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Muslim Communities Across The U.S. Prepare For Ramadan Amidst Heightened Islamophobia

Muslim Matters - 7 March, 2024 - 05:10

Muslim communities across the U.S. are gearing up for Ramadan amidst an unprecedented increase in Islamophobia and anti-Arab bias in light of Israel’s war on Gaza. Several masjids are also increasing their security measures this Ramadan in the aftermath of several Islamophobic and anti-Arab attacks.

The Context

The past few months have been marked by an increase in anti-Muslim incidents in light of Israel’s war on Gaza. Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six-year-old Palestinian-American was stabbed to death 26 times. Three Palestinian students were shot in Vermont for wearing a kuffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf, and one of them is permanently paralyzed from the chest down. 

In November 2023, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported an 216% increase in requests for help and reports of bias compared to the previous year. Palestine Legal, an organization that protects the rights of people in the U.S. who speak out in support of Palestine, experienced an unprecedented surge in requests for legal support from people targeted for Palestine advocacy.

Muslim communities across the country are heading into Ramadan amidst a tense environment and with Gaza at the top of many people’s minds. 

Masjid Ramadan Preparations Muslim Communities on campus

Ramadan decorations at the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing. (photo courtesy of the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing)

With this increased targeting of Muslims, many communities across the country are heightening their security measures in light of recent Islamophobic and anti-Arab attacks. 

Thasin Sardar is a board member at the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing in Michigan, a large and diverse community with over 1,000 attendees at each Jumuah prayer. He says about a third of the community consists of students, a third of refugees and recent immigrants, and a third of long-time residents. 

Sardar says his community has been organizing rallies and protests in support of Gaza, and people are not shying away from being vocal despite potential safety concerns. 

“Nobody is afraid of any repercussions,” he says. “We are not going to give up on asking for a ceasefire.” 

In light of events in recent months, the community has prepared for Ramadan by arranging for a greater security presence including members from within the community. This is in addition to the usual Ramadan preparations and setting up by decorating the masjid. 

Understanding the Environment on College Campuses

College campuses have been particularly impacted by what’s happening in Gaza, and campuses are roiled by debates over free speech and institutional suppression of pro-Palestinian activism. 

Columbia University suspended its chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Rutgers University also suspended SJP, then reinstated it but on probation. Former Israeli soldiers sprayed an illegal chemical “skunk” on pro-Palestinian protesters. Pro-Palestinian students at Harvard are suing the university for failing to protect them from harassment. NYU suspended a pro-Palestinian student, revoked her scholarship, and denied her campus housing until fall 2024. Over 43 students at the University of Michigan are facing harassment, intimidation, arrests, and charges for their campus activism. 

And the list goes on. 

This suppression is prevalent despite the fact that a majority of Americans, and a majority of Muslim and Jewish Democrats, favor a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, according to research by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. 

In addition to organizing regular Ramadan programming, Muslim chaplains at American universities continue to be tasked with the challenge of serving and supporting students amidst a tense environment on college campuses. 

A university chaplain on the West Coast, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution, says the past few months have been very difficult for students. 

“This has been one of the scariest times on campus,” she says. “It feels reminiscent of post-9/11, and I think that was a pretty broad consensus among a lot of chaplains that I spoke with.” 

“There’s a lot of grief and a lot of helplessness,” she says. “We’re watching what’s going on and we don’t really know what to do…I don’t know how anyone can be okay.”  

She mentioned that her community has implemented increased security measures for months which will continue throughout Ramadan. Students have also been running their own security shifts due to the vitriol on campus. They are also making a concerted effort to avoid walking home alone and in pairs or small groups. 

“There is a heightened level of awareness,” she adds. 

Imam Khalil Abdullah, who is the Muslim chaplain at Princeton University, says he has been intentional about trying to provide students with a safe space and sense of community during these times. He hopes this will continue during Ramadan.

“That’s what Ramadan and our iftars will be,” he adds. “Like big healing circles.” 

He also acknowledges that “different campuses are experiencing Islamophobia in a different way that requires us as chaplains to respond in different ways.”

Maintaining the Ramadan Spirit While Addressing the Suffering in Gaza 

Thasin Sardar from the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing says the community will continue to hold all its regular Ramadan programming.

