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Friday prayers helped feed Egyptian revolution
Tens of thousands prayed outdoors in Cairo on Friday.
February 11th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Friday prayers helped feed Egyptian revolution

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

It was fitting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak chose to step down on a Friday, hours after Egypt’s Muslims had observed afternoon prayers.

For three weeks, Friday afternoon prayers -  the most significant prayers of the week for Muslims - have served as catalysts for the biggest anti-government demonstrations of the Egyptian uprising.

Known as Juma’ah Salat, Friday prayers are Islam’s sole weekly communal prayers. Observant Muslims pray five times a day, but other prayers can be performed individually.

“Friday prayers bring all people of a society together at one time - rich or poor, man or woman, senior citizen or young child,” said Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Islam • Politics

My Take: Revolution 2.0 more secular than Islamic
Tehran, Iran in February 1979.
February 11th, 2011
02:53 PM ET

My Take: Revolution 2.0 more secular than Islamic

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

February 11 will be remembered as Egypt’s Fourth of July, now that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down from his 30-year presidency.

February 11 is also Victory Day in Iran: a national holiday commemorating the Iranian Revolution, which culminated on this day 32 years ago in 1979.

Ever since the rise to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iranian Revolution, the Iranian regime has hoped for its model to spread. Iran’s revolution would set off a domino effect in the region, seeding Islamic republics throughout the Middle East and the wider world.

That has not happened.

Although some of Egypt’s revolutionaries have given voice to Islamic hopes and dreams, the overwhelming majority of them have spoken instead of jobs and elections and corruption and democracy. Their rebellion has been fueled not by the tape-recorded sermons of clerics but by the tweets and Facebook messages of people such activist Wael Ghonim, who's on leave from his job at Google.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Egypt • Islam • Politics

February 11th, 2011
10:47 AM ET

The people who plan your next Christmas

By now, Christmas merrymakers have packed away the decorations and may even have paid off their holiday shopping sprees. But while the rest of us have moved on to Valentine's Day, Cin Davidsen is still surrounded by glittery Christmas ornaments.

Since the end of September, Davidsen said, the showroom she manages has been a veritable glitter explosion.

She works at North Star by Premier, a wholesale showroom in Atlanta's AmericasMart, and last month she presided over the store's 2011 debut of over 7,000 holiday decorations.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christmas • Holidays • Money & Faith

February 11th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

Kentucky Senate passes bill to teach Bible classes in public schools

From CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY

Frankfort, Kentucky - Bible classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools under a bill that's made it halfway through Kentucky's legislature.

State Senator Joe Bowen wants Kentucky public school students to have an opportunity to take classes about the Bible.

"No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it's had so much influence on our society and all of western civilization," Bowen said. Last year, former State Senator David Boswell introduced the same bill. It passed the Senate, but died in the house. Bowen defeated Boswell last November.

Read the full story from CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Education • Kentucky • United States

Baha'is lobby U.S. commission to help them survive in Iran
Sina Sabet Sarvestani, Iraj Kamalabadi, Azadeh Rohanian Perry and Kamal Khanjani (from L-R), realatives of Baha i prisoners in Iran, tell their stories before The US Commission on International Religious Freedom
February 11th, 2011
07:29 AM ET

Baha'is lobby U.S. commission to help them survive in Iran

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Washington (CNN) - It is a bad time to be a Baha'i in Iran, American adherents of the faith say.

The religion, founded in Iran in 1844, is now considered heretical by Iranian authorities. Its 300,000 adherents in the country "may face repression on the grounds of apostasy," according to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

On Wednesday, Iraj Kamalabadi and other Baha'is came to Washington to tell the commission just how bad things are for his sister, Fariba Kamalabadi, and six others who have been imprisoned because of their faith since 2008.

Iraj Kamalabadi was born in Iran and came to the United States for college. He stayed in the U.S. after the Iranian revolution for fear of religious persecution in his homeland. Now he is petitioning his adopted home government to step up the pressure on Iranian authorities.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baha'i • Belief • Interfaith issues • Iran • Islam • Muslim • Persecution • Religious liberty

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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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