By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Lampedusa, Italy (CNN) – Abdel clung to his pregnant wife, 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter as they sailed across an open stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.
They were in a dilapidated fishing boat with limited provisions and almost no sanitation, sharing a cramped space with some 400 other Syrians.
Abdel prayed quietly and recited verses from the Quran for two days and two nights as the boat swayed and motored precariously along the 180-mile route from Libya to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.
If they could make it, his young family would be one step closer to freedom.
He knew thousands had died making the same voyage.
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
What should we make of the attacks on the U.S. consulates in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens?
It depends on who you mean by “we.”
From the perspective of those who stormed the embassies, taking down the American flag in Egypt and replacing it with a black flag reading, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” theirs was an act of justice on behalf of the One True Faith.
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.
By Ivan Watson and Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Last-minute shopping before the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan brought back bustle and commercial activity to the center of a city that is increasingly showing strain from Libya's grinding civil war.
In downtown Tripoli, cars were backed up in traffic jams. Shoppers lined up outside a bakery waiting for bread. Not far away, another line of residents stood next to an ATM machine, waiting for their turn to withdraw cash.
The busy scene on Sunday was a sharp contrast to previous government-sponsored tours of the city, which revealed rows of shuttered shops and streets largely devoid of traffic.
Asked about how the civil war is likely to impact the imminent month of fasting and feasting, many Tripoli residents insisted they were not facing any hardships whatsoever.
(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI called for peace amid ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East and mentioned the plight of those in Japan during his annual Easter message Sunday.
The pope singled out Libya, saying, "may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid."
Read the full story about the pope's Easter message
Editor’s Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. Watch “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door,” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET April 2 on CNN.
By John Sepulvado, CNN
Lexington, Kentucky (CNN) – The parking lot in suburban Lexington begins filling up around 1 p.m. Men park their compact cars and file in through one side of a ranch-house-style building. Women leave their large SUVs and head through another door.
As they remove their shoes, the men talk about the conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East – especially in Libya. Several young boys crawl on the red carpet, while the women, wearing brightly colored headscarves, read quietly to their daughters in the back of the room.
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.