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August 15th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

Egypt's Christians under pressure as churches are torched

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - As violence again scars Egypt, Christians in the country believe they're being targeted amidst the chaos following a government crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo.

There have been dozens of attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in the past 24 hours. Full details of the attacks are still emerging, as the country reels from its bloodiest day in recent history.

Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches had been attacked in the space of 24 hours beginning Wednesday, as well as numerous Christian homes and businesses across the country.

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Coptic Church • Egypt • Middle East

September 20th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

For Christians in Syria, fear of future reigns

By the CNN Wire Staff

Editor's note: Read a version of this story in Arabic

Damascus, Syria (CNN) - As the 18-month-long Syrian conflict festers, the government and the opposition welcome and need Christian support.

But some Christians fear radical Islamists have been swelling rebel ranks.

CNN's Nic Robertson recently spoke with Syrian Christians in the Damascus countryside town of Maaloula.

Christians make up 10% of the population. Syria is ruled by a government dominated by Alawites, whose faith is an offshoot of Shiism. The regime is opposed by an opposition with a large Sunni presence.

Some Christianssupport the government, others the opposition. Many want to know what an opposition government would mean for them and are apprehensive.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Violence

August 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Girl held on Pakistan blasphemy charge

By Katie Hunt and Nasir Habib, CNN

(CNN) - An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested and detained on charges of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating pages from the Quran in the Pakistan capital Islamabad.

According to a statement released by the President's office on Sunday, the girl, identified as Ramsha, was accused by a local resident of burning pages of the Muslim holy text after she gathered paper as fuel for cooking.

Local media reports said the girl has Down syndrome. CNN was unable to confirm these reports, however Qasim Niazi, the police officer in charge of the police station near where the incident took place, said the girl did not have a mental disorder but was illiterate and had not attended school.

The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burnt, he added.

Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood's Christian population lived and threatened to burn down their houses.

"The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson," he told CNN.

Other Christian families living in the area have fled fearing a backlash, he added.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Islamic law • Pakistan • Quran

Militant Islamist groups destroy shrines in Mali
On April 10, 2006, residents restore the City of 333 Saints' Great Djingareyber Mosque in Timbuktu. The Islamists controling northern Mali destroyed two tombs there Tuesday, witnesses said.
July 10th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Militant Islamist groups destroy shrines in Mali

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN)– Members of two Islamist militant groups destroyed tombs at a shrine to Muslim saints Tuesday, according to the mayor of Timbuktu, Mali, and other residents.

"The Islamists ordered the people to leave the area before they started smashing the tombs," Mayor Ousmane Halle said. "I saw both members of Ansar Dine and MUJAO, another Islamic faction in charge of the city. They were heavily armed and people had no choice but to leave when they started destroying the shrines."

It was the second time in the past two weeks that Ansar Dine, a militant group that seeks to impose strict Sharia law, has attacked the site's 16 mausoleums, built from mud and wood in the 15th century.

One of the town's residents said the militants surrounded the ancient Djingareyber mosque area at 7:30 a.m.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief

June 8th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

My Take: Syria’s Christian conundrum

Editor’s note: Hind Aboud Kabawat is a Syrian attorney. She is also a conflict resolution specialist and senior research analyst at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, which is based at George Mason University in Virginia. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Hind Aboud Kabawat.

By Hind Aboud Kabawat, Special to CNN

(CNN)–One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

April 26th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

Dalai Lama: World belongs to 'humanity,' not leaders

By Catherine Shoichet, CNN

(CNN)- The Dalai Lama says he supports the principles behind Arab Spring protests.

"The world belongs to humanity, not this leader, that leader, kings or religious leaders. The world belongs to humanity. Each country belongs essentially to their own people," he said in an interview Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

Politicians at times forget that, even in democratic countries like the United States, he said.

"Sometimes they are short-sighted," he said. "They are mainly looking for the next vote."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism • Church and state

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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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