Tag Archive | interfaith

How Muslims and Hindus of Tando Adam came together in Ramadhan*

How Muslims and Hindus of Tando Adam came together in Ramadhan*

By Manoj Genani (photo credit)

Fasting through the month of June, Pakistanis across the nation had to deal with a scorching summer, while trying to abstain from all the delicacies they would later enjoy on Eid. Even though the majority of the month went by without incident, the last few days of Ramadhan proved a grim prelude to what should be a festive period.

It is no secret that certain elements in Pakistan want to divide Pakistanis based on their caste and creed through spreading fear and vitriol. However, locals in the small city of Tando Adam proved that despite a difference in their beliefs, consideration and understanding of each others cultures and traditions is what Pakistan needs to exist as a diverse society.

Coming together for Iftar, the Hindu and Muslim communities of Tando Adam showed that they can coexist in a multicultural city. The Hindu Panchayat hosted an evening vegetarian Iftar party and distributed Eid gifts and goods to 350 impoverished families.

A young man lays the table for the guests for the evening’s diverse Iftar party

 

The vegetarian menu included plenty of fruits.

 

Hindus and Muslims join hands in a collective prayer towards unity and religious harmony

 

Hindu religious leader Raju Baba feeding his Muslim compatriot after hearing the Adhan

 

“This is our home. We are one, we have to respect each other and take care of each other’s beliefs & values,” claimed Raju Baba, a leader of the Hindu community, adding that they have been living this way for centuries, with “peace and pluralism.”

Before the Iftar party women of all ages from low income households gathered to collect Eid gifts being distributed by the Hindu Panchayat and Odero Lal Welfare Organisation. Unable to afford Eid supplies on their own, the women walked away content with food, clothes and shoes for themselves and the family.

Women sat patiently as they waited for the distribution of Eid supplies

 

Women of all ages showed up to the distribution ceremony

 

Some ladies were grateful as they hadn’t been Eid shopping for a couple of years due to low wages or unemployment.

Elderly women who would normally have to work extra hours to afford the gifts were particularly content.

 

Women were able to walk away, knowing that they would be able to celebrate a colourful Eid

 

The local Hindu community gathered these gifts, fearing that low income families would be unable to celebrate Eid like the rest of the nation.

“We collected funds from the Hindu Panchayat and delivered Eid gifts to impoverished Muslim families,” said Dileep Kumar Kohistani, an organiser of the Iftar party.

Ghulam Nabi Nizamani from the Social Welfare Department was of the view that religious issues were at a low in Sindh and people were reluctant of these kind of activities due to extremism in Pakistan. However, the reemergence of such events is key for the revival of religious harmony.

At the end of the day the communities were lauded for their efforts of showing a peaceful and harmonious, multicultural society

Source*

Related Topics:

Iraqis Travel to Mosul to Celebrate Eid in a Show of Solidarity*

I’m a Pakistani Hindu. So what Business do I have Missing Eid?

Muslims Across the World Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr*

Jeremy Corbyn Praises Muslim Heroes of Grenfell Tower fire in Eid Message*

Syria’s More Confident Assad gives Eid Prayers in Hama*

These 5 People don’t Spend Eid with their Families to make the Occasion Happier for Us*

God-consciousness After Ramadhan

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Inside Syria: Father Maes Discusses the True Situation*

Inside Syria: Father Maes Discusses the True Situation*

By Richard Edmondson

The gentleman giving the talk in the video below is Father Daniël Maes, a Flemish priest who lives in Syria and who has said that news coverage of the conflict there is “the biggest media lie of our time.” Father Maes, who spoke in Belgium on June 3, lives and serves God in the 1400-year-old Mar Yakub Monastery, located in the village of Qara, some 60 miles northeast of Damascus.

The martyr celebration he speaks of at the beginning of the talk commemorates the deaths of 21 Arab nationalists (both Syrian and Lebanese) who were executed by Turkish authorities on May 6, 1916 for their resistance against the Ottoman Empire. The Arab nationalists, long suffering under Ottoman rule, had supported Britain and France in World War I though later were betrayed–by both, but by the French in particular–in a series of events leading up to the signing of the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement (an agreement which set up the two European countries as the primary colonial powers in the region, giving the British control over Palestine and establishing the French as the overlords in Syria and Lebanon.

Thus when Father Maes says, “I was a little bit ashamed. I think: ‘I am from the West’,” he is presumably referring to this history, although I would qualify that statement by pointing out that the actions of Britain and France today in backing U.S. goals for regime change are if anything even more ignoble than their treacherous behaviour of a century ago.

In his talk, Father Maes also makes a prediction–call it a prophecy if you will–that the war in Syria will take the world from a unipolar to a multi-polar world order.

Mother Agnés-Mariam

 

He also makes reference to a soup kitchen set up by Mother Agnés-Mariam in the city of Aleppo and which serves 25,000 hot meals per day five days a week. You may remember Mother Agnés. I did a series of articles on her back in 2013 and 2014 after she released a 50-page report on the August 21, 2013 chemical attack in Ghouta.

The report provided evidence that some of the videos uploaded to the Internet immediately after the attack were staged and faked. But for her efforts, Mother Agnés found herself under attack by liberals like Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, both of whom refused to appear at a conference she was scheduled to speak at in London. This was in November of 2013.

I wrote an article about it at the time, which I entitled Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left, and which I reproduce below. I wonder how Scahill and Jones would feel if they knew the woman whose name they besmirched four years ago is now serving food to 25,000 hungry people a day in a war zone?

God works in mysterious ways, and this is certainly an example of it. Jones, Scahill and all the other “liberal interventionists” who attacked Mother Agnés should be ashamed of themselves.

“As for Father Maes, I first put up a post about him back in January of this year. At that time he told an interviewer, “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed.”

And in the talk in the video above, he notes that the Syrian Army has recently been making “more and more and more and more progress,” and he expresses hope for an end to the conflict soon.

“We hope that with the Russians and Iran, and of course the Syrian Army and the Hezbollah, that they will finally take out all the terrorists.”

You can play this 14-minute video at 1.25 speed, and skip forward. There is good information here.

