Religion

Obama Embraces Muslim-American Community

| by Robert Fowler
President Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama

Through a White House press release, President Barack Obama has wished Muslim Americans a happy Ramadan, which is the month of fasting that is the most important religious holiday of the Islamic faith.

The president's statement also rebuffed the rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump, who has proposed placing a travel ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.

Ramadan is a month-long holy observance scheduled each year based on the Islamic lunar calendar. In 2016, it will stretch from June 5 through July 5.

“For many, this month is an opportunity to focus on reflection and spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience and resilience, compassion for those less fortunate and unity across communities,” President Obama said.

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The typical schedule for a Muslim during Ramadan is to wake up before dawn, engage in a high-protein meal and consume plenty of water. From sunrise to sunset, they are expected to abstain from eating, drinking, recreational pleasures such as smoking or even chewing gum, according to Vox.

The fasting is intended to teach Muslims how to empathize with those less fortunate and recognize that their sustenance comes from their God. Once the sun sets, Muslim families engage in large dinners.

The month of fasting culminates in Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festival marked with feasts and exchanging of presents. It is often likened to the Christian holiday of Christmas.

While the White House press release did not explicitly name Trump, President Obama appeared to chastise the business mogul for his rhetoric against Muslims, deeming it a generalizing of a religious faith based upon the actions of specific terrorist groups.

Trump was also a leading proponent of the “birther” movement in 2011, the conspiracy group which asserted that President Obama was not actually a U.S.-born citizen but a Muslim from Africa.

“As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month, I am reminded that we are one American family,” President Obama continued. “I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights.”

The president added that the White House would continue its tradition of inviting Muslim Americans to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.

Mayor Sadiq Khan of London also released a June 5 statement announcing that he would be observing Ramadan, says the Guardian. The first Muslim elected to lead a major European city, Khan vowed to “break down the mystique and suspicion around the religion.”

While the London mayor added that abstaining from caffeine makes him miserable during Ramadan, he would still fast “to show that it is possible to be someone with western, liberal values and be a mainstream Muslim.”

Sources: GuardianVoxThe White House / Photo credit: DoD News/Flickr

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