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September 16 & 19 - from Bangkok, Thailand - Las Vegas, Nevada - Kampala, Uganda - Kaunas, Lithuania - Conakry, Guinea - Port au Prince, Haiti

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The Jamia Mosque - Las Vegas (Photo/30Mosques.com)

Thirty days. Thirty states. Thirty mosques. A Ramadan roadtrip reveals a faith of many faces.

Lithuania; the place refugees wind up when they wear out their welcome elsewhere.

How a beauty queen and a Canadian brought peace to the polls in Guinea.

Not so in Rwanda and Burundi, two nations with a grim common history where democracy is on a slippery slope.  

The "body snatchers" of Bangkok are Buddhists helping injured motorists; though if the accident doesn't kill you, their enthusiasm might. 

And, there's a musician running for president in Haiti after all. Just not the one we expected.

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Ramadan Roadtrip USA

For many Muslims, Ramadan means a month of fasting and spiritual reflection at their local mosque.

But for my next two guests, it meant "roadtrip!"

Travelling to thirty mosques in thirty different American states.

You may remember Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq from our last season, when they reported on their tour of thirty different mosques in New York City.

This year they chose to go big instead of going home. Here's a sampling of tales from their 20,000 kilometre Ramadan roadtrip, starting with Aman followed by Bassam Tariq.

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Listen here to what happened to Aman and Bassam in the Deep South, on the highways of Alabama...

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You can find more in their online blog, 30mosques.com

 

Europe's limboland

For refugees in Europe, the road less taken can lead to limbo in Lithuania.

They arrive there from all over the world, some already rejected by other states. And that's an experience Lithanians should undertand.

During the second World War, more than seventy-thousand of them fled Soviet occupation, but got a cool reception from the rest of the world. Today Lithuania's acting the same way.

It's perch on the eastern flank of the European Union makes it an attractive refugee destination.  But while it's easy to get in, it's harder to stay, as we hear from Australian journalist Karen Percy.

Karen's documentary...

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Beauty and the ballot

In the west African state of Guinea, this weekend's Presidential election vote has been called off because of violence between rival camps in the capital which killed one man and injured dozens more. 

Officials say it's only a postponement, though no alternate date's been named yet.

It's a sharp contrast with the first round of voting held in June, when some unusual strategies brought peace to the polls.

They were initiated by a Canadian, Jeffrey Dvorkin, former head of news here at CBC Radio and later with NPR in the States. He was invited to Guinea to work with local journalists at the request of the U.S. State Department.

Jeffrey describes how they met the challenge of covering the first free election since France granted independence to the former colony in 1958.

Jeffrey's essay...

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Jeffrey Dvorkin teaches in the journalism program at Centennial College and the University of Toronto.

 

Elections Africa: democracy dashed

Two other African states went to the polls this summer. And instead of opening up more political space, both emerged worse than they started.

Rwanda has re-elected an authoritarian president whose government faces allegations of genocide in a leaked UN report, despite its role in ending the one between Hutu and Tutsi in his own country.

And Burundi also appears to have become a one-party state, facing the prospect of renewed warfare. 

For insights Rick talks to British journalist Max Delany, who covered both elections for Associated Press and The Christian Science Monitor. 

Max, in Kampala, Uganda...

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Haiti's other music man

Wyclef Jean is out of the race to be the next president of Haiti, but there is anohter musician in the running.  Rick tells us eyes, and ears, now turn to candidate Sweet Micky.  

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Buddha's body snatchers

Body snatchers Anatacha Sindhu, Hruhra Piyawat and a fellow rescue worker in the back of an emergency pick-up truck. (Photo/Aaron Goodman)

Bangkok traffic can be murder, literally, claiming a life on average every half-hour.

But, a number of Buddhist volunteers are trying to  pull a few back from death's door.

The "body snatchers," as they're known, patrol city streets, tending to the injured and arranging funerals for the unclaimed dead. 

Their relentless enthusiasm has won them praise, but it also gets them in trouble, as we hear from journalist Aaron Goodman, on patrol with the body snatchers of Bangkok. 
 
Aaron's documentary...

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally. With technical producers Tim Lorimer and Victor Johnston, Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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