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Religious Freedom and Discrimination

It has been more than 1,000 days since a Christian pastor was thrown into an Iranian jail for leaving Islam and sentenced to death for, as the U.S. State Department put it, "simply following his faith."

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2 communities linked to polygamous sect sued for alleged religious discriminationupdated: Thu Jun 21 2012 19:56:00

Two communities dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its jailed leader Warren Jeffs have been sued by the federal government for alleged religious discrimination against citizens who don't belong to the polygamous sect.

Justices deny review over students' religious messages in classroomupdated: Mon Jun 11 2012 15:41:00

In what have become known as the "Jesus pencil" and "candy cane" cases, the Supreme Court refused Monday to consider appeals from the families of elementary school students over distribution of religious-themed gifts on campus.

Religious liberty at stake in battle over contraception ruleupdated: Fri May 25 2012 18:15:00

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is the first line of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Catholic Universities sue Obama adminupdated: Fri May 25 2012 18:15:00

Professor Carter Snead and Catholics United member Samantha Groark discuss the lawsuits filed against the Obama admin.

Muslims in Europe dogged by bias, Amnesty saysupdated: Tue Apr 24 2012 08:52:00

Muslims in Europe face discrimination in education, employment and religious freedom, an Amnesty International report said.

Muslim group files lawsuit against fedsupdated: Fri Apr 13 2012 18:23:00

A Muslim civil liberties group filed a lawsuit Friday against the federal government for allegedly violating the First Amendment rights of Michigan Muslims and violating a 1993 federal law that upholds the free practice of religion.

Why evangelicals love Santorum, hated JFKupdated: Thu Mar 01 2012 09:15:00

Sen. Rick Santorum, who is campaigning to become America's second Catholic president, disagrees from the bottom of his gut with the first Catholic to hold the office.

Would Santorum put the Bible over the Constitution?updated: Tue Feb 28 2012 19:00:00

Poor Rick Santorum. He is very frustrated and apparently now a bit nauseous.

Santorum's college and religion claimsupdated: Tue Feb 28 2012 19:00:00

A fact check on Rick Santorum's statements about the president's push for college, and religious practices of students.

Democrats slam GOP on contraceptionupdated: Thu Feb 23 2012 19:54:00

Democrats hold a contraception hearing in stark contrast to a GOP effort that included no women. CNN's Dana Bash reports.

Seven states sue government over contraceptives mandateupdated: Thu Feb 23 2012 19:54:00

Seven states on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the federal government requirement that religious employers offer health insurance coverage that includes contraceptives and other birth control services.

Romney attacks Santorum as an 'insider'updated: Tue Feb 21 2012 22:27:00

Mitt Romney attacks Rick Santorum's background on lobbying and earmarks.

Strident attacks continue on eve of GOP debateupdated: Tue Feb 21 2012 22:27:00

On the eve of the last debate before crucial primaries, Republican presidential challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich battled for conservative support by targeting President Barack Obama in increasingly strident attacks Tuesday.

Contraceptives, religious freedom: Are we in a new culture war?updated: Fri Feb 17 2012 15:08:00

Welcome to the culture wars 2.0, where the front lines now are religious freedom and contraceptives. Abortion? Gay marriage? Those are so last year.

Fireworks at House contraception hearingupdated: Fri Feb 17 2012 15:08:00

Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton take Rep. Darrell Issa to task over his denial of their witness.

Angry lawmakers challenge lineup at hearing: 'Where are the women?'updated: Fri Feb 17 2012 09:08:00

A pair of female Democratic lawmakers had a simple question Thursday about a controversial hearing on Capitol Hill.

Obama's contraceptive compromiseupdated: Mon Feb 13 2012 12:05:00

President Obama outlines the compromise reached with religious groups over the debate on contraceptives.

Catholic bishops group denounces contraception compromiseupdated: Mon Feb 13 2012 12:05:00

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced President Barack Obama's compromise over whether to require religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception to female employees, saying the proposal raises "serious moral concerns," according to a statement posted on its website late Friday.

Catholic bishops group denounces contraception compromise, says 'raises serious moral concern'updated: Sat Feb 11 2012 08:32:00

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced President Barack Obama's compromise over whether to require religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception to female employees, saying the proposal raises "serious moral concerns," according to a statement posted on its website late Friday.

Bishops should accept their victoryupdated: Fri Feb 10 2012 16:24:00

After weeks of tangling over new Health and Human Services guidelines requiring contraception services in new health insurance plans, the White House has offered what it describes as a "common sense accommodation." It is aimed at ending the confrontation between the Obama administration and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Teacher loses church-state employment appealupdated: Wed Jan 11 2012 12:48:00

A former teacher at a Michigan religious school lost her workplace discrimination claim at the Supreme Court Wednesday, as the justices deftly avoided the larger questions raised in the church-state dispute.

