April 20th, 2013
07:39 PM ET

Muslim leaders condemn bombing suspects

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
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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

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Massachusetts • Muslim • Quran • Terrorism • Violence

April 16th, 2013
01:28 PM ET

My Take: Light will conquer darkness in Boston

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) — At 4 a.m. on Patriot’s Day, I huddled in the cold and dark on the Lexington town green that’s across from the church where I work as a priest, awaiting the reenactment of the first battle of the American Revolution.

As the sun rose, a small group of haggard colonists assembled. None were in military uniform; they seemed to have difficulty forming a straight line. And when the British marched towards them with their elegant uniforms and disciplined formation, they outnumbered the colonists more than 2-1.

It looked to be a slaughter.

As the “shot heard 'round the world” fired, the colonists scrambled, some dying in the skirmish and others retreating, running away to safety.

To the casual observer like myself, it looked like defeat — defeat of their hopes for freedom, liberty and democracy; defeat of goodness and light. But that defeat turned out to be the call that brought out reservists from all over the Boston area. Ordinary colonists left their homes to hide behind trees with their weapons, haunting the British as they marched back to Boston. The efforts of those ordinary men and women eventually led to victory for our country and the ideals it sought — and continues to seek—to embody.

Less than 12 hours after I attended the reenactment, I heard a different “shot heard 'round the world,” this time a few miles from my home where I was working. The Boston Marathon bombing shook me, as it shook many of my fellow Bostonians. It was a reminder that our world carries hazards and injustice. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Massachusetts • Terrorism • Violence

As worshippers gather, Pakistani city endures second deadly blast in two days
Pakistani Shiite Muslims march during a religious procession on the ninth day of holy month of Moharram in Karachi.
November 26th, 2012
01:44 AM ET

As worshippers gather, Pakistani city endures second deadly blast in two days

By Nasir Habib and Shaan Khan, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - For the second time in two days, a deadly blast shook a northwest Pakistani city as worshippers marked the sacred holiday of Ashura.

The explosion occurred near a Shiite Muslim procession in Dera Ismail Khan. The bomb was planted inside a bicycle repair shop, killing five people and injuring more than 70 others, said Mian Iftikahr Hussain, the provincial information minister.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said the group would continue "its mission" and attack Shiite Ashura processions across Pakistan.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Islam • Pakistan • Terrorism

Suicide bomber kills 7 in Nigerian church
Soldiers stand guard after a suicide attacker drove a car bomb into a church in Kaduna, Nigeria.
October 29th, 2012
05:37 AM ET

Suicide bomber kills 7 in Nigerian church

By the CNN Wire Staff

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) - A suicide bombing killed seven people and wounded more than 100 others Sunday at a Catholic church in Nigeria, an emergency management official said.

The bomber crashed an explosives-filled jeep into the St. Rita Church in the central Nigerian town of Kaduna, killing himself and seven others at the scene, said Musa Ilallah, a regional coordinator for the national emergency management agency.

The injured were in critical condition and were taken to four hospitals in the region, Ilallah said.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Nigeria • Terrorism

October 26th, 2012
06:56 AM ET

Suicide bomber targets worshipers outside Afghan mosque, kills 40

By Masoud Popalzai, CNN

(CNN) - A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque following morning prayers in Afghanistan's northern Faryab province, killing at least 40 people, according to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the northern Afghanistan police chief.

More than 50 people were wounded in the blast that occurred as worshipers finished prayers to mark the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, said Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Seddiqi.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Afghanistan • Terrorism

July 25th, 2011
01:53 PM ET

My Take: Norway attacks show why you can't #blamethemuslims

Editor's Note: Imam Khalid Latif is a chaplain for New York University and Executive Director of the school's Islamic Center.

By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN

In the immediate aftermath of 1995’s Oklahoma City bombing, much of the news media rushed to suggest that a Muslim, or at least a Middle Eastern connection, was behind the attack.

News reports on television and in print featured Middle East terrorism experts claiming the Oklahoma City attack echoed a World Trade Center bombing two years earlier and that it contained parallels to recent Mideast attacks.

The FBI picked up Ibrahim Ahmad, a Jordanian American, for questioning in an initial dragnet.

