August 18th, 2012
02:20 PM ET
By Yasmin Amer and Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – To mark the end of Islam's holiest month, Iftikhar Ali will head not to a mosque but to a convention center guarded by law enforcement officers.
That's because this month, during Ramadan, the mosque in Joplin, Missouri, burned to the ground. Its rubble smoldered for two days as a shocked Muslim community came to terms with what had happened.
"I think there are a few people who don't like anybody," Ali said. "They don't like a different color than their color or different religions."
Ali, who is the president of the Joplin mosque said the congregation rented a convention center so people would have a place to pray and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of fasting for Ramadan.
July 22nd, 2012
03:00 AM ET
By Richard Allen Greene and Aroub Abdelhaq, CNN
London (CNN)– Olympic judo competitor Hemeed Al Drie plans to sin during the Games in London, he admits with a grin.
"God is merciful and compassionate, even when our sins are many," said Al Drie, kneeling on a mat while martial artists hurled each other to the floor around him.
Al Drie's sin isn't what you might expect. It's that he is planning to eat and drink while the sun is up during the Olympics, even thought the Games fall smack in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Observant Muslims are supposed to fast during Ramadan, abstaining from all food and drink, even water, during daylight hours, then eating and drinking after sundown. Fasting for the month is a major religious obligation, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
But Al Drie, 19, knows that fasting on days when he has up to six judo matches against the world's best competitors would doom his chances of winning.
"If you don't eat and you enter a competition, you might faint," he said. That would lead to instant elimination.
August 31st, 2011
07:42 PM ET
From Kiran Khalid CNN
Rye, New York (CNN) –What was meant to be a celebration marking the end of Ramadan turned into a melee at an amusement park on Tuesday when a group of Muslim women were told they weren't allowed on certain rides with their headscarves.
Rye Playland was full of visitors celebrating Eid al-Fitr when the festive mood turned angry. Westchester County Police said the women wearing the hijab, a traditional Muslim headscarf, became argumentative when park employees enforced the no-headgear policy and men sprang to their defense.
August 29th, 2011
10:16 AM ET
By Chris Welch, CNN
Eden Prairie, Minnesota (CNN) - Watching Minnesota Vikings starting safety Husain Abdullah on the sun-drenched field during practice on a recent afternoon, you’d never guess he hasn’t had any food or drink since sunrise.
Abdullah is an observant Muslim, which during Ramadan - the Islamic holy month that ends Monday night - means no eating or drinking from sunup to sundown, not even water.
“My religion is very important to me," Abdullah said after practice. "I mean, it’s the basis of my life.”
August 25th, 2011
05:16 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - The Israeli ambassador to the United States hosted a dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, marking the first time an ambassador from the Jewish state has hosted such a dinner in the United States, the embassy said.
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren hosted the dinner at his residence, with about 65 guests in attendance, including imams, rabbis and officials from the White House, Congress and the State Department, according to Israeli Embassy spokesman Lior Weintraub.
Oren said the unusual dinner is fitting at a time when the future of the Middle East is uncertain, as the Arab Spring has unseated regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and as Libya appears poised on the brink of a revolution.
August 22nd, 2011
11:29 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Ramadan might not seem like the ideal time to attempt a government overthrow.
The Islamic holy month, which began earlier this month and is now entering its final week, is best known for its all-day fasts, which would sap the energy of the most ardent rebels.
In Libya, where rebel fighters entered the capital over the weekend, appearing to usher in what some say are the last days of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, Ramadan is coinciding with some of the summer’s hottest days: hardly ideal weather for staging street fights against a deeply entrenched regime.
And Ramadan, with its calls for Muslims to show compassion and to step back from worldly affairs for a month of purification, might not seem conducive to calls for regime toppling.
August 15th, 2011
12:53 PM ET
By Holly Gilbert, CNN
Sterling, Virginia (CNN)–Mohammad Azraf Ullah, 17 years old of Herndon, Virginia, has been observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan since he was a young boy. Believed to purify the body and soul, the food and water fast from dusk until dawn for 30 days is part of the five tenants of Islam.
"Patience is one of the biggest things I've learned" said Ullah. "It reminds me how great God is, and you really have to be grateful to him for everything he gave you."
Such patience and reverence should help Ullah meet the requirements for his Eagle Scout badge, which he's set to earn in the coming months. The high school senior and Boy Scout participated in the annual Iftar dinner - or "breaking of the fast" meal - hosted by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Scout program on Saturday night.
August 10th, 2011
10:57 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - President Barack Obama spoke in stark tones Wednesday night about what he said were the positive contributions of American Muslims in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks, in remarks that came a month before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
“Muslim Americans were innocent passengers on those planes,” Obama said, referring to the aircraft that slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the September 11 attacks, “including a young married couple looking forward to the birth of their first child."
“They were workers in the Twin Towers - Americans by birth and Americans by choice, immigrants who crossed the oceans to give their children a better life,” he continued.
August 9th, 2011
08:58 PM ET
By Alan Duke, CNN
(CNN) – Whole Foods and a company that produces traditional Muslim foods disputed online reports Tuesday that the grocery chain has bowed to right-wing pressure and canceled its Ramadan promotion.
"Whole Foods Market is not cancelling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the time frame of Ramadan," company spokeswoman Libba Letton told CNN Tuesday.
The controversy centered around "halal-certified products" produced by Saffron Roads.
"It's more of a tempest in a teapot," Saffron Roads CEO Adnan Durrani said Tuesday.
August 4th, 2011
11:25 AM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
Tehran, Iran (CNN) - Iran's president is lauding a woman for pardoning a man who blinded and disfigured her in an acid attack, a gesture of forgiveness reflecting the spirit of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
"The act of altruism that occurred is an honor for us and the Iranian nation and caused many to learn a lesson from this move and to change," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told acid victim Ameneh Bahrami on Wednesday, the president's office reported on its website.
An Iranian court convicted Majid Movahedi in 2008 of pouring a bucket of acid on Bahrami, after she had rejected his unwanted advances for two years. She had asked for retributive justice and the court ruled the attacker should be blinded with acid.Read the full story here
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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.