Dear Mr. President,
For Muslims living in America, Ramadan begins tonight at sunset. I've observed the month-long fast before, but it has been several years. I've decided to do so again this year for a number of reasons, but chief among them is my desire to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims. While I doubt very much that it has ever been an entirely comfortable thing to be an American Muslim, especially since the post-9/11 increase in Islamophobia, the level of antipathy toward Muslims in America seems to be on the rise this year. From opposition to the Cordoba House community center, to anti-Mosque demonstrations across the country, displaying bigotry toward our Muslim neighbors has become disturbingly acceptable. The Tea-Party has called upon its members to demonstrate against mosques being built in their areas, urging them to bring dogs, bibles and the American flag as symbols of their opposition. In Florida, on Septmeber 11th, one minister is proposing to burn Qurans.
That this is happening in my own country makes me sick. When it is considered along with European countries proposing laws to ban Burkas in public areas, the continued siege of Gaza, the destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, and the continued slaughter of civilians by coalition forces and the Taliban alike in Afghanistan, it is clear to me that many Muslims around the world are suffering because of their faith. I don't think it will fix anything to fast along side them for a month. My symbolic gesture of solidarity is meant to say that I will not look the other way while fellow human beings are maligned and persecuted for their faith. And it may not do any good, but in my general state of powerlessness, it feels better than doing nothing.
So today I've visited my favorite bakery, deli, coffee shop and grocery store, all in preparation for the fast. It will be a challenge, but I figure if Minnesota Vikings Safety Husain Abdullah can do it and still play professional football, I can probably manage just fine.