Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Time


"The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different, and that, at the end of the day, we will understand that we are one people, one country, and one community, and that our well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of each and every one of our fellow citizens." C. Everett Koop, former US Surgeon General.

In a week or so, Ramadan will be ending. Ramadan is the month during each year when all Muslims fast from sun up until sundown in an effort to grow closer to God, to cleanse the body, and to gain compassion for those who suffer from hunger and who are less fortunate. Because the Islamic calendar is actually based on the moon's cycles, it is 11-12 days shorter than the regular twelve-month calendar year of the West. This means that Ramadan begins that many days earlier each year, so it never falls only during one particular month or season of the year, like many Western holidays do, such as Christmas or Halloween.

There are only two official Islamic holidays, and the one that marks the end of Ramadan is called Eid al-Fitr. It is usually a time when Muslims go their mosques to attend services, for families visiting and sharing meals together, for new clothes and maybe gifts for the children, although nothing way overboard along the scales of some people's idea of Christmas gift giving. This year the end of Ramadan happens to fall around September 11th. Eid al-Fitr is not the type of celebration where there is dancing in the streets, swinging from chandeliers, or fireworks or things like that - Muslims are more reserved or low key, and they just don't "celebrate" in many of the ways that Westerners do when one thinks of celebrations. But because the end of Ramadan coincides with September 11th this year, many Muslims - especially American Muslims - are facing a dilemma because they are fearful that some Americans will misinterpret their Muslim holiday celebration as a celebration of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2001.

With Islamophobia reaching new heights recently, inflamed by the animosity created by protesters of the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque," American Muslims have a right to be concerned. I hope that's not the case. What we need to do is to stop buying into the rhetoric and lies spread by those hate mongers on TV and in politics who perpetuate the fear of diversity and fan the flames of hate. Does America really want to define itself as a country of religious intolerance, where right-wing Christian nut jobs defiantly plan to burn Korans on 9/11? I mean, how disrespectful and malicious can some people be? It's time for Americans to remember that their country was founded centuries ago by people who were SEEKing religious freedom, and that all religions should be tolerated. It's time for Americans to stop blaming all Muslims and Islam for what happened on 9/11 nine years ago and to try to understand that those 19 twisted young men responsible for it acted without the support or approval of the vast majority of Muslims. It's time for healing, for peace, for understanding, for compassion. It is time.

Click here to read an in-depth article on this same topic written by Rachel Zoll, a Religion Writer for AP.

21 comments:

  1. Hi Susie;) I pray that there is no retaliation in the US to Ramadan ending on 11 Sept. I live in the Sudan which is predominantly Muslim and we (I'm a Christian) all live together in peace and harmony. Have a wonderful day. Jo (Khartoum)

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  2. If one can accept their cultural way as their truth, then there is no need to convert or condemn others. Great piece Susie.

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  3. Did you hear about the man who was stabbed in the throat for being Muslim?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/michael-enright-stabbed-c_n_694285.html


    I was going to post about this.

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  4. Its true, not all muslims endorsed the attacks. However many did endorse, supprt and celebrate. I suggest reading and listening to the rhetoric coming from muslims in and outside of the US, not Americans.

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  5. Susie, you say:

    "It's time for Americans to remember that their country was founded centuries ago by people who were SEEKing religious freedom, and that all religions should be tolerated. It's time for Americans to stop blaming all Muslims and Islam for what happened on 9/11 nine years ago and to try to understand that those 19 twisted young men responsible for it acted without the support or approval of the vast majority of Muslims. It's time for healing, for peace, for understanding, for compassion. It is time."

    So, you think that all "Americans" believe that all Muslims are responsible for 9/11? Well, we all don't. I object to the turn of tables that seems implied here.

    As a New Yorker, I and many fellow New Yorkers, who were right here in NYC before and after 9/11 are just not that small-minded. Even on that warm, beautiful day that I remember like yesterday, 9/11/01. It just wasn't and isn't so.

    Of course there are some who do and will always "blame the Muslims" en masse for that tragedy. But it begs the question, where does the blame and fear come from?

