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August 15th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

Egypt's Christians under pressure as churches are torched

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - As violence again scars Egypt, Christians in the country believe they're being targeted amidst the chaos following a government crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo.

There have been dozens of attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in the past 24 hours. Full details of the attacks are still emerging, as the country reels from its bloodiest day in recent history.

Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches had been attacked in the space of 24 hours beginning Wednesday, as well as numerous Christian homes and businesses across the country.

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Coptic Church • Egypt • Middle East

April 4th, 2013
03:46 PM ET

Museum defends 'Jew in a Box' exhibit

(CNN)–Curator Michal Friedlander of the Jewish Museum in Berlin defends a controversial exhibition titled "Jew in a Box."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Judaism

April 4th, 2013
03:34 PM ET

Bikini model: I'm a faithful Muslim

(CNN)–Is her job at odds with her faith? CNN's Alina Cho reports on Muslim bikini model Maryam Basir.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim

Wife of imprisoned pastor speaks out
March 28th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

Wife of imprisoned pastor speaks out

By Sherisse Pham, CNN

(CNN)–His children cry out for him. His wife wonders about his “survival battle.”

Such is the struggle of the family of an American pastor recently sentenced in Iran to eight years in prison for his Christian beliefs.

The couple's two children "miss him terribly. They cry, they ask for him," wife Naghmeh Abedini says. "They're struggling every day."

Her husband Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was arrested and charged in Iran last June during a visit. Abedini, 32, converted to Christianity from Islam and then became a pastor, living in Boise, Idaho. He has reportedly been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since late September. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty.

"They've charged him with Christian gatherings, and they're saying it is a threat to the national security," Naghmeh Abedini said.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Iran • Middle East

March 22nd, 2013
10:39 AM ET

A taste of Passover recipes from around the globe

By Kat Kinsman, CNN

(CNN)–All over the world, people gather to celebrate Passover – the holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's escape from slavery in Egypt. For seven or eight days (depending on where you live), families and friends come together for festive seder meals packed with ritual foods and a few dietary restrictions (for instance, no leavened grains).

And while many traditions remain the same the world over, favorite regional recipes can bring communities closer together. Here, families from Israel, Estonia and India share a few of their favorites, courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to make your celebration a little larger in spirit.

Read the full story on CNN's Eatocracy

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Food • Judaism

Iranians seek relief in Christmas celebrations
Iranians shop for Christmas decorations in Tehran.
January 1st, 2013
12:38 PM ET

Iranians seek relief in Christmas celebrations

By Tara Kangarlou, CNN

(CNN)–Gold, red and green gift boxes decorated a large Christmas tree in a popular food court in the Islamic Republic’s bustling capital of Tehran. Nativity scenes of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus added color to the windows of shops across this lively city, a small symbol of the growing number of Iranians embracing the Christian holiday.

Iran has a population that is 98% Muslim, and the government is widely recognized for its repressive rulings, censorship and efforts to cut ties with the United States and the West, but more Iranians are openly celebrating Christmas and expressing their desires to be part of the global celebration.

On Christmas, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad released a statement praising Jesus as "the messenger of humanism and grace" and noted, "I believe that the sole way to save the man from severe moral, social and cultural crises is returning to the exalted teachings of the great messengers of God."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Iran • Islam • Islamic law

December 31st, 2012
01:52 PM ET

Googling the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Sara Sidner, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='sarasidnerCNN']

Jerusalem (CNN)–Tania Treiger pulls on her tight blue gloves and picks up her tweezers, preparing for the extraordinary job she has been hired to do. She is one of only five conservators in the entire world allowed to handle one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. Treiger’s job is to help conserve and record the more than 2,000-year-old pieces of parchment that make up Dead Sea Scrolls.

Many of the fragments are smaller than a bottle cap, and Treiger is taking painstaking measures to preserve the tiny pieces of history by laying each one under a camera to be photographed. The work she and many others are doing now is making it possible for anyone around the world with access to the Internet to see and study the scrolls.

The scrolls were found by Muhammad Ahmed al-Hamed, a Bedouin shepherd, in Khirbet Qumran in caves near the Dead Sea 65 years ago in what was then the British Mandate Palestine, now the West Bank. When pieced together, the scrolls reveal some of the holiest and well-known texts of the world. In the delicate pieces of ancient parchment you can see the text of the Ten Commandments, the first chapter of Genesis, Psalms and many of the writings that make up the Bible as well as other non-biblical books. Nearly 900 manuscripts are now online because of a partnership between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible

Paris Hilton whips up a storm in holy Mecca
Paris Hilton, photographed here at a party at her private residence in Los Angeles last December, tweeted about the opening of her store in Mecca in November.
November 21st, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Paris Hilton whips up a storm in holy Mecca

By Catriona Davies and Latifa Azdi, for CNN

(CNN) - As an American socialite and hotel heiress, Paris Hilton has built up a global brand on her sexy image - and sometimes very few clothes.

But many believe she has gone a step too far in opening a store selling luxury items in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Hilton's rise to worldwide fame was boosted in part by a homemade sex movie that went viral online in 2003, days before the debut of her reality TV series "The Simple Life."

This does not sit well with many in Mecca, which attracts three million Muslim pilgrims from around the world every year.

All Muslims who are able are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, and non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city. Most Saudi women cover themselves fully with a black abaya.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Muslim

November 1st, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Battleground Iowa: Evangelical, Catholic voters may swing state

By Poppy Harlow and Ronni Berke, CNN

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - From church pews to cheeseburger joints, Iowa's faithful are a major prize in the political ground war raging between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Of the roughly 3 million Iowans, about 30% call themselves evangelical or Catholic. Fifty-seven percent of Iowans who voted in the caucuses this year were evangelical Christians.

Evangelicals overwhelmingly supported Rick Santorum over Romney in the Iowa caucuses, helping Santorum squeeze out a slight victory in the final count.

In Des Moines, evangelical Christians flock to Grace Church, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, to talk faith, family and the presidential election. The evangelical voters we met strongly supported Romney, but they also expressed a general unease about his moderate history on social issues such as abortion.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Politics

Faith groups launch campaign to counter controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad
Jewish and Christian groups are running a campaign to rebut "Defeat Jihad" ads like the one shown here.
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
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief

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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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