Muslims in North Caucasus concerned about ‘extremism'
April 23rd, 2013
09:47 AM ET

Muslims in North Caucasus concerned about ‘extremism'

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – A majority of Muslims (57%) in Russia’s North Caucasus – including Chechnya, Dagestan and five other Russian jurisdictions – are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about religious extremist groups in their country, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

That number is higher than Russia as a whole, where more than four-in-10 Muslims in the country express the same level of concern.

This region of the world, particularly Chechnya and Dagestan, has been in the news recently because the suspects in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother who is still alive, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who died in a shootout last week – had familial ties to the region.

The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, where 62% of Muslims told Pew they were very or somewhat concerned about extremism in the central Asian country.


- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • Polls • Russia • Terrorism

February 14th, 2013
04:53 AM ET

Russian hopes for new pope

Russians step up to CNN's Open Mic to share what they want from the next pope.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Catholic Church • Russia

Decades-long fight for Jewish freedom remembered
While Jews struggled to leave the Soviet Union for Israel and the West, American activists joined in the human rights battle.
December 30th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Decades-long fight for Jewish freedom remembered

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

If asked to name the monumental chapters in Jewish history over the past century, people are likely to name the Holocaust or the founding of the state of Israel.

Overlooked and largely unknown, especially among younger generations, is a tale that spanned decades and transcended politics, people and places.

It is the story of a campaign that began in the 1960s and demanded freedom of religion, speech and movement for Soviet Jews – and, by extension, others – who lived behind the Iron Curtain. A new group that wants the Soviet Jewry movement remembered says it belongs in history books, not just Jewish books, and can be a model for confronting human rights abuses that exist now.

Even from the early days, this was a movement that spoke to a broader audience. FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Foreign policy • History • Immigration • Israel • Judaism • Persecution • Russia

Hindus ask Russian court to drop case against holy book
A young Indian Hindu devotee looks at the camera while being dressed as Lord Krishna in Kolkata.
December 20th, 2011
11:53 PM ET

Hindus ask Russian court to drop case against holy book

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – For Hindus it's the Song of God, but prosecutors in the Russian city of Tomsk want the Bhagavad Gita banned, calling it an extremist book that sows social discord.

A court was supposed to have rendered a decision Monday on the proposed ban, but adjourned until December 28 to hear more academic opinion on the matter.

Hindus around the world have expressed outrage at the treatment of one of the most important texts of Hinduism. The 700-verse scripture, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, is a part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.


- Dan Merica

Filed under: Hinduism • Russia

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.