“The celebratory mood is going to be a little dampened as we continue to grieve over what’s happening in Gaza,” he says, “but the spirit of Ramadan that people at large are used to, we’ll try to keep that as energetic as possible.”

In Dearborn, Michigan, community leaders announced the cancellation of this year’s annual suhoor festival “in light of the ongoing genocide in Palestine.” Suhoor fests typically attract 100,000 visitors from across the U.S. and Canada. They say it feels “inappropriate to celebrate at a time of such gravity.”  

Muslims across the country are continuing their activism and advocacy for Palestine heading into Ramadan. During a Jumu’ah khutbah last week, Dr. Omar Suleiman talked about the importance of keeping the momentum for Gaza, while recognizing that many community members feel that Ramadan this year is not the same because of what’s happening. 

“If Ramadan is a month of worship, is a month of ibadah, what better month to get closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to where our du’a for our brothers and sisters are more impactful,” he says. “What better month to lose your appetite for this dunya if you haven’t lost it over the last five months watching what’s happening in Gaza.” 

 

Related:

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Prep Guide For Ramadan On Campus

Ramadan At The Uyghur Mosque: Community, Prayers, And Grief

The post Muslim Communities Across The U.S. Prepare For Ramadan Amidst Heightened Islamophobia appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Seething with anger

Indigo Jo Blogs - 5 March, 2024 - 23:22
A picture of a demonstration for Palestine in London; banners include "Jews against genocide", "Jews for Justice for Palestinians", "not in our name" and a Palestinian flag.A demonstration in London against the Gaza genocide in November 2023. (Taken by me.)

Since Brexit, there has been a particular theory about why people voted the way they did: that it wasn’t about immigration or racism, it was about something called ‘identity’. It was to do with people wanting to go back to an older Britain in a simpler time when we were supposedly self-sufficient. It doesn’t matter, according to this theory, if our economy suffers from leaving the EU because it was about something so much deeper than GDP. A few years ago I wrote a piece on homesickness and nostalgia (which is actually Greek for homesickness, rather than a longing for the past as in modern English) when the Anglican vicar Giles Fraser wrote a piece on it for Unherd; the modern nostalgist longs for a version of the past which often was not real, or only remembers the positive aspects of it and does not take into account why we cannot go back to it. Currently it is common to see comments under footage of the past, often street footage but also live music footage, about how much simpler or uncomplicated things were in the past, usually the 60s or 70s but sometimes the 80s; allegedly crime was low (it actually wasn’t) and we weren’t so worried about health and safety but quite often it appears that the faces were a lot whiter.

It’s no secret that Brexiteers are often very rich or funded by the very rich and these people do not want to accept that there are material reasons why people voted the way they did because they do not want to address the fact that their economic orthodoxies which have prevailed since Thatcher’s time failed the people. The turning point was Blair’s decision to jump the gun on worker migration from weaker economies, such as the countries which joined the EU in 2004, such as Poland, and admit them without restriction when other countries in the EU did not; a lot of Remainers are fond of dismissing any objection to this as racism or simplifying it down to “they’re taking our jobs”, but as I have discussed on here previously (as someone who works in one of the sectors affected by this decision), it is a lot more complicated. Brexiteers, on the other hand, refuse to entertain any economic explanation. It’s not that they’re pro-immigration — far from it — it’s that they don’t want to entertain any challenge to laissez-faire Thatcherite economics.

