'Ramadan effect' may be aiding Libyan rebels' cause
Libyan rebels manage a checkpoint at the entrance of the residential area of al-Brega on August 15.
August 22nd, 2011
11:29 PM ET

'Ramadan effect' may be aiding Libyan rebels' cause

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.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Libya • Ramadan

Muslim community embraces scouting
Scouts participate in an Iftar dinner in Northern Virginia
August 15th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Muslim community embraces scouting

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.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Holidays • Islam • Muslim • Ramadan • United States • Virginia

Obama praises American Muslims for contributions since 9/11 attacks
August 10th, 2011
10:57 PM ET

Obama praises American Muslims for contributions since 9/11 attacks

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.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Islam • Ramadan

August 9th, 2011
08:58 PM ET

Whole Foods denies canceling Ramadan promotion

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.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Ramadan

Ahmadinejad praises woman who pardons attacker
Ameneh Bahrami, who was blinded in both eyes after having acid hurled in her face, at her home in Tehran, on July 31.
August 4th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Ahmadinejad praises woman who pardons attacker

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
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Courts • Holidays • Islam • Islamic law • Ramadan

August 2nd, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Ramadan offensive threatens Somalia's starving

By Nima Elbagir, CNN

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) - The Ramadan offensive has begun here, an obvious date to rally supporters of the al Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militant group, but this year feels a little different.

I was in the Somali capital two years ago and every night, just before the call to prayer signaled the breaking of the fast, we'd hear a cacophony of mortar rounds and gunfights.

Somali friends told me back then the militants believed dying in battle while still fasting would ensure they "entered heaven without even taking their shoes off."

This year Al-Shabaab's grip on the capital and the loyalty of Somalis feels more tenuous. Since I was last here in 2009 the rains have failed and the drought has spread bringing with it famine and desperation.

Read the full story of the Ramadan offensive in Somalia
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Islam • Ramadan

President Obama marks Ramadan
August 1st, 2011
12:14 PM ET

President Obama marks Ramadan

By Alexander Mooney, CNN

Washington (CNN)– President Obama Monday is marking the beginning of Ramadan, the month-long Muslim holiday of fasting and reflection.

In a statement issued by the White House, the president said, "Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us."

He also said he will be hosting an iftar dinner at the White House, an event he hosted last year as well.

You can read Obama's full statement on CNN's White House blog The 1600 Report
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Holidays • Islam • Politics • Ramadan

August 1st, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Explain it to me: Ramadan

No food? No drinking? No sex? It's the Muslim month of Ramadan. CNN Religion Editor Dan Gilgoff explains.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim • Ramadan

Muslim Fast-a-Thon
September 29th, 2010
02:05 PM ET

Muslim Fast-a-Thon

Over at the Wall Street's Journal's Metropolis Blog, Jo Piazza writes about Muslim students putting on a "Fast-a-Thon" at New York University.

Fast-a-Thon participants refrain from eating from sunrise to sunset and donate the money they would have spent on food to charity — this year, to Islamic Relief, which is directing money to flood victims in Pakistan. The day culminates with a communal dinner and celebration, including prayers and poetry. The event is typically held during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, but this year’s fast was pushed back to accommodate the university calendar.

The event drew about 350 students according the the Journal. it also drew from a wide range of students.

[United Muslim Association] co-sponsored the event with sixteen other student groups including Campus Crusade for Christ and the Muslim Urban Professionals (known to members as “muppies”).

You can read the full article over at Metropolis.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Education • Food • Holidays • Interfaith issues • Islam • New York • Ramadan • United States

Ahmadiyya Muslim celebration
September 13th, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Trying to define Islam as a religion of peace

Editor's note: CNN's Tricia Escobedo spoke to the leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Atlanta, Georgia, at their Friday prayer service and celebration marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Ahmadi Muslims across the United States began taking to the streets earlier this year to spread their message that Islam is a religion of peace.

They've been showcasing their message in pamphlets, advertisements on city buses, and in face-to-face conversations with fellow Americans.

Hazeem Pudhiapura is asking his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation to personally hand out pamphlets with that message in a nationwide effort to reach two percent of all Americans this year. 

He admits that the campaign probably won't receive as much attention as, say, the planned Quran burning on 9/11.  But he said that anti-Islam sentiment is why their message needs to be heard now, more than ever.


- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Islam • Persecution • Ramadan

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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.