Source*

Related Topics:

Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”*

Nun Exposes Syrian Chemical Hoax*

Cabal’s New Tool Measures Resilience in Adolescent Syrian Refugees*

Desperate Cabal Use UFO to Attack Caught Over Syria, Countless Structures Destroyed*

The Occult Reasoning behind the Cabal’s Battle for Syria*

The Last Four U.S. Presidents on What to Do with Iraq*

CIA officer – ‘we have no business being in Syria’*

Ron Paul: Why The Hell Are We Attacking Syrians Fighting ISIS?*

U.S. Soldiers Share the Truth about What “Fighting For Your Country” Actually Means*

U.S. Soldier: “The Real Terrorist Was Me and the Real Terrorism is This Occupation”

Rothschild’s Israel Pushes Russia and U.S. Towards Nuclear Confrontation Over Syria*

Rothschild Demands Western Nations Invade Syria*

Rothschild Makes Dismal Admission — His Financial World Order Now “Threatened”*

What the Media Won’t Tell You about Syria*

Pope Francis Names Jesuit as Vatican Doctrine Chief*

Pope Francis Names Jesuit as Vatican Doctrine Chief*

Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer

 

Pope Francis has named a Jesuit, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, to replace Cardinal Gerhard Müller as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Ladaria Ferrer, 73, was previously Secretary of the CDF.

Müller, 69, defended Catholic orthodoxy throughout his five years as CDF Prefect.

The appointment is coming at the end of Müller’s five-year term, however prefects have generally had their terms extended until normal retirement age at 75.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served as prefect from 1981-2005, leaving the post at age 78 when he was elected Pope Benedict XVI.

The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was at one time second in power only to the Pope.

Cardinal Muller has been steadfast in his opposition to the liberal interpretation of Amoris Laetitia favored by Pope Francis.

In terms of vocal conservatives in the hierarchy of the Vatican only Cardinal Robert Sarah remains. Cardinal Burke was removed by Pope Francis and demoted to patron of the Order of Malta. Australian Cardinal George Pell, as reported this week, is now off to his home country to defend himself against media-hyped charges of sexual abuse.

Cardinal Muller, according to sources, seems set to take over as the Patron of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, replacing Cardinal Edwin O’Brien who at 78 is three years past retirement age.

Source*

Related Topics:

Third Highest Ranking Vatican Official, Chief Adviser to Pope, Charged with Child Molestation*

Pope Francis Calls for ‘One World Government’ To ‘Save Humanity’*

Canon Lawyers and Theologians to Hold Conference on ‘deposing the pope’*

Has Pope Francis Removed Every Single Member of the Vatican Pro-life Academy*

Pope Orders Purge of Freemasons from Knights of Malta*

The Election Of The New Black Pope, General of The Jesuits*

The New Imperial Roman Empire*

Climate of Fear in Vatican is very Real*

The Election Of The New Black Pope, General of The Jesuits*

Facts about the Jesuit Order*

‘Jesuit Wars Pt. II’

The Next President of the CERN Council is a Jesuit*

Jesuit Pope Charged with Trafficking Orphans*

 

‘Here we are all the same’*

‘Here we are all the same’*

The U.S. descent to a Satanic nation

The U.S. Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, but the fight for religious equality was only just beginning

By Richard D Brown

The age of revolution brought an enlightened political ideology to the modern world. Among its many achievements, none faces greater global challenges than freedom of religion. Today, it seems almost unthinkable that any deeply religious people, whether in the Middle East or the United States, would create constitutions, bills of rights and statutes that would not only guarantee their own freedom of conscience, but also the religious faith of others. Why, we wonder, and how, did revolutionary-era Americans choose to adopt a radical regime of religious freedom?

Their reasons did not rely on any idealistic consensus that religion must be separate from politics and instead owed everything to their deep suspicion of power in the hands of flawed humanity. Informed by centuries of European history, revolutionary-era Americans believed that governments empowered to coerce belief – long the common European practice – became tyrannical. History proved that, where religion was concerned, governments resorted to coercion. Consequently, to provide a barrier against tyranny, key American patriots believed that protecting religious freedom was vital.

But old ways died hard. Leaders in every American state argued that religious observance was not only a divine commandment, but also a bulwark of social and political order. As a result, defenders of Protestant faiths battled over religious taxation almost everywhere, and debated whether to maintain established churches. At independence in 1776, nine of the 13 colonies were supporting state churches; yet by 1860, the U.S. would become a country of almost complete religious freedom. How did this happen?

As early as June 1776, Virginia’s Declaration of Rights laid down the principle that ‘all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion’. This language, composed by George Washington’s neighbour George Mason appealed to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was at work drafting a state constitution and, in it, he echoed Mason’s doctrine with a provision that ‘All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution’. Virginia’s long-established Anglican Churchmen fiercely opposed this proposed disestablishment of their church. Arrayed against them, the state’s numerous Baptists and Presbyterians favoured the measure. Still, many patriots thought that ending state support for the Anglican Church would plunge Virginia into immorality and infidelity – magnifying the very disorder that the revolution provoked. The reformers’ rejoinder – that Pennsylvania, which possessed no religious establishment and no state support for religion, was not awash in immorality or infidelity – did not convince defenders of the status quo.

The result in Virginia in 1776 was compromise. Virginia suspended support for Episcopal priests and exempted Presbyterians and Baptists from religious taxes. Followers of other faiths and non-believers must still support the Episcopal Church, though they were not required to attend its services. The Episcopal Church also kept its monopoly of marriage fees and revenues from land dedicated to poor relief. This arrangement briefly stilled sectarian conflict. Three years later, when Jefferson won election as governor in 1779, he and James Madison attacked the remaining Episcopal establishment by sponsoring a statute of religious freedom. Though the legislature tabled their statute, it voted to end tax support for the Episcopal Church.

A few years later, after the war ended, governor Patrick Henry, supported by Episcopalians and Methodists, proposed using taxes to pay clergy of major Protestant denominations. Leading Virginians such as John Marshall and Washington, the national hero, thought Henry’s proposed state support for Protestantism reasonable. Baptists and Deists, however – coming from opposite ends of the religious spectrum – mobilised and blocked it with petitions carrying an unprecedented 11,000 signatures. Exploiting this momentum, Madison seized the offensive, bringing Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom to a victorious vote in the Virginia legislature.

Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom expressed the revolutionary generation’s most fully developed commitment to equal religious rights. God, the statute read, had ‘created the mind free’. Indeed ‘the Holy author of our religion’ rejected earthly coercion. The law proclaimed that ‘our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry’. As Madison explained, if government could establish one religion, government could establish any religion. Just before Christmas 1785, Jefferson’s bill passed by a vote of 74 to 20. Afterwards, when a delegate proposed that ‘the Holy author of our religion’ be identified as ‘Jesus Christ’, a great majority of the delegates voted that down. The law, Jefferson wrote, aimed to be ‘universal’; it should protect ‘the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination’.

Disestablishment of Virginia’s state church opened the way for new possibilities. Virginia’s law moved beyond disestablishment, and beyond mere toleration, decisively. No religion stood above others, and the absence of belief was assigned equal stature with formal religions. This made Virginia unusual. At first, most states merely enacted some form of toleration – guaranteeing the freedom of all to worship as they chose – but maintaining tax privileges for a preferred church. In New England, for example, states continued tax support for Congregational and Presbyterian churches. In the U.S. there was no consensus in equal rights for religion; each state made its own policy.

In North Carolina, Virginia’s neighbour to the south, Presbyterians blocked full religious equality by including a provision in the state’s 1776 constitution specifying that office-holders must be Protestant. Yet when the legislature selected a governor in 1781, it chose the Irish Catholic Thomas Burke, re-electing him twice. In 1800, voters elected another Catholic, William Gaston, to their state senate, and Gaston went on to be elected as Speaker of the North Carolina House, as a U.S. congressman, and as a North Carolina Supreme Court justice. North Carolinians were so relaxed about enforcing their constitutional bar against non-Protestants that in 1809, Beaufort County, North Carolina, elected Jacob Henry, a Jew, to the state legislature.

In revolutionary-era New York, patriots repudiated the colony’s long-standing prohibition on Catholic worship. New York State’s Constitutional Convention not only rejected established religion in 1777, it shifted toward religious equality. The new state constitution ‘abrogated’ all laws ‘as may be construed to establish or maintain any particular denomination of Christians or their ministers’, declaring them ‘repugnant to this constitution’. In New York, support for the Episcopal Church was finished; and no religion or religions would ever again take its place.

To reinforce the separation of church and state, New York’s new constitution excluded all ‘ministers of the gospel … or priest of any denomination’ from ‘holding any civil or military office’. Most dramatic, it expressed broad commitment to religious equality. We ‘are required’, it declared, ‘by the benevolent principles of rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind’. New York was not only anticlerical, it declared ‘the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed, within this state, to all mankind’. The only prohibitions were ‘acts of licentiousness, or … practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state’. Reversing New York’s long record of anti-Catholic regulations, the state moved decisively toward religious equality. Now Catholics could worship in public and possess all civil rights in New York.

Not until 1802 would a Catholic be allowed to hold office in New York City

Yet enduring fears of the Papacy – ‘weak and wicked priests and princes’ – soon resurfaced in New York. For immigrants, whose naturalisation as state citizens included a loyalty oath, John Jay, a Huguenot-descended patriot legislator, succeeded in adding a barrier to block Catholics. New citizens and voters must renounce all loyalty to foreign kings or officials, both civil and ecclesiastical. Whereas Quakers could ‘affirm’ rather than swear, and no faith barrier blocked Jews from citizenship, Catholics could not conscientiously refuse loyalty to the head of their Church, the Pope. Consequently, the state denied them equal access to citizenship and political rights.

New York City Catholics petitioned Congress for relief in 1783; but Congress, lacking jurisdiction, referred them to the author of their disability, New York’s legislature. For a full generation, this exclusionary oath undermined the grand principles of New York’s 1777 constitution. Not until 1802 would a Catholic be allowed to hold office in New York City; and it would take four years and petitions from 1,300 Catholics and their supporters before legislators removed the barrier word ‘ecclesiastical’ from the loyalty oath, enabling naturalised Catholics to sit among its members. This step also allowed state funds to subsidise a New York City Catholic school, just as the state subsidised Protestant schools.

When, in 1821, New York revised its constitution, it erased all traces of religious discrimination from New York’s highest law. Several years later, a Jewish immigrant from Germany claimed:

 ‘here we are all the same, all the religions are honoured and respected and have the same rights’.

In the nation as a whole, New York’s movement toward equal rights in religion was characteristic (although persecution of Mormons, chiefly because of their militant commitment to polygamy, was widespread, and anti-Catholicism remained a common Protestant prejudice until well into the 20th century). U.S. law moved decisively toward religious freedom; but among Americans themselves, full equality among the faithful and non-believers remained a promise, not a full-fledged reality.

Many revolutionary-era American leaders recognised that Enlightenment secularism was only one reason citizens might support prohibiting government from promoting or interfering with religion. At the state level, where more of the governing actually happened, voters often approved state support of religion. The North Carolinians and New Englanders who supported religious tests within their own states, however, often opposed granting the same powers to a distant national government that might favour different religions or apply different religious tests. Consequently, when the Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States’, it was Christians’ fear and jealousy of rival Christians, not just Enlightenment secularism, that led many to support separation of church and state.

The national government was more secular than the state governments. The first six presidents – none of whom was a converted Christian – all held Enlightenment views supporting toleration and religious freedom. During this same time, however, some states maintained restrictions on Catholics and Jews. Washington, Jefferson, Madison and John Adams – two of whom helped to write the Constitution – all supported separation of national government from religion, and all followed the Constitution’s prescribed secular language in taking the oath of office.

Washington did proclaim that ‘religion and morality are indispensable supports … to political prosperity’ in his ‘Farewell Address’, but he stressed their social value, not commitment to any particular faith. When clergymen pressed him to declare publicly his own Christian faith, Washington demurred. To his pastor’s dismay, as president he refused to take communion; and when he referred to divine power, Washington never spoke of ‘Jesus’, ‘Christ’, a ‘saviour’ or a ‘redeemer’. Even as he lay dying, the elder statesman did not mention heaven or allude to reunion of loved ones. Facing death, Washington never called for a clergyman, never asked for prayers, never expressed repentance. Nor did Washington provide donations for religious purposes in his elaborate last will and testament. Keeping his own beliefs private during the controversies over disestablishment in Virginia, he argued that keeping religion separate from law and politics was ‘productive of more quiet to the state’ than any other policy.

