Many people are fasting these days, for peace, for impeachment, for the environment. Why not show solidarity with Muslims around the world by observing the Ramadan fast?
Ramadan starts the evening of Sept 12, the same evening as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, start of the High Holy Days of atonement. Ramadan is also about atonement, about cleansing the spirit and starting afresh.
The two holidays don't usually fall on the same date. There is a synchronicity this year. The month of Ramadan moves throughout the year. It lasts for a month, and consists of daily fasting from sunrise to sunset. Since we are near the equinox, this is about 12 hours a day of fasting. It's not too hard, once you get used to it. It can be modified to include juice.
If Americans fast for Ramadan, it will show Muslims that we have sympathy for the suffering we have inflicted upon them in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine (indirectly, through Israel). Many Muslims throughout the world are hungry, partly because of military operations initiated by the United States.
If we can't feed them, at least we can let them know that we're aware of their empty bellies and have compassion. Maybe fasting for Ramadan will even motivate us to force our government to change its policies. Fasting in solidarity with Muslims around the world might give us the moral power to take back Congress from the warmongers and cut off funding for Bush's illegal occupations.
Iraqis, especially, have suffered for the past 30 years from American policies. First, we installed Saddam. Then Bush Sr. allowed him to invade Kuwait, and used that invasion to launch Gulf War I, which killed a million Iraqis, and spread "depleted" uranium around Southern Iraq. Under Clinton, Iraqis were starved and deprived of vital medication because of US sanctions.
If all that weren't enough, since the US invasion of 2003, Iraq has lost another million people, and millions more have fled the country. Their infrastructure is destroyed, many of their young people are in US prisons, and anarchy reigns in their streets. They have little or no water and electricity, and of course they are hungry.
We Americans march and lobby for peace, for withdrawal of the American military from this hapless nation, the cradle of civilization. If we voluntarily share the Iraqis' suffering by fasting for Ramadan, we may grow spiritually, along with them. Spiritual growth is what we need to liberate ourselves, and them, from the predators who have fastened upon the body politic.
The word "Islam" means peace, - same root as the Hebrew "shalom". To be a Muslim, all one has to do is to recognize that Allah is one of the names of the deity we all worship, and that Mohammed was one of his prophets. There is no special ceremony required. The Qu'ran recognizes the same prophets as the Bible, and traces common ancestry with Jews as descendants of Abraham, literally and spiritually. It recognizes Jesus as King, who will come again to save the world. One can be a Jew, and/or a Christian, and a Muslim all at once.
The word "Muslim" means "servant of Islam"- peacemaker. We the People want peace. We can all become Muslims in our hearts, and pray for peace, as Muslims around the world do during Ramadan. Why not be Muslims as well as whatever else we are, and join the universal prayer for peace? It's clear to all by now that without peace, we will not survive.
Matthew 5: 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
We need peace to stop nuclear pollution, which is slowly destroying planetary DNA, and to prevent a nuclear holocaust, which could wipe out life on earth. We need peace in order for nations to cooperate on planetary emergencies like global warming and shortages of food and water. We need peace in order, as a planet, to change over from oil based energy to renewable energy sources, curb population growth in acceptable ways, stop the spread of monocultures and re-establish biological diversity, etc, etc, etc. We need peace so we can work together.
The current predatory rulers encourage hatred and division so they can make money off wars and keep the population terrorized and enslaved. We the People of the US have to shake off their evil spell and experience our common humanity with everyone else on the planet.
One-third of the world's population is Muslim. Are they not our brothers and sisters? Aren't we supposed to love our neighbors?
Let's all fast for Ramadan.