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CBS special ’In God’s Name’ to feature Archbishop of Canterbury, other faith leaders


In God’s Name, a CBS Television Network primetime special produced in association with the acclaimed French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, will explore complex questions through the intimate thoughts and beliefs of 12 of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders, including Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The two-hour special will be broadcast Sunday, December 23 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. A promotional trailer is available as a Windows Media Video here or on YouTube here.

“These diverse and powerful voices offer provocative, compelling and enlightening perspectives on myriad issues in our post-9/11 world, including the rise of terrorism, fanaticism, intolerance and war,” a CBS news release said.

On the day of the terrorist attacks in September 2001, Jules and Gedeon Naudet were caught in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Jules was shooting inside when the South Tower fell. “On September 11, we faced death and thought we had lost each other,” said Jules. “This harrowing experience was the first step in a journey that would take us around the world searching for answers to the meaning of life.”

The brothers’ quest took them to Egypt, England, India, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Russia and the Vatican, as well as Illinois and South Carolina.

“We chose these 12 leaders because of the vast number of believers -- more than four billion -- that their faiths represent,” said Gedeon. “We also wanted to explore the diversity of spirituality in our world today.”

The program marks the first time that this distinct group of leaders has appeared in one broadcast. “These spiritual beacons speak out about violence and hatred and reveal their own thoughts about faith, peace, unity, tolerance and hope,” the news release said. “Viewers will see them in intimate settings, including their homes and personal places of worship. Ultimately, through the eyes of these 12 very different religious figures, the filmmakers discover the common ground among believers around the world.”

The 12 leaders featured in this special, in alphabetical order, are:

* Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church
* Amma (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi), a Hindu spiritual leader
* Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church
* The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists
* Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a prominent Shiite Muslim leader
* Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and President of the Lutheran World Federation
* Michihisa Kitashirakawa, Jingu Daiguji (High Priest) of the Shinto Grand Ise Shrine
* Yona Metzger, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
* Dr. Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention
* Imam Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar and a prominent Sunni Muslim leader
* Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Sri Akal Takht, the Sikhs’ highest authority
* Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England


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