Adams, who succeeded Washington in the presidency, had defended Massachusetts’s tradition of public support for Congregational churches, but Adams excluded religion from national policy. When the French Revolution’s anti-Christian politics provoked a frenzy among New England clergy and federalist politicians, Adams remained aloof. The determined secularism of the Washington-Adams administration was manifest in the nation’s 1796 treaty with Tripoli. Negotiated under Washington, and approved unanimously by the Senate in 1797, it was signed by Adams. He declared:

‘As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; … no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries.’

Though both Washington and Adams accepted Protestant chaplains to assist members of Congress, for Adams no less than for Washington, religion was separate from national government. Americans, it was true, were mostly Christian, but their national government had no religion.

Much more than Washington or Adams, Jefferson and Madison advocated forcefully for keeping religion separate from government. Having fought together to disestablish the Anglican Church in Virginia in the 1780s, they brought their secular mission to the national government. In 1802, in his widely reprinted public letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, Jefferson as president announced his ‘reverence’ for the First Amendment because in it ‘the whole American people’ built a ‘wall of separation between church and state’. Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists articulated his broad, idealised interpretation of the First Amendment.

Madison, perhaps even more committed to fostering a secular state than Jefferson, tried, unsuccessfully, to extend First Amendment protections to the individual states, so that ‘no state shall violate the equal right of conscience’. Madison also repudiated chaplains for Congress, arguing that appointing official clergymen was ‘a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of constitutional principles’. But Madison lost these battles for a strict boundary separating church and state. In law, the U.S. was not a Christian nation; but it was a popular republic whose ruling majorities embraced various forms of Christianity and wanted Christianity to flourish. Consequently, as Madison recognised, the struggle over state support for religious privileges and incentives would persist. There was never a solid ‘wall of separation’, as Jefferson would have it, but rather, as Madison wrote, a shifting and porous boundary between religious and civil authority.

The ideal of religious equality proclaimed as an  ‘unalienable’ right in the Declaration changed the world

Though Americans have never definitively resolved the status of religious equality, the early republic remains the nation’s formative period of religious public policy. Engagement in religion – assertive and dynamic – meant that then, as now, no one could banish religion from public debates or electoral politics. Consequently, the interplay of religious interests and beliefs with law and government shaped U.S. politics. Over time, each state would negotiate its own equilibrium for church-state relations. Virginia, Jefferson’s and Madison’s model, became something of a secular outlier; nevertheless, every state moved away from most of the sectarian and Christian privileges that had been common before 1776.

In the 1850s, a rapid influx of Roman Catholics from Ireland for a time led to a militant Protestant reaction that threatened to undermine earlier gains in religious equality. But the constitutional and statutory provisions for equal religious rights established in the early republic generally stood firm. Local school authorities might choose the Protestant Gospels for classrooms, and some governments provided encouragement for religion; but no effort emerged to establish any religion. Instead, denominational campaigns to shape public policy on such widely various subjects as regulation of the Sabbath, temperance, slavery and pornography emerged as influential and routine aspects of US public life.

No declaration or resolution, however eloquent and appealing, can itself create or enforce a new political reality. Nevertheless, the ideal of religious equality proclaimed as a natural ‘unalienable’ right in the Declaration changed the world. The Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty, a mere statute lacking the inviolable standing of a constitution or bill of rights, acknowledged its mutable character. Virginia’s historic measure was, the delegates admitted, by no means ‘irrevocable’, because they lacked the authority to ‘restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies’. Simultaneously, however, the Virginia legislature proclaimed their belief ‘that the rights hereby asserted are the natural rights of mankind’. They further asserted that any curtailment or abrogation of religious equality would ‘be an infringement of natural right’. So long as that belief remained potent in Virginia, and in the U.S. more generally, the doctrine of religious equality endured. It became the official position of the US in 1829 when the secretary of state Martin Van Buren assured the Vatican of the US commitment to religious equality.

Years later, partisan demagogues attacked Van Buren’s pledge of religious freedom for Catholics. In our own time, particularly since the attacks of 11 September 2001, Muslims – not Catholics or Jews – have been targeted as threatening U.S. society. The details differ. Like Mormons and Catholics before them, Muslim religious practices are said to undermine U.S. law and custom. Muslims are not like the Jews of anti-Semitic ideology, alleged to drink the blood of Christian babies, or to deploy secretive banking networks to manipulate the world’s economy. But Middle Eastern control of oil and attacks on Christian worshippers supply vivid details to stigmatise all Muslims. However peaceful and patriotic U.S. Muslims might be, timeworn allegations of minority loyalties beyond the country, once levelled at Catholics and Jews, have been pressed into service.

In the past generation or so, as religious diversity and secularism have flourished in the U.S., Christian demagogues have promoted the idea that their own religion is under threat – that dark forces are displacing Christianity from the public square. Persecution of Christians, sometimes by other Christians, is a central fact of Christian history; and the US has repeatedly confronted enemies, foreign and domestic. Certainly, Christianity, like other faiths, could be under threat from commercial and secular culture. But the notion that the religious freedom of Christians or Jews is actually endangered is only the self-serving fantasy of demagogues. Moreover, recognition of equal rights for LGBT people in no way coerces or compromises the religious faith of others – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh. As Jefferson declared in 1782: ‘it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.’

In 1776, Virginians took a radical step when they proclaimed that ‘all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion’. Nearly two and a half centuries later, the wisdom of their far-seeing ideal remains a challenge for Americans.

Source*

Related Topics:

New Jersey Town Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit With Islamic Group for $3.25mn*

Trump is About to Release His ‘Religious Freedom’ Order, and It’s Looking Awful*

Captured Israeli Officer Details Israeli-ISIS Plan to Wipe-out all Islamic and Muslim Culture and Prevent Religions Coming Together*

Pope and the One World Religion?*

US Immigration Exam Replaces ‘Freedom of Religion’ With ‘Freedom of Worship’*

China punishes Uyghur’s for Studying their Religion Outside State Control*

Religion, the State and Our Mental Health

Russia and Islam*

Islamists Attack Christmas, But Europeans Abolish It*

Our Founding Fathers included Islam*

I’m a Pakistani Hindu. So what Business do I have Missing Eid?

I’m a Pakistani Hindu. So what Business do I have Missing Eid?

By Nisha Pinjani

Last summer during Ramadhan, I shared the Shan Masala Eid commercial like Pakistanis all over the world. The ad showed two brothers spending the occasion away from home. For the purposes of the advert, a simple plate of Sindhi biryani was the balm to their feeling of homesickness.

