Posts Tagged ‘Ramadan’

President Obama, time to do the right thing about the mosque near Ground Zero

August 18, 2010

Some days ethics backs you into a corner. You have to choose between doing what your inner voice is saying is right—or not. That day is here for President Obama.


He made a stirring statement about religious freedom last Friday at a Ramadan dinner. The next day he equivocated: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.”


Score a miss for Presidential leadership. His conflicting statements poured fuel on the burning controversy.

· Americans generally believe Muslims have a right to worship, just not there.

· One and one-half billion Muslims thought America was a land of religious freedom, not at war with Islam, but aren’t certain.

· Manhattanites mostly think people ought to be able to do whatever they want.

· Families of 9/11 victims are divided


You can’t please everybody, Mr. President. Time to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? Should a Muslim community center-cum-prayer area be built on the site of a decrepit ex-Burlington Coat Factory, hard by an Off-Track Betting parlor, a bar, a porn shop, and some run-down office buildings 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero?


The opponents say it’s a matter of respecting sensitivities of people who lost loved ones on 9/11. (more…)

Obama stands up for freedom of religion, including freedom to build a mosque near Ground Zero

August 13, 2010

President Obama defended the right of New York Muslims to build a house of worship in lower Manhattan, 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero. Hosting a White House Iftar–a sunset ceremonial dinner marking the breaking of a Ramadan fast. he gave an inspiring 9-minute speech about freedom of religion, and about the historic place of Islam in America.

Made me proud.

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Listening to American Muslims talk about Ramadan on “Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet”

August 13, 2010

Keeping in shape has gotten easier for me since I got an iPhone and discovered a PBS program, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet. I listen to this on a podcast on my iPhone, and it makes the hour at the gym go by much faster.

This week’s program is called Revealing Ramadan, and Krista describes it this way:

“14 Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam’s holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one’s family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.”

I found this a fascinating window into Islam, American style. It’s a little foreign to a non-observant Jew like me, but what was so striking to me was not its foreignness but its sameness—nothing about the people speaking seemed any different from the family next door—to any one. I wish the people railing about mosques at Ground Zero, in Murfreesboro, or Temecula, could listen to the stories these Americans—and one Brit—tell.

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