Category Archives: Guest

Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

 

Ramadan is expected to begin on May 6th, give or take a day.  Some helpful information was shared on the FaceBook site.  Check it out.  Ramadan Mubarak in Advance!

“O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves.”

“The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.” (Quran: Chapter 2, 183)

The fourth pillar of Islam is Sawm or Fasting in the month of Ramadan. Fasting is also practiced in many other religions and is mentioned in the Torah and Bible as well as in Hindu scriptures. Observant Christians fast during Lent by giving up a particular food. Hindus fast on certain days of the week or on holidays, and for Jews, the most important day of fasting is on Yom Kippur, which lasts a little over a day.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar. Because Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, it rotates through the seasons, moving back around eleven days each year. Last year, Ramadan started on May 16th and this year, Ramadan will begin on May 6.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink during this time. The aim of the fast is to weaken the physical desire or self and allow for the purification of the soul. It’s a process of spiritual purification and strengthening of willpower to carry us through the year. Muslims break their fast with dates and water followed by the evening prayer and dinner.

Those who are sick or unable to fast, such as elderly, pregnant or nursing women, travelers, and of course children, are exempt from fasting. However, they do participate in the spiritual part of Ramadan, rejuvenating their faith and growing closer to God through extra worship, feeding the poor, charity and other good deeds.

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Zaman, Eilberg, Duke: A call to condemn Donald Trump’s proposals on Muslims

By Asad Zaman, Amy Eilberg and Tom Duke, Pioneer Press

On behalf of a hundred Minnesota clergy and faith leaders, we write today with a sense of urgency about the unraveling of the fabric of American society. We ask all Minnesota political leaders to condemn the Islamophobic statements of Mr. Donald Trump.

On Dec. 7, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Earlier he called for a database to track Muslims in America and for many mosques to be shut down.

Such discriminatory, bigoted statements by the presidential frontrunner of a major political party make it appear that bigotry is the perceived stance of that party and that it thrives in the politics of our nation. As such, condemnation by all Minnesota political leaders is urgently needed on this issue.

Continue reading at Pioneer Press…

Imam Asad Zaman is executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. Amy Eilberg is a rabbi who teaches at United Theological Seminary. Lutheran pastor Tom Duke (ELCA-retired) is coordinator of Saint Paul Interfaith Network.

 

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

 

A holiday letter from Muslim leaders in Minnesota

By Multiple authors, Star Tribune

Two faiths, one hope — for peace

To our Christian brothers and sisters:

Out of our shared love for the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, Peace Be Upon Him, we greet you with peace and joy during your celebration of his life.

The Bible refers to him as the Messiah and describes the annunciation, his miraculous birth and his numerous miracles.

The Qur’an refers to him as the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. It teaches about his miraculous birth and how his mother Mary was honored above all the worlds. Muslims are instructed to invoke peace upon him whenever his name is mentioned.

The Qur’an narrates the story of the angel who visited Mary, saying “O Mary, indeed God has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all the worlds.” (Qur’an 3:42)

The angel said, “O Mary, indeed God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. He will be honored in this world and the Hereafter and he will be among those closest to God. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and he will be of the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:44-45)

Continue reading at Star Tribune…

 

This article was submitted by Imam Asad Zaman, Muslim American Society of Minnesota; Dr. Odeh Muhawesh, Imam Hussain Islamic Center; ShaykhaTamara Gray, Rabata/Daybreak Bookstore; Dr. Tamim Saidi, Masjid Al Kareem; Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota; Dr. Shah Khan, Islamic Center of Minnesota; Dr. Onder Uluyol, Islamic Resource Group; Zafar Siddiqui, Al Amal School; Imam Sharif Mohamed, Islamic Civic Society of America — Masjid Dar Al-Hijrah, and Owais Bayunus, Islamic Center of Minnesota.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

 

Respect for Religious Freedom and Love of Neighbor: A Call to Offer These Christmas Gifts

By Board of Directors Statement, Minnesota Council of Churches

As Christian leaders who serve as the board of the Minnesota Council of Churches, we want to speak to our communities of faith and to the larger community of people living in Minnesota.