Iran must stop persecuting minority religionsupdated: Wed Dec 21 2011 10:51:00

In March 2009, when I was detained in Evin Prison in Iran, two evangelical Christians were arrested. I never met them but spotted them a few times through the barred window of my cell as they walked back and forth to the bathroom down the hall.

How Iran persecutes its oldest religionupdated: Mon Nov 14 2011 08:46:00

As Zoroastrian funerary processions enter the graveyard overlooking the Tehran suburb of Ray, their sobriety is often shattered by the sound of explosions and gunfire. Frequently, the way forward is blocked by Islamic Revolutionary Guards conducting a combat exercise among the tombs. According to Zoroastrian custom, burial needs to take place within 24 hours, and the Revolutionary Guards will not halt their training activities there for the funerals.

Justices turn aside appeal over highway crossesupdated: Mon Oct 31 2011 14:12:00

The Supreme Court has passed up a chance to get involved in a dispute over memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state highway troopers, and one justice is not pleased that his colleagues are staying out of the church-state fight.

Baha'is accuse Iran of stoking hatred in mediaupdated: Sat Oct 22 2011 13:09:00

Iranian media outlets have "systematically stirred up" widespread contempt toward the country's 300,000-strong Baha'i religious minority, the group says.

Iranian pastor refuses to reject religion, faces executionupdated: Thu Sep 29 2011 15:12:00

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, could be executed as soon as midnight Wednesday in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert to Islam, said the chair of a commission that monitors religious freedom around the world.

U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's convictionupdated: Thu Sep 29 2011 14:27:00

The White House Thursday condemned the conviction of an Iranian pastor, who may be executed in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert from Christianity to Islam.

Arizona church is house of prostitution, police sayupdated: Sat Sep 10 2011 08:03:00

A church called the Phoenix Goddess Temple has been accused of being a house of prostitution, and a six-month undercover investigation has resulted in the arrests of 20 women and men who worked there, Phoenix police said Friday.

Jeffs objects frequently as sexual assault trial continuesupdated: Tue Aug 02 2011 16:54:00

Polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs frequently objected to witness testimony as he faced sexual assault charges during his trial Tuesday in Texas.

Warren Jeffs asks to represent himselfupdated: Sat Jul 30 2011 04:48:00

Warren Jeffs requests legal assistance so he can properly format his "writing" as he represents himself.

Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'updated: Sat Jul 30 2011 04:48:00

A Texas judge warned Warren Jeffs against calling "for the jury's destruction" shortly after the polygamous sect leader said Friday during his sexual assault trial that those who prosecuted his church would face "sickness and death."

Two views on France's 'burqa ban'updated: Wed Jul 27 2011 09:08:00

Should France ban the wearing of veils covering women from head to toe?

Tattoos and freedomupdated: Mon Jul 04 2011 09:10:00

Dennis Dwyer, a Vietnam veteran, author and tattoo artist, shares why he loves the Fourth of July.

Why U.S. is not a Christian nationupdated: Mon Jul 04 2011 09:10:00

As America celebrates its birthday on July 4, the timeless words of Thomas Jefferson will surely be invoked to remind us of our founding ideals -- that "All men are created equal" and are "endowed by their Creator" with the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These phrases, a cherished part of our history, have rightly been called "American Scripture."

State TV: 2 dead and 60 injured in clashes involving Coptics in Cairoupdated: Sat May 14 2011 22:14:00

Violence erupted in the Cairo neighborhood of Maspero when pro-Coptic protesters clashed with unidentified men, leaving at least two people dead and 60 injured, state TV reported early Sunday.

Burqa ban turns a right into a crimeupdated: Thu Apr 14 2011 11:16:00

The ban imposed by French President Sarkozy on wearing a face-covering veil, or niqab, is simply dangerous gesture politics, representing little more than pandering to the far right in France.

2 arrested as France's ban on burqas, niqabs takes effectupdated: Tue Apr 12 2011 09:37:00

French police arrested two veiled women protesting the country's law banning face-hiding Islamic burqas and niqabs Monday, just hours after the legislation took effect.

France bans the burqaupdated: Tue Apr 12 2011 09:37:00

CNN's Atika Shubert on the controversial burqa ban that has divided opinion in France.