Yesterday I saw a long thread by the right-wing think-tank propagandist Matthew Goodwin, appealing to the “ruling class” to “save Britain” by doing ten things. Eight of these are in the thread; two of them are on his website, not paywalled as I write. It’s astonishing that he thinks that what the average British person cares about is “radical Islamism” which has hardly shown its face at all since last October or the spectacle of people “glorifying terrorism” in mostly peaceful demonstrations against the genocide in Gaza by affixing pictures of gliders to their bags, or the fact that a Tory MP resigned because he feels threatened, or that voters in Rochdale voted for George Galloway instead of a mainstream party candidate, after the most popular party there withdrew support for their own candidate. Many of us agree that the country is falling apart, but Goodwin says nothing about the most obvious facets of this. He tells us he knows young people who “now talk openly about joining the so-called ‘great retreat’, by leaving Britain altogether” and assumes that this is because of radical Islamists, rather than houses nobody but the rich can afford and lack of job prospects. He says nothing about our health or social care, about the cost of living, about house prices and rents, about schools which are physically falling down, about the often disastrous handling of Covid and the contempt our wealthy politicians showed for the rules they imposed on us all, about how we cannot export food because of customs barriers we have inflicted on ourselves through Brexit and the businesses going bankrupt as a result; nothing about councils going bankrupt up and down the country because the government has been starving them of funds, and because the things they did to raise revenue failed during the pandemic, nor about the libraries and other valuable public amenities being lost as a result; nothing about our environment, the state of our waterways, the beaches we cannot swim at because of the raw sewage being discharged by privatised water companies.

Maybe Goodwin lives in a part of the country where the river water is pure, social care is cheap and libraries are well-staffed and well-stocked. For some reason he thinks that these issues gossiped about in the Westminster village and in papers owned by the super-rich and mostly written for by the upper middle class are of more concern to everyone than the actual fabric of our society falling to pieces. It’s the ruling class that are angry that the plebs of Rochdale chose to elect someone they dislike, and that people keep demonstrating in London against an appalling display of cruelty and depravity against a civilian population they identify with in Palestine. He writes as if the election was a terrorist attack in itself, when in fact it was a quite lawful democratic vote. Many ordinary people are appalled at the ongoing savagery even if they believed that reprisals were justified in October. Not everyone shares the identification with Israel of large parts of our ruling class and media elite. (The nearest thing to terrorism going on here right now is the gang of vandals going round with knives, cutting down cameras and even traffic lights as a way of physically fighting the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, and posting their exploits on YouTube, but Goodwin has nothing to say about this group of lawless suburban white men.)

Absurdly, he claims we have a “policy of mass immigration” as if this was still the 1960s and planeloads of newcomers were arriving from the Commonwealth every week. The fact is that British people, thanks to rules introduced by the present government, find it nearly impossible to bring in spouses or other family members from overseas unless they are high earners (another reason why some British people might find they cannot live here anymore). British businesses such as Asian restaurants are finding it impossible to bring in the staff they need who have the skills necessary because British-born Asians get degrees and prefer better paid jobs. There was a high proportion of Brexit votes among British Asians, who had noticed that earlier attacks on spousal immigration happened around the same time during the last Labour government as the migrant workers started arriving from eastern Europe. It’s equally absurd to link “mass immigration” with Islamist extremism; the majority of Muslims here are British citizens who have been here for three or four generations, and those who were radicalised usually were because of racism; the same is true of the claim of ‘ghettoisation’. But this argument is not worth exploring here anyway, as there has not been a single serious violent incident in the UK since the start of the Gaza genocide (hence the reminders of things that happened in the past). It has all been peaceful protest and an election upset. But to this country’s radical Right, that’s really no difference from terrorism; the difference between violent and “non-violent extremism” is artificial, as Melanie Philips once claimed.

Goodwin’s article comes straight out of an echo chamber. The liberals and Left are often accused of only listening to each other and of being surprised at general elections that go against them because all those they follow on Twitter think the same way they do, but here we see someone completely oblivious to the difficulties normal people are facing, and seething with anger about a by-election result and a persistent protest about a horrific orgy of violence that will not stop, and would if any other country was responsible provoke calls for military action rather than a mere ceasefire. The average person is seeing the cost of living continue to rise, services being shut down, taxes in some places going through the roof to pay council debts; Goodwin wants us to be angry about brown-skinned people getting uppity rather than brown stuff filling our streams, rivers and coastline. He knows the Tory party cannot win an election by appealing to its record, which is wretched; their alternative, rather than admitting defeat and failure, is to look around for scapegoats and distractions. His ten demands are not a programme for bringing people together but for picking fights that might be solved with repression. There may be deeper things than GDP, but people will not ignore the decline in their standard of living forever.

Possibly Related Posts:


A Response to the “Spider-Man Protest” At Mt. Sinai Hospital In Toronto

Muslim Matters - 5 March, 2024 - 11:36

As a society, we like to believe we have made strides in equality. We celebrate the diversity of our country, we have cultural sensitivity training workshops, anti-racism panels, and summits.