To begin, we want to address the members of all our communities of faith.  We call on people to speak with respect in a tender time when we all feel vulnerable and unsafe after acts of mass violence.  “Be not afraid…” is an exhortation in the Bible, again and again.  Let that be the deep value in which we rest. Courageously reaching out to our neighbors, learning more about their stories, and supporting our newest neighbors is a gift worth giving in this Advent and Christmas season.

Secondly, we express appreciation for and commend consideration of all candidates in our political process who are respectfully engaging the issues of how we best build up the life of our state and nation and serve the common good.  We encourage people in political conversations in family, communities and work contexts to speak with care.  Our words matter.  Let us commit to refrain from using speech that reflects hatred of others and contributes to the division of our society.

We also ask media outlets to tell the stories of candidates, who in their campaigns, debates and addresses are offering constructive proposals for our shared life together.  Your choice of stories matters and can build up or tear down the common good.  When we focus only on the negative or inflammatory, we do not have time to hear the larger conversation and participate in discernment about our shared future together.

Most importantly, in a time when hard actions and sharp words have been directed at our Muslim neighbors, we want to speak a word of support and pledge to walk with them and support their freedom to practice their religion.  This country is built on that freedom.  We pledge to walk respectfully and to learn from one another.  The Islamic community in Minnesota is vibrant and diverse, contributing much to the state – as citizens, teachers, police officers, medical workers, tradespersons, community leaders, mothers and fathers.  We stand in solidarity with the Muslim communities of Minnesota and are ready to denounce the vitriol that comes their way.  As Christians, we are called to love all our neighbors.  Muslims are our neighbors, and we love them.

Finally, we are committed to continuing our long experience of working with diverse faith communities and of welcoming refugees into our midst, without regard for religion or ethnicity.  We are committed to building communities of respect.  We call for respect, support and helpful curiosity, instead of critique and attack, in the days to come from all people as we seek to build the best Minnesota possible.

We invite the sharing of this statement

 

MCC Members – Minnesota Jurisdictions of the following:

African Methodist Episcopal Church
American Baptist Churches, USA
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of God in Christ
Church of the Brethren
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Mennonite Church
Moravian Church
National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
National Baptist Convention
Pentecostal World Assemblies
Presbyterian Church (USA)
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church

 

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

We support the Students for Justice in Palestine UMN

By Signatories Below, Engage Minnesota

palestineWhen Fadi Alloun became the second Palestinian teenager in as many days to be killed by Israel, the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) re-posted a report by Electronic Intifada on their Facebook page. For this they were attacked as supporters of terrorism and “disgusting.” As this is only the most recent of attacks on SJP, several organizations issued the following statement:

For months the world has watched as the racial violence in Palestine perpetrated by Israeli civilians escalates while the Israeli government refuses to hold accountable those responsible. The extrajudicial execution of Fadi Alloun is a recent example. No attempt was made to arrest Alloun; he was killed by the military urged on by a mob of Israeli settlers. Only after his killing was he accused of having perpetrated a knife attack on an Israeli Jew, as if an excuse was needed to kill him without due process.

The accusation is typical of a mentality that claims victimhood for the oppressors. The world is slowly waking up to Israel’s human rights violations.

Members of the SJP student group at the University of Minnesota are helping Minnesotans wake up and learn about these human rights violations. But as any human rights activist knows, exposing Israel’s human rights abuses and international law violations makes one vulnerable to accusations of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel advocates. These advocates, bankrolled by wealthy right-wing neo-cons like Shelden Adelson, spend millions attempting to silence advocates for human rights, especially advocates for Palestinian rights, and most especially those on campuses in the US.

Recently, the SJP became the target of some of these pro-Israel forces and has been on the receiving end of threats and accusations.

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