This year, I found myself in the characters’ shoes.

Away from Pakistan for my graduate studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was scrolling through Facebook when I found the usual Eid-related posts flooding my timeline.

Unending stories about tailors and broken promises, event pages for chand raat meet­-ups, and the perpetual confusion on whether the next day would be Eid or another Roza (followed promptly by jokes at the Ruet­-i-­Hilal committee’s expense).

Soon enough, WhatsApp groups were abuzz with ‘Chand Mubarak’ wishes. While my friends in Karachi made plans to grab chai on the eve before Eid, I was literally stuck on an island. Sitting alone in my dorm room, I couldn’t help but feel blue — I missed home, my friends and my family.

I found myself thinking back to the Shan commercial. But while the ad’s protagonist and I were experiencing similar homesickness, we were quite dissimilar. He was a Muslim man from Pakistan; I am Pakistani Hindu woman.

What business do I have missing Eid?

Growing up as a Hindu in an Islamic republic is full of contradictions. My mother is often hesitant and wary of my Muslim friends. A bit strange, considering she is more than happy if I invite them to our home.

Perhaps this perplexing attitude is passed down through generations. As a young girl I loved listening to my grandfather’s partition stories. He would tell us incidents where Muslims went door-to-door killing any Hindu in sight (I’m sure Muslims grow up with similar stories of cold-blooded Hindus).

But then, he would also talk about his Muslim neighbours. The ones who protected our family, who made a human chain around our house when the riots broke out.

The obvious takeaway here was that good and bad people exist everywhere. But my grandfather’s stories carried an underlying warning: you can get close to Muslims, but remember that you are not one of them (and they know it too).

Following this tradition of mixed messages, every Ramadhan, many Hindus living in Pakistan fast. My mother herself happily sets an alarm to wake my sister up for sehri. She prepares an elaborate sehri, and reminiscent of the Thadri festival — where Hindus fast — her fried lolis make an appearance at the table.

No one else in my house wakes up with them, but we make it a point to join in for Iftar, and jokingly try to convince my sister that eating five minutes before the adhan is acceptable.

And then comes Eid. At least in Pakistan, Eid and Diwali have much in common. Both are marked by an abundance of mithai. It is customary to wear new clothes if one can afford them, and like Eidi on Eid, it is traditional to give presents on Diwali too. Every year, my family welcomes our friends over for Diwali, and come Eid, we visit our Muslim friends’ houses.

Yet, each time a story breaks of another Hindu girl being kidnapped and forcefully converted, my interactions with male Muslim friends start causing my mother distress. “Be careful around Muslim boys,” she warns me. It is frustrating, but I can see where she is coming from.

When I heard news of the Hindu reporter in Karachi who was forced to drink from a separate glass, my blood boiled. Sitting thousands of miles away, I was instantly transported back to my childhood when something similar happened to me (and I am sure, many religious minorities like me): a classmate had refused to share utensils with me because I was Hindu.

Children’s acts are a reflection of what they are taught at home. Many years later, seeing this news was a bitter reminder that even among supposedly educated, well-knowing adults, prejudice is alive and well.

The white in the flag

I have long known that despite having the same nationality, my Muslim friends back home and I are different in many ways.

During Pakistan Studies classes in school, teachers would make irresponsible claims about how Hindus were single-handedly responsible for the loss of Muslim lives. Reduced to a ‘cow-worshipper’ during the lectures, I would suddenly be othered, excluded, bullied.

As I grew up, my ‘otherness’ interestingly became exotic. The same identity I had been bullied over now became my ticket to being a ‘cool kid’— since I had access to all the firecrackers (thank you, Diwali), and invitations to holi parties.

As we grew up underneath the layers of systemically taught hate, my Muslim friends and I began to find common ground, and developed a better understanding of each other. I would sneak them into our temples so they could get a glimpse of my world, and accompany them to Mughal­ era mosques to get a sense of theirs.

I still come across a simpleton or two who wants me to prove my Pakistani-ness. Every time Pakistan plays a cricket match against India, there is always that one guy who wants to know, “How come you’re not supporting the Indian team instead?”

Thankfully, more often than not, my friends take over the task of shutting such bigotry down.

I keep thinking back to my family enjoying their long Eid break in Pakistan. We are a huge family, and most of my cousins are older, working people. On Diwali (a working day for most Pakistani Hindus until recently) we are usually only able to manage a dinner, however, the longer Eid holidays are quality family time for us.

During Eid, we get together at a farmhouse or the beach. We laze around playing cards, barbecuing, and catching up on gossip. Eid mornings mean waking up to seviyan and other breakfast treats, with my uncles over, watching the news and discussing the current state of affairs in Karachi.

Away from home, I find myself missing it all. Whether it is the memory of spending time with my family by the waves; or the calming sound of the adhan; or Eid plans with my friends to get mehendi.

Home, after all, is home, no matter how dysfunctional.

And so, on the first day of Eid in Hawaii, not unlike the characters in the Shan Masala advert, I picked up a packet of seviyan from a desi store here. I looked up the recipe online, managing to burn half the packet, and cursed myself for never waking up early with my mother to help out.

But my friends came over and made custard and fruit salad. I ended up spending the day recreating what Eid has always been about for me back home in Pakistan: good company, laughter, and a satisfied stomach. It was heartening watching my American friends try seviyan for the first time, while assuring them that the delicacy is indeed supposed to look semi-charred.

Source*

Related Topics:

Muslims Across the World Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr*

Jeremy Corbyn Praises Muslim Heroes of Grenfell Tower fire in Eid Message*

U.S.-led Coalition Killed Nearly 500 Civilians in Syria during Ramadhan*

These 5 People don’t Spend Eid with their Families to make the Occasion Happier for Us*

Eid Mubarak- final Ramadan Reflection 2011

Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”*

Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”*

By Bahar Azizi, Fr. Daniel Maes

Father Daniel Maes

Father Daniel: “This is a very recent picture with Fadia (4.5 years old) who was born when her mother was in danger and when we were heavily attacked by terrorists. We took her mother in safety when she was pregnant. Fadia is, I think, normal and lively, but she hasn’t spoken yet. She survived the shootings and bombardments in the basement together with us. Meanwhile, the family is reunited and has a home in Qara, but the mother and Fadia still visit us now and then to say hi.”

