Ramadan blog pic2

Muslims around the world observed Ramadan and ended it with Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations. I always reflect on the personal growth I experience spiritually and personally. Through my observance of fasting, meditation, and prayer, I reach my spiritual goals. As I have participated in this traditional ritual and eschewed others, I can truly say it has become more of a spiritual practice than a physical one. Of course, it does take a toll on my body. Despite that, the physical deprivation is worth it because of the better human being I become.

This time, it took an emotional toll, as well. I am so disheartened by the acts of terror that took place around the world towards the end of the holy month. These terrorists have shown that nothing is sacred to them, and that the religion they supposedly uphold is nothing but a smokescreen for their agendas.

Within the past two weeks, terrorist attacks have occurred in Turkey, Iraq, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia. What agenda is ISIS furthering by destroying other Muslims during the sacred month? Even during a true Jihad- which is not what ISIS is doing by any interpretation- soldiers are not to kill innocents. All these terrorists do is kill innocents. Furthermore, what warped, perverse ideology espouses bombing the holy city of Medina near the Prophet’s Tomb? Many outside the religion would have had enough respect to not touch such a sacred space. With this act, they have gone thousands of steps too far, and may have undone themselves in the process.

I am allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic at this juncture. I am hoping that the Muslim World actually comes together to speak out, and that those funding the terrorists recognize them as the wild dogs they are who will eventually turn on them, too. We are watching it unfold. I am cautious because as I’ve stated in this blog before, as a community we are still fractious. I remember years when one state was celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr on a different date than another state because the religious clerics wanted to be technical. When I was growing up, I don’t remember disagreement about what day Eid-ul-Fitr was. It’s only within the last ten years I’ve seen it. I don’t know when or how consensus was lost. At this point, it doesn’t matter because as a community we have a daunting problem, and we can only solve it together. We have no other recourse.

The Muslim World is now at a crossroads. We have to come together and choose real leaders who have critical thought and are about the sustaining of our religion instead of the momentary power they can inflict on those they deem in an inferior position. Instead of hyper-focusing on the picayune details of scripture to impose arbitrary definitions of “muslimness”, our leaders and clerics need to focus on this cancer that grows and threatens all of us.