In media and politics, however, equality is a thin veneer that often peels off in times of crisis and conflict. Underneath are the enduring phenomenons of racism, injustice, and inequality manifested in various aspects of society; including education, media representation, and global power structures. They highlight the ongoing challenges in dismantling entrenched systems of privilege and domination. 

A glaring example of this is the discourse surrounding Palestine. Palestinian sentiments and emotions are systematically distorted and vilified, contributing to the dehumanization of an entire populace. This bias is palpable in the formulation of unjust policies and the blatant disregard for the demands and suffering of our communities.

Now as concerned citizens rally across Canada to express their sorrow, anguish, and dissent against their country’s lackluster response, the mask has been ripped clear off. 

These demonstrations have faced significant censorship, with instances of heavy-handed police intervention and complete shutdowns in some locations. Slogans advocating for justice have been manipulated to align with dehumanizing narratives targeting Muslims and Palestinians. Regrettably, the media often labels these gatherings as “hate rallies,” “antisemitic,” or “anti-Israel.”

One need only look at the emergency protest for Rafah in Toronto, and the ensuing storm of lies and condemnation. 

It didn’t take long for the footage of a person dressed in a Spider-Man costume scaling the archway at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto to start circulating. 

Protest in Mt. Sinai
The fact that Spider-man had scaled a total of 8 structures, 3 of which were buildings along the route became irrelevant. 

The fact this person has an Instagram account which illustrates him scaling vantage points to wave the Palestinian flag at numerous protests in different cities across Canada did not matter. 

The fact the protest paused in front of many buildings along the way to give people a breather to allow others to catch up was not mentioned. 

The fact that at no point did anyone block patients from exiting and entering became irrelevant.  

An anonymous attendee from that night spoke to this “I can vouch that the protest paused on its way past the US embassy to give folks a break and some time for chants. As it also did outside the Toronto Film School and Hoops, and many other random locations based on pacing the crowd, not protesting.”

The headlines the next morning told a different story:

Everyone knows why protestors targeted Mount Sinai Hospital – The National Post

Terrorist supports harness hospital patients in hospitals – Toronto Sun

Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protestors targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital – The Canadian Jewish News

This is a mere sampling of the dozens of articles and opinion pieces posted that claimed the protest was deliberately antisemitic and lied about the events that had transpired. 

It didn’t take long for politicians to join in to condemn what happened outside Mount Sinai Hospital that day.

In one fell swoop, tweets conflating the march with antisemitism, Jew-hatred, and extremism began to circulate on X -formerly known as Twitter- by politicians. 

Bonnie Crombie went as far as embellishing infiltration and intimidation to her tweet: 


This racist dehumanization of Palestinians is dangerous and inflammatory. Across Canada there is a terrifying spike in Islamophobia and Islamophobic attacks; this rhetoric is fuel to a fire that is already burning out of control. 

In fact, a mere four days after these hate-mongering tweets and articles were posted, an enraged man phoned, threatening to take matters into his own hands and kill the protestors on hospital row himself. 

Additionally, the Islamic Centre of Cambridge was vandalized with hate-motivated graffiti. This was barely covered by the media. As for the politicians, the irony of their condemnation of this days after they spouted fear-mongering Islamophobic rhetoric must have gone over their collective heads.

Adding insult to injury, these same media outlets and politicians who have unanimously condemned a protest outside a hospital, are eerily silent as hospital after hospital has been terrorized and targeted in both Gaza and the West Bank in Palestine. 

At the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, Israeli soldiers did in fact infiltrate a hospital. They were dressed as doctors, women, and civilian men, which is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Once inside they removed their disguise and proceeded to enter a patient’s room and assassinate the three people in that room. Our politicians were not moved to report on this. 

More recently, the last standing hospital, the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, was rendered non-functioning

Where once stood a hearth of healing, safety, and refuge now lies a killing machine; a military base. Doctors have been killed or are kidnapped and facing torture and degradation. The thousands of civilians seeking shelter are either dead or displaced, again. Parents are holding their children as they breathe their last breaths, murdered from wounds that could have been treated, sicknesses that could have been cured. The 70,000 injured civilians are now without medical care, as are the multitudes suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and disease. 

