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Ramadan is a busy time of year for area Muslims August 12, 2010

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(Aug 12, 2010)

Muslims across the Hamilton area are starting and finishing Ramadan together for the first time ever this year.

Islam’s holy month of fasting can begin at different times for Muslims worldwide, depending on whether one goes by astronomical calculations or naked-eye sighting of the moon. The area’s nine mosques decided to follow the Fiqh Council of North America’s start date and began observing the holy month yesterday. The community will also unite for the first time on Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, Sept. 13 at the convention centre for a citywide prayer.

“Ramadan is an interesting time because it’s a 24-hours-a-day event … especially for more observant Muslims,” said Hussein Hamdani, community spokes-person and vice-chair of North American Spiritual Revival. “It’s a full, complete day. The only thing we lose is sleep.”

There are about 30,000 Muslims in the Hamilton area. Across the globe, about 1.5-billion people fast between sunrise and sunset during the holiday, Hamdani said.

During Ramadan, mosques around the city will host meals every day at sunset for Muslims and the general public, said Javid Mirza, past president of the Muslim Association of Hamilton.

Mirza said he is quitting smoking for Ramadan, but the hard part is keeping it up.

Giving to the poor is also part of the spirit of Ramadan, say local Muslims.

“Your deeds need to improve this month,” Hamdani said. “If you’re not a better person as a result, then God has no need for your fasting.”

Islamic Relief Canada is holding a “Day of Dignity” at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Mountain Mosque to give new clothing and gifts donated by charities to those in need.

McMaster’s Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) will also be raising funds for Pakistani flood relief with Islamic Relief Canada.

Affaf Ahtisham, the MSA’s senior adviser, said the month was a chance for young Muslims to refocus.

“Throughout the entire year, we read our textbooks. But now it’s our time to ask for forgiveness and reflect back on our lives to see what we can change to have a more productive year.”




Rachel’s story one worth understanding August 11, 2010

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Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She was crushed to death in theGaza Strip by an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) bulldozer when she was kneeling in front of a local Palestinian‘s home, thus acting as a human shield, attempting to prevent IDF forces from demolishing the home. The IDF has claimed that the death was due to the restricted angle of view of the IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozer driver, while ISM eyewitnesses said “there was nothing to obscure the driver’s view.”[1] A student at the Evergreen State College, she had taken a year off and traveled to theGaza Strip during the Second Intifada.[2]

source: wikipedia

Below is the article recently published in Hamilton Spectator Newspaper by Hussein Hamdani.

HAH- Thespec- Opinion July 22-10