6 Post-Ramadan Lessons From A Pair Of Mediocre Muslims

Muslim Taking Iftar To Break Their FastI’m Sima, I’m 23 and I’m a pretty casual Shia Muslim. I was born in Toronto, have lived in various parts of Canada and come from an Iranian background. I did not fast this year but I’m wishing a Happy Eid Al-Fitr to all my fellow Muslims who did!

I’m Farah, I’m 35 and I’m a casual Sunni Muslim. I was born in Toronto, raised in Markham and come from an in Indian-Pakistani background. This year, for the first time in years, I challenged myself to keep almost every fast in Ramadan and succeeded! Please, come eat with me!

So, it’s done. Ramadan has come and gone, and gone with it are the early mornings of rising to eat before dawn, persistently empty stomachs and a solid case of daily “hanger” as you struggle to keep your fast throughout the Holy Month. It may not seem like we’ll miss very much, but as the long days passed, we two mediocre Muslims — that is, Muslims who consider ourselves fairly casual and relaxed in our practice — sat down to talk about what makes this month extraordinary — not just this year, but every year. The lessons we’ve learned have changed our views on food, religion and most importantly: life.



Soccer star Mo Salah’s massive popularity is changing perceptions of Muslims in the UK

moMohamed “Mo” Salah, who plays soccer for Liverpool, England, as well as for Egypt, has just come off a season in which he established himself as one of the most exciting players in the world. A Muslim of North African heritage, he plays, excels, and is adored in Britain, a country in which anti-Muslim sentiment is increasingly part of mainstream political and cultural discourse.

And he should be one of the stars of the upcoming 2018 World Cup later this month — if, that is, he makes it to the tournament at all. Due to a recent injury, that’s now in question.

Salah started playing organized soccer as a teenager on an Egyptian team called the Arab Contractors. He joined Egypt’s national team in 2011 at age 19 and moved to Europe the following year. His first years were promising but patchy, and to say this has been a breakout season for Salah is a massive understatement.


‘The Love of Christ’: Christians Host Muslims at Kansas Megachurch for Ramadan Dinner

ramadandinnerfb_hdvOver 300 Muslims and Christians gathered last week at a megachurch in Kansas to share a meal after sunset based on Muslim tradition during Ramadan.

The Church of the Resurrection in Kansas is the largest Methodist Church congregation in the United States.

Rev. Adam Hamilton said he wanted to host the May 22 dinner to share Jesus’ love and break the stereotype that Muslims and Christians can’t get along.

“We’ve been trying to look for ways to build bridges with the Muslim community in Kansas City and to demonstrate the love of Christ to them,” Hamilton told the Christian Post.

The Dialogue Institute of Kansas City helped organize the event with the mission of promoting “mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation among people of diverse faiths and cultures.”

“I think it was a chance for Muslims to get to know who we are,” Hamilton said. “Our people enjoyed the chance to hear other people’s stories and hear what they experienced in their fasting and why it was important to them.”

About six to eight people sat at each table during the dinner, including two to three Muslims.

The church posted to Facebook the following day to celebrate the night’s success. It wrote, “Great turnout for the Ramadan Dinner last night! We enjoyed sharing a meal and conversation with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”


Christians in Kurdistan join Muslim neighbors to celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Christianskurdistan34ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Christians joined Muslims to celebrate the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr and to highlight the peaceful coexistence of various communities in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

The first day of the yearly observance came on Friday, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast for up to 16 hours per day, for 30 days.

As in earlier years, Christians visit Muslim neighbors in several Kurdish-majority cities to congratulate them on the religious event and also to be part of the celebration.

The village of Baze in Duhok province is one of the areas in the Kurdistan Region that Christians and Muslims have been living together in peace for decades.

Oshana Yusuf, a 77-year old Christian resident of Baze began to visit his Muslim neighbors’ homes on Friday, the first day of the three-day celebration, along with his family.

“As long as I can remember, Muslims and Christians share everything in this village,” Yusuf told Kurdistan 24. “Regardless of whether it’s a party, funeral, special event, or Eid, we are always together.”

“Thank God, we live together in place,” he added. “We’ve never confronted or fought each other as long as I can remember.”