The world saw this at Al-Shifaa Hospital, Al-Nasr Hospital, and Al-Ahli Hospital amongst many other hospitals. Reports on missing doctors describe cruel torture, stripped of their clothing and dignity, forced to wear chains, and crawl around eating food off the floor. Premature babies were found decomposed in their hospital beds, their fragile bones and bodies withered away, only a diaper to mark there once was a soft-skinned innocent life here. 

It is salt in a grieving community’s wounds then, when politicians blatantly express their hypocrisy. The continual stings of their apathy remind everyone of our pain and suffering. Of how our dead are less worthy to recognize in reaching out in empathy for our losses. Of how our hospitals are not sacred spaces, but legitimate military targets, with impunity and without the burden of proof.

Our media and politicians must be challenged. 

Where was their outrage when the hospitals in Gaza were decimated?

How culpable are they in attacks such as the Quebec Mosque Shooting and the London family ploughed down by a car?

What would have been the results, if, instead of calling TPS, this man (who is now in custody), actually took matters into his own hands and shot protestors, or rammed his car into protestors? 

How complicit in his crime would they be?

Our media and politicians are alienating the fastest-growing population in Canada. Muslims account for 4.9% of the population of Canada. As we can see, people are marching in the hundreds of thousands demanding justice. 

The National Council of Canadian Muslims recently refused to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stating he was failing in both protecting Palestinian lives and living up to his promises to combat anti-Muslim attacks and rhetoric. 

Muslims and Palestinian supporters across Canada have vowed they will never forget which politicians stood silent or supported an ongoing genocide and cut funding to UNRWA on mere allegations. They are demanding concrete actions instead of empty promises. 

My questions are, can the Canadian government afford to continue marginalizing the fastest growing group of people in Canada? And does the Muslim community have grounds to take legal actions against their legal representatives for endangering their lives? 

The tides are changing. People across Canada (and the world) have discovered their power in mass movements in support of Palestinians and Palestine. 

The seeds of Palestinian support have been shaken, sprouted, and are growing globally. This growth will not stop. 

Palestinian supporters are not willing to forget what they have witnessed over the last few months at the hands of the apartheid regime of Israel. 

Palestinian supporters are not easily intimidated, bullied, or manipulated. They demand justice and will continue to strive for it.

 

Related:

Activism for Palestine in the West: Understanding the Agreement of Joe Biden and Jordan Peterson on Israel

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

The post A Response to the “Spider-Man Protest” At Mt. Sinai Hospital In Toronto appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Podcast: Ramadan Reflections: 30 Days of Healing | Aliyah Umm Raiyaan

Muslim Matters - 5 March, 2024 - 11:00

Zainab bint Younus catches up with Aliyah Umm Raiyaan, the author of “Ramadan Reflections: A Guided Journal – 30 days of healing from the past, journeying with presence and looking ahead to an akhirah-focused future,” and her newest release, “The Power of Du’a.” Aliyah shares her own journey of spiritual growth and healing, and how we can all transform ourselves this upcoming Ramadan. Don’t miss this episode as part of your Ramadan prep – and don’t forget to order Aliyah’s books to add to your own library.

Related:

Show Up As You Are: Overcoming Ramadan Guilt For The Last 10 Nights

The post Podcast: Ramadan Reflections: 30 Days of Healing | Aliyah Umm Raiyaan appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

British Muslims believe more should be done to improve interfaith relations

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 March, 2024 - 18:08

Majority think Britain is a good place for opportunities and freedom to practise their faith, poll finds

Most British Muslims believe more should be done to improve relations between the UK’s different religious communities, according to a research forum on faith.

The Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) looked at the attitudes and social contributions of British Muslims living in the UK. The survey found 71% of British Muslim respondents believed more work should be done to improve relations between different faith groups, and just 22% believed the right amount was being done.

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From The MuslimMatters Bookshelf: Ramadan Reads 2024

Muslim Matters - 3 March, 2024 - 17:30

Gear up for Ramadan 2024 with this list of recommended Ramadan reads for kids and adults alike – fresh off The MuslimMatters Bookshelf!

