Trump’s statement on Ramadan is almost entirely about terrorism

The Washington Post reports that President Trump issued a statement on Ramadan — a holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims around the world — that focused primarily on violence and terrorism. In his statement, Trump called recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and in Egypt, “acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”

Read the entire article here

 

Ramadan in Finnish refugee reception centers – compromises and opposition

Ramadan in summer times poses a dilemma for Muslims in the Northern countries. Daylight times are long and in some cities the sun does not even set at all. Different courses of action were taken in the the refugee reception centers in Finland to facilitate the fasting for the Muslim refugees currently waiting for their asylum decisions. For instance, In the reception center of Evitskog, run by the Finnish Red Cross, Muslims observing the fast were of 26 different nationalities, which caused discrepancies for their individual wishes in the times to start and to end their daily fast. Many of the men would namely fast according to the respective times of their home countries, and some according to the times in Finland – although in the high summer it would mean a more or less 20 hour fast. The director of the center commented in an interview that the staff was prepared to work extra hours to offer meals even in the night times, despite the lack of extra payment for those taking on extra night shifts.

In the reception center of Hennala however, the approach was slightly different. Special arrangements to serve food were not made, although there, unlike in many other centers where refugees have kitchen facilities to prepare their own foods, the daily meals are included in the service. Instead, those who wanted to fast were given “lunch packs” which they could warm up in microwaves and ovens for their evening meals and breakfasts.

Although the arrangements in some reception centers have not always been as flexible as they were in the case of the Evitskog center, the representative of the Finns Party Youth Wing Juha Karjalainen expressed his discontent with the fact, that even arrangements of any kind to facilitate and respect the refugees religious traditions and practices were made. In his post in the blog platform “Uusisuomi” he argued that the task of reception centers is to offer accommodation for the time of the asylum application is processed and not to facilitate special religious or cultural demands. Hence, Karjalainen maintained that as no one had forced the refugees to choose Finland as their destination country, the refugees are the ones who should make compromises and be flexible, not those working in the centers. Facilitation of religious practices such as fasting in Ramadan would in his view have a negative impact on integration as it sends the wrong message about the necessity of being flexible in one’s religious practices in a Christian but secular country such as Finland.

Nice: Muslim waitress assaulted for serving alcohol on first day of Ramadan

Source: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/faits-divers/20160607.OBS2086/agression-a-nice-il-m-a-dit-tu-devrais-avoir-honte-de-servir-de-l-alcool-pendant-le-ramadan.html

June 7, 2016

 

A Muslim waitress says she was verbally abused and physically attacked by two men who accused her of shaming Islam by serving alcohol during Ramadan.

 

The woman, who is in her 30s, said she was working in a bar in Nice on the first day of the holy month of fasting when the attack happened.

 

“I was all alone in the bar when two bystanders stormed in,” said the waitress, who did not want to be named.

 

“They pointed to the bottles of alcohol behind the counter, and then one of them said in Arabic. ‘You shame on serving alcohol during Ramadan. If I were God, I would have you hanged’.” She said she stood up to the men, telling them: “You are not God to judge me.”

She said they responded by calling her a “prostitute” and a “bitch”, before leaving the bar.

 

Shortly after, she said one of the men returned and hit her, causing her to fall to the ground.

 

“I was so scared,” she said. “I couldn’t understand. Why have they insulted me? Why that slap? I felt belittled, humiliated, dirty. I do not want other women to be victims of such aggression.

 

“It’s not because I serve alcohol that I do not fulfill my duty. I do it because I’m a waitress. In Tunisia I was practicing the same profession and I never had any problems.

 

“I did not think in France, a country of freedoms, I could be attacked for this. I fear they will come back, but I do not want this to impact my work,” she told the paper.

 

Fortunately the incident was caught on camera. The manager, who is also not named in the report, said: “Around 12:30, she called me in tears. I immediately went to the site. I alerted the police who arrived on the scene very quickly.

 

“The whole scene was recorded by CCTV cameras, and I have passed it on to the authorities.”