French police arrest burqa ban protestersupdated: Sun Apr 10 2011 11:03:00

Police in Paris arrested dozens of people for trying to hold an unauthorized demonstration to protest a ban on the wearing of Islamic veils such as burqas, they said Sunday.

Senate hearing looks at anti-Muslim bigotryupdated: Wed Mar 30 2011 10:36:00

When Sen. Richard Durbin called a hearing on anti-Muslim bigotry, his office insisted it was not a response to a controversial House hearing that recently examined the threat of home-grown terrorism.

Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door - Educator and Parent Guideupdated: Mon Mar 28 2011 12:30:00

Watch or record "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" when it airs on CNN on Saturday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET. By recording the documentary, you agree that you will use the program for educational viewing purposes for a one-year period only. No other rights of any kind or nature whatsoever are granted, including, without limitation, any rights to sell, publish, distribute, post online or distribute in any other medium or forum, or use for any commercial or promotional purpose.

Don't overstate anti-Muslim biasupdated: Mon Mar 28 2011 10:49:00

Almost two weeks after the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization in the Muslim community in America, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has announced he will hold a hearing in the Senate. But, rather than focus on the problem of radicalization in the Muslim community, Durbin's panel will be directed to another subject: anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.

Fighting against a new mosqueupdated: Mon Mar 28 2011 10:49:00

Meet Kevin Fisher, who is leading the fight against a new mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Soledad O'Brien reports.

France's burqa ban in effect next monthupdated: Fri Mar 04 2011 07:27:00

France's law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places will go into effect on April 11, the prime minister's office said.

Pope decries attacks against religious minoritiesupdated: Mon Jan 10 2011 11:23:00

In his annual "State of the World" address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict XVI spoke Monday about religious intolerance and discrimination toward Christian minorities around the world.

Resist terror with more houses of worshipupdated: Wed Jan 05 2011 12:28:00

With the recent deadly attacks on Christian churches, the maniacal terrorists of al Qaeda seem to be aiming at unraveling the neighborliness among Muslims, Jews and Christians throughout the Middle East that has existed for centuries.

Body scanners, pat-downs violate law and privacyupdated: Fri Nov 19 2010 09:31:00

Body scanners that peer through clothes are deployed in airports across the country. Travelers who object are subject to "enhanced" pat-downs. Parents watch as their children are groped before boarding a plane.

Sen. LeMieux concerned about pat downsupdated: Fri Nov 19 2010 09:31:00

Sen. George LeMieux of Florida is bothered by pat down screenings at airports.

Christian man, daughter killed in bombing in Iraqupdated: Tue Nov 16 2010 22:13:00

A bombing in northern Iraq killed a Christian man and his 6-year-old daughter Tuesday, the latest in a series of strikes targeting the country's dwindling Christian population.

Christian areas targeted in Baghdadupdated: Tue Nov 16 2010 22:13:00

A wave of bombings and mortar attacks strike Christian areas across Baghdad. CNN's Arwa Damon reports.

Solutions for Iraq's sectarian divisionsupdated: Wed Nov 03 2010 15:30:00

An expert on Middle East affairs discusses obstacles and solutions to resolving Iraq's sectarian problems.

All Christians 'targets,' Iraqi militant group saysupdated: Wed Nov 03 2010 15:30:00

All Christians in the Middle East are now "legitimate targets," al Qaeda in Iraq announced Wednesday, as the group's deadline for Egypt's Coptic church to release alleged Muslim female prisoners expired.

French Senate passes burqa banupdated: Thu Oct 07 2010 22:59:00

The French Senate approved a law banning veils that cover the face, including the burqa, worn by some Muslim women.

French burqa ban clears last legal obstacleupdated: Thu Oct 07 2010 22:59:00

France's law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places is legal, top constitutional authorities in France ruled Thursday, clearing the final hurdle before the ban goes into effect.

U.S. issues alert for Americans in Europeupdated: Sun Oct 03 2010 08:54:00

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens in Europe, based on information that suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. Americans are warned to be aware of their surroundings and protect themselves when traveling.

Sources: U.S. to issue alert for Americans in Europeupdated: Sun Oct 03 2010 04:30:00

The U.S. State Department is expected to issue a travel alert to Americans in Europe in light of recent terror threat information, U.S. officials said Saturday.

French Senate approves burqa banupdated: Wed Sep 15 2010 05:17:00

The French Senate approved Tuesday a law banning any veils that cover the face -- including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women -- making France the first European country to plan such a measure.

Anti-Islamic Center Rallyupdated: Sat Sep 11 2010 19:27:00

Opponents of a planned Islamic Center gather for a rally in New York.

