By La Trina Jackson
The holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, has come. Muslims and others observers of Ramadan around the world are greeting each other with wishes for a Ramadan Kareem or a Generous Ramadan.
The spiritual practices that accompany Ramadan, fasting, praying and acts of service, invite us to lean into our best selves and rehearse the core tenets of our beliefs. A lantern or light is one of the cultural symbols we use to signify a posture of openness and welcome during Ramadan. The light shines both inwardly and out into the world. The inner light searches and scorches clean the deepest dungeons of our inner selves. The outer light illuminates our connectedness with and goodwill for the broader world. This outer glow is a beacon to all of our neighbors that we intentionally offer generous hospitality.
Lately though, much of the political rhetoric in the United States is consumed with hostility, not hospitality. (See below for information on our national call about the meeting we had with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about Islamophobia.)
People, politicians and pundits compete with each other to push and hold diverse populations of neighbors to the fringes of society. We are awash in hostility and without resistance we can effortlessly consume it and be consumed by it. Our resistance to this over-consumption of hostility, is a posture of Generous Hospitality.
There is a whole host of ways to embody acts of Generous Hospitality this Ramadan.
Perhaps you will join in the spiritual practices to move more mindfully throughout the world. You may choose to feed the needs of others with your time, talents, and resources. You may use the power of social media to shine a light to expose injustices like #EndIslamophobia or to highlight works of justice like #GiveRefugeesRest. Whatever you do to resist hostility and embrace Generous Hospitality, it will send a beaming message of hope. Your simple acts of Generous Hospitality signify your commitment to helping all of us lean into our best selves.
Join us Wednesday for a national call on our meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan
Last week, FOR staff and Wisconsin Muslim leaders met with Rep. Ryan in his home district. We presented to him the concerns of Give Refugees Rest, and shared with him the many social media messages to #EndIslamophobia.
We learned just moments after what appeared to be a productive meeting that the media had announced Rep. Ryan’s endorsement of Donald Trump during our meeting, despite having refused to endorse him just three weeks ago.
So as this Ramadan unfolds, let us embrace our neighbors and lean into each other and wish one another a Ramadan Kareem!
La Trina P. Jackson hails from Georgia and is a teacher, activist, PhD student, and a board member and community leader for her local mosque, Muslims for Progressive Values. In addition, she is an active member of Atlanta FOR and a member of FOR’s National Council.
Images: Ibrahim ID (Creative Commons) and Mohamed Sayed (public domain).