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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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Violence

Controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad to appear in NYC subways
Starting Monday, some subway riders might see the ad that critics say is offensive but a judge ruled is protected speech.
September 20th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad to appear in NYC subways

From Erinn Cawthon, CNN

New York (CNN) - A controversial advertisement that critics say is hateful toward Muslims will appear in New York City subway stations starting next week, despite the city's attempts to halt the campaign.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ad, which reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The authority's decision was overturned last month when a federal judge ruled that the ad is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Jihad - Arabic for "struggle" - is considered a religious duty for Muslims, although there are peaceful and violent interpretations of what it means.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which produced the ad, has been fighting to place the message in New York's subway system since last year after the authority refused to display it.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam

August 26th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

God's Warriors

(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.

See the full reports here. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Mosque

August 1st, 2012
10:27 AM ET

'Veiled TV' makes debut in Egypt

(CNN)--CNN's Ian Lee reports on a new Egyptian TV station run exclusively by fully veiled women.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

July 27th, 2012
10:33 PM ET

What's at stake for Romney in Israel

By Tom Foreman and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

(CNN)—Mitt Romney will be glad handing and photo opping in Israel until Monday during the second leg of the presumptive GOP nominee's international campaign trip.

It is unmistakably aimed, in part, at a traditional Democratic voting bloc: Jewish Americans who are politically active in fundraising, campaigning and voting.

"I think Mitt Romney is going to Israel certainly to court the Jewish vote," said Randall Balmer, the chairman of the religion department at Dartmouth College and author of "God in the White House."

"It's definitely sending a message that Israel is important for Romney, that he, he has warm feelings about Israel, that he cares about Israel," said Nathan Guttman, a Washington correspondent for the Jewish Daily Forward. "It's sort of important for this kind of a Jewish electorate. But again, we should keep in mind that this is the minority of Jewish voters."

He added, "Most of them are Obama voters to start with; they won't be swayed by it; they don't really care much."

But Romney may have an even larger voting bloc in mind during his trip.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism • TV-The Situation Room

Tennessee Muslims sue to open mosque
A view shows the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tennessee May 30, 2012.
July 18th, 2012
04:58 PM ET

Tennessee Muslims sue to open mosque

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A Tennessee Islamic center has asked a federal court to clear the way for a new mosque to open in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at sundown Thursday.

Plans for the mosque in Murfreesboro, near Nashville, have resulted in threats to the center and a lawsuit that led to a county judge's order shutting down the project in June. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is now asking a federal judge to allow the mosque to open, arguing that it is being blocked "merely because local anti-Islamic protests have made the mosque controversial."

U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell set a hearing on the issue for Thursday afternoon in Nashville.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the center by the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, argues that the center was ordered to meet "a heightened standard of notice in the zoning process" because of objections by some Murfreesboro residents.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Courts • Muslim

July 17th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Drafting Israel's ultra-Orthodox?

(CNN)–CNN's Elise Labott reports a proposed law would require Israelis ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • Military

June 8th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

My Take: Syria’s Christian conundrum

Editor’s note: Hind Aboud Kabawat is a Syrian attorney. She is also a conflict resolution specialist and senior research analyst at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, which is based at George Mason University in Virginia. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Hind Aboud Kabawat.

By Hind Aboud Kabawat, Special to CNN

(CNN)–One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

June 6th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Muslims sue over New York police surveillance

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) - New Jersey Muslims filed a lawsuit against the City of New York on Wednesday, accusing police of using unconstitutional tactics to spy on them in the years after September 11, casting an unwarranted shadow of suspicion on the community.

"The NYPD's program targeted innocent Americans solely based on their religious identity," said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates, which filed the suit on behalf of the eight plaintiffs.

"That's why we believe it is unlawful and needs to stop," Khera said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • TV-CNN Newsroom

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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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