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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Five myths about mosques in America

By Edward E. Curtis IV
Sunday, August 29, 2010

1. Mosques are new to this country.
2. Mosques try to spread sharia law in the United States.
3. Most people attending U.S. mosques are of Middle Eastern descent.
4. Mosques are funded by groups and governments unfriendly to the United States.
5. Mosques lead to homegrown terrorism. Continue reading

On the same shelf:
  • No grounds for ‘mosque’ hysteria, Faisal
  • The not so great Islamist menace
    By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen, January 5, 2011
    As for who's responsible, forget Islamists. The overwhelming majority of the attacks-- 237 of 294 -- were carried out by separatist groups, such as the Basque ETA. A further 40 terrorist schemes were pinned on leftist and/ or anarchist terrorists. Rightists were responsible for four attacks. Single-issue groups were behind two attacks, while responsibility for a further 10 was not clear.
    Islamists? They were behind a grand total of one attack. Yes, one. Out of 294 attacks. In a population of half a billion people. To put that in perspective, the same number of attacks was committed by the Comite d'Action Viticole, a French group that wants to stop the importation of foreign wine.
  • Thursday, August 05, 2010

    The Sacred Art Of Fasting (Preparing to Practice)

    Multifaith Calendar (sample):
  • August 1: Fast in honor of Holy Mother of Lord Jesus - Orthodox Christian
  • August 11: Ramadan begins - Islam through September 10 (date mostly decided by the local communities based on the moon sighting)
  • Nov 15: Nativity Fast through December 24 - Orthodox Christian

    A video compilation about Ramadan, 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Background nasheed by Zain Bhikha.

    Welcome to the spirit of fast, so common in most of the religions, mostly observed in combination: fasting with prayer (where fasting is a physical discipline, and praying is a spiritual discipline). Read the book: The Sacred Art Of Fasting

    "One of the book's strengths is its evenhanded introduction to each of the six religions it covers (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism) and the inclusion in each chapter of a "living voice from the tradition." These narratives allow adherents from each religion to speak from their own belief and experience, and they range in style from simple exposition to personal essay and interview format. The chapter on Christianity is slightly partial toward the author's own Catholicism, but the principles it explores are broadly inclusive. Another gem is the chapter with suggestions for keeping the spirit of a fast even if actual abstention is not physically possible for health reasons. This is a much-needed treatise that will attract believers from all faiths. (From Publishers Weekly @
    Table of Contents:
    Introduction ix
    1 In Search of Fasting as a Spiritual Practice 1;
    2 Judaism: Purification, Mourning, Atonement 13;
    3 Christianity: Mystical Longing, Liberation through Discipline, Work of Justice 35;
    4 Islam: Allah-Consciousness, Self-Restraint, Social Solidarity 67;
    5 Hinduism: Purity, Respect, Penance 91;
    6 Buddhism: Purity of Body, Clarity of Mind, Moderation 103;
    7 Latter-day Saints: Offerings for Those in Want, Strengthening in the Faith 113;
    8 What Makes Fasting a Sacred Art? 129;
    9 Preparing to Practice 141;

    See also:
  • Ramadan Highway Code - Visualization - Do's & Don'ts
  • I'tikaf: Spiritual Retreat for Women at Home?
  • I`tikaf City of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI)
  • Itikaf; Spiritual Retreat
  • N.J. school district to observe Muslim and Hindu holidays
  • Ramadan: How non-Muslims can approach the Koran
    Extract: "Just as Ghazi recommends non-Christians or Jews start reading the Bible by going first to poetic and inspiring sections such as the Psalms -- rather than the dry, difficult books of Deuteronomy or Leviticus -- she suggests some sections of the Koran are more accessible than others, passages such as Sura 1, titled "Fatiha;" Sura 12, titled "Joseph," or Sura 97, titled "El Qadr."

    Ghazi urges readers to avoid thinking that the Koran is to be read "literally," the way a Protestant fundamentalist might approach the Bible -as historical, scientifically established fact.

    Since the Koran is often highly symbolic, filled with sacred teachings that come across like poetry, Ghazi says it is impossible to read literally. It is always subject to interpretation. Grave misunderstandings can be avoided by reading a reliable translation, with commentary."
  • Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Mahatma Gandhi and the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH)

    By Asghar Ali Engineer
    Note: This imaginary dialogue between Gandhiji and the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is to clarify many misunderstandings which are being spread about Islam and Muslims. My mission in life is to promote peace and inter-religious understanding and to struggle against religious fanaticism and extremism. As I have deep conviction about teachings of Islam, I am also great admirer of Gandhiji and his philosophy of non-violence. (A.E.)

    Gandhiji: I have drawn inspiration from Islam as much as from Christianity. Islam’s emphasis on justice, equality and human dignity has always attracted me as love and forgiveness of Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount specially attracted my attention. As you know I am deeply committed to philosophy of non-violence and it is in this respect that I am approaching you to know more in depth about Islam’s teachings about non-violence. It is necessary as Islam and terrorism are being equated by some anti Islamic forces and it is you who can help dispel these attacks on Islam. Who can be the better person than you, O Prophet of Islam.

    Prophet: I am so much pained that Islam is under attack today whereas 21st century should have been the most appropriate period to appreciate its teachings. Yes, I admit there are all kinds of people in any religion and some may be motivated by their own selfish interests and indulge in violence or other misdeeds but a religion should be judged by its core teachings, not by what some followers do. I hope you will agree with me.

    Gandhiji: Yes I do agree with you sir, the great Prophet of Islam. continue reading: Gandhiji and the Prophet (PBUH),
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