March 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET

Stepping-stones to safety: A family flees Syria's war - and finds refuge in Italy's islands

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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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.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Europe • Islam • Italy • Libya • Mosque • Muslim • Persecution • Pope Francis • Poverty • Religious violence • Syria

September 13th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

My Take: A deadly link between Islamic and anti-Islamic extremists

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.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Egypt • Islam • Libya • Middle East • Violence

'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

In Tripoli, Libyans prepare for Ramadan
This photo of Tripoli was taken during a guided government tour on July 22 during a pro-Col. Moammar Gadhafi rally.
August 1st, 2011
08:34 AM ET

In Tripoli, Libyans prepare for Ramadan

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.

Rerad the full story here about what may be a bloody Ramadan in Libya
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Libya • Middle East

April 24th, 2011
07:48 PM ET

Pope calls for peace around the world in Easter message

(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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Easter • Holidays • Japan • Libya • Middle East • Pope Benedict XVI

Kentucky's Libyan community prays for homeland
Members of the Lexington Muslim community pray at the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque.
March 31st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Kentucky's Libyan community prays for homeland

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.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Kentucky • Libya • Mosque • Muslim

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.