Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ramadan: The Month Of Fasting

Photo © Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images-All Rights Reserved

The Islamic month of Ramadan started while I was in Bali, and while the majority of the island's inhabitants follow Hindu traditions, there were indications that its Muslim communities were observing it, especially in areas such as Semarapura.

Many of the newspapers' photo-blogs such as the Boston Globe's The Big Picture, the WSJ Photo Journal and the like have featured images of Ramadan observances around the world, but the one I liked the most was from The Sacremento Bee's The Frame.

In the above photograph, Indonesian women pray during the first night of Ramadan in Jakarta on August 10, 2010. The fasting month of Ramadan, which started on August 11, is the ninth month of the Muslim Hijra calendar, during which the observant abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight and, in the evening, eat small meals and conduct evening prayers.

I also read that President Obama has recently positively weighed in on the issue of erecting an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan, but has then waffled on his stance following criticism from his detractors, from conservatives and from the illiterate xenophobes who, incidentally, do not live in Manhattan or even in New York.

Much as has been said and written about this issue, but two of the most repellent are these: the Anti-Defamation League, an organization dedicated to ending “unjust and unfair discrimination,” but which now blatantly discriminates against American Muslims, and Newt Gingrich who squawked that “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington”, making the analogy between Nazism and Islam.

President Obama should be reminded that he said this on the inauguration of his presidency:

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."