    Well, part of the problem is that in some Islamic communities and certainly Islamic states such as KSA, Muslims are in fact responsible for the oppression and objectification of -- their very own peoples -- their women and female children. And the oppression runs the gamut from the milder forms of covering up all the way to imprisonment, violence and even murder, depending upon the society or country.

    And what is striking about these oppressive measures? They are often committed and regulated "in the name of and under the countless mis-interpretations of Islam."

    Which begs another question... If it takes many centuries and thousands of scholars if Islam to argue, debate, interpret and mis-interpret the Koran and by extension, Islam and Muslims (and still the debates rage on) well, then how are any non-Muslims any where in the world supposed to come to understanding?

    My personal understanding of the Koran is that it is peace-loving and there is much written that seems to "make good common sense" and favors equality among men and women and loving treatment between them all under a loving Allah/God. Meanwhile entire Islamic societies manage to disagree with my humble opinion as they carry on full scale war against their own people -- women and in many cases, yes, men too.

    Blaming all Muslims for 9/11... flat-out nutty. Burning books, Koran or otherwise is flat out wrong. Blaming Americans for blaming Muslims...incorrect. But I will say this... I believe that ANY group who seeks TOLERANCE must live, show and represent TOLERANCE within their own. Therein lies a major contradiction that is somehow taking too many centuries upon centuries to reconcile, be it by the word of the Book, the deeds of the individual and/or both. And even that -- my statement about tolerance--doesn't stop me AND many Americans from tolerating Muslims and everyone else around me. In fact, I think about, care about, worry about and even HONOR Muslim women quite a bit more than perhaps many Muslim men do. I think that's a sad statement, indeed...

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  6. Susie, you say:

    " It's time for Americans to stop blaming all Muslims and Islam for what happened on 9/11 It is time."

    So, you think that all "Americans" believe that all Muslims are responsible for 9/11? Well, we all don't. I object to the turn of tables that seems implied here.

    As a New Yorker, I and many fellow New Yorkers, who were right here in NYC before and after 9/11 are just not that small-minded. Even on that warm, beautiful day that I remember like yesterday, 9/11/01. It just wasn't and isn't so.

    Of course there are those who do and will always "blame the Muslims" en masse for that tragedy. But it begs the question, where does the blame and fear come from?

    Well, part of the problem is that in some Islamic communities and certainly Islamic states such as KSA, Muslims are in fact responsible for the oppression and objectification of -- their very own peoples -- their women and female children. And the oppression runs the gamut from the milder forms of covering up all the way to imprisonment, violence and even murder, depending upon the society or country.

    And what is striking about these oppressive measures? They are often committed and regulated "in the name of and under the countless mis-interpretations of Islam."

    Which begs another question... If it takes many centuries and thousands of scholars if Islam to argue, debate, interpret and mis-interpret the Koran and by extension, Islam and Muslims (and still the debates rage on) well, then how are any non-Muslims any where in the world supposed to come to understanding?

    My personal understanding of the Koran is that it is peace-loving and there is much written that seems to "make good common sense" and favors equality among men and women and loving treatment between them all under a loving Allah/God. Meanwhile entire Islamic societies manage to disagree with my humble opinion as they carry on full scale war against their own people -- women and in many cases, yes, men too.

    Blaming all Muslims for 9/11... flat-out nutty. Burning books, Koran or otherwise is flat out wrong. Blaming Americans for blaming Muslims...incorrect. But I will say this... I believe that ANY group who seeks TOLERANCE must live, show and represent TOLERANCE within their own. Therein lies a major contradiction And even that -- my statement about tolerance--doesn't stop me AND many Americans from tolerating Muslims and everyone else around me. In fact, I think about, care about, worry about and even HONOR Muslim women quite a bit more than perhaps many Muslim men do. I think that's a sad statement, indeed...

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  7. Also, I would suggest all those who came to America because of the freedoms we offer, go back to your home countries and start a freedom revolution. Starting with the kingdom and allowing ONE Christian church to be built. Or stop the ban on Israelis from entering the country. Yes, lets all coexist. Starting with muslim nations.

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  8. The End of Ramadan(Eid Al-Fitr ) is a 3-day holiday ; in different countries it will start at a different time. In Turkey for ex. it will start on Sept.9th (i.e. the last fasting day will be sept.8th) and will continue through the 11th and the 12(since it's a Sunday). People need to relax and enjoy the time off with their families. Celebrate the end of the holly month and commemorate sept.11th at the same time; they do not exclude each other.