Primary schools ban Muslim pupils from fasting during Ramadan with one saying it is a health risk for young children

A primary school trust has banned Muslim pupils from fasting during Ramadan, claiming the tradition can be harmful to the health of young children. Barclay Primary School in Leyton, east London, issued a letter to parents informing them that it would not allow children attending school to fast in order to ‘safeguard the health and education of the child’.

The school (above) said it had seen pupils faint and fall ill in previous years as a result of not eating all day
The school (above) said it had seen pupils faint and fall ill in previous years as a result of not eating all day

In the letter, the acting head said children would not be able to fast without meeting with him first. The move has been slammed by members of the Muslim community who said schools should seek to support parents instead of ‘blanket enforce’ their own rules when it comes to religion.

Why Muslims in Anchorage will fast 9 hours more than Muslims in Cape Town (and what one imam is doing about it)

(RNS) When the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan begins later this week, some Muslims around the world will face bigger challenges than others. The Quran is clear that the fast should last from before dawn to after dusk, but says nothing about how many hours that might be.
Since Islam has spread from its Arabian heartland to the far corners of the earth, Muslims who live in further north must fast several hours longer than those in Mecca. On the year’s longest day,  June 21, some could end up fasting for as long as 20 hours per day.
Usama Hasan, a British Islamic scholar, thinks this makes Ramadan fasting unbearable for many Muslims living in northern Europe and Canada, especially the old and children just beginning to observe the practice. It also prompts many Muslims to give up fasting altogether during the summer, he said, or sneak a secret snack to help them get through the long days.
“How geography affects how many hours Muslims will fast this Ramadan.” Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson
“How geography affects how many hours Muslims will fast this Ramadan.” Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson
Hasan, an astronomer with a Ph.D. in physics, describes his interpretation of Islam as “traditionalist-rationalist” and says: “I’m trying to express Islam as it is lived in today’s context.”
Another change he advocates is determining the start of an Islamic month, and therefore the beginning of Ramadan, by scientific calculations.

Jewish and Muslim communities to break fast for peace

July 15, 2014

NEW HAVEN. The violent actions on display between Israelis and Palestinians is a sight Rabbi Herbert Brockman doesn’t like viewing or listening to.

But instead of hearing about casualties, Brockman, spiritual leader of Congregation Mishkan Israel of Hamden, doesn’t want to stand by.

At sundown Tuesday, Brockman and other members of the Jewish community will head to The Islamic Association of Greater Hartford in Berlin for a date with Muslims, where they will break fast together. Tuesday is Shivah Asar B’Tammuz, a fast day for Jews, while Muslims are fasting during the month of Ramadan, Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Connecticut, praised the event. CAIR’s focus is to empower the Muslim community through activism.

“It was well received from both sides,” Dhaouadi of New London said. “It’s a very small gesture. I don’t think sitting on the sideline doing nothing is acceptable either.”

Breaking the Ramadan fast in the company of Jews

July 10, 2014

(RNS) Muslim tradition calls for breaking the Ramadan fast in the evening with a date and a sip of water, and increasingly these days, the company of Jews.

Muslim-Jewish iftars are popping up across the nation, bringing together dozens and sometimes hundreds of people for a celebratory Ramadan meal and a chance to forge interfaith friendships.

This Ramadan, as Jews and Muslims exchange rocket fire in Israel and Gaza, those attending these meals say they are all the more significant, as a way of demonstrating that Jews and Muslims have much in common, and can enjoy each others’ food and company.

In Los Angeles on Thursday (July 10), an iftar that bills itself as the single largest gathering of Muslims and Jews in the city, is sponsored by NewGround, an organization that works year-round on Muslim-Jewish relations. The group exists to build resilient relationships that both groups can draw upon in particularly difficult times, said Rabbi Sarah Bassin, NewGround’s former executive director.

“Yes, we are in another awful flare-up of violence and both of our communities are suffering,” Bassin said. “That will be acknowledged at the iftar.”

At Muslim-Jewish iftars, particular attention is paid to food. In Los Angeles, the meal will be both halal and kosher, in keeping with both Muslim and Jewish dietary laws, which often overlap. Neither faith community eats pork, for example. Out of respect for Muslim tradition, no alcohol will be served.

Some of these interfaith Iftars will be hosted in mosques or other Muslims institutions — on Sunday (July 13), for example, at the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies in Cary, N.C. Others will take place in synagogues.

