Conquering the beasts of time and desire By Rawan Hamade Many non-Muslims are interested in knowing why we fast during Ramadan and how it helps us try to improve ourselves. Unfortunately, many receive shallow answers that may not reach the underlying point. Some non-Muslims are hurriedly told that we fast merely to sympathize with the poor, which is absolutely true, but that does not define the limit of this month’s beauty. Ramadan is a blessed time for Muslims in which they should carry out one of the most important functions of a human: learning.
This month, the Arabic language came under attack when Debbie Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, New York’s first public school that integrates Arabic language and cultural studies with a public school curriculum, explained that the English translation for the word “intifada,” literally means to “shake off.” Almontaser had been asked to explain a word on the T-shirts circulated by the AWAAM (Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media), a Brooklyn-based organization that empowers girls and women.
The attack on Khalil Gibran International Academy is one of the most recent examples of America’s fear of the Arabic language, but it is only one of numerous examples throughout the nation. In August 2006, JetBlue Airways refused to allow an Iraqi man to board a flight at Kennedy International Airport because he wore a t-shirt inscribed with Arabic and English. The phrase read, “We Will Not Be Silent.”