Since 2010, Father Daniel Maes (78), from the monastery of Postel in Belgium, has been a resident of Syria’s sixth-century Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometres north of the capital Damascus. He has returned to his home country several times in the intervening years to give seminars, but remains living in Syria.

I interviewed Father Daniel recently. The following is his story. He told me why he went to Syria in 2010, and how he experienced a culture shock when he first arrived there. He also explained that there never was a civil uprising in Syria, touched on the propaganda surrounding chemical attacks, relayed heartbreaking stories from Syrians themselves and praised the great support they receive from Hezbollah, the Syrian Army, and Russia.

A harmonious society

During one of the international ecumenical gatherings, I met Mother Agnes-Mariam, the founder of the Mar Yakub monastery – which once was one of the most famous monasteries of the Middle East. I was very impressed by her modesty and work, and I invited her to come to speak in Belgium several times after that. Her talks were very successful. At one point, she asked me: “I have visited you so many times. When will you visit us?” And that’s when I decided to go to Syria.

I had never had any contact with an Arabic country, so I had many prejudices. I thought that one had to be very careful in a Muslim country. To describe my experience in just a few words: It was nothing less than a culture shock to me. The hospitality that I experienced there was amazing, and the majority of youth, and the different kinds of people, from all walks of life and religions – Shiite, Sunni, Orthodox, Catholic, any possible religion – were all united. Regarding the country as a whole, life was harmonious; I have never seen such a harmonious society.

Hospitality was not only shown to Christians; there was no distinction made between Muslims and Christians. In all of Damascus, I think, there was not even one door that was locked. On a certain evening, I met a Christian woman who has a tourist office in Damascus. She told me: “I’ve been in many countries, and places. I’ve been in Brussels, I’ve been in Paris, and there is no other city like Damascus, where you can go out at night in safety.”

She was a beautiful lady, and she could safely walk the streets. In addition, treatment at hospitals was free, except medicines (all made in Syria!), and following a program of study at the university cost around 20 euros. On the whole, I witnessed a prosperous, safe, hospitable, and harmonious society. And refugees, about one million from Iraq and some from Bosnia, were treated as their own citizens.

Monastery Deir Mar Yaqoub in Qara, Syria – © Daniel Demeter/Syria Photo Guide

 No civil uprising took place in Syria

As soon as the lies started pouring in, I started my fight against those lies with the truth. One journalist claimed that when he was in Syria, he “asked for bread, but received bullets instead” – as if to prove that there was a civil uprising. Let me tell you, when I was in Syria before the war, 10 loaves cost 10 cents – a tenth of a euro. What nonsense this journalist was spouting. That has been my battle; against those lies. The West was trying to ‘find’ any reason to murder that country.

On a Friday evening we went to the priest in Qara. We would occasionally go out here and there to Christian families to pray for those who were ill. At some point we went to the presbytery to get food, we were walking, and on the street there was the main mosque, where we saw a group of young people.

They were screaming, yelling and held anti-Assad and anti-Syria banners. The priest told us later on that they were not Syrians. They came from abroad. They were filming their ‘demonstration’ and were paid generously by Al Jazeera for that. That was the so-called civil uprising. Thankfully, that was still at the very beginning, otherwise we would not be alive today. It was a very unpleasant feeling as we walked by those people to go to the presbytery.

At the time we didn’t know it was so organized. We heard from friends that the same occurred in other places. Since troublemakers are not wanted in any of our villages, this group of young people were not supported by anyone in the village. Still, they managed to grow. It grew to arson attacks and armed violence. The priest was also attacked, robbed, and was able to barely escape from strangulation by masked men with strange accents.

The organized and armed ‘opposition’ were now calling the shots. In Homs and Quosseir, children from Christian families and moderate Muslim families were threatened or even killed if they refused to participate in anti-government demonstrations. As the local archbishop, Jean-Clément Jeanbart, said: “If the people of Aleppo had not resisted these armed gangs energetically, and helped the army, the city would’ve been taken by rebels in a single day.

There was NO uprising, or so-called ‘civil war’; from within, there was no reason for it.

The great majority of Syrians continue to support their democratically elected President, as well as the Syrian Army.

 Chemical attack propaganda

The story surrounding the chemical gas attack in August 2013 was a disgrace. Not a single journalist reported on the irregularities, and didn’t ask any critical questions. In early August 2013, 11 villages were attacked in Lattakia. People were killed and homes destroyed, and many children were kidnapped. We tried to help find them. A list was compiled with their name, gender, and a note on whether they were missing, had been kidnapped or were murdered. There was not a word on this from the media.

Obama had announced in 2012, under intense media interest, that the use of chemical weapons was a ‘red line’. In other words, a reason to invade or attack Syria militarily, which the ‘international community’ was impatiently waiting for. Syria gave the U.N. and its agencies dozens of letters with evidence of chemical attacks by rebels, which was confirmed by nuns at a hospital in Aleppo. Not one letter has been answered and not a single attack has been investigated.

An official commission of inquiry was sent to Damascus and, while they arrived safe and sound, a massive chemical poison attack took place in nearby Ghouta under their noses. Western heads of state immediately expressed their horror at the atrocity, which they assumed had been ordered by Assad, and before the commission even began investigating it. In addition, the heads of state gave very different figures, ranging from 200 to 1,000 deaths. Apparently, they were better at agreeing amongst themselves who the culprit was (Assad) than they were regarding the number of victims.

The 35 professional videos, published right after the attack, showing a great number of dying children, went around the world. Left out was key context; that region had long been abandoned by families because of the fighting. And nowhere was a mother or an elder to be seen! Parents from Lattakia recognized their kidnapped children. Some were lying in different positions in the pictures.

How is it possible that no parents were present in those photos and footage? How could they even publish all that documentary evidence so soon after the attack? Why were the bodies of those innocent children neatly put together in one room? And that in a Middle Eastern village which was already emptied – how could there have been children there to begin with? Instead of asking these questions, accusations were thrown around before any investigation took place, making it clear to me that it was a set-up.

In my efforts against the lies, I try to make it clear that what people say or think is not neutral. It is important to ask: Are you standing side-by-side with the murderer or do you stand on the side of truth and the innocent victims?

Also, everybody should know by now that the WMDs story of Iraq was nothing but a lie: there were no WMDs. Now they’re telling us that Assad is killing his people? Everyone who has even a bit of a brain will understand immediately that all this is a set-up, that these allegations do not hold water.

