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New York's Bloomberg defends city surveillance of Muslims
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended on Thursday his police department's monitoring of Muslim student groups' websites.
February 22nd, 2012
03:28 AM ET

New York's Bloomberg defends city surveillance of Muslims

By Kiran Khalid, CNN

New York (CNN) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday fired back at the president of Yale University and others who have suggested city police went too far in their surveillance of Muslims.

"We have to keep this country safe," the mayor told reporters, addressing questions about an Associated Press report that said the NYPD was closely monitoring Muslim student associations in schools across the Northeastern United States.

"If people put things on websites and make them available to everybody, of course the NYPD is going to look at anything that's publicly available in the public domain," Bloomberg said. "And given we've had a dozen people arrested or convicted of terrorist acts who've come from similar organizations, we have an obligation to do so."

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim • New York • United States

Faith Online: Social media bridges the old and the new
Joseph P. Mathews (on left) and Colin Chapman participate in one of the latest Digital Formation webinars.
February 22nd, 2012
02:39 AM ET

Faith Online: Social media bridges the old and the new

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The General Theological Seminary was founded in 1817, making it the oldest Episcopalian seminary in the country. Twitter, on the other hand, was introduced to the public in 2006, making it, by comparison, a newborn.

Colin Chapman and Joseph Mathews, the relatively young founders of Digital Formation, hope to bring those two worlds together.

As a social media consulting endeavor, Digital Formation looks to help clergy and lay church leaders work their way through the ever-changing world of social media. When Chapman and Mathews proposed using webinars and classes as the means of teaching, the leadership of the seminary embraced the idea.

Though the organization is still in its early stages, the fact that Digital Formation was so quickly embraced shows how religious organizations not only desire more exposure to Twitter, but are willing to throw out what Chapman describes as a “behind the times” attitude to get that exposure.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Culture & Science • Episcopal • New York • Technology • United States

February 13th, 2012
04:03 PM ET

NYC public school ban on church services

(CNN)–CNN's Susan Candiotti talks with a New York City church on last day of services before ban on renting space in schools.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • New York • TV • United States

February 8th, 2012
08:24 PM ET

Retired New York Cardinal Egan retracts apology on Catholic priest sex abuse

By Laura Batchelor, CNN

New York (CNN) - A decade after the sex abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church across the country, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his apology for how the church handled the issue.

In an interview published this week in Connecticut Magazine, Egan denies any sex abuse happened under his watch in Bridgeport, Connecticut, or in New York.

"I never had one of these sex abuse cases. ... Not one," he told the magazine. Referencing the apology he issued in 2002, Egan continued, "I should never have said that. I did say 'If we did anything wrong, I'm sorry,' but I don't think we did anything wrong."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • New York

Man questioned in New York City firebomb attacks
The attacks resulted in damage but no injuries, the New York Police Department said.
January 3rd, 2012
03:59 PM ET

Man questioned in New York City firebomb attacks

New York (CNN) - Authorities said Tuesday they believe a single arsonist may be responsible for a weekend series of fire bombings in one New York City neighborhood, adding that they are investigating the incidents as possible hate crimes.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters that officials are questioning a man who may have hurled the Molotov cocktails, made with explosive liquids and Frappuccino bottles from Starbucks, at an Islamic center and a Hindu place of worship on Sunday.

Read the full story on the investigation into the fire bombings
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Crime • New York

Muslim leaders boycott interfaith breakfast
December 30th, 2011
03:32 AM ET

Muslim leaders boycott interfaith breakfast

By the CNN Wire Staff

New York (CNN) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed New York police ahead of a boycott of the city's annual interfaith breakfast Friday by a prominent group of Muslim clerics.

On Thursday, he touted law enforcement efforts to thwart future terrorist attacks in New York, telling reporters that "we obey the law" and that authorities "don't target anybody," instead focusing on leads.

The controversy stems from a series of news reports that raised questions about the nature of a Central Intelligence Agency partnership with the New York Police Department, pointing to the alleged surveillance of Muslims living in New York.

The Associated Press reported that following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the CIA helped the NYPD build intelligence programs used to spy on Muslims, and that a CIA officer was involved in intelligence collection in Muslim communities.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • New York • United States

Agreement signed to rebuild church at ground zero
The old St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church stood in the shadow of the World Trade Center before 9/11.
October 14th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

Agreement signed to rebuild church at ground zero

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America agreed Friday to rebuild the destroyed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan.

The agreement stipulates that the church be rebuilt near the original site with slight modifications to the archdiocese's desired plans, the most noticeable being a nondenominational bereavement center at the east end of the structure.

“Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “With this agreement, we are continuing New York’s collective healing, restoration and resurgence.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • New York • United States

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders
A walking tour in Crown Heights opens the door to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
September 28th, 2011
11:58 AM ET

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders

By Philip Rosenbaum, CNN, and Ryan P. Casey, Special to CNN

New York (CNN) – When he was 18 and still living in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Beryl Epstein received a call from his older brother, Mordechai, who was about to join the Israel Defense Forces.

Mordechai urged his younger brother to come to Crown Heights, a largely ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, where he was studying before heading to Israel.

“I knew there must be more – something I was missing,” recalls Epstein, 53, who grew up in a secular Jewish home.

His visit to Crown Heights the following year, 1977, inspired him to move there and to join the Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish sect predominant in the neighborhood. Inside his new community, Epstein noticed there was a misconception among outsiders that Lubavitcher Jews – who are distinguished by dark clothing, frequent use of Yiddish and what they say is an unyielding focus on devotion to God – shun the outside world.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • New York

Islamic center near ground zero touts first big event as center’s grand opening
The site of the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan.
September 19th, 2011
10:28 AM ET

Islamic center near ground zero touts first big event as center’s grand opening

By Heather M. Higgins,CNN

New York (CNN) - Earlier this month, signs of life returned to what was once a gaping pit, frozen in sadness and rife with emotion, as part of the memorial at the World Trade Center opened on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

This week, another grand opening – this one steeped in controversy – is scheduled for just a few blocks away from the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

The first part of Park51, the planned Lower Manhattan Islamic community center that sparked an international controversy last year, is set to open Wednesday with an art exhibit that features photographs of children.

“It is a huge step forward,” said Katerina Lucas, Park51’s chief of staff. “I hope it shows we are about inclusion, not exclusion.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Islam • New York

September 16th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

One of world's best boxers is training to be a rabbi

By Eric Marrapodi and Ali Velshi, CNN

Brooklyn, New York (CNN) — Cutting the thick summer air, an industrial fan struggles to cool Gleason’s Gym.

Two women trade punches to the face in a morning sparring session before heading off to work.

Boxing gloves snap and thump, keeping the rhythm with the grunts and shouts. There is no music, no TVs, no smoothie bar. It smells like a boxing gym should: awful.

In walks the rabbi in training.

“Yuri!” a boxer calls out in greeting.

The champ is here.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Content Partner • Judaism • New York • Sports • TV-American Morning • United States

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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.

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