In These Sacred Spaces, Judaism, Islam And Christianity Intersect

ShowImageChristians in Muslim countries face violence and harassment. The same goes for Muslims in Christian countries and Israel. And, as Tom Lehrer sang, “everybody hates the Jews.”

This isn’t new information, and many before me have pointed out the irony that the three main Abrahamic religions are so often at each other’s throats. Even if the confrontations are not, as some believe, constant and apocalyptic, it’s certainly reasonable to see Christianity, Islam and Judaism as a kind of Venn diagram of grievances.

It’s reasonable but not entirely correct. As the new “Shared Sacred Sites” exhibition at three New York venues demonstrates, there is no shortage of places where followers of these religions intersect in fellowship and peace.

As its title makes self-evident, “Shared Sacred Sites” is an exploration of places of worship. It’s also about overlapping themes and figures. The exhibition bills itself as “a contemporary pilgrimage,” as it is spread across three sites in midtown Manhattan: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library (aka, the place with the lions); the James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center; and the Morgan Library & Museum.

Despite the enormity of the subject matter, “Shared Sacred Sites” is charmingly modest. In the Schwarzman Building, it occupies a smallish room on the ground floor. This part of the exhibition explores the past: the “shared” city of Jerusalem and the shared scriptural figures of Abraham, Moses and Elijah.

The objects are interesting if not mind-blowing: There are medieval maps and a few of the photographer Félix Bonfils’s wonderful albumen silver prints from the 1870s and 1880s — one of the Western Wall and another of Mary’s Tomb near the Mount of Olives. I particularly enjoyed the compare-and-contrast of the Annunciation. In a pristine 16th-century Book of Hours, Mary appears calm as Gabriel breaks the news. In the gorgeously lettered 16th-century Muslim commentary on the Quran, Mary’s incredulousness is endearingly human: “How can I have a son,” she asks, “when no man has ever touched me and I am not an adulteress?”

A few blocks south of the New York Public Library and the Morgan Library & Museum, at CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery, the focus is more contemporary. This part of the exhibition leans heavily on the work of Manoël Pénicaud, a talented French ethnologist who studies and documents interreligious relations across Europe and the Mediterranean.

You can watch Pénicaud’s short films on “Interfaith Bridge Builders,” such as “The Last Rabbi of Crete,” an interview with Nicholas Stavroulakis, the recently deceased Greek-American preservationist of Crete’s Etz Hayyim Synagogue.

Stavroulakis speaks of his well-earned pride in creating “the only synagogue in Europe that has its doors wide open” to people of all faiths, or even no faith at all. The only criterion is the shared values of “pity and compassion for the world.”


Holy Alliance of Jews, Christians, Muslims Protects Migrants From Trump’s Deportation Efforts


Last summer, the pastor and rabbi of a church and synagogue that share a building in Denver raised their hands in blessing over the head of Araceli Velasquez and officially welcomed the undocumented immigrant and her family to take sanctuary in their house of worship.

Nearly a year on, Velasquez, her husband and three young sons are still living in the cavernous, 100-year-old building that is home to Temple Micah and Park Hill United Methodist Church.

Velasquez came to the United States to flee the gang violence she had experienced in her native El Salvador, but her asylum request was denied.

The subsequent decision to give her sanctuary is part of a groundswell of grassroots actions by Christians, Jews and Muslims seeking to protect undocumented immigrants in the United States – particularly Latinos – who are facing an unprecedented crackdown under the administration of President Donald Trump to detain and deport them.


Indonesia combines Islam with environmental activism

44032295_303Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), together with Greenpeace and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and Environment are cooperating on an awareness campaign during Ramadan to solve the problem of plastic waste in Indonesia.

Read more: Jakarta restricts nightspots during Ramadan

Together, they have a mission to promote the use of reusable bags to cut plastic bag use in Indonesia. The Indonesian government and clerics from the country’s largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah are seeking to influence the consumer behavior of the groups’ combined 100 million followers.

NU and Muhamadiyah, together with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and Environment, announced the Plastic Waste Reduction Movement in Jakarta on June 6.

According to Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the waste management director at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the amount of plastic garbage in Indonesia is continuing to increase significantly.

“We want to encourage citizens to start from small things like carrying a tumbler, instead of disposable plastic bottles, or using non-plastic shopping bags,” she said.