Kidlit  – Ramadan: A Holy Month (A Little Golden Book)

It’s exciting to see a Little Golden Book that encompasses the Muslim experience! “Ramadan: A Holy Month” by Malik Amin does an excellent job explaining Ramadan to a young audience and ensuring that Islam and worship as the core of it.

Beautifully illustrated, with a diverse array of Muslim men, women, and children, this book is a must-have for classrooms and bookshelves for little ones. I love how it mentions the Qur’an and prayer, shows the masjid, and even explains that young children, the sick, and the very elderly don’t fast.

Purchase here.

 – Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by Sara Khan

Sara Khan’s “Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr,” published is an exceptional example of a Ramadan book done right. Although spun as a young girl telling readers all about Ramadan, it is essentially a non-fiction book, beautifully illustrated by Nadiyah Suyatna.

 

This isn’t a “story” in the sense of being a storytime read, but it is absolutely valuable as a classroom resource or even an at-home bookshelf addition. It can be a bit lengthy to read in one go, but can be broken up easily and flipped through repeatedly. I LOVE how Islam-centered this book is – it stays far away from saying things like “we fast so that we can feel what it’s like to be hungry like the poor!”

I also love the inclusion of things that *are* part of many Ramadan experiences, like good deed calendars, Ramadan cards, Ramadan baking, and other fun activities that incorporate good deeds as well as fun. Volunteering, charity, and prayer are all mentioned – and accompanied by lovely illustrations that really bring heart to the text. There is also fantastic backmatter, including a chart with the 5 pillars of Islam, explaining the Lunar calendar, and an entire section on the important spiritual aspects of Ramadan.

Purchase here.

 – Eliyas Explains Ramadan by Zanib Mian

Zanib Mian’s unique “Eliyas Explains” series is a must-have for all families with little ones who aren’t so little anymore (ages 7-10)! This Ramadan explainer (and included guided journal!) connects with curious kids who get antsy sitting through a halaqah.

“Are you as excited as the adults about Ramadan? I wasn’t until I found out a load of incredible things that blew my socks to space! After that, I was on a mission. Oh yeah, and I had a force field! I’ll tell you all about it in this book and help you transform into a better you!”

Purchase here.

 – Maymoona’s Moon by Razeena Omar Gutta

“Maymoona’s Moon” by Razeena Omar Gutta is illustrated by Zayneb Haleem, whose super cute art style is immediately recognized from her work on Instagram. The pictures are so cute that little readers will enjoy flipping through them alone! Maymoona is a future astronaut, and she is determined to sight the moon for Eid. Off she goes, climbing her Lunar Ladder, Galactic Goggles at the ready! This book is sure to be a cute addition to an end-of-Ramadan bedtime story rotation. The illustrations are a visual delight of adorableness, sure to fill young readers with joy.

 – Trouble at Taraweeh by Rosalind Noor

Umama tends to accidentally cause havoc in the masjid whenever she goes for taraweeh, but she’s determined to make sure everything goes smoothly for Laylatul Qadr! Too bad her frog has other plans… This is a hilarious book about an adorable girl’s unintentional hijinks, and in the end, everything works out and there are valuable lessons learned along the way.

Purchase here.

 – Made from the Same Dough by Laura el-Alam

Papa isn’t a Muslim, but he’ll be spending Ramadan with his grandson, Rayan, and his family. Rayan worries his grandfather won’t fit in and might even do something embarrassing. When Papa suggests bringing cookies made from his favorite Christmas recipe, Rayan panics. How will Rayan handle the challenge of having his Christian grandfather at his Ramadan gathering? Can he and Papa find common ground and respect each other’s traditions?

Purchase here.

 – Ramadan Kareem by M. O. Yuksel

“Ramadan Kareem”  is really and truly the very essence of Ramadan faith and joy, brought to life with Hatem Aly’s incredibly lively, hilarious, and touching illustrations. From the Ummah’s diversity and spotting the different flags on each page, to mischievous kitties everywhere, to little easter egg surprises, and most of all… the Eid page with Masjid al-Aqsa, giving us a glimpse of a truly joyous Eid in a free Palestine, inshaAllah.

Note: There is one minor error where Laylatul Qadr is described as “better than a thousand nights,” rather than “better than a thousand months.”

