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Film Challenges Perception of Palestinians

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Palestine: Why the Caged Dove Sings
Thursday, July 13th at 7 pm
Film Society of Minneapolis
St. Paul’s Screen #3 at St. Anthony Main Theatre

filmOfficially, the narrative around Palestinians is they want to destroy Israel and hate Jews, and if one searches hard enough, one finds some voices expressing such views.

However, the situation is not about feelings or views of people, but about boundaries and a justice denied.

Palestine: Why the Caged Dove Sings is set for a premiere screening today.  The film allows people on the ground to speak about their pains and everyday struggles.

Sabry Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American activist, who created the film in his travels back to Palestine in 2014.  He interviewed and documented the reality of Israeli occupation in candid easy going conversations with people on the ground.

Wazwaz was inspired by documentaries like Five Broken Cameras. He wanted US citizens to see what is really going on in Palestine and felt that he could use his camera as a way to expand understanding. The film includes powerful interviews and demonstrates how Zionism is not Judaism.

Wazwaz explains, “I wanted to show people, mainly the American people, the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Zionism is the blueprint behind Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinian Arab Christian and Muslim populations. It is no different than apartheid in South Africa and segregation here in the U.S. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. No people should be living under different laws based on their religion, race, gender, etc. All people should be living under same laws and have equal rights.”

Admission is $10. Proceeds will support the Anti-War Committee.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She was the chair for the Interfaith Relations at Islamic Center of Minnesota.  She has completed training in restorative justice at the University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.  She was a 2008-2009 policy fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.  She is a public speaker and writer and lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

 

Ramadan is expected to begin on May 16th, give or take a day.  This will be posted early to encourage Muslims to begin preparation.  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 27th and this year, Ramadan will begin on May 16.

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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Reflecting on King’s Challenge to America

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

On December 14, 2012, late in the afternoon – I became aware of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It was painful to read the stories, emails and newsfeed as they poured over the tragedy. In times of crisis and pain like this, as a Muslim I immediately turn to prayer to gain strength and to reflect on the situation. In the evening, I joined an online prayer service on SeekersHub in Toronto.

The Toronto team was able to gather a large crowd at the Hub and online for our prayer for the victims and families of the murder in Connecticut. “The believer is pained by the pain of another,” said Shaykh Faraz Rabbani while leading the prayers for the affected families of Connecticut.

Read the rest of Fedwa’s article here.

Hearings on Islamic extremism set the worst example

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Next month, the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security plans to launch hearings on so-called domestic Islamic terrorism.

To justify the hearings, Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has made grossly irresponsible statements to right-wing broadcasters — claiming that 80 percent of U.S. mosques are extremist hotbeds and that Muslims aren’t cooperating with law enforcement.

Read Fedwa’s full article here.

Why Study Islam?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota.

“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is much worse.”
–Nigerian proverb.

A couple of years ago, I was in a training session in Edina.  The instructor, who was from Texas, went out of his way to be nice to me during the session.  Every now and then, he would pause as though he wanted to ask me a question that wasn’t training-related, but he would change his mind.
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