Category Archives: Ramadan

Interfaith Iftar at Central NJ Mosque

If you’re in the vicinity of Piscataway, New Jersey and want to know more about why your Muslim friend/neighbor/classmate/co-worker has been fasting during Ramadan (and for that matter what is the significance of Ramadan) come visit the Muslim Center of Middlesex County on Thursday August 18th. The event starts at 6:30 PM. There will be a presentation from the Imam after which there will be a Q&A session where everyone is welcome to ask a question. In the past local elected officials as well as members of neighboring Churches have attended the event.

Program
Welcome Presentation………………….. 6:30 PM
Iftar & Prayer Observation……….7:50 PM
Interactive Dinner…………………………..8:15 PM

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 there will be a lot of negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media. Come see what Islam and Muslims are really about for yourself.  For more information contact dawah@mcmcnj.org You can RSVP by sending an e-mail to Imam@mcmcnj.org or by calling 732-463-2004 X111

Muslim Center of Middlesex County
1000 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854


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Barack Obama’s remarks at the White House Iftar

Here is the video and transcript of President Obama’s remarks at the White House Iftar tonight.

Transcript.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                          August 10, 2011
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
DURING IFTAR DINNER
East Room
8:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Everyone, please have a seat, have a seat.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the White House.  Tonight is part of a rich tradition here at the White House of celebrating the holy days of many faiths and the diversity that define us as a nation.  So these are quintessentially American celebrations — people of different faiths coming together, with humility before our maker, to reaffirm our obligations to one another, because no matter who we are, or how we pray, we’re all children of a loving God.
Now, this year, Ramadan is entirely in August.  That means the days are long, the weather is hot, and you are hungry.  (Laughter.)  So I will be brief.
I want to welcome the members of the diplomatic corps who are here; the members of Congress, including two Muslim American members of Congress — Keith Ellison and Andre Carson; and leaders and officials from across my administration.  Thank you all for being here.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)   
To the millions of Muslim Americans across the United States and more — the more than one billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a time of reflection and a time of devotion.  It’s an occasion to join with family and friends in celebration of a faith known for its diversity and a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human beings.  So to you and your families, Ramadan Kareem. 
This evening reminds us of both the timeless teachings of a great religion and the enduring strengths of a great nation.  Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life.  This has been especially true over the past 10 years.
In one month, we will mark the 10th anniversary of those awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts.  It will be a time to honor all those that we’ve lost, the families who carry on their legacy, the heroes who rushed to help that day and all who have served to keep us safe during a difficult decade.  And tonight, it’s worth remembering that these Americans were of many faiths and backgrounds, including proud and patriotic Muslim Americans.
Muslim Americans were innocent passengers on those planes, including a young married couple looking forward to the birth of their first child.  They were workers in the Twin Towers — Americans by birth and Americans by choice, immigrants who crossed the oceans to give their children a better life.  They were cooks and waiters, but also analysts and executives.  
There, in the towers where they worked, they came together for daily prayers and meals at Iftar.  They were looking to the future — getting married, sending their kids to college, enjoying a well-deserved retirement.  And they were taken from us much too soon.  And today, they live on in the love of their families and a nation that will never forget.  And tonight, we’re deeply humbled to be joined by some of these 9/11 families, and I would ask them to stand and be recognized, please.  (Applause.)
Muslim Americans were first responders — the former police cadet who raced to the scene to help and then was lost when the towers collapsed around him; the EMTs who evacuated so many to safety; the nurse who tended to so many victims; the naval officer at the Pentagon who rushed into the flames and pulled the injured to safety.  On this 10th anniversary, we honor these men and women for what they are — American heroes.
Nor let us forget that every day for these past 10 years Muslim Americans have helped to protect our communities as police and firefighters, including some who join us tonight.  Across our federal government, they keep our homeland secure, they guide our intelligence and counterterrorism efforts and they uphold the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.  So make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe.
We see this in the brave service of our men and women in uniform, including thousands of Muslim Americans.  In a time of war, they volunteered, knowing they could be sent into harm’s way.  Our troops come from every corner of our country, with different backgrounds and different beliefs.  But every day they come together and succeed together, as one American team. 
During the 10 hard years of war, our troops have served with excellence and with honor.  Some have made the ultimate sacrifice, among them Army Specialist Kareem Khan.  Galvanized by 9/11 to serve his country, he gave his life in Iraq and now rests with his fellow heroes at Arlington.  And we thank Kareem’s mother, Elsheba, for being here again tonight.  (Applause.)  Like Kareem, this generation has earned its place in history, and I would ask all of our service members here tonight — members of the 9/11 Generation — to stand and accept the thanks of our fellow Americans.  (Applause.)        
This year and every year, we must ask ourselves:  How do we honor these patriots — those who died and those who served?  In this season of remembrance, the answer is the same as it was 10 Septembers ago.  We must be the America they lived for and the America they died for, the America they sacrificed for. 
An America that doesn’t simply tolerate people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but an America where we are enriched by our diversity.  An America where we treat one another with respect and with dignity, remembering that here in the United States there is no “them” or “us;” it’s just us.  An America where our fundamental freedoms and inalienable rights are not simply preserved, but continually renewed and refreshed — among them the right of every person to worship as they choose.  An America that stands up for dignity and the rights of people around the world, whether a young person demanding his or her freedom in the Middle East or North Africa, or a hungry child in the Horn of Africa, where we are working to save lives.
Put simply, we must be the America that goes forward as one family, like generations before us, pulling together in times of trial, staying true to our core values and emerging even stronger.  This is who we are and this is who we must always be. 
Tonight, as we near a solemn anniversary, I cannot imagine a more fitting wish for our nation.  So God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)      
                        END           8:43 P.M. EDT

