Muslims all over the world consider themselves part of the body of Islam, called the ummah. This is their primary identity, stronger than national loyalty. "Islam" means "peace", and "Muslim" means "servant of God". During Ramadan, most Muslims are praying for peace. The jihadis are aberrant, heretical- Islam has no place for targeting civilians or killing people who have not attacked them. On the other hand, an attack on any Muslim is considered an attack on the entire ummah, and self-defense is legitimate, according to the Qu'ran.
Any American who considers him/herself a servant of God can join the ummah and observe Ramadan. There are no special ceremonies needed to become a Muslim, one simply has to accept Allah, and the validity of Muhammed's prophetic mission. This is a sticking point for right-wing Christians, who are taught by their false prophets that Allah is a moon god, and not the same as Eli, the God of the Bible. Muslims and the Qu'ran, however, emphasize that Allah IS the God of the Bible, that Jesus is the ultimate leader, and that Muslims are descended spiritually from Abraham, through his older son Ishmael.
Most Americans now disagree with Bush's Iraq policy, feel that invading Iraq was a mistake at best, and that staying there is making matters worse. Even the generals, even Rumsfeld, are now arguing for withdrawal.
Before the invasion, a group called Not In Our Name helped to organize massive peace rallies in the US. Americans must face the fact that the invasion of Iraq was done, is continuing, in our name, using our tax dollars and our young people as occupiers. How can we the people dissociate ourselves from the actions of the non-representative Bush regime, and show our compassion for and solidarity with the Iraqi people?
Observing Ramadan, fasting with the Muslims, is an excellent way to do this. It gives us deeper empathy with their suffering. The voluntary austerity of the Ramadan fast will strengthen us, strengthen our ability to oppose the attack on the ummah perpetrated by the ongoing occupation of Iraq. It will help us identify with people all over the world, and break down the us/them barrier. It also will demonstrate our dedication to peace, and disassociate us from the nefarious policies of the Bush administration.
Fasting for Ramadan brings us closer to God, the God of peace and love. It will move us toward realizing the dream of universal brother/sisterhood.
Psalm 86: 9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship you, O Lord.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman