June 17th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Prayer and politics: How Friday became the Middle East's day of protest

By Mairi Mackay, CNN

(CNN) - Ever since he was a boy, Friday has been a day of prayer and rest for Murad Alazzany.

Following a rhythm as old as Islam itself, Fridays meant lunchtime prayers at the mosque and relaxing with friends and family for the rest of the day.

But that was before protests and revolutions across the Middle East smashed decades-old regimes and caused unprecedented civil unrest.

Yemen's uprising started in January this year, spurred on by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and since then, Fridays have had a very different flavor for Alazzany and tens of thousands of Yemenis like him.

Alazzany, who is an assistant professor at Sanaa University, still goes to Friday prayers, known as Jumu'ah, but not in a mosque. Instead, he prays in the street alongside fellow activists and anti-government demonstrators.

Read the full story on how Friday prayers are feeding the Middle East protests
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Middle East • Prayer • Syria

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Turkey as an Islamic model
    Giving Islamists more political space within a democratic framework has produced interesting results. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=190784

    June 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
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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.