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Iftar at the White House tonight

Expect the bigots to be out in full force today.

Continuing what has become an annual tradition over the course of the last decade Barack Obama will host an Iftar at the White House tonight. Surely there are bound to be a bunch of “Obama is a secret Muslim” posts around the internet today.

As Barack Obama mentioned in his speech last year the first Iftar at the White House dates back to 1805 when Thomas Jefferson hosted one. Earlier this month President Obama did release a statement marking the start of Ramadan. The President did use the dinner last year to make some news when he announced support for the construction of the so called “Ground Zero Mosque.” Of course he did so on a Friday evening with no TV coverage to protect himself against bigots but it was still a step in the right direction. Will he make news this year?

Here is the press release with the guest list.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

____________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                                           August 13, 2010

Expected Attendees at the White House Iftar Dinner
This evening, the President will continue a White House tradition of hosting an Iftar celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room.  This is the third Iftar hosted by the President.  The Iftar is the meal that breaks the day of fasting, when Muslim families and communities eat together after sunset.
Below is a list of some of the expected attendees at tonight’s White House dinner celebrating Ramadan:
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
The Honorable Andre Carson, United States Representative
The Honorable John Conyers, United States Representative
The Honorable Keith Ellison, United States Representative
The Honorable Donald Payne, United States Representative
DIPLOMATIC CORPS
Her Excellency Amina Salum Ali, Ambassador, African Union Mission
His Excellency Abdallah Baali, Ambassador, People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
His Excellency Yashar Aliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Her Excellency Huda Ezra Nonoo, Ambassador of Bahrain
His Excellency Akramul Qader, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
His Excellency Bienvenu Joseph Charles Foe-Atangana, Ambassador of Cameroon
His Excellency Adam Bechir Mahamoud, Ambassador of the Republic of Chad
His Excellency Roble Olhaye, Ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti
His Excellency Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt
His Excellency Mory Karamoko Kaba, Ambassador of Guinea
His Excellency Bayney Ram Karran, Ambassador of Guyana
His Excellency Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia
His Excellency Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq
His Excellency Micahel Scott Oren, Ambassador of Israel
His Excellency Aziz Mekour, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco
Her Excellency Aminata Maiga Djibrilla, Ambassador of Niger
Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman
His Excellency Husain Haqqani, Ambassador of Pakistan
His Excellency Mr. Maen Areikat, Ambassador, PLO Mission
His Excellency Ali Bin Fahad Faleh Al-Hajri, Ambassador of the State of Qatar
His Excellency Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation
His Excellency Adel A.M. Al-Jubeir, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia
Her Excellency Fatou Danielle Diagne, Ambassador of Senegal
His Excellency Bockari Kortu Stevens, Ambassador of Sierra Leone
His Excellency Subhas Chandra Mungra, Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname
His Excellency Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Ambassador of Tanzania
His Excellency Edawe Limbiye Kadangha Bariki, Ambassador, Togo
His Excellency Namik Tan, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey
His Excellency Yousif Mana Saeed Alotaiba, Ambassador, United Arab Emirates
His Excellency Ilhomjon Tuychievich Nematov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan
His Excellency Abdulwahab A. Al Hajjri, Ambassador of the Republic Yemen
His Excellency Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer, Organization of the Islamic Conference
The Honorable Damir Dzanko, Chargé d’Affaires at Interim of Bosnia
The Honorable Sufyan Salman Qudah, Chargé d’Affaires at Interim of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The Honorable Jetish Jashari, Chargé d’Affaires at Embassy of Republic of Kosovo