The Syrian people know who their killers are; the terrorists – and they know who their protectors are, the Syrian army and their allies.

So I can’t help but ask journalists: are you so stupid to think that the people here are too stupid to know who the murderers and saviors are?

To this day, there are posters and pictures up all over Syria praising Assad and Putin – that is the reality.

While Western nations continue to lie, Russia tells the truth

Heartbreaking stories

I have many stories from Syria. I will tell you a couple. In early May 2016, dozens of Syrians and Lebanese came together at a festive meeting for martyrs. There were such touching stories. A woman with a baby in her arms was there, with a tear in her eye and a smile. Her loved one was killed by the terrorists. These people greeted me kindly as a European foreigner, but you can’t help but feel ashamed.

There was also the Muslim family of Fawad. The Christian neighbourhoods of Homs were the first ones the media reported as ‘freed’ by the so-called rebels, who had murdered, plundered, and destroyed. 130,000 Christians were expelled, and Muslims also suffered a lot due to the horrors of the ‘liberation’. Fawad’s father told how his only son was a student at the University of Homs. On a certain day, he didn’t come home; he had been kidnapped. All searches were in vain.

After some time, the parents received a phone call: “Would you like to see your son again?” The father promised to give everything or do anything in order to get his son back. A couple of days later, someone rang their doorbell. They opened the door and they saw a picture of their son on a plastic bag, after which a car drove away quickly. In the bag was the body of their son, in pieces. At first the father was furious. Later he was present at the Musalah meeting. The father continues to speak with great conviction:

 “We forgive those who killed our son. Let us forgive on behalf of Fawad and on behalf of God. That is the price we have to pay for peace.

They felt so lost, and so tired of suffering.

Before and after pictures of Syria. Do people truly think ‘rebels’ have Syria’s best interests at heart?

Our experience in Qara, liberated by Syrian Army and Hezbollah

Since 2012, our town of 25,000 residents quickly grew to 80,000 with strange bearded and heavily-armed men. Tens of thousands of armed terrorists attacked Qara and used it as a base from which to carry out attacks. However they were only able to carry out two or three small attacks from there.

Together with Muslim families, including children, we hid in the basement of the church, not giving away any signs of life. Muslims took care of us and we took care of them, while we entertained their children as best we could. We all had our hands full to keep them busy. Also, to keep them from being afraid, while for us there was no time to be afraid.

We moved some furniture inside, and behind the furniture the Muslim women slept. We slept on the other side. For a whole week, we had no water, but luckily there was snow. We had a garden which provided us with some almonds, cherries, figs and grapes. We also had bags of corn in the basement, which we ate from. It was an eye-opening experience, living together.

On a Sunday morning, the door was opened, a man came in and said, “It’s over“. His name was Ruah Allah, i.e. ‘Spirit of God’!

Hezbollah helped a lot in fighting off those terrorists in Qara. They were the first to provide help; along with the Syrian army, they protected and saved the people of Syria. The fact that we’re still alive is otherwise inexplicable. Qara was very dangerous in November 2013.

Hezbollah was originally set up because Zionists murdered their wives and children and destroyed their homes. They’re young idealists who joined Hezbollah as resistors, who want to serve and protect their people, but also, as it were, have sworn to help those who are similarly being threatened by the same kind of brutal aggression. And, if Syria would fall, then Lebanon wouldn’t survive more than a few days after that, either. The idealism of those young people was inspiring. As Shiites they work together with Syrian soldiers, most of whom are Sunni. They also work well together with Christians. It was a pleasant experience. They continue to protect the population and therefore us.

Near the end of 2013, the army and Hezbollah cleared the town of terrorists. One after another terrorist group fled. We don’t know how exactly it happened, but the Syrian army and their allies had the upper hand. There were still some small groups of rebels left at the time. But, soon after, some residents returned, shops and business re-opened and the spirits of the people were lifted. Some residents came back to help to rebuild. Our garden has been more or less damaged, but we are working on restoring it.

Brave Hezbollah soldiers, putting their lives in danger to protect the Syrian people.

 Enter Russia

We are also very thankful to Russia. If Russia didn’t come in 2015, then we would not be here today and Syria would not exist anymore. Russia says what it does and does what it says. We haven’t had direct interaction with Russians. Northern Aleppo had more contact with them. But we have seen trucks full of humanitarian supplies from Russia. A lot was organized.

Certainly, the Russians have their own reasons for being there. Just as the U.S. is there to serve its own agenda, which wants to achieve it by destroying Syria and putting puppets in charge there, as they have done to other countries in the past 25 years, with 20 million deaths as a result. Russia on the other hand wants to do anything it can to create stability for the country, and also for its own safety.

They support the idea that the country itself should choose its own government and president. They want to protect the stability, integrity and sovereignty of the country. And if Russia has some kind of an agenda in all of this as well, well, then my choice regarding whether I’d want the U.S. or Russia here has been made quickly. We have nothing more than appreciation for the Russians. As I said, we didn’t have personal contact with them. But based on what I’ve seen and heard from Syrian citizens, I know enough.

And you have to admit, Putin sure is an artist. Russia put up no-fly zones, against the U.S.! It is exactly the opposite of what the U.S. wanted to do: to provide no-fly zones in favor of the terrorists, not in favor of the Syrian army. And, while the so-called international coalition has more military power, Russia manages to do so much more. Russia is four times better than all those who protect and transport ISIS puppets to serve their political interests.

Syrians feel immense gratitude towards Russia and President Putin

Situation now in Qara: Help from the community and the church

Since the beginning, Mother Agnes-Mariam established three centres: in Jerama (Damascus), Qara (the Monastery) and Tartous. We’re receiving many containers, but you can’t do anything with those supplies if they aren’t organized. There are a lot of medical supplies for many hospitals, everywhere people need medical help. We work day and night on organizing these supplies, and other kinds of supplies. We receive medical supplies, clothes, and food at our storage room, then we select and organize them. We quickly first take food out from the containers (due to their expiration date). We put everything neatly in boxes, and write down what and how much is in each box. These boxes are then sent out.

It’s tragic. The terrorists are very well cared for and armed by their sponsors, while Syrians are in need of medical help. Terrorists destroyed many hospitals, a whole series of hospitals in fact. Thankfully, in cooperation with the Red Crescent, Sweden has offered us a big hospital including all equipment. It’s a perfect and modern clinic, which we are very thankful for. And since the beginning, we received very great help from the Dutch organization Dorcas.

