Thanksgiving Prayers For Dinner 2018: Christian, Jewish, Muslims Words To Offer Thanks

35277-cc_tgiving_5_2016.1100w.tnEvery year on the fourth Thursday of November, millions of Americans nationwide gather for a Thanksgiving Day filled with feasting and celebrations. An important part of the day is gathering around the tables for dinner with loved ones.

Several people choose to say their prayers and share what they are thankful for. While some prayers are improvised, most major religions have standard or suggested words and phrases for blessing a meal. Here are suggested Catholics, Protestant, Jews and Muslims prayers gathered from faith-based organizations.

Catholic prayer:

Today we give thanks for our many blessings as we pray for those in need. We give thanks for our family and friends as we pray for those who are lonely. We give thanks for our freedoms as we pray for those who are oppressed. We give thanks for our good health as we pray for those who are ill. We give thanks for our comfort and prosperity as we share our blessings with others. On this day of Thanksgiving, May the love of God enfold us, the peace of God dwell within us, and the joy of God uplift us. Amen.

Protestant prayer:

Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day, we bow our hearts to you and pray. We give you thanks for all you’ve done, especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son. For beauty in nature, your glory we see, for joy and health, friends and family. For daily provision, your mercy and care, these are the blessings you graciously share. So today we offer this response of praise, with a promise to follow you all of our days. Amen.

Jewish prayer:  

For the laughter of the children, for my own life breath, for the abundance of food on this table, for the ones who prepared this sumptuous feast, for the roof over our heads, the clothes on our backs, for our health, and our wealth of blessings, for this opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, for the freedom to pray these words, without fear, in any language, on any faith, in this great country, whose landscape is as vast and beautiful as her inhabitants. Thank You, God, for giving us all these.  Amen.

thanksgivingCentral American immigrants and their families pray before Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 24, 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo: Getty Images/John Moore

Muslim prayer:

Thank You, Allah T’aala is all that I can say. For who knows whether we’ll make it, with grit, come what may, and without Allah’s Mercy we may try all night and day forgetting what we’re worth, a clot of blood, just clay. However, with His Mercy a mountain can we move with ease and no great effort, just hope in Him, just love. So, Thank You Allah T’aala is all that I can say. Just help me share this blessing with all who come my way. Bless Muhammad and his sacred Household inconsequential me.

Arabic: “Allahomma barik lana fima razaqtana waqina athaban-nar. Bismillah.”

English: “Oh Allah! Bless the food You have provided us and save us from the punishment of the hellfire. In the name of Allah.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES 

 

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The Muslims Are Coming

It’s the hate directed toward Islam that has motivated so many to enter the political arena.

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For some Americans — those who support a travel ban, a wall along the Mexican border and increased restrictions on refugees, all while holding on to the ridiculous belief that the world’s 1.8 billion Muslim hate America, despite the fact that it’s home to nearly 3.5 million of us — that statement probably inspires fear.

But it’s true: Nearly 100 Muslim political hopefuls have filed to run for elected office this year. Only a dozen or so ran in 2016.

In July, The Associated Press interviewed Muslim candidates about this record number. The reporting revealed that it’s precisely the bigotry and hate that has been directed toward Islam — including in remarks and tweets by President Trump — that has motivated so many Muslims to enter the political arena, where they now stand poised to advance policies that directly reflect their faith and also benefit all of their constituents.

Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, a former state representative and a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, would be the nation’s first Muslim woman in Congress. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American and refugee from Kenya, is predicted to win in November, replacing Representative Keith Ellison in Minnesota.

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FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Muslim-Americans helped to build this country

images_early_muslims_in_americaAnti-Muslim sentiments in the United States have been on the rise for some time, fueled largely by misunderstandings, fear of the unknown, and, of course, active demagoguery. Yet, it bears keeping in mind that Islam has been part of the U.S. from its beginnings.

Muslims came to these shores in large numbers with the transatlantic slave trade. It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all African slaves may have been Muslim. Their fate was grim. As El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz, formerly known as Malcolm X, aptly observed: “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; the Rock was landed on us.” Nevertheless, they helped building America in so many ways. And, as historical evidence (names on the military muster rolls) suggests, Muslims even participated in the Revolutionary War, fighting alongside colonists for freedom and liberty.

Many Muslims who were forcefully brought were highly educated. Omar ibn Said, from present-day Senegal, was a slave in the Carolinas. Although he’s said to have converted to Christianity, Omar’s autobiography evidences his continuing reverence toward the Prophet Muhammad. His handwritten copy of various verses of the Qur’an, which still can be seen at UNC in Chapel Hill, demonstrates that he had memorized major parts of Islam’s sacred scripture.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GREENVILLE NEWS 

As a mother — and a Muslim — in America, I see our flaws and failures, but also our potential

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It has taken me years to heal from the hate I’ve experienced. But I share my story to help build a better world for my children — all our children.

