decide how to practice their religion and if American muslims wish to practice their faith in such a way that still allows them to be good, productive citizens why the hell wouldn't you want to encourage that?

    March 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  20. Shahrazad

    Mash'Allah! Imaan in Allah(swt) will be there when everything else is gone. Will carry you through the darkness of the world & into Paradise, insh'Allah.

    March 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      Believers in religious mythology are a cancer on society.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:28 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.