Purchase here.

 – Moon’s Ramadan by Natasha Khan Khazi

“Moon’s Ramadan” by Natasha Khan Kazi is a sweet Ramadan story from the moon’s perspective.

Moon loves watching people prepare for Ramadan, worship and give sadaqah during its days and nights, recite Qur’an and share traditions from around the world. Each page demonstrates the waxing and waning of the moon throughout the month, which makes for a nice visual understanding of what a lunar month is. For me, it’s the illustrations that charmed me – mostly purples and golds, with sweet Ramadan scenes from different countries. I’ve gone back several times to enjoy the pictures alone!

I loved the specific mention of taraweeh, giving zakah, and reciting Qur’an – all too often, Ramadan stories ironically end up erased of the acts of worship that practically define it. This will make a great bedtime Ramadan read!

Purchase here.

Adult  – Ramadan Reflections by Aliyah Umm Raiyaan

This beautiful book by Aliyah Umm Raiyaan is unlike most “Ramadan books” you’ll come across. Part Islamic reminders, part journal, this is a book to journey with each day of Ramadan.

Divided into three chunks – past, present, and future, corresponding with the first ten days, middle ten days, and last ten days of Ramadan – each chapter is divided into the ‘meat’ of the content (a reflection that ties into themes of Islamic values, such as hope in Allah’s Mercy, repentance, Allah’s Love, fear of Allah, and more), an inspirational quote from Islamic scholars, a “du’a invitation,” and finally, journaling prompts specific to the chapter. I LOVE journal prompts, and I truly appreciated the structure of each chapter and the very thoughtful prompts provided.

What makes this book such a great Ramadan resource is that it’s written simply, beautifully, and honestly in a way that can connect with the average Muslim reader – not just the ‘super religious’ folks, but literally anyone who feels a yearning to reconnect with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) this Ramadan.

 – Remembering Beautiful Days in Jerusalem by Sh Muhammad Akram Nadwi

“Remembering Beautiful Days in Jerusalem” is Sh Muhammad Akram Nadwi’s travel diary from his 2014 journey to Palestine during Ramadan. It consists of his notes of places he and his travel group went to, spiritual reflections, and observations of their experiences. (I do wish someone had taken the time to sit with Sh Akram and develop this further into something more travelogue-y and more in-depth with religious/ spiritual content, but I also know how hard it is to get a busy shaykh to sit down and do extra work on something he’s already put together!) Overall, this was a fairly easy read, and a reminder of why Palestine is so close to a Muslim’s heart.

– The Power of Du’a by Aliyah Umm Raiyaan

Just in time for Ramadan comes Aliyah Umm Raiyaan’s newest book, “The Power of Du’a.” This book combines classical Islamic discourse on du’a and spirituality, alongside individual du’a stories and personal reflections, to create a rich narrative that creates personal connections between readers and the concept of du’a. Similar to Ramadan Reflections, the author provides important reflective prompts for readers to think over, and suggestions on how one can elevate their personal du’a.

What are your favourite recommendations for Ramadan 2024? Share in the comments below!

 – Related:

The MM Edit: Ramadan Reads 2022

Ramadan Must-Have Books For Kids

The post From The MuslimMatters Bookshelf: Ramadan Reads 2024 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Blurring the line between criticism and bigotry fuels hatred of Muslims and Jews | Kenan Malik

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 March, 2024 - 07:00

Racists often dismiss the charge of prejudice as an attempt to prevent debate

Where do we draw the line between criticism and bigotry? From the uproar over Lee Anderson’s remarks about the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, being “controlled” by Islamists to the condemnation of slogans used on pro-Palestinian demonstrations, it is a question at the heart of current debates about Muslims and Jews, Islam and Israel.

The distinction between criticism and bigotry should, in principle, be easy to mark. Discussions about ideas or social practices or public policy should be as unfettered as possible. But when disdain for ideas or policies or practices become transposed into prejudices about people, a red line is crossed. It’s crossed when castigation of Islamism leads to calls for an end to Muslim immigration. Or when denunciation of Israeli actions in Gaza turns into a protest outside a Jewish shop in London.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 250 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at observer.letters@observer.co.uk

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