News

Technology Changes