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Ramadan Muberak

August 22, 2009

BY COUNCILLOR ABJOL MIAH

As I write, billions of Muslims across the globe are observing the fast on this ninth month of the Islamic Calendar. This is a glorious months for Muslims: they believe in this month that the Angel Gabriel revealed verses of the Quran (the holy book of Islam). Muslims believe that this month has more virtues and blessing than any other month if good deeds are carried out.

As some of you will witness at work, colleges or universities, your Muslim colleagues or friends will observe the fast by not eating or drinking from when the sun rises to when it sets, which is this year around 8pm in East London. Fasting is not only about food, it is also about self control and discipline, avoiding sins by controlling your tongue (lies, cheat), eyes and spiritually cleansing the mind.

As Muslims it is important to pray for those that are less fortunate and help the needy, hence this month millions of pounds are donated to various charities across the world. In Tower Hamlets an organisation called IF charity will be holding Iftar for the homeless in Altab Ali park and creative ideas for charity are always found in Tower Hamlets.

As Muslims responsibility of looking after one’s mind and body is key, so it is encouraged for Muslims to stop smoking and eat healthily, and to help with this in Tower Hamlets there is always a campaign to ensure people stop smoking. Breaking the fast with crucial food sources are recommended like dates, and dates that are not of Israeli origin.

As Muslims it is also very important to look after the environment, hence it is encouraged not to litter and recycle more especially as many families shop around this month. In addition we think about all the natural disasters and human-made ecological disasters taking place. As you might be aware we are campaigning against the Tipaimukh Dam in India that will have a devastating effect on the environment and people of India and Bangladesh.

I was inspired by the spirit and humanity of those I met on the recent Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza

I was inspired by the spirit and humanity of those I met on the recent Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza

This is the right time to think about all the people that are oppressed or have had their basic human rights taken away from them, and all the unjust wars taking place. Let’s look at the Gaza strip where there is no basic food, water or medicine, is completed blocked off, and only very little aid gets through, such as when the Viva Palestina convoy broke the siege.

Far from the atrocities in Iraq lessening, recently over 95 people died and hundreds were injured in one day of chaotic bombings, and then let us visit Afghanistan with daily bombings and loss of civilians – not to mention now 200 British soldiers tragically killed in the cause of a futile and brutal war.

So as Muslims, and as humanitarians we look around us and we actively try and do good deeds, (campaign against the war, environmental catastrophe and help people in poverty and more) and this is what Ramadan brings to everyone: a platform of shared human values for the good of humanity.

I end with great words of the Holy Quran which I believe are beneficial to us all:

(O people! Worship your Lord, Who hath created you and those before you, so that you may ward off (evil). Who hath appointed the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a canopy; and causeth water to pour down from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you. And do not set up rivals to Allah when ye know (better).) (Al-Baqarah 2: 21-22)

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