April 24th, 2013
09:27 AM ET
My Take: I'm Muslim, and I hate terrorism
Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the co-director of the upcoming documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" and co-host of a new CNN podcast "The Big Three" that looks at the top three stories of the week. Follow him on Twitter @deanofcomedy.
By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
(CNN) - I'm an American-Muslim and I despise Islamic terrorists. In fact, despise is not even a strong enough word to convey my true feelings about those who kill innocent people in the name of Islam. I hate them with every fiber of my being.
I'm not going to tell you, "Islam is a religion of peace." Nor will I tell you that Islam is a religion of violence. What I will say is that Islam is a religion that, like Christianity and Judaism, is intended to bring you closer to God. And sadly we have seen people use the name of each of these Abrahamic faiths to wage and justify violence.
The unique problem for Muslims is that our faith is being increasingly defined by the actions of a tiny group of morally bankrupt terrorists. Just to be clear: The people who commit violence in the name of Islam are not Muslims, they are murderers. Their true religion is hatred and inhumanity.
The only people terrorists speak for are themselves and the others involved in their despicable plot. They do not represent me, my family or any other Muslim I know. And believe me, I know a lot of Muslims.FULL STORY
April 23rd, 2013
09:47 AM ET
Muslims in North Caucasus concerned about ‘extremism'
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – A majority of Muslims (57%) in Russia’s North Caucasus – including Chechnya, Dagestan and five other Russian jurisdictions – are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about religious extremist groups in their country, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
That number is higher than Russia as a whole, where more than four-in-10 Muslims in the country express the same level of concern.
This region of the world, particularly Chechnya and Dagestan, has been in the news recently because the suspects in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother who is still alive, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who died in a shootout last week – had familial ties to the region.
The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, where 62% of Muslims told Pew they were very or somewhat concerned about extremism in the central Asian country.
April 23rd, 2013
08:22 AM ET
Boston suspect's anger over MLK sermon
(CNN)–CNN's Brian Todd visit's the Tsarnaev brothers' mosque to see if the members noticed any red flags around the suspects.
April 21st, 2013
08:36 PM ET
Opinion: Don't scapegoat a faith for bombings
Editor's note: Farhana Khera is the president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization dedicated to promoting freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith.
By Farhana Khera, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Like so many Americans across the country, I was shocked when I heard of the attacks at the Boston Marathon. A part of me immediately traveled back to when I was cheering runners myself as a student at Wellesley College, the midpoint for the marathon, a time when such dangers as bombings never crossed our minds.
Boston is an indelible part in the personal history and identity of those who have lived or attended school in the city. That someone had detonated bombs at an event that symbolized unity in a place known for its rich diversity and as a birthplace of our nation's freedom was heartbreaking.FULL COMMENTARY
April 21st, 2013
03:30 PM ET
Imam: I wouldn’t give Boston suspect last rites
By Moni Basu and Eric Marrapodi, CNN
(CNN) - Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early Friday, and according to the rules of Islam, he should have been buried by now. But his severely wounded body is still being held to determine a cause of death.
"We are waiting for more information," said Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Boston Medical Examiner's Office. He wasn't sure when a cause of death would be released.
Tsarnaev, 26, had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday that doctors could not tell which ones had killed him. He'd engaged in a ferocious battle with police in which more than 200 rounds of gunfire was exchanged. He and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, also allegedly hurled improvised explosive devices and handmade grenades at officers. FULL POST
April 21st, 2013
01:53 PM ET
Opinion: Billy Graham's other voice
Editor's note: CNN Contributor Bob Greene is a best-selling author whose 25 books include "Late Edition: A Love Story"; "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War"; and "Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen."
By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - Devoted fans.
Seldom have those words sounded quite so apt.
They describe the people who enjoyed the singing of George Beverly Shea, who died last week at the age of 104. The name may not be instantly recognizable to some Americans, but that was no fault of his. He accomplished something very few vocalists can claim: During his career, he sang in front of an estimated 200 million people in live performance.
How could this be?FULL COMMENTARY
April 21st, 2013
01:43 PM ET
Boston mourns as religious groups offer healing
By David Ariosto and Moni Basu, CNN
Boston (CNN) - On this brisk April morning in Boston's South End, worshipers filled New England's largest Roman Catholic church. It was a time to pray - and reflect on the torrent of violence this city has seen.
Last Sunday, a special blessing was said here for the runners in the Boston Marathon. Now, there were people sitting on the wooden pews who might have witnessed the tragedy. They were all scarred inside.
Almost a week has passed since bombs made from pressure cookers blew up near the finish line of the race. Three people died, and more than 170 were wounded. Many remain in hospitals.
April 20th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
Muslim leaders condemn bombing suspects
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
Washington (CNN) - Muslim leaders in Boston and elsewhere have distanced themselves from the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, condemning the deadly terror attack and saying they feared reprisals against their communities.
"I don't care who or what these criminals claim to be, but I can never recognize these criminals as part of my city or my faith community," said Yusufi Vali, executive director for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area.
"All of us Bostonians want these criminals to be brought to justice immediately. I am infuriated at the criminals of these bombings for trying to rip our city apart. We will remain united and not let them change who we are as Bostonians." FULL POST
April 20th, 2013
05:14 PM ET
My Take: Reconsidering a sermon amid SWAT teams
Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."
By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN
Boston (CNN) — The day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Belief Blog published my thoughts on what it meant to be a Bostonian and person of faith in the aftermath of such horrific violence. I described what I planned to preach to my congregation Sunday, that even in the face of darkness and evil, light will prevail.
That was before the manhunt in Watertown, where my husband and I have lived for three years. In the dark of night, I woke up to banging noises and sirens followed by phone calls to stay inside.
From approximately 5 a.m. onward, we heard horns or helicopters every couple of minutes. We questioned our own safety, and when we peeked through the blinds outside, it looked like all our neighbors had deserted the town, though we knew they were holed up in their apartments, too. FULL POST
April 20th, 2013
03:45 PM ET
Older brother in Boston bombings grew increasingly religious, analysis shows
By Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank, CNN
(CNN)–Tamerlan Tsarnaev appears to have become increasingly religious in the last three or four years, according to an analysis of his social media posts and the accounts of family members. But there is so far no evidence of active association with international jihadist groups.
In August 2012, soon after returning from a long visit to Russia, he created a YouTube channel with links to a number of videos. Some include sermons or interviews with radical preachers. Two videos under a category labeled "Terrorists" were deleted. It's not clear when or by whom.
Tsarnaev's YouTube channel had the address "muazseyfullah," which happen to be the names of two prominent militant leaders among Islamist groups in Russia's north Caucasus, an area that includes Chechnya and Dagestan. Seyfullah also translates as "sword of Allah."
It is possible that the account he created has at some point been interfered with, but there is no such obvious sign.
One video talks about his beliefs, prayers and ablutions as a good Muslim. He speaks about leading a meaningful life; almost the very last word is "peace." Another video is in praise of Muslim women who pray and dress conservatively.FULL STORY
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.