A Muslim family's 9/11 loss
August 29th, 2011
02:07 PM ET

For Muslim family, faith complicates grief for loved one lost on 9/11

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Edmond, Oklahoma (CNN) - His smiling image has been cut out of a snapshot and carefully added to a photo of his father, so it looks as if he is standing beside the man. It smacks of a bad Photoshop job, but it gives the two a shared moment, even though they never met.

The boy's sister, Fahina, is 15 and clings to scant memories and aging photographs. But Farqad, almost 10, has nothing.

She remembers sitting beside their father on amusement park rides, his words - "Look at my daughter; she's so brave" - soothing her nerves; she still thinks of him whenever she's on a rollercoaster.

She leaned on his legs when he watched basketball on TV and imagined him cheering her on when she played the sport after he was gone. She recalls being driven to see Harvard University, before she even started elementary school, and dreams of attending an Ivy League school to make him proud.

Read the full story about a Muslim family's grief 10 years after 9/11
- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Oklahoma

July 1st, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: Wired pastor says unplug

Editor's Note: Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv. He, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Okla., where LifeChurch.tv began in 1996. A bestselling author, his latest new book is called "WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working."

By Craig Groeschel, Special to CNN

Like millions of people, I Twitter, Facebook and blog. Though I hesitate to admit it, I even take my iPhone into the bathroom with me — just in case I need to do a little extra business (pun intended). Since we live in a tech-savvy world, our church, LifeChurch.tv, loves to leverage technology to spread the message of faith in Christ.

Our church was honored to create The Bible App, a free tool to help people engage with God’s word. The Bible App has been installed on more than 19 million unique devices (and counting). And last year alone, our Church Online services drew nearly 3 million unique visits.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Movies • Music • Oklahoma • Technology • TV • United States

November 29th, 2010
04:27 PM ET

Judge issues permanent injunction on Oklahoma Sharia law ban

Editor's Note: CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears brings us this report from Washington.

A federal judge in Oklahoma has issued an order putting on hold the certification of a ballot measure that forbids state courts from considering or using international laws, as well as Sharia, or Islamic law.

That permanent injunction will allow the judge more time to consider the constitutional issues raised by State Question 755, which was approved by voters earlier this month.

Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange had earlier issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which had sued to nullify the law completely.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • Religious liberty • United States

November 22nd, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Arguments to take place in Oklahoma over ban on Islamic law in courts

Editor's Note: From CNN's Matt Smith

A federal judge will hear arguments Monday on a temporary restraining order against an Oklahoma referendum that would ban the use of Islamic religious law in state courts.

Oklahoma voters approved the amendment during the November elections by a 7-3 ratio. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations challenged the measure as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order November 8 that will keep state election officials from certifying that vote.

"What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma," Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter and the lead plaintiff in the suit, said earlier this month. In addition, he said, the amendment would invalidate private documents, such as wills, that are written in compliance with Muslim law.

The amendment would require Oklahoma courts to "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases" and "forbids courts from considering or using" either international law or Islamic religious law, known as Sharia, which the amendment defined as being based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Read the full story here.

Listen to a report on this story from CNN Radio.

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports' podcast on iTunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • Quran • United States

November 3rd, 2010
03:08 PM ET

Oklahomans vote against Sharia law

Editor's Note: Here's an update to a story we brought you earlier. You can see our earlier report on this from CNN's Laurie Urie here.  CNN's Marshall Arbitman files this report over at the CNN Political Ticker.

Looks like Oklahomans will not, repeat not, be subject to Sharia law anytime in the near future. Local media in the state, tonight, is reporting that ballot initiative SQ755, which bars state courts from using Islamic or international law, is on the path to approval– Yes votes outweighing Nos by more than two-to-one, with about 40-percent of the precincts in.

The outcome was never in doubt, but the measure's necessity was, and is. Constitutional scholars point out that Sharia law is religious law, and the first words of the First Amendment say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Still, the fact that it got on the ballot in the first place says a lot about what's on voters' minds.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Oklahoma • Politics • United States

October 29th, 2010
05:28 PM ET

Oklahoma voters face question on Islamic law

Editor's Note: CNN National Security Producer Laurie Ure brings us this report from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court.

The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot.

The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.

Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Interfaith issues • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • United States

October 24th, 2010
03:51 PM ET

Satanists' event in Oklahoma draws Christian protest

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/23/pkg.satanist.event.koco%5D

CNN affiliate KOCO reports on a Christian protest outside a Satanist group's event in downtown Oklahoma City (backstory here) :

In downtown Oklahoma City, Satanists held a Ritual in public at the Civic Center.

The ritual began at 8 p.m. Thursday and drew plenty of controversy.

Before making it inside where the Satanists were practicing their religion, prayers were heard outside by groups opposing the ritual.

Chiquita Carbajal said she is against the ritual.

“No place for Satan in Oklahoma,” she said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Oklahoma • Satanism • United States

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.