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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Multifaith families and religious tolerance!

Extracts: Ramadan in a multi-faith family:

"Ilana Alazzeh was born in San Francisco to an Israeli mother and Palestinian father. She currently attends Smith College in Massachusetts, where she stays active in community service and interfaith work, regularly speaking on panels regarding Islam and religious pluralism...."

"When my Israeli mother celebrates Ramadan, she always incorporates her heritage into the holiday. For example, while my Pakistani step-father is downstairs making pancakes, she will loudly sing Hebrew songs from her childhood to wake us up for Suhoor. Although she has converted to Islam, she still keeps her Jewish customs alive."

"Once, my mother’s father came to visit during Ramadan. He is a small, mischievous and comical man, a Palmach war veteran of Israel. Unlike my mother, he refused to celebrate Ramadan. He would begrudgingly come to the masjid with us, and even though he knew Arabic, he only spoke in Hebrew or English. While we were inside doing our night prayers, he would smoke outside with my step-grandmother: a Southern Baptist African American who converted to Judaism. It certainly wasn’t the traditional picture of Ramadan."

"But even though my grandfather did not celebrate with us, he did respect the holiday. I remember him giving my younger brother a clap for teasing me with food when I was fasting. Even though he wasn’t fasting with me, he honored my decision."

"I’ll never forget the night during Ramadan that my puzzle of a family and I piled into our van to see the Christmas lights. We sang Jewish, Christmas and Dawud Wharnsby songs. (Watch the YouTube video “We’ve scanned the sky Dawud Wharnsby.”) My family of different cultures and religions were all celebrating together, enjoying each other’s company and acknowledging our diverse faiths. Although our coexistence was rough at times, it was built out of respect and real love."

Continue reading: Ramadan is truly a month of diversity and spirituality, The Saudi Gazette, Tuesday, 01 September 2009 - 11 Ramadan 1430 H

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