Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 222- Why I'm fasting for Ramadan

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.

Respectfully yours,



  1. Virtually no one is maligning Muslims due to their faith in the US.

    What Americans do not like, genius, is Radical Islam, not Islam, as a whole.

  2. Yes, that's why they are protesting the construction of mosques and community centers across the country. Why Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich can say horrible, bigoted things, and still be taken seriously in professional politics. That's a demonstration of American opposition to RADICAL Islam, only. My mistake. Burning the Quran to commemorate 9/11? That's definitely meant to affect only a very specific part of Islam, since, clearly, only radical Muslims care about the Quran.

    OH WAIT....

    Listen, you're entitled to your opinion, but if you want any one to take you seriously you might consider having facts to back it up.

  3. I work at a school system in Texas run by Turkish Muslims, Harmony Science Academy. It's a charter school, forbidden from promoting any religious practice, but still many "concerned" parties have come forward to spread slanderous conjecture about how our educators are out to brainwash America's youth and compel them to convert to Islam. Having spent a year with this establishment, I have not seen a single bit of evidence to support what these citizens are claiming, and I feel that their words come from a place of fear and ignorance.

    I agree with you, Kelsey, that this year has seen an increase in prejudice and accusation against Muslims. Perhaps I have just become increasingly more aware of it because of my new friendships. I know I have become more sensitive to it, and feel embarrassed and guilty every time an American makes a thoughtless or hurtful comment about Muslims or--worse--commits an act of bigotry or racism such as those mentioned above.

    Thanks for broaching this issue!