U.S. group promises to buy one new Quran for each Quran burnedupdated: Wed Sep 08 2010 13:05:00

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is fighting fire with new Qurans.

Imam: We are proceeding with NYC Islamic centerupdated: Wed Sep 08 2010 08:45:00

The imam at the center of an ugly controversy over an Islamic center near New York's ground zero broke his silence Tuesday, just hours after a broad coalition of Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders denounced what they described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States.

Opinion: The media is obsessed with how Muslim women lookupdated: Mon Aug 30 2010 06:44:00

Muslim women are more high profile than ever in 2010. However, a problem remains: news stories about them are fixated on appearance.

Young Muslims must use social media to promote peaceupdated: Tue Aug 24 2010 14:23:00

Throughout my short life, as I've witnessed the inhumane treatment of others, a sense of outrage and injustice has grown in my heart.

Islam is a religion, not a terror ideologyupdated: Tue Aug 24 2010 10:16:00

Opponents of an Islamic community center and mosque planned to be built near ground zero say it would desecrate hallowed ground. But suspicion has greeted proposed mosque projects in places less hallowed than ground zero -- in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Temecula, California; and elsewhere.

Is America Islamophobic?updated: Fri Aug 20 2010 18:06:00

TIME's deputy international editor discusses a new cover story that delves into that very question.

California interfaith leaders back 'ground zero' Islamic centerupdated: Fri Aug 20 2010 18:06:00

A group of 60 interfaith leaders in California called for Americans "to rise above the rancorous shouting match" as they spoke out Friday in favor of a controversial Islamic center near "ground zero" in New York.

Obama says no regrets over ground zero Islamic center commentsupdated: Thu Aug 19 2010 05:22:00

President Obama said Wednesday that he has "no regrets" about his comments last week supporting the rights of Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from the site of the September 11 terror attacks in New York.

Federal appeals court says highways' crosses are unconstitutionalupdated: Wed Aug 18 2010 17:42:00

Memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state highway troopers have been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

Should Obama have weighed in on mosque?updated: Tue Aug 17 2010 11:06:00

Was it a political mistake for President Obama to have taken sides on the NYC mosque debate?

Obama courageous, then craven on mosqueupdated: Tue Aug 17 2010 11:06:00

At a White House dinner last week -- an iftar on the occasion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan --President Obama delivered what many rightly considered a courageous speech in which he weighed in on the controversy surrounding the proposed construction of a mosque near ground zero.

Obama comments stir mosque debateupdated: Tue Aug 17 2010 05:33:00

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux says President Obama's comments supporting a New York City mosque are drawing heat.

Republicans seek political gain from Obama's mosque commentsupdated: Tue Aug 17 2010 05:33:00

Republicans tried mightily Sunday to make a political flash point out of President Barack Obama's defense of plans to build an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in New York.

GOP seeks political gain from ground zero Islamic center issueupdated: Mon Aug 16 2010 22:28:00

By wading into the issue of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, President Barack Obama provided Republicans with an emotion-ridden attack vehicle while diverting attention from campaign themes of fellow Democrats.

Obama 'not commenting on wisdom' of controversial Islamic centerupdated: Sun Aug 15 2010 12:42:00

President Barack Obama told CNN Saturday that in defending the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque near ground zero in a speech on Friday night, he was "not commenting on the wisdom" of the project.

Obama throws support behind controversial Islamic centerupdated: Sat Aug 14 2010 15:07:00

President Obama threw his support behind a controversial proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero, saying Friday that "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country."

What inspired Islamic community center?updated: Fri Aug 13 2010 16:30:00

CNN's Allan Chernoff interviews Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the Islamic community center planned near ground zero.

United States of Islamophobia?updated: Fri Aug 13 2010 16:30:00

Almost everybody has heard about the protests against the mosque and Islamic center planned to be built about two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan. But most people are still unaware that these anti-Muslim political campaigns are spreading throughout our beloved country as a new wave of Islamophobia hits.

U.S. to send imam in ground zero debate to Middle Eastupdated: Wed Aug 11 2010 07:37:00

Some lawmakers have urged the State Department to rethink plans to sponsor the imam behind a controversial mosque on a trip to the Middle East.

In-depth look at mosques in Americaupdated: Wed Aug 11 2010 07:37:00

Akbar Ahmed, a professor of Islamic studies, spoke to CNN about his year long study of Islam in America.

Islamophobia and the Muslim center at Ground Zeroupdated: Tue Jul 20 2010 09:26:00

The proposal by the Cordoba Initiative to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero has drawn major media attention and engendered fierce debate. Right-wing political commentators, politicians, hard-line Christian ministers, bloggers and some families of 9/11 victims have charged that it is insensitive to 9/11 families, dishonors memories of the victims and will be a "monument to terrorism."