The Honorable Tarek Ben Youssef, Chargé d’Affaires at Interim of Tunisia
COMMUNITY MEMBERS
Mr. Hamza Abdullah, Arizona Cardinals
Mr. Husain Abdullah, Minnesota Vikings
Ms. Dina Amer
Mrs. Durriya Badani, Brookings Institute
Ms. Faiza Arain, Los Angeles Police Department
Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Aga Khan
Mr. Mohamed Ali Malouche, Tunisian American Young Professionals
Mr. Akram Syed, National Association of Indian Muslims
Mrs. Mansura Shajahan
Mr. Yusuf Shajahan
Dr. Manzoor Tariq, Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America

It remains a goal of mine to be on that list one of these years. Here are the guest lists from 2009 and 2010.

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Ramadan Iftar Party PackThe Holy Qur'an in Today's English

Update on my earlier post about Whole Foods

I posted earlier today about Whole Foods caving in to bigots. Turns out that the article was wrong. Whole Foods has said via their Twitter account that the promotion is still on and it has not been cancelled. They do point out the mistake of one of their regions.

Hi everyone…..we’d like to address the many comments coming in regarding the promotion of halal products for the celebration of Ramadan. We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments.We’re extremely excited about offering halal products products for our shoppers and we stand behind them AND our promotion of them.

The company posted that on their twitter account earlier through several tweets.
Tweet 1
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Tweet 4
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Tweet 6

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Islamophobia a.k.a bigotry continues to run wild

Just wanted to share two stories of bigotry I’ve come across today.

So our Fox affiliate takes one bigot, interviews him and tries to turn this into a “news” story. Similar billboards have been up on the New Jersey Turnpike for months if not years. I’m sure I’ve seen billboards for Churches as well.

You can find out more about “Why Islam?” by going to their website or calling 877-WHY-ISLAM

In similar news Whole Foods has caved in to bigots as well.

UPDATE: Whole Foods has said via their Twitter account that the promotion is still on and it has not been cancelled. They do point out the mistake of one of their regions.

Hi everyone…..we’d like to address the many comments coming in regarding the promotion of halal products for the celebration of Ramadan. We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments.We’re extremely excited about offering halal products products for our shoppers and we stand behind them AND our promotion of them.

The company posted that on their twitter account earlier through several tweets.
Tweet 1
Tweet 2
Tweet 3
Tweet 4
Tweet 5
Tweet 6

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Obama’s statement to mark the start of Ramadan

Barack Obama’s statement to mark the start of Ramadan was posted earlier today on WhiteHouse.gov. In it he mentions that he will once again be hosting an Iftar at the White House like he did last year. I will ask the same question I asked last year, how do I get an invite? You can read the full statement below.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
August 01, 2011

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan

As Ramadan begins, Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world.  Ramadan is a festive time that is anticipated for months by Muslims everywhere.  Families and communities share the happiness of gathering together for iftar and prayers. Bazaars light up the night in many cities from Rabat to Jakarta.  And here in the United States, Muslim Americans share Ramadan traditions with their neighbors, fellow students, and co-workers. 
For so many Muslims around the world, Ramadan is also a time of deep reflection and sacrifice. As in other faiths, fasting is used to increase spirituality, discipline, and consciousness of God’s mercy.  It is also a reminder of the importance of reaching out to those less fortunate.  The heartbreaking accounts of lost lives and the images of families and children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa struggling to survive remind us of our common humanity and compel us to act.  Now is the time for nations and peoples to come together to avert an even worse catastrophe by offering support and assistance to on-going relief efforts.

Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  In that spirit, I wish Muslims around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House.  Ramadan Kareem.

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Iftar at the White House

As I mentioned earlier today, Barack Obama hosted an Iftar at the White House tonight.

The guest list for the event included Diplomats from Muslim countries, Muslim leaders from around the country and Muslims from many walks of life among others. Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) was at the event but the other Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) was not present. I suggested earlier in the evening that it might have had something to do with his recent comments regarding Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The Congressman took offense to that comment. Late tonight I received a series of messages from him via twitter. The gist of it was that he’s in California with Speaker Pelosi. The tweets read as follows:

I am with Speaker Pelosi at her Annual Issues conference.

Very irresponsible rumor. Very unbecoming of a Muslim or any person of integrity to spread such a baseless rumor. Please stop 

Tell anyone who cares to know that there is no conflict with the WH and I. I am with the Speaker in Napa, CA.

The intentions of my comments earlier were obviously not to take a shot at Rep. Ellison. I’ve liked his work for the most part. I like his stance on issues. We definitely need more Muslims not only in Congress but in politics in general. That being said, his absence from the event at the White House tonight was very odd. Anyone who follows politics even remotely would connect it to his comments about Robert Gibbs. It has nothing to do with me being a good or bad Muslim. This “Issues Conference” is probably a private retreat of Democratic Congressmen but a quick Google search didn’t turn up anything linking the Congressman to California. There was no statement made by his office either. There wasn’t a Press Release, an update on his blog or a message on his twitter account. There are only 2 Muslim Congressmen, if one wasn’t making it to the Iftar you’d figure they’d mention it somewhere right? Hopefully all is fine between him and the White House (I’ll take him at his word) but his reaction tonight disappointed not only me but others I spoke to.

I should mention that Rep. Ellison has said since that he does not want Robert Gibbs dismissed.

I would have liked to see Rep. Ellison in attendance since he too has been a very vocal supporter of the Mosque in Lower Manhattan.

I mentioned to a few people earlier today that the events seemed much more low key this year (coincidence that it is an election year?). Last year we saw a video statement marking the start of Ramadan but this year the White House only released a written statement. The President did throw people like me a bone though by coming through with the strongest worded support to date of the so called “Ground Zero Mosque” by the administration. It is a shame that it was part of a Friday evening news dump.

You can watch Obama’s remarks here.


Good work from the President here. It is a balancing act that he has to follow but the remarks do still come off as genuine.

Here is the guest list for the Iftar. I asked earlier but will ask again, what do I have to do to be on the guest list next year?
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Barack Obama is hosting an Iftar tonight

Tonight Barack Obama will continue a tradition started by Bill Clinton as he will host what has become an annual Iftar at the White House.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the White House did release a statement from the First Family marking the start of Ramadan. The statement can be found below. 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

August 11, 2010

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I want to extend our best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem.

Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God.  This is a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared.  But Ramadan is also a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and pray during the night; when Muslims provide support to others to advance opportunity and prosperity for people everywhere.  For all of us must remember that the world we want to build – and the changes that we want to make – must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.

These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.   Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality.  And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country. And today, I want to extend my best wishes to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world – and your families and friends – as you welcome the beginning of Ramadan.

I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.

May God’s peace be upon you.

Last year Barack Obama not only released a text statement but a video as well

The White House also uploaded the video of his remarks at the Iftar event last year. Will they do the same again this year?

A lot of people were not happy with the guest list last year as major Muslim organizations like Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) were not on the guest list (though the President of ISNA was there). Hopefully the guest list is more diverse this year. What do I have to do to score an invite next year?
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No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam