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June 5th, 2013
03:44 PM ET

A plea from an exhausted Muslim woman

Opinion by Melody Moezzi, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I wasn’t surprised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent statement about a “problem within Islam.”

It's not as though I've never heard anything like it before. I hear it all the time.

Still, his words - in response to a recent attack in London that left a British soldier dead - made me wonder: How might the public have reacted in a different context, had Blair replaced the word “Islam” with “Christianity” or “Judaism”?

I’m guessing not well.

But Muslims are used to having their faith openly denigrated by public officials.

We’re used to people failing to distinguish between “Islam” and “a few Muslims.” And we’re used to being called terrorists despite the fact that the vast majority of terrorist acts on American and European soil have been carried out by non-Muslims.

But being accustomed to abuse doesn’t mean we bruise less. If anything, being beaten repeatedly in the same spot makes each successive blow all the more painful.

I’ve written many reasoned commentaries in defense of Islam, Muslims and Muslim women in particular. This isn’t one.

Today, I’m going to do something different. I’m not going to cite relevant verses from the Quran. I’m not going to quote scholars. I’m not going on the defensive.

Today, I’m tired. So tired that I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. Not because I seek pity or sympathy, but because I think people should understand. Because maybe if they really understood, they’d stop.

Today, I’m going to tell you what it feels like to live with hate and hostility directed at you on a daily basis.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to turn on the news and hear people repeatedly call your faith hateful and violent.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be vilified any time a man named Mohammed commits a crime.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to wait at a subway station next to an advertisement calling you a barbarian.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to find a death threat in your inbox.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to know that the police are infiltrating your places of worship, finding nothing and still targeting you.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told that you can’t be a feminist and that so many of your gentlest brothers are misogynists, criminals or worse.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to see your people being slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands by state-sponsored terrorists, only to be called terrorists themselves for the crimes of a handful among them.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to have your own people call you a heretic when you’re fighting to defend their rights, while others call you a heretic for doing so.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told to go back to your country when you’re in your country.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be asked if you walk 10 spaces behind your husband or if he beats you or if he has other wives.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to have people assume you hate them when you don’t.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be expected to know why a stranger committed a crime because he claims to share your religion.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be required to apologize for something you didn’t do.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told that you don’t belong when you know there’s no place you belong more.

It hurts.

Editor's note: Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. Her book, "Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life," will be published in August.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Melody Moezzi.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (666 Responses)
  1. Reality

    http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al

    o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
    o
    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

    "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

    "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

    "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

    "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

    "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

    "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

    "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

    "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

    "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

    "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

    June 7, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • saggyroy

      I'm not impressed. The bible can probably match this verse for verse.

      June 7, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Reality

      Of course the OT/Torah can do just that. Some examples:

      To wit:

      •Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf.

      •Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)

      •Joshua: ◦Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed.
      ◦Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon ("larger than Ai"), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. "He left no survivors."
      ◦Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000]
      ◦TOTAL: if Ai is average, 12,000 x 9 = 108,000 killed.

      •Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed.
      •Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.
      •Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon
      •Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed.

      •1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle.
      •David: ◦2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.

      ◦2 Samuel 10: 40,000 Aramean footsoldiers and 7,000 charioteers killed at Helam.
      ◦2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.

      •1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall.
      •2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.
      •2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000.
      •2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans

      •TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Old Testament/Torah.

      The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • Jose M. Pulido

        God told them to eliminate those people because of their sins against Him and their land be given to the Israelites. Those people who were removed from Canaan were not Arabs much less Islamist/ Muslims as you clowns project it today. Do you really think we are as ignorant as you are?

        October 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Reality

      But unlike the koran, the bible is and has been updated by many wise persons.

      To wit:

      Conservative Jews in the USA have rewritten the Torah to reflect the myths therein.

      Thomas Jefferson did an analogous rewrite of the NT. Ditto for the rewrite of the NT by the Jesus Seminarians, Professor JD Crossan in his over 20 books on the historical Jesus and related subjects and Professor Gerd Ludeman in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 694-695.

      June 7, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  2. I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that.

    Good, it's meant to hurt. It's meant for you to question your adherence to such hate-filled tripe.

    June 7, 2013 at 5:28 am |
  3. Hesavlie

    Islam is utterly and totally demonic. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. His shed blood saves you from sin. Satan will do anything and concoct any lie – including Islam – to keep you from your savior.

