Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Karim A.H. 1433
by Center for Islamic Pluralism
The first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan fell, in this hijri year 1433, on the Gregorian date of July 20, 2012. At the commencement of Ramadan, and the fasting and prayer during it, which is one of the foundations of Islamic belief, the Center for Islamic Pluralism extends its greetings and best wishes to Muslims everywhere, for blessings and fulfilment of our religious undertakings.
Ramadan encompasses fasting during the day, with collective celebration of the end of the fast by iftar meals at sunset, following the appropriate prayer for the hour (maghrib). Observances will include recitations from Qur'an and supplemental prayers, differing according to Sunni and Shia traditions. Non-Muslim friends will be invited to share in the benefits of iftar events.
This year, Ramadan has come only nine days after July 11, the day of remembrance of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia-Hercegovina. At that terrible and unforgettable time, 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were captured and slaughtered, and the exhumation and reburial of their remains continues today. This year, 520 of the dead of Srebrenica were interred with dignity at the memorial cemetery in Potočari, Bosnia-Hercegovina. This calendrical near-coincidence reminds us that Ramadan is a month of reflection, spiritual purification, and right action. Among the most important examples of the Muslim commitment to good, and avoidance of evil, is solidarity with oppressed and brutalized peoples.
Therefore, as we fast, pray, and glorify Allah subhanawata'la during Ramadan, we should also bear in mind the martyrdom of the Bosnians and other innocent peoples before them, and, in particular, the suffering inflicted currently on the population of Syria and the Rohingya Muslim community of Burma (Myanmar). Thousands have been slain by the Damascus regime and many thousands more have been driven to flee from Burma to Bangladesh and India. Our fasting and prayer is paralleled by the hunger and appeal for help of the Syrian people and the Rohingya Muslims.
Action is needed urgently for the relief of these victimized Muslims. Sadly, the world has responded to the massacres in Syria and the atrocities in Burma as it did, for too long, to the horrors of the Balkan wars: by high-minded phraseology and the "intervention" of ineffective "peacekeepers and humanitarian monitors." Neither fine words nor expensive observer missions will save lives in Syria or Burma.
Above all, however, Ramadan epitomizes the mercy of the Creator in delivering the message of monotheism to humanity. Let each of us take this opportunity to add, to our rituals and donations, recognition of the need for compassion and peace between all human beings.
Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Karim!