October 6th, 2012
10:57 AM ET
Faith groups launch campaign to counter controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad
By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
New York (CNN) - Jewish and Christian groups have unveiled three separate ad campaigns to counter what they claim is hateful speech toward Muslims contained within an advertisement posted at some New York City subway stations.
The new ads tout religious tolerance and offer support to the Muslim community.
"Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors," reads one. "Support peace in word and deed," reads another.
The campaigns are in response to a controversial "Defeat Jihad" ad that is displayed in 10 of the city's more than 400 subway stations. It reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ad, which was produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. But the authority's decision was overturned when a federal judge ruled that the ad is protected speech under the First Amendment.FULL STORY
September 20th, 2012
10:38 AM ET
For Christians in Syria, fear of future reigns
By the CNN Wire Staff
Editor's note: Read a version of this story in Arabic
Damascus, Syria (CNN) - As the 18-month-long Syrian conflict festers, the government and the opposition welcome and need Christian support.
But some Christians fear radical Islamists have been swelling rebel ranks.
CNN's Nic Robertson recently spoke with Syrian Christians in the Damascus countryside town of Maaloula.
Christians make up 10% of the population. Syria is ruled by a government dominated by Alawites, whose faith is an offshoot of Shiism. The regime is opposed by an opposition with a large Sunni presence.
Some Christianssupport the government, others the opposition. Many want to know what an opposition government would mean for them and are apprehensive.
September 17th, 2012
07:55 AM ET
Gay couple sues church over axed sale
(CNN)–A gay couple in Massachusetts is suing a Roman Catholic diocese for allegedly refusing to sell property to them. CNN Affiliate WCVB reports.
August 27th, 2012
02:18 PM ET
Hate crimes trial against Amish begins
Editor's note: For more on the trial, check out CNN affiliate WOIO-TV in Cleveland.
By Tricia Escobedo and Chris Welch, CNN
(CNN) - Federal prosecutors are expected to argue that an Amish sect leader, accused of orchestrating beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish men, was operating a cult out of his family compound in rural Ohio.
The sect leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., is one of 16 Amish men and women charged with federal hate crimes in the beard-cutting attacks last year. The trial began Monday with jury selection in federal court in Cleveland. Mullet and several of his sons, who were arrested in December, are among those on trial.
To the Amish, a beard is a significant symbol of faith and manhood.
Prosecutors have said the accused men and women, all members of Mullet's breakaway Amish sect, planned and carried out the attacks "on their perceived religious enemies" under Mullet's orders. CNN has sought a response from Mullet's attorney, Edward Bryan. Bryan has disputed the prosecution's characterization of his client, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.FULL STORY
August 26th, 2012
02:37 PM ET
(CNN)–For the first time the reports, God's Jewish, Muslim & Christian Warriors, are available online.
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour traveled to six countries on four continents to examine the intersection between religion and politics and the effects of Christianity, Islam and Judaism on politics, culture and public life.
August 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
Girl held on Pakistan blasphemy charge
By Katie Hunt and Nasir Habib, CNN
(CNN) - An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested and detained on charges of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating pages from the Quran in the Pakistan capital Islamabad.
According to a statement released by the President's office on Sunday, the girl, identified as Ramsha, was accused by a local resident of burning pages of the Muslim holy text after she gathered paper as fuel for cooking.
Local media reports said the girl has Down syndrome. CNN was unable to confirm these reports, however Qasim Niazi, the police officer in charge of the police station near where the incident took place, said the girl did not have a mental disorder but was illiterate and had not attended school.
The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burnt, he added.
Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood's Christian population lived and threatened to burn down their houses.
"The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson," he told CNN.
Other Christian families living in the area have fled fearing a backlash, he added.FULL STORY
August 10th, 2012
10:56 AM ET
Tennessee mosque opens after 2 years of controversy
Editor's note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over a mosque in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" airs on CNN at 8 ET/PT Sunday night.
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN)–Saleh Sbenaty was asked more than once Friday how he slept the night before. He didn't.
How could he when a longtime dream was about to be fulfilled?
Friday afternoon, Sbenaty and other Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, entered a brand new mosque, Tennessee, and fell in prayer to their knees.
They'd waited more than two years for the opening of their new Islamic center, delayed by legal wrangling and anti-Muslim sentiment that surfaced through protests, arson and vandalism.
August 8th, 2012
04:48 PM ET
The Sikh turban: at once personal and extremely public
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Harkirat Singh Soin remembers a day in 1999 when, after much contemplation, he finally took a seat in a barber's chair.
All his 18 years, he'd worn long hair, first in a top knot, then in a dastar, or turban. It was an expression of his Sikh faith and a distinct mark of his identity.
As his locks tumbled to the floor, Soin felt ashamed.
CNN iReporter: I am a Sikh, please don’t hate me
He thought of his upbringing in a suburban Milwaukee neighborhood by Punjabi parents who emigrated from India. He grew up on meals of homemade roti and daal makhani and sessions at Sunday school that instilled Sikh values. He thought also of how his mother had taken time to maintain her boys' long hair with love and care.
With every snip of the shears, he felt, he lost not just hair but parts of his being.
But he was tired of not fitting in, of being teased. Once when he was in elementary school, he was even beaten with sticks by neighborhood troublemakers, he says.
August 6th, 2012
04:54 PM ET
Missouri mosque destroyed in second fire in a month
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground early Monday, just over a month after an attempted arson at the Islamic center, officials said.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the latest fire. The mosque's security cameras were destroyed in the blaze, according to Sharon Rhine of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
"This incident should not stop us from worshiping our God," one member of the Islamic Society of Joplin told CNN affiliate KYTV. "We are going to find a place probably to continue our service to God."
Kimberly Kester, another member, said the blaze was so intense that the building's bricks were still sizzling hours after the fire.
Carl Junction Fire Chief Bill Dunn called it a "complete loss."
August 1st, 2012
06:12 PM ET
Chick-fil-A restaurants become rallying points for supporters
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Throngs of people weighed in on the Chick-fil-A debate at stores across the United States on Wednesday, buying chicken sandwiches to show their support for the restaurant chain and its president's opposition to same-sex marriage.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dubbed it "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
He called for a vocal response to the backlash against the fast food restaurants and their president.
The controversy came about after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain's president and COO, Dan Cathy, appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16 and he weighed in with his views on family.
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
On a Facebook page Huckabee created announcing the event, more than 620,000 people said they would participate.
"The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," wrote Huckabee, a former pastor.FULL STORY
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.