    June 7, 2013 at 4:04 am |
    • LIGHT

      Hesavlie-dont forget Krishna for Hindus is the way, the truth and the life and the others are imaginary gods

      Still my question without an answer what is the difference between Jesus,krishna,Buda and the other human gods?

      June 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  4. LIGHT

    Please read this carefully:

    If someone told us that he is the god, will we believe in him?

    For sure we will ignore him and no one of us will accept that.

    But what we know that the antichrist will call for himself as the god and the majority of people will follow him.

    How something strange like that will happens?

    The antichrist and satan were planning for that thousands of years ago carefully and accurately.

    The plan depends on one idea or one concept that people must believe in a (HUMAN GOD) and to be waiting for him all the time.

    And they DID IT.

    The majority of people on the face of earth are believing in the human god and waiting for him.

    They came to the Bible and Torah and changes many, added many and swiped out many of them,they but fake books,texts and contents for the others to match their plan and the result is:

    More than 02 billions of Christians are waiting for Jesus the human god.

    More than 900 millions of hindus are waiting for Krishna the human god.

    More than 300 millions of Buddhists are waiting for buda the human god.

    Sikh, Jews and many others are waiting for the human god who will come and lead them.

    The antichrist will appears to everyone of those as the Lord long awaited with the same miracles and the same face.

    It was an ancient plan from our enemies to control the world on the time x.

    The problem is that everyone of those believes he is the only correct one and the others are fake.

    June 7, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • Hesavlie

      Jesus was an historical figure who rose from the dead. You can explain all you want, you won't change the facts. The other "religions" are about imaginary gods.

      June 7, 2013 at 4:05 am |
    • Continuing Education

      Hes.....,

      Read here:
      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

      June 7, 2013 at 4:14 am |
    • Science

      Hey LIGHT

      NO god(s) needed ...............praying will not create or did not create the stone we live on.

      'Dust Trap' Around Young Star Solves Long-Standing Planet Formation Mystery

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606140527.htm

      June 7, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Jesus may have been an actual person but there is no factual evidence that he rose from the dead therefore it is not a fact. It is a cult belief with no other support. Please quit lying, or seek help for your delusions.

      June 7, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Momof3

      There's a guy in Australia who claims to be the re-incarnation of jesus. He says he has proof, and he remembers the crucifixtion...he said it wasn't as big a deal for him as it was for his followers! 🙂 He also remembers his resurrection. He has about 30 followers...

      I guess we need to start following him, after all, he remembers a lot of stuff, how can you dipsute that!?!

      June 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Momof3

      ...sorry!

      Dispute

      June 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  5. utalkintome

    i'm sorry the writer of this feels that way....since 9/11, the world has changed and you better get used to it.....racial profiling is here to stay.....you feel targeted because of your skin color or faith....get used to it.....if you have nothing to hide, then don't worry about it....governments are trying to prevent these things from happening all the time....as for islam? in the middle east, sharia law is the law......so let them have it.....and get our troops out of there....the problem with the u.s. is they try to make everyone their friend or change other societies into democracies....its obvious they don't want none of it.....i think all religion is BS.....if your god tells you to do anything(especially violent or oppressive) you have a mental disorder....fact
    i don't see scientists blowing themselves up in the name of science!

    June 7, 2013 at 3:13 am |
  6. tehranweekly

    It's true that a few verses of the Qur'an are reasonable, scientific but it doesn't mean the Qur'an is a divine revelation. The truth is that the content of the Qur'an was stolen from many different sources – Judaism, Christianity, ancient Arabian mythology, contemporary Arab poets and philosophers etc.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  7. Brother Mark

    It would be nice indeed if people would actually read the Qur'an and the Hadith and Sirah and studied this issue for themselves a bit. Of course most will not, and will choose what culturally feels most comfortable, that being something called "self denial".
    The distinction is between "Islam" and the many who identify themselves as Muslim who choose not to follow or are simply ignorant of the standard of authority mandates given by it scriptural teaching. The Qur'an isn't written in chronological form, and Islamic websites will show anyone the difference between the two. Qur'an 2:106 shows the importance of abrogation, that is that a later verse concerning the same topic supersedes the former one. Considering the two, after all is said, there isn't a peaceful Qur'an scripture left standing. That is a fact. I can understand the self denial...I really can, but the lack of courage to get honest about this is still helping to kill innocent people on practically a daily basis. Instead we should believe that "Islam" is the "real" victim. Historical context? Either the Qur'an is something that should be taken into historical context OR it is the eternal word of God. You can't have your cake and eat it also. If it's both then how do we distinguish between the two, other than with someone's subjective opinion? Like the persons subjective opinion of how to distinguish between these two who will dismantle him or herself somewhere while taking as many with them as they can. So much for "historical context". Those who kill for the sake of Allah, usually know their scriptural teaching much better than those more then willing to deny this.