Ground Zero mosque ad stirs emotionsupdated: Tue Jul 20 2010 09:26:00

CNN's Allan Chernoff talks to the man behind an ad aimed at keeping a mosque from being built near Ground Zero.

Veil ban a symbol of hypocrisy, fearupdated: Thu Jul 15 2010 23:51:00

The French National Assembly has just done a huge favor to those elements in the Muslim world that thrive on anti-Westernism. By voting to ban the veil in public places -- a move that brings a draft bill closer to becoming law -- it has transformed a minor social irritant for a section of the French public into a major political issue. In doing so, it is feeding worldwide Muslim resentment against the West almost on par with the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the invasion of Iraq.

Middle Tennessee city divided over proposed Islamic centerupdated: Thu Jul 15 2010 19:42:00

A proposed mosque and Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is dividing the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. Residents are battling about whether the center should exist, and if not, why not.

Debate over Tennessee mosqueupdated: Thu Jul 15 2010 19:42:00

A demonstration against a planned mosque in Tennessee included protesters and counter protesters. WTVF reports.

Burqa ban passes French lower house overwhelminglyupdated: Tue Jul 13 2010 12:24:00

France's lower house of parliament Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a ban on any veils that cover the face -- including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women.

CNN visits Overland Elementary Schoolupdated: Wed Jun 23 2010 15:27:00

Steve Perry visits Overland Elementary School in Los Angeles to discuss how to involve parents in child's education.

Top issues: Educationupdated: Wed Jun 23 2010 15:27:00

U.S. education issues in 2010 boil down to two questions: how to fund cash-strapped state universities and how to fix so-called high school "drop-out factories."

Gunmen kill 5 at Pakistani hospitalupdated: Tue Jun 01 2010 09:07:00

Four gunmen opened fire in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday, killing five people in an attempt to get to a suspect in last week's attacks on a religious minority, authorities said.

Gunmen shown shooting at mosqueupdated: Sat May 29 2010 12:51:00

CNN affiliate Geo TV is reporting that two mosques belonging to the Ahmadi religious group have been attacked.

Death toll rises to 98 in Pakistan attacksupdated: Sat May 29 2010 12:51:00

Pakistani authorities are blaming Friday's deadly attacks in Lahore on militants with ties to the Pakistani Taliban.

Death toll rises to 98 after Lahore attacksupdated: Sat May 29 2010 05:51:00

The death toll from Friday's attacks on a religious minority in Lahore has risen to 98, officials said Saturday.

Texas OKs school guidelines after ideological debateupdated: Sat May 22 2010 13:38:00

Changes to social studies curricula introduced by conservative members of the Texas State Board of Education were approved Friday after months of ideologically driven debate.

Social conservatives win textbook fightupdated: Sat May 22 2010 13:38:00

The Texas Board of Education votes on changes to public school curriculum. News 8 Austin's Karina Kling reports.

High court rules cross doesn't violate separation of church and stateupdated: Tue May 11 2010 15:23:00

The Supreme Court narrowly ruled Wednesday that a white cross, erected as a war memorial and sitting on national parkland in the Mojave Desert, does not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

Religious persecution is widespread, report warnsupdated: Thu Apr 29 2010 09:55:00

The numbers are shocking: 12,000 people killed in a cycle of violence between Christians and Muslims stretching back more than a decade.

National Day of Prayer legal?updated: Sun Apr 25 2010 10:46:00

Rep. Randy Forbes and Freedom from Religion Foundation's Annie Gaylor debate the legality of a national day of prayer.

White House to fight to preserve National Day of Prayerupdated: Sun Apr 25 2010 10:46:00

The Obama administration will fight to preserve the law establishing an annual National Day of Prayer, the Justice Department confirmed Thursday.

Federal judge strikes down National Day of Prayer statuteupdated: Thu Apr 15 2010 22:19:00

A federal judge on Thursday struck down the federal statute that established the National Day of Prayer, ruling that it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion.

State Department criticizes Iran for persecuting religious minoritiesupdated: Sat Mar 13 2010 02:10:00

The State Department condemned Iran's persecution of religious minorities on Friday following the Iranian authorities' detention of Baha'is and Christians in recent months.

Burqa becomes focus of tense debate in Europeupdated: Wed Feb 03 2010 22:05:00

As France moves closer to a partial ban on the burqa, a leading European lawmaker declared Wednesday that the full Muslim veil is a symbol of political Islam and has no place in Europe.

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