In addition, Mother Agnes-Mariam, with the help of hundreds of volunteers and some paid workers, have been providing warm meals in Aleppo since September last year. 25,000 warm meals, five days a week, for two months, using products from the region – which also supports the work of the region. The miracle is that it was foreseen happening for two months but continues to this today!

There’s been much emphasis on rebuilding. This month I went back to help do that. Families with children have moved elsewhere, they said they want a future, certainty and safety. However, others have stayed, especially a group of enthusiastic young people, who have many ideas and provide much work and effort in rebuilding Qara. And every day, one of our sisters sets up creative knitwork for 35 women in the village, which the women receive an income from. The knitwork is sold, given or sent to friends abroad. Many have thanked us for our work.

We also grow mushrooms, and there are many other small activities that help people earn an income. There were people with a handicap in the town because they had isolated themselves, but we invited them to the monastery for Easter; it was a unique experience for all of us. They then felt part of the community and have started working also; they have now been integrated into society. We’re also working on a carpet factory, where people can work on making carpets. The population is probably not waiting for carpets! But we will try to sell them outside to help citizens gain an income. We have to truly be thankful for what we have.

We’ve also worked on restoring our gardens and orchards. This area has the best cherries in the whole world. They used to sell containers full of cherries to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, much have been destroyed. But we have planted thousands of tiny plants and small trees.

Monastery of Mar Yakub ‘If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.’ (Lev 26:3-4) – Cherry trees in Qara.

Hope for Syria

The country has become much more united. During the festive meeting of martyrs, one could clearly see the unity of the people, between Alawites, Catholics, Shiites, Sunnis, Christians… We have become one family that continues to become bigger and stronger. Certain people can murder, kill, destroy infrastructure, but bringing a country to its knees will not happen.

Figure this: Alawites are probably ‘worse’ for Muslims than Christians, as the Alawites haven’t taken anything from Islam. And it is this man, President Assad, who is being supported by all, including the 70% Sunni Syrian population. We live together as one family. We work together towards the same society – and that is very strong.

There is hope. Solidarity will grow, and the harmonious connection is still there. Every country has its shortcomings, but in all of the misery, there are heroes. There are heroes and there are holy men. Amongst Muslims and others.

We can also see that there is a move from a unipolar world to a multipolar world, and I hope that for Syria this year we’ll continue to make progress. We’ve been through many years of war, but our unity has only become stronger.

Father Daniel lastly thanked me for the opportunity to speak about what he has experienced in Syria. He recalls two journalists who visited him in Qara. One of them started with the question:

Are you a fan of Assad?” To which he answered:

If I publicly say that I am against terrorists killing our Belgian Prime Minister Michel, then does that make me a fan of Michel or a paid fan of the Belgian regime?

Journalists also tend to ask about the ‘civil war’, to which he replies that there never was one.

They want to paint a certain picture. They want to hear stories of the brutal dictator. I’m pretty certain those interviews were never broadcasted,” he told me with a laugh. He didn’t give the answers they wanted to hear. He told the truth.

Consider a donation to help the Monastery of Mar Yakub in Qara, Syria, through which Father Daniel and others continue rebuilding what was destroyed by Western-backed terrorists. Father Daniel is also the author of a book (in Dutch) on natural family planning.

Source*

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Inside Syria Life Goes on*

Eye Witness Account inside Aleppo, Syria*

Eyewitness: Foreign Terrorists from Neighbouring Countries Armed, Trained and Financed by the U.S, and Co. in Syria*

Eyewitnesses on Recent Massacre in Rashidin, Syria*

Israel Paying Syrian ‘Rebels’ to Protect Rothschild, Murdoch Oil*

Rothschild’s Israel Pushes Russia and U.S. Towards Nuclear Confrontation Over Syria*

Australia Halts Airstrikes in Syria*

What the Media Won’t Tell You about Syria*

Most of the Terrorists in Aleppo were Turkish, Saudi (Israeli) Officers*

U.S. Claim of Killing 50,000 ISIS Terrorists ‘Fairytale’ says Ex Diplomat*

Guyana President joins Muslims for Ramadhan Iftar*

Guyana President joins Muslims for Ramadhan Iftar*

President David Granger (seventh from right), British High Commissioner Greg Quinn (second from right) and members of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana during prayers

 

 

By Ray Chickrie

President David Granger joined the Muslim community of Guyana on Sunday to break the Roza or fast that the Muslim community in Guyana is observing because it is the month of Ramadhan.

The British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn and his wife also joined Granger at the Iftar dinner.

Granger spoke at the Ramadhan Iftar dinner, which was held at the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana’s (CIOG) headquarters in Georgetown.

“Guyana is a multi-cultural country. We can be proud, however, of our religious tolerance and social cohesion. Guyanese must do as we are doing this evening; we are eating dates and breaking bread to acknowledge one another’s differences and to share our common humanity,” the president said.

Since coming to office, Granger has heaped praise on the Muslim community of Guyana for its charitable work and community activism.

He said that Ramadhan also promotes the virtues of fellowship and friendship.

“Service to God strengthens relations with others through acts of compassion and sympathy,” the president said.

Speaking on the significance of Iftar, Granger noted that, when shared with persons of other faiths, it represents the importance that Islam attaches to the acceptance of differences and promotion of religious tolerance according to a press release from the ministry of the presidency.

The CIOG’s director of education, Sheikh Moeen ul Hack, praised the leadership of the country for the respect it has afforded the Muslim community of Guyana. Muslims make up about 12% of Guyana’s population and they are Sunnis from the Hanafi, Turkish School of Islam.

“We will continue to play our role as Guyanese and as Muslims and we see our role as complementing that of the government,” the director assured the president.

He thanked Granger for supporting the CIOG’s education drive, noting that “education is the enemy of prejudice and, for us to move forward and to develop our country, our people will definitely have to be educated.”

Source*

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Egypt’s Ramadhan Street Banquet: Free Iftar Brings Hope*

Syria’s More Confident Assad gives Eid Prayers in Hama*

These 5 People don’t Spend Eid with their Families to make the Occasion Happier for Us*

Love for the Poor*

The Charity of Love

Generosity in Islam

The Quiet Miracle*