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How religion has been used to promote slavery
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, but he and other religious giants accepted slavery for others, scholars say.
March 29th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

How religion has been used to promote slavery

By John Blake, CNN

Editor’s note: The CNN documentary 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' airs on CNN International TV March 29, 30, 31 and April 22. Check local listings for times.

(CNN) - Which revered religious figure - Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad - spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?

Answer: None of them.

One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate - but not ban - slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.

Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.

Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church and state • Egypt • History • Islam • Islamic law • Islamic law • Israel • Jesus • Moses • Muslim • Uncategorized

Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III laid to rest
A woman faints as crowds converge on Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo's al-Abbassiya district this week.
March 20th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III laid to rest

By the CNN Wire Staff

Cairo (CNN) - Thousands of people flooded into Cairo's Abbasiya Cathedral Tuesday to say a final farewell to Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians for more than four decades.

Shenouda III died Saturday at the age of 88.

His successor's name will be chosen by a blindfolded child from among three finalists chosen by community leaders - a process that could take months.

The funeral could bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at a time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

Egypt's Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years.

Read the full story on the funeral for Pope Shenouda III.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Egypt

Egypt's Christians prepare to bury Coptic pope
Pope Shenouda III led Egypt's Coptic Christians for more than 40 years
March 18th, 2012
09:09 AM ET

Egypt's Christians prepare to bury Coptic pope

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN

Egypt's Coptic Christians are preparing for the funeral Pope Shenouda III, an event expected to bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

Shenouda III of Alexandria, who led Egypt's Coptic Christian community for more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 88.

He died of renal failure "due to the diabetes he endured for years," said Sheif Doss, head of the Egyptian General Coptic Association. The pope had lung cancer, which spread to the rest of his body, Doss said.

Egypt's Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years.

FULL STORY

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Egypt • Islam

March 6th, 2012
05:42 AM ET

Nose job earns Egyptian politician the boot

By Amir Ahmed, CNN

A lie and a nose job may cost an Egyptian politician his spot in parliament.

Anwar al-Bilkimy, a newly elected legislator, was forced to resign from the ultra-conservative al-Nour Party after lying about having plastic surgery, Ahmed Khalil, a party spokesman said late Monday.

Black and blue from his rhinoplasty, al-Bilkimy told parliamentarians that his face was bandaged because gunmen attacked him after he refused to get out of his car, Khalil said.

Suspicious, the al-Nour Party, who's hardline creed forbids plastic surgeries, formed a committee to investigate his story and found out that he had lied, a party statement said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Egypt • Islam

January 31st, 2012
09:36 AM ET

Egypt's Coptic Pope in poor health, official says

By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian community, is in deteriorating health, the head of the Egyptian General Coptic Association said Tuesday.

Shenouda, 88, "suffers from kidney disease and diabetes," said Sherif Doss, but said he was still "functional."

Bishop Basanti of Helwan governorate denied rumors that the pope is in a coma.

"He is well and under good medical care," the bishop insisted, saying that he would give his regular weekly address Wednesday evening.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Coptic • Egypt

Young Egyptians use Facebook, coffee to bring religions together
Members of the Salafyo Costa group in Tahrir Square during the first Friday protest in Cairo on July 8.
December 14th, 2011
05:37 PM ET

Young Egyptians use Facebook, coffee to bring religions together

From Shahira Amin, Special to CNN

(CNN)– A group in Cairo is using a Facebook page to unite Egypt's different religions at a local coffeehouse in the upper-class suburb of Maadi.

Over a cappuccino and a muffin, an orthodox Christian, a liberal Muslim and an ultra-conservative Islamist discuss their differing ideologies in the hopes of changing stereotypes.

They are known as the Salafyo Costa group, and they say one of their aims is to change the public perception of the Salafists, a puritanical branch of Islam that dictates only the followers of the prophet Mohammed practice the correct Islam. Salafists are often perceived as terrorists, the group says.

As Egyptians come to the end of the first round of voting in the country's historic elections, Islamist parties appear headed for a decisive majority in the first freely elected parliament since the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Read the full story here.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Egypt • Islam

Egyptian Coptics attacked, dozens slightly injured
Egyptian riot policemen take position in the area where Coptic Christians came under attack on November 17.
November 18th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Egyptian Coptics attacked, dozens slightly injured

By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN

(CNN) - Hundreds of Coptics marching in Cairo Thursday were attacked by unknown assailants.

Thirty-two people were injured including two police officers, according to Dr. Adel Al Dawi, a ministry of health spokesman. Except for one badly injured girl who remained hospitalized late Thursday, those injured were treated for minor bruises and cuts.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Coptic • Egypt

October 11th, 2011
08:47 AM ET

Q and A: Coptic Christians

By Dave Gilbert, CNN

London (CNN) - Violence has returned to the streets of Cairo - this time in fresh confrontations between army forces and pro-Coptic Christian protesters.

Accounts of the casualties vary but an Egyptian health ministry spokesman told CNN that 25 people had been killed and more than 272 injured during the weekend protests that were sparked by the burning of a Coptic Christian church in southern Egypt.

There has been long-standing tension between Egypt's Coptic Christians and Muslims but CNN's Ben Wedeman says that since this year's revolution that removed the former President Hosni Mubarak there have been more of these clashes.

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has tried to deal with the tension by organizing a committee made up of representatives from Coptic Christians, Muslims, the military and government but Wedeman reports that some members have now suspended cooperation or quit over the government's handling of the situation.

State TV reported that Ahmed al-Tayyeb, a prominent Egyptian Muslim leader and grand imam of Al-Azhar, has also been reaching out to Coptic church leaders in hopes of containing the crisis.

CNN examines the background to the renewed violence.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Coptic • Egypt

Death toll rises in Egypt Christian clashes as tension continues
Egyptian Coptic Christians clash with soldiers and anti-riot police during a protest in Cairo on 9 October.
October 10th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Death toll rises in Egypt Christian clashes as tension continues

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN

Cairo (CNN) - The number of dead in clashes between the army and pro-Coptic Christian protesters in Egypt over the weekend rose to at least 25, with at least 272 wounded, a Healthy Ministry official told CNN Monday.

But conflicting reports from the two sides indicated the death toll could be as high as 29 in violence that an army spokesman speculated may have been guided by a "hidden hand" associated with neither side.

Many of the dead and injured were crushed by speeding military vehicles, said Dr. Adel al-Dawi of the ministry.

The violence - the deadliest in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular revolution in February - has brought the country back to the tense, violent period before the uprising, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said Monday.

"Instead of going forward, we found ourselves scrambling for security," Sharaf said on state television in an early morning speech, noting that the incident had produced "martyrs, both civilian and from the military."

Hundreds of Coptic Christians rallied outside a hospital Monday, chanting "The army has its tanks but we have our prayers," CNN saw.

Read the full story here.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Christianity • Coptic • Egypt • Religious violence

Egypt bans export of ceremonial palm fronds for Jewish holiday
Jews buy fronds of the date palm, called lulavs, for the holiday of Sukkot.
September 20th, 2011
02:13 PM ET

Egypt bans export of ceremonial palm fronds for Jewish holiday

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Egypt has forbidden the picking and exporting of palm fronds used in the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot, leaving Israel scrambling to make up for the shortage.

But one Egyptian customs official said the ban so far has not been implemented.

The fronds of the date palm, called lulavs, are waved during Sukkot, which celebrates the ancient wanderings of the Jewish people after their exile from Egypt. The seven-day holiday begins on the evening of October 12.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Egypt • Holidays • Israel • Judaism

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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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