    Totally agree with the coexist sign. Peace!

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  9. I must disagree with you on this one. Given that the attackers on Sept 11th were Arab Muslims, whose ideology was their interpretation of Islam, isn't burning the Koran an appropriate demonstration? The Koran is just a printed book. We see the US flag burned all the time by people wanting to send us a message. Why is it wrong to send Muslim terrorists a message by buring their symbols, however sacred?

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  10. I love the Thomas Jefferson quote, Susie!!!!

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  11. Everyday I respect you more and more. People have to open their eyes and realize that there are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and to blame them all for whats happened in Sep. 11 is non-seance.

    If I were American Mulism I will celebrate it but still will pray for the victims.

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  12. While I dont agree with people being antagonistic towards a group or race of people on purpose just to encourage or incite discrimination and hate etc...I also cant get too worked up when those very same people decide to do something stupid just to "promote their cause" such as it is.

    Personally I dont have a problem if someone wants to burn the Quran...its just a book in my opinion. The message of the book is whats important...the book itself is just paper and ink....so burn away. I'd rather a book was burned then people hurt or worse.


    What would be truly great...is that if they do decide to have a Quran burning day...and if they actually do gather up a million Qurans or whatever they can...pile them up and pour gasoline and make a big production about burning A BOOK.. then you know what I hope happens????

    Nothing!!!

    It would be so wonderful if every Muslim on this planet viewed this bit of hate and intolerance as a reflection on THOSE people...and not as a reason to burn, destroy, and possibly hurt or kill fellow human beings simply because a BOOK was burned.

    I really hope that happens.

    The end result...THOSE people, will be shown for what they are, intolerant and hateful...and Muslims will be seen how they wish the world would view them...as peaceful and tolerant.

    That is what I wish happens.

    Lets see how this goes.

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  13. I love your quote by Thomas Jefferson! It is sooooo true!

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  14. Shannon in Silver SpringAug 29, 2010, 3:23:00 AM

    This is a great post.
    I live just outside of DC, and today tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to hear Glenn Beck go on about how we need to get back to conservative American values (that never existed). The whole thing was basically a conservative Christian pep rally. I'm Christian, a liberal, and an admirer of Dr. King, so the whole mockery has me a little depressed. There has always been intolerance in the US, but right now it's being given a loudspeaker. By invoking fear of the unknown, so-called leaders get crowds to line up behind them.
    In an ideal world, Eid al-Fitr falling on 9/11 would be a great way to trump the extremists. Kind of a "it's my religion too" vibe. In the world I expect, I think it would be a non-story. I didn't realize Ramadan ended on 9/11 until I read your post. But I can understand how American Muslims are apprehensive right now.
    The majority of Americans are live-and-let-live. Hopefully we can shout louder than those that hate. At least I have a big set of lungs.
    (ps- I love that pic of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu!)

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  15. >With Islamophobia reaching new heights recently, inflamed by the animosity created by protesters of the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque," American Muslims have a right to be concerned.


    http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/27/2989095/fbi-data-hate-crimes-against-muslims.html#storylink=scinlineshareb

    FBI data: Hate crimes against Muslims rare
    Numbers have declined over recent years, but above pre-Sept. 11 level

    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/27/2989095/fbi-data-hate-crimes-against-muslims.html#storylink=scinlineshareb#ixzz0xyziLREU

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  16. I just love how you consistently chip away at the differences between us and them. It's a great public service. May Allah reward you.

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  17. Jo, really? Sudanese Muslims and Christians live in peace? Have you heard of this little conflict taking place in Darfur?

    Susie, well said, though, honestly, I doubt folks will notice anyone celebrating Eid here. It is usually low key no matter what. peace

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  18. ps - Susie, maybe this is too intrusive a question, but what religion have your children decided to practice? has this been influenced in any way by your time in Saudi Arabia?

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  19. Susie,

    I shake my head at the irony of you preaching against the evils of Islamophobia while living in KSA, one of the most intolerant societies in the world. Many people in the West rightly fear the imposition of Islamic religious laws in their countries.

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