    Of course, I don't expect this to actually be published by our politically correct, public relations concerned friends at CNN, but hopefully will at least be read and discussed by someone.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • need to kno

      When will people wake up and realize its All a lie! This is a typical divide and conquer move by the worlds most wealthy! History is repeating itself, only this time it truely is on a global scale.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • John K

      How giving us a list of Muslim-majority countries where Christians are not persecuted. It'll be a mighty short list.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  8. Up yours Bob Killian

    Geller, who also co-founded Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, has endorsed a rally for free speech on June 4 in Manchester, Tennessee, to protest anti-free speech comments by Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

    Killian has generated outrage by vowing to use federal civil rights laws to punish those making critical comments about Islam.

    In a story on the controversy, Politico quotes Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most respected First Amendment attorneys, as saying about Killian: “He’s just wrong. The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely const-itutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion. And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is.”

    June 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  9. GOOD NEWS

    No one shall be exhausted anymore,

    because GOD's immense Mercy and Peace is upon all of us now!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    June 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  10. Up yours Bob Killian

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 | Posted by WorldTribune.com
    E. Tenn. Democrat, Holder Justice Department challenged on outreach program said to enforce Sharia

    Reacting to reports that the Obama Department of Justice may prosecute those who write and post articles offensive to Muslims, Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has vowed, “We will fight you on this every step of the way. We will drag your dhimmi asses all the way to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it.”

    The term “dhimmi” refers to submission to or enforcement of Islamic law, also called Sharia.
    I think I like this Geller woman. Damn right! F. U. you Obamanista pukes.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Zebra

      Oh, fuck off. Nothing will come from this, you idiot TeaJhadist. You aren't fit to wipe Obama's ass.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Savior

      First of all, I agree, the government can only urge the prevention, but not prosecute for hate speech.

      That being said, Pamela Geller is as reputable as a book called Adolf Hitler's Accurate Guide to Judaism.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Up yours Bill Killian-you might as well chop my head off and put me in a FEMA coffin

      Drop dead Tommie you b!tch!

      June 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  11. Big Bob

    Wow, CNN! Aren't we the epitome of free speech.
    The President has a Connecticut SSN!

    June 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • midwest rail

      There are no 1st Amendment issues involved when commenting on a private corporation's website.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @big bob.............Obviously education escaped you also.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  12. Big Bob

    Oh please! We keep tiptoeing around JIM so much it's incredible! In Austria, school children can't speak of the Siege of Vienna for fear of offending the Turkish kids in their classes. Our own congressmen are looking to criminalize any legitimate critique of JIM. Thus falling into the hands of the UN's OIC. Better wake up folks.

    Oh, and JIM stands for: J I H A D/I S L A M/M U S L I M

    June 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You obviously ran out of medication. Please go to the bathroom and take whatever you see under the sink. You'll sleep better. I guarantee it.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  13. meifumado

    Just look at the smirk on her face.

    I don't believe one word from her mouth.

    June 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Sigh

      I'm exhausted with all of humanity and some of your comments. It never occured to either of you two that your comments are just in bad taste, or if it did occur to you both you just don't care.

      June 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @sigh................You need a nap. What did we write that was so offensive? You didn't say we were lying. Like they say, the truth hurts.

      June 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @meifumado........................You maybe less picky, but I would pick her.

      June 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Science

      Hey sigh.................see link on bottom of post !

      GOOD NEWS..............no bible needed.................................share with chad and the gang !

      Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell

      Next Showing: June 07 @ 12:45 AM

      http://video.adultswim.com/your-pretty-face-is-going-to-hell/bathroom-break.html

      Oldest Primate Fossil Skeleton Found In China

      Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | Jun. 5, 2013, 2:14 PM

      Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/oldest-primate-fossil-skeleton-found-in-china-2013-6#ixzz2VS35T5QS

      Black Holes Abundant Among the Earliest Stars

      June 5, 2013 — By comparing infrared and X-ray background signals across the same stretch of sky, an international team of astronomers has discovered evidence of a significant number of black holes that accompanied the first stars in the universe.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605190711.htm

      Join your heroes. Be one yourself.

      Together, you and DC Entertainment have raised more than $2 million. This fight can be won. Here’s how.

      http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-44/#comment-2401931

      June 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      We're as'suming she has a nice body. She could be built like a broom stick for all we know.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  14. Ken Margo

    You would be more than exhausted if you were back in the middle east. The men would keep you from going to school and keep you pregnant for reasons based on Islam. This isn't a small segment of the middle east. It's the ENTIRE middle east. So if you're offended because we have freedom of speech here, do us all a favor and go live in the middle east. That way you can live the way ALLAH wants you to live. Syria is a wonderful peaceful place right now. What about Egypt? You wont have to worry about traffic because you aren't allowed to drive. Please don't forget about the vacation capital of the world Iran! Life there under Islam is just peachy.

    June 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Savior

      If she were 'back'? She's born in the US. Going back would be going back to Illinois, not the middle east. FAIL.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  15. ML/NJ

    So it's all our fault. You who sit there silently and you who applaud are offended. Were there any who voiced public disapproval of 9/11 or the decapitation of Daniel Pearl, or the bombing or weddings and Bar Mitzvahs in Israel? I could go on and you know it. You, with your military organization that fronts as a religion. SHAME!

    June 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  16. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Melody bib is giving me you know what 😉 😉

    June 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • NESTLE FOUNDATION OF OVALT INE

      Knowing you that probably comes with a side order of moose tracks.

      June 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  17. Red

    Thank You. Great article.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  18. Justin

    Personally, I'm an Atheist (and known for being against organized religion of any kind). But to look at someone's belief alone and use that to judge them as a person is beyond wrong, beyond immoral... it shows a phenomenal lack of intelligence. I am sad that this has happened to you, and even more sad that it will probably continue to happen to you. Hopefully our fellow humans will learn to look past the labels someday, and see people for who they are, individually. Until then, I hope you find some peace.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Agnostic

      A big "THANK YOU" to you Justin. It's good to see some common sense being posted, it's a rare find.

      June 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Justin ...if a given religion has an unbroken 1300 year track record for violence, im going to watch that religion and its adherents very closely...if that's unintelligent to you – so be it.

      to me, relying on these same people to respect the rights of others, when their religion consistently displays an open contempt toward outside philosophies is not exactly displaying good judgment.

      They are in the west...all others have come and melted into the existing culture and law system.... Muslims are working hard to get their own law system established here in the west...and if you think they will stop there, ive got a bridge to sell you.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Justin

      @ R.M Goodswell – You make an interesting point. I think the Christians have done similar things to those that you have mentioned (including attempting to force their morality on me through misleading legislation). I deeply love the U.S., as I feel I can not only have freedom of religeon but also at least some freedom from religeon. And while I would like to be able to rally against any faith group which is intolerant of other faith groups, that kinda leaves me with fellow Non-Believers and Buddhists (who've always seemed just a touch aloof to me 😉 And I know a lot of intolerant Atheists, too. It's kindof the nature of organized spirituality – if this were a company, we'd me referring to their particular "brand" and it's inherent value over the competing brands. I wonder how many marketing classes are taught at the various Theology "schools"?

      June 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Jerry

    I'm not a Muslim, but my comment is As-salamu alaykum.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  20. meifumado

    Are you really defending the chauvinistic faith of Islam that states that a women is not equal to a man?
    You must be completely brainwashed, Why would any woman follow a belief that says you are worth less?

    If it hurts, drop the shackles that hold you back.

    All religions are bad ,Islam is the worst.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • ME II

      I can't tell, are you saying that Islam is worse than other religions, like Christianity, that reinforce a lower status for women, or are you saying that all misogynistic religion should be avoided?

      June 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • meifumado

      All religions should be avoided.

      But i have a special place in my heart for the followers of the illiterate pedophile warlord Muhammad

      June 6, 2013 at 2:27 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.