My friend Shahed Amanullah, the editor of altmuslim.com, is blogging his reflections on Ramadan throughout the month of the fast. The blog, titled “Hungry for Ramadan”, offers a reflection each day, often focusing on the question of how Ramadan can be a time to introduce non-Muslims to Islam and to build bridges to other communities. His reflections this year include a post on the unhappy confluence of Ramadan and the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and on the lucky coincidence of Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur and Ramadan, which happens once every 33 years and will feature Jews and Muslims around the world sharing a fast on Yom Kippur this Saturday.
On altmuslim, Andrea Useem has an excellent article titled “How Not to Cover Ramadan“, which observes that nearly every paper in the US will run a “Ramadan 101” article, outlining the basic practices of the holiday, but inadvertantly misrepresenting how many American Muslims celebrate the holiday. She points out that roughly a quarter of American Muslims are highly observant, going to mosque once a week and praying all five salah, while one quarter are largely unobservant and half are less observant – many Muslims in America will be celebrating the month in a way that doesn’t involve a daily fast, but might have a focus on charity or opening one’s home. (To see how Global Voices has covered Ramadan, follow this link, which points to dozens of articles we’ve run, discussing Ramadan celebrations in different corners of the world.)
I’m late in saying it, but Ramadan Mubarak and L’shana Tova to my Muslim and Jewish friends around the world – may this special time be filled with blessings for you and your family.