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The editors and writers at Altmuslim and Patheos’ Muslim Channel are heartbroken over the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. As the news and stories emerge, and journalists, writers, bloggers and pundits are weighing in on every aspect of this horrible tragedy – from debates over gun control, to addressing mental health issues, to the important role teachers play in our children’s lives, to how to help our children cope with all of this. We are reminded of the words from the Quran: “Verily with every difficulty, there is ease. Verily with every difficulty, there is ease.”
In 2011, twenty two-year-old Mirzya Syed, a Pakistani-American student at Barnard College in New York City (NYC), was attending a class on novels written about the immigrant experience — precisely about problems faced by people of East Asian, African and Latin American descent. What struck her at the time was that there was no mention of any Muslim country or people — except for a terrorist character in a book called Flight by Sherman Alexie.
For the third time, the Islamic call to prayer will echo off the magnificent stained-glass windows depicting the Last Supper at the Christ Church Cathedral – alerting adherents to the arrival of sunset and the end of the day’s fast.
Today marks the start of Ramadan, the month of fasting, when for 30 days Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and sexual activities from sunrise until sunset.