What you need to know about Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan

Eid-MubarakCompleting a grueling summer month of not eating and drinking during daylight hours for most of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims is cause for celebration and feasting for Muslims as they soon mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims the world over. It’s a day of observance, but also an occasion for Muslims to show their gratitude to God, as well as give alms to the poor. It commemorates the end of Islam‘s holiest month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslims adhere to a strict fast observed from sunrise to sunset.

Fasting is viewed as a time to exercise self-control, and as a cleanse for the mind, body and spirit. Many Muslims liken the fasting to a spiritual detox, a way to bring themselves closer to God. The fasting is also intended to act as a reminder of the suffering of those less fortunate, who often don’t have access to food and water.

PHOTO: Muslim girls stretch their hands out to receive water after breaking fast at Jama Masjid ahead of Eid al-Fitr in New Delhi, Aug 8, 2013. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo

Muslim girls stretch their hands out to receive water after breaking fast at Jama Masjid ahead of Eid al-Fitr in New Delhi, Aug 8, 2013. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.more +

Ramadan is considered a sacred month in Islam because it’s when Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ABC NEWS 

Why Muslims in Nashville broke their Ramadan fast in a synagogue

it is not uncommon for Muslims to break their daily Ramadan fast at a mosque.

But at sundown Wednesday in Nashville, dozens of the city’s faithful did so in a synagogue.

At the invitation of Rabbi Joshua Kullock, they sat beside members of his congregation at West End Synagogue as they bit into dates and sipped from bottles of water. It was just one moment of an evening of shared prayers, religious rituals and finding what unites them while respecting their differences.

“We are very good at reacting when something bad happens,” Kullock said.

In the aftermath of recent attacks on places of worship near and far, the Muslim and Jewish communities in Nashville have come together to stand united against hate.

Kullock wanted to take that shared support further by hosting an iftar, an evening meal that breaks the daily fast during the Islamic holy month. The 30 days of prayer and fasting wraps up next week.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TENNESSEAN 

Thousands of Muslims worship in Mecca for the final days of Ramadan

Grand-Mosque-Mecca-5Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims have travelled to Mecca for the last days of the fasting month of Ramadan.

An influx of worshippers have descended on the Saudi Arabian city – the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad – for the last 10 days for what  believers consider the holiest month of the year.

Worshippers gather around Islam’s holiest shrine, the Kaaba – a black square building at the Grand Mosque in Mecca which determines the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

Islamophobia: from crusaders, to colonialists, to cartoonists

libro-de-las-cruzadasAnti-Muslim discourse has plagued the European horizon, but never has it taken on so many dimensions.

Islamophobia remains a hot topic across the West and minority communities are feeling the pinch of the prejudice in their daily lives more than ever before.

To these minorities, their marginalisation is the result of misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.

Is Islamophobia the cause or the result of terrorism? There is no clear answer to that question. But if one thing is for sure, it is that xenophobia has become widespread and has increasingly more complex ramifications on the lives of Muslims living in the West.

This has implications for Western human rights standards, as well. Islamophobia can be defined as the unjustified fear of all things Muslim based on preconceived notions that define it as a religion of violence.

While many think this form of racism bears an inextricable correlation with modern-day terrorism, many Western thinkers say anti-Islam sentiment goes back more than a century, way before the media started creating and perpetuating stereotypes, especially after the September 11 attacks.

The advent of the colonial mindset

The term “Islamophobia” was first coined during the French colonisation of several Muslim countries at the beginning of the 20th century. It was the year 1910 when French thinker Alain Quellien published a book entitled “Muslim politics in French west Africa”.

In it, the writer says Islamophobia is based on preconceived prejudice that is specific to the Christian world.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TRTWORLD.COM

China’s Orwellian War on Religion

chinaLet’s be blunt: China is accumulating a record of Orwellian savagery toward religious people.

At times under Communist Party rule, repression of faith has eased, but now it is unmistakably worsening. China is engaging in internment, monitoring or persecution of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists on a scale almost unparalleled by a major nation in three-quarters of a century.

Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch argues that China under Xi Jinping “poses a threat to global freedoms unseen since the end of World War II.”

To its credit, China has overseen extraordinary progress against poverty, illiteracy and sickness. The bittersweet result is that Chinese people of faith are more likely than several decades ago to see their children survive and go to university — but also to be detained.

China’s roundup of Muslims in internment camps — which a Pentagon official called concentration camps — appears to be the largest such internment of people on the basis of religion since the collection of Jews for the Holocaust. Most estimates are that about one million Muslims have been detained in China’s Xinjiang region, although the Pentagon official suggested that the actual number may be closer to three million.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Pakistan honors priest for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue

ucanews.com reporter, Lahore 
Pakistan 
May 29, 2019
5ceceeb91d395_600A Catholic priest has been honored by the Pakistan government for his “exemplary services” to promote interfaith harmony and peace in his own country and worldwide.
Father James Channan, a Dominican who has spent 50 years following the spirituality of St. Dominic, received an award at the Interfaith Conference 2019 in Lahore on May 17 that was attended by more than 300 people including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, presented the award.
“Many people helped me to reach this place. I praise God, the Church, my community of Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province of Pakistan, and all my friends,” said Father Channan.“I especially thank my Muslim friends who always supported me and my work and keep on appreciating me to continue my mission to promote peace and harmony among the people of Pakistan.“I am actively serving in this mission to build bridges between Christians and the people of other religions, especially with our Muslim brethren, but still I see there is an urgent need for interfaith dialogue.”
Father Channan said his work to promote peace and interfaith harmony brings him peace and mental satisfaction.“I keep on thinking about ways to bring people of various faiths together, to help them to nurture and strengthen peace among them,” he said.“Everybody is my neighbor, and being a follower of Jesus Christ I have to love everybody — it keeps me motivated and zealous. We always have to share this message that we are one human family, following different religions and faiths but living our faiths we have to promote love, unity and peace.”Father James Channan (right) with Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, at the Interfaith Conference. (Photo courtesy of Father Channan) 

Unique museum informs Australians about Islam

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The Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne provides information on the history, life and identity of Muslims in the country. Founded by Australian Muslim businessman Moustafa Fahour with the support of the Australian federal government, the museum is the first and only Islamic museum in the country.

Since opening in 2014, it has hosted more than 50,000 visitors. Open six days a week, the museum organizes various conferences and events in different fields such as calligraphy, historical art, miniature painting, handicrafts and current events. “We want them to experience and learn about the beauty of Islam,” said the museum director, Maryum Chaudhry.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY SABAH