The Amalgamation of Islam and Violence

July 8, 2014

Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve recently spoke at a meal breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan. “The French government will demonstrate a complete steadfastness toward those who attack your community,” he affirmed in a speech before several Arab diplomats and religious leaders, including the ambassadors to Algeria and France.

Cazeneuve warned that anyone who attacked a Frenchman for his religious beliefs would be “ruthlessly pursued, arrested and punished.”He condemned acts of discrimination and violence towards Muslims and stated, “To associate Islam with violence, is not only wishing to pit Frenchmen against one another, it’s to profoundly misunderstand Islam and religion.” His statement reaffirmed that of Francois Hollande, whose recent speech highlighted the fact that Islam and democracy are compatible.

Dalil Boubekeur was “touched” by Cazeneuve’s speech. “His commitment to make France, Muslims and non Muslims and all its citizens, a peaceful country and one of tolerance, really pleased me.” According to recently released figures, France’s Muslim population is currently between 5.5 and 6 million.

Spanish Islamic Community asks employers to make it easier for their Muslim workers during Ramadan

June 30, 2014

More than 1.7 million Muslims living in Spain have started Sunday, the Ramadan. In this context, the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) calls on employers to provide, where possible, its practitioners workers to fulfill this task.  “We appeal to the generosity, good practice and good expertise of public and private employers and managers, to the extent of its powers to facilitate the achievement of the daily fast during this month,” says the president of the UCIDE, Riay Tatary. The organization points out that the Spanish law recognizes the right of Muslims to seek the conclusion of the work day one hour before sunset during Ramadan, which is then recovered hours by agreement of the parties.

Ramadan: A centuries-old American tradition

June 28, 2014

Many forget that the first Muslims to celebrate Ramadan in America were African slaves.

This weekend marks the beginning of Ramadan. Nearly one-fourth of the world will observe the annual fast and eight million Muslims in the United States will abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month. A gruelling task at any time of the year, Ramadan this year will be especially daunting during the long and hot summer days.

Islam in America is rapidly expanding. It is the fastest-growing religion in the nation, and the second most practiced faith in twenty states. These demographic shifts prompted a prominent Los Angeles-based imam to comment, “Ramadan is a new American tradition.” The cleric’s forward-looking pronouncement marks Islam’s recent arrival in the US. However, this statement reveals a pathology afflicting a lot of Muslim Americans today – an inability to look back and embrace the opening chapters of Muslim American history written by enslaved African Muslims.

Social scientists estimate that 15 to 30 percent, or, “[a]s many as 600,000 to 1.2 million slaves” in antebellum America were Muslims. 46 percent of the slaves in the antebellum South were kidnapped from Africa’s western regions, which boasted “significant numbers of Muslims”.

These enslaved Muslims strove to meet the demands of their faith, most notably the Ramadan fast, prayers, and community meals, in the face of comprehensive slave codes that linked religious activity to insubordination and rebellion. Marking Ramadan as a “new American tradition” not only overlooks the holy month observed by enslaved Muslims many years ago, but also perpetuates their erasure from Muslim-American history.

Between Sunnah and slave codes

Although the Quran “[a]llows a believer to abstain from fasting if he or she is far from home or involved in strenuous work,” many enslaved Muslims demonstrated transcendent piety by choosing to fast while bonded. In addition to abstaining from food and drink, enslaved Muslims held holy month prayers in slave quarters, and put together iftars – meals at sundown to break the fast – that brought observing Muslims together. These prayers and iftars violated slave codes restricting assembly of any kind.

Rewriting the history of Ramadan in the US

Muslim America was almost entirely black during the antebellum Era. Today, it stands as the most diverse Muslim community in the world. Today African Americans comprise a significant part of the communityalong with Muslims of South Asian and Arab descent. Latin Americans are a rapidly growing demographic in the community, ensuring that Muslims in America are a microcosm of their home nation’s overall multiculturalism.

This Ramadan honouring the memory of the first Muslim Americans and their struggle for freedom and sharing their story with loved ones at the iftar table, seems an ideal step towards rewriting this missing chapter of Muslim American history into our collective consciousness.