Baha'i woman recalls imprisonment in Iran
August 31st, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Baha'i woman recalls imprisonment in Iran

Minoo Vosough can still hear the guards' boots marching down the cold hallways of Iran's Gohardasht prison. The screams of other inmates burn her ears.

She can feel the thud of a fist coming down on her head. And the world going black as she was blindfolded and shoved in a courtroom to hear her fate.

She was arrested in Tehran more than 25 years ago - beaten, interrogated and thrown into solitary confinement. Once a week, she was taken out for a shower. She could tell if it was bright or overcast only by the small window high up in her cell. She cherished the chirping of birds outside.

All she had was a blanket, a spoon and a broken fork.

The Iranian regime accused Vosough of espionage, though she was never charged or afforded legal representation. Her crime in the Islamic republic, she says, was - and still is - her faith.

She is a Baha'i.

She has not spoken publicly about her terrifying experience in an Iranian jail. Until now.


- Moni Basu

Filed under: Baha'i • Iran • Journeys

August 30th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Ramadan road trip: Not all Kumbaya

Two young Muslim Americans are taking a cross-country spiritual journey at a fascinating time in the nation’s history.

Just this weekend, conservative commentator Glenn Beck stood before a crowd of hundreds of thousands in the nation's capital and proclaimed that "America today begins to turn back to God."

Hours earlier, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, four construction vehicles used for the groundbreaking of an Islamic mosque were vandalized and damaged in a fire suspected to be arson. The mosque has faced stiff local resistance.

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are on Day 19 of their cross-country trip to 30 mosques in 30 states during the holy month of Ramadan. Beginning in New York, they traveled down the East Coast to the South and then onward West, covering thousands of miles and meeting Muslims of all walks of life.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Culture wars • Faith • Holidays • Islam • Journeys • Mosque • Ramadan • Traditions • United States

August 25th, 2010
10:41 AM ET

August 23rd, 2010
10:34 AM ET

Muslim women who wear the hijab and niqab explain their choice

Photos by CNN's Angie Lovelace, text by Soraya Salam of CNN's In America unit:

When you look at Aliya Naim or Nadia, they don’t want you to see objects of beauty, nor do they want you to see women constrained by societal standards.

Instead, they say, they want to be judged by their intellect and personalities. They say it’s the reason they don’t show too much more.

Both Muslim American women cover themselves from head to toe in adherence to their faith’s promotion of modesty and humility. Like most Muslim women who cover, they do so only in front of men who are not in their immediate family.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Islam • Journeys • Women

August 20th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Ramadan road trip, day 3: View from the top

Aman Ali, right, and Wayne Drash atop the Jacksonville minaret

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

Shauib Karim calls me back into the office at the Islamic Center of Jacksonville, Florida. "You've got to see this."

He boots up a computer and opens a file from May 10. On the screen, there's an image of a hunched-over, middle-aged guy carrying a 3-foot pipe bomb and a gas canister.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Journeys • Mosque • Muslim • Ramadan

August 19th, 2010
03:48 PM ET

Ramadan road trip, day 2: 'Faith people have to stick together'

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

The blue Chevy Cobalt pulled away from Atlanta, heading into toward the Muslim community of Jacksonville, Florida.

Driver Aman Ali jams to "Eye of the Tiger," his thumbs beating to the rhythm and his voice belting out along with Survivor's lead singer. His friend, Bassam Tariq, studiously reads fan emails and scans the internet.

"I just read a news piece that 1 in 5 Americans think Obama is a Muslim," Bassam says. "Isn't that crazy?"


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Journeys • Muslim • Ramadan

August 19th, 2010
12:37 AM ET

Ramadan roadtrip begins: Day 1

Iman Mansoor Sabree introduces Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq to students at the Mohammed Schools in Atlanta. Ali and Tariq are are visiting 30 mosques in 30 days during Ramadan.

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are two young Muslims taking a 10,000-mile roadtrip to 30 mosques in 30 states during the holy month of Ramadan.

“It’s about humanizing Muslims and Islam,” Ali said. “A lot of people might know about Islam, but they might not know what our lives are really like.”

My colleague, Robert Johnson, and I are joining them on their swing through the South. Along the way, we'll meet an African-American community of Muslims in Atlanta; a largely Pakistani-American community in Jacksonville, Florida; and a group of West African immigrants in Birmingham, Alabama.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holidays • Islam • Journeys • Muslim • Ramadan

August 11th, 2010
09:37 PM ET

August 2nd, 2010
02:08 PM ET

Katy Perry opens up on religious upbringing

Katy Perry sang about kissing girls, and now she's talking tongues: In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Perry reveals that her Christian minister parents spoke in tongues when she was growing up.

The California girl, who has "Jesus" tattooed on her left wrist, tells the magazine, "Speaking in tongues is as normal to me as 'Pass the salt..' It's a secret, direct prayer language to God." Perry, 25, adds that her dad usually speaks in tongues while her mom plays interpreter. "That's their gift," she explains.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Journeys • Muslim

August 2nd, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Peter Berger in Blogostan

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

Peter Berger is perhaps the most influential living scholar of religion, the author of such classics (and bestsellers) as The Sacred Canopy and The Social Construction of Reality. As of a few weeks ago, he is also a blogger, the man behind "Religion and Other Curiosities" at American Interest Online.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Berger a bit after taking a job a decade or so ago at Boston University, where until his recent retirement (of sorts) he directed BU's Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs and held forth as a professor of religion, sociology and theology.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Journeys • News media

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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.