In observance of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from food and drink during daylight hours, some will be participating in another type of fast -- a social media one. We speak with observers about why, after dark, naturally.
I first met Scott Korb in the summer of 2010. It was at a time in New York when the Islamophobia Industry was holding a fundraising drive by saying that building houses of worship and praying was un-American; saying they were vultures retraumatizing the city for their own personal gain and amusement would be too charitable. I was doing a lot of press at that time around Park51, and I get an email from Korb. He wants to do a piece on American Muslims. I am wary. There are all sorts of media instapundits emerging around Islam, and news reporters inserting themselves into that role; or worse, because Korb indicates he’s writing a longer piece, I fear he may be a cultural tourist, picking and choosing what he likes to create his vision of an American Islam.
Islamic scholar Hussein Rashid, on the other hand, has been going the exact opposite route when it comes to the holy month and social media since 2009. Over the last three Ramadans, Rashid estimated that he has tweeted between 35 and 40 percent of the Quran to his 3,000 followers.
"I can definitely see the argument that you want to abstain from things that engage you too much, that are a distraction from your spiritual life," Rashid said. "I guess my approach is that these are things that are part of my daily life so how do I make them part of my spiritual life?"
Ramadan is back and it snuck up on me this year. It has already started for some folk. Time to talk about tweeting the Qur'an again. Previous years' thoughts and rules:
Traditionally, Muslims read the Qur'an in its entirety over this time, in a section a day. The Qur'an is split into thirty sections, called juz', and one section is read each night. This year, I have been thinking it would be fun to tweet the Qur'an for Ramadan. Coincidentally, Shavuot came, and several people I follow on Twitter tweeted the Torah. Since that experience seemed to be successful, it further cemented my belief that this would be a good idea. Some guidelines for tweeting the Qur'an:
Anyone is welcome. You do not have to be Muslim.
The point is to provide greater access to the Qur'an, so please tweet in English, regardless of the language you read in. Multiple language tweets are welcome.
You should tweet verses that appeal to you each night, not the entire juz'. Some of you may wish to do the whole juz', but the idea is that we find comfort in the word of God, and we approach it and understand differently every time we come to it. Each night, there are certain verses that will have more power/resonance. Simply tweet those.
Include chapter and verse numbers using "Arabic" numerals, eg. 1:1, 33:72, etc.
Some verses may be too long for 140 characters. Split the tweet. Summarize. As you will, but make sure you make it clear what you are doing, and include the verse number.
You should feel free to offer commentary on why you chose that verse. If you know some tafsir, please include as well, if relevant.
Tags: please include #ttQuran .
You do not need to commit to reading/Tweeting every night. However, when you do Tweet, please make sure you are on the same juz as everyone else.
If there are are other guidelines you believe should be included, please leave them in comments and I'll move up some to the main post.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects, reportedly wrote that “an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all” on the wall of the boat in which he was hiding from police last month. Variations of this refrain seem to be common among angry young Muslim men, especially those who are attracted to violence. However, such a view ignores history, religious thinking and contemporary reality. It should be seen as a crass advertising slogan rather than a declaration of belief.
But this time, there is a change in rhetoric of how potential suspects are identified, particularly if they are Muslim. It is because of this change we are learning to move past paralyzing fear and maturing in how we think of what it means to be American.
By the end of last February, after Patheos first covered the breakdown of trust between the NYPD and the area Muslim community, the trust deficit grew even deeper when a series of ongoing articles from the Associated Press exposed wide-reaching domestic surveillance programs set up for the NYPD by the CIA. The last straw came with the report that the NYPD had been conducting secret surveillance on Muslim Student Associations at 16 colleges across New York and northeastern United States. Click here to see how several NY-area academics, activists and students reacted to the news.