My son is named Jibreel, which is Arabic for Gabriel. I wanted him to have a strong name, one he could draw inspiration from. A line was drawn in the sand for him before he was born. He sits on one side of it and doesn’t know the line is there because he’s only 2 years old. Baby J is consumed with his garbage trucks, cement mixers and kicking his soccer ball around the house.

Meesha is 10 and plays soccer, like a boss. We joke that she’ll have only her first name on the back of her jersey, like a Brazilian. Meesha is a Farsi word meaning “always springtime, always in bloom.” I’m glad my baby plays soccer, and I am more grateful that soccer builds strength and courage. If she ever gets shoved, Meesha will know how to hold her own. My daughter already knows a line is there.

As a parent, I cringe knowing I cannot protect my children from hate. They will walk into it like a glass door, painfully, jarred into reality. I hope I can equip them with the tools to see the glass door for what it is, but also to have the strength to find the catch and throw the door wide open. But I still worry, because it took me years to come to terms with how to deal with hate.

FULL ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY 

The Shoe Is On the Other Foot: Pluralism and the Qur’an

The-demographics-of-ImmigrationBy Jane Smith

The raging fires of the immigration debates in the U.S. illuminate what Muslim immigrants have known for a long time — America is not and really never has been a melting pot. The ugly rhetoric surrounding the plan for a mosque and community center near Ground Zero, and recent assaults such as those on the Bridgeport, CT mosque in my neighborhood, illustrate well the difficulties Muslims face on a regular basis. Nonetheless, Muslims have actually managed to survive quite well in the West and have even succeeded in persuading many American citizens of the right of Islam to exist as a legitimate partner in the complex balance of religious life in this country.

For many Muslims the shoe is now slipping onto the other foot. The issue is becoming not only whether they and their religion are accepted by other Americans, but whether Islam itself can find a way to live out the pluralism that many are persuaded is at the heart of the Qur’an’s message. Studies now show that while early generations of Muslims tried to honor that pluralism in relation to other religious groups, more exclusivist views came to prevail and communities such as Christians and Jews found themselves increasingly discriminated against by Islam. Exegetes turned from verses of the Qur’an that insist that God willed different religious communities rather than a single one, and emphasized those verses that affirm that the only true religion in the eyes of God is Islam.

It seems to me that the future of Islam, at least as I understand it in the American context, has much to do with the way that Muslims figure out how they are going to position themselves on the question of pluralism. That we all live in a religiously differentiated society is a given. But is that a good thing in the Muslim perspective? While Muslims struggle to be truly accepted by Christians, Jews, and other groups in America, can they promise the same in return? And if so, at what level?

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS

Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

muslim_men_praying_jeansThe various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities.

No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community centers. Those who were less ritually observant often found no space at all. But the era of Islamophobia has forced them all together and raised fascinating questions about what it means to be American, what it means to be Muslim, and who gets to define the identity of American Muslims.

Ansari offered lessons in the science of prejudice through a set of humorous stories about Muslims. He reminded his audience that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. If you just changed the music on Homeland, he joked, we wouldn’t look so scary.

In a New York Times op-ed published a few months earlier, Ansari wrote on several of the same themes, but this time through the poignant story of instructing his parents not to go to the mosque for prayer lest they wind up the victims of an Islamophobic attack.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY 

Intimate portraits show the diversity of America’s Muslims

portraitsWhen you look at my series,” said photographer Carlos Khalil Guzman, “the stereotype that Muslims can be identified based on appearance becomes null.”
Guzman’s statement is borne out by “Muslims of America,” a photo series portraying everyday subjects as diverse and modern US citizens. The images depict college students, mental health counselors and activists, in places from Illinois to Kentucky and Louisiana.
The photographer and activist hopes that his ambitious project can help tackle stereotypes of Muslims in the United States today. Featuring people of various different ethnicities, ages, backgrounds and branches of Islam, the series comprises 73 portraits from 26 US states. Guzman’s goal is to take 114 portraits across all 50 states, symbolizing the 114 chapters of the Quran.
“Muslim Americans come in all shapes and colors,” he said in an email interview. “We are diverse, not only ethnically but culturally, professionally (and) linguistically.”

Capturing diversity

The photo series comes amid growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country. A study published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in April reported 300 recorded cases of hate crimes against Muslims in 2017, a rise of 15 percent on the previous year.
The group also found a marked increase in “anti-Muslim bias,” directly attributing 18% of such incidents to the Trump administration’s travel ban, which restricted entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“Islam continues to be associated with terrorism,” said Guzman, explaining why he embarked on the project. “It is the scapegoat used by politicians, white supremacists and some media outlets to falsely claim that Muslims support acts of violence and the erosion of democracy.portrait
“The series, as a whole, is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm of diversity that exists all across the country,” he added. “I wanted to show that the US is not — and has never been — a white nation. Rather it is colonized indigenous land where a variety of cultures coexist.”
An activist for human and animal rights since his teens, 29-year-old Guzman said that his portraits often depict those who don’t conform to stereotypical notions of Muslim conservatism — such as people with tattoos and women without headscarves.