Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ramadan 2010

Observance of the holy month of Ramadan began this week for Muslims throughout the world. During Ramadan, Muslims attend to God and community by fasting during the day, praying, and sharing communal meals after sunset. The special contemplative month ends on September 9.

In the United States, this Ramadan is marred by right wing politicians trying to score hate points by attacking our Muslim neighbors. Not only have the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich stirred up a storm against a plan for a New York City Islamic community center, but their antics encourage attacks on every expression of Muslim faith.

For people of other faiths, the next 30 days would be a good time to express our solidarity with the rights of our Muslim neighbors to exercise their religion. We can be mindful that any observant Muslims we know are not eating during the day -- and that there is nothing more strange about that than there is about the Christian practice of going to church late on the night of December 24.

In the La Canada (California) Valley Sun, Levent Akbarut suggests that non-Muslims take advantage of this month to get to know our neighbors better:

No special treatment or accommodations are expected. Do satisfy your natural curiosity, ask questions and learn about the Ramadan fast in your social conversations. This is particularly important today to combat the prevailing misperceptions about Islam and to promote interfaith understanding and fellowship.

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