Does 'Christian fundamentalist' label fit Norway terror suspect?

Of course, it turned out that the attacker was homegrown and named Timothy McVeigh, not a Muslim.

Sixteen years later, not much has changed.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Islam • Opinion • Terrorism

July 25th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Is 'Christian fundamentalist' label correct for Norway terror suspect?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Given initial suspicions that Friday's bombing and mass shooting in Norway were carried out by Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda, the way police ended up describing the suspect behind the attacks came as a big surprise even to many security experts: The alleged attacker was called a "Christian fundamentalist."

But experts on European politics and religion say that the Christian fundamentalist label could overstate the extent to which the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik - who has told authorities that he carried out the attacks - was motivated by religion, and the extent to which he is tied to a broader religious movement.

"It is true that he sees himself as a crusader and some sort of Templar knight," said Marcus Buck, a political science professor at Norway's University of Tromso, referring to an online manifesto that Breivik appears to have authored and which draws inspiration from medieval Christian crusaders.

My Take: Norway attacks shows terrorism isn't just Islamic

"But he doesn't seem to have any insight into Christian theology or any ideas of how the Christian faith should play any role in Norwegian or European society," Buck wrote in an email message. "His links to Christianity are much more based on being against Islam and what he perceives of as 'cultural Marxism.'"


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Norway • Terrorism

My Take: Which photo will bin Laden be remembered by?
Will bin Laden be remembered by the contemplative image used by newspapers this week?
May 5th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

My Take: Which photo will bin Laden be remembered by?

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

Images matter.

They matter to Greek Orthodox Christians who see the power of God in icons. They matter to devotional Hindus for whom the key moment in worship — darshan, or “sacred seeing” — comes when you look an image of the divine in the eye.

So the question of whether to release the death photos of Osama bin Laden is not a trivial one. It affects how bin Laden will be remembered — as a shahid (martyr), as “a mass murderer of Muslims" (as President Obama called him on Sunday night) or as something else altogether.

I think the president's decision not to release photos of bin Laden’s corpse was a good one. In this era of digital photography and Photoshop, photographs do not prove much. And they prove nothing at all to conspiracy theorists.

So circulating a photograph of bin Laden bloodied by U.S. troops would almost certainly do more harm than good, not least by fueling the perception that the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks is a martyr for true Islam.

But the absence of a death photo does not mean there will not be photos to remember bin Laden by. In fact, the iconography already seems to be emerging, and, at least for me, it is troubling.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Islam • Opinion • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism

My Take: My prayer after bin Laden’s death
President Barack Obama greets members of the U.S. military in Washington.
May 5th, 2011
08:26 AM ET

My Take: My prayer after bin Laden’s death

Editor's Note: Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of After the Flag has been Folded, serves on the national advisory board for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and blogs at Patheos.com.

By Karen Spears Zacharias, Special to CNN

The news that Osama bin Laden is dead sent throngs of Americans into the streets hooting and hollering like Super Bowl revelers.

Such a reaction is understandable given the tedious hunt our military has conducted. We should applaud them and their families for the sacrifices they have made and that they continue to make.

No disrespect to President Barack Obama or former President George W. Bush, but it is through the relentless efforts of our military, their unwavering commitment to duty, their love of country and each other that this particular mission has been accomplished.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Opinion • Terrorism

May 4th, 2011
12:01 PM ET

My Take: No apology for celebrating after bin Laden's death

Editor's Note: Lauren Kolodkin is an undergraduate student at Boston University; among her professors is CNN Belief Blog contributor Stephen Prothero, who wrote that the celebrations that followed bin Laden's death made him cringe.

By Lauren Kolodkin, Special to CNN

For the past 10 years, my generation has had it pretty bad.

Our youth was taken away by the attacks on 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our teen years were pockmarked by the Great Recession. Our college days are splattered with political unrest. And when we graduate from college, we will emerge overeducated and underprepared into an America with no jobs, no opportunities and no hope.

My generation has been told for years that our world is a place where there is little reason to celebrate anything.

But then, on Sunday night, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, mastermind of the attacks of September 11, 2001, was killed in Pakistan. The man who murdered thousands of Americans and instigated the war on terror is finally gone. And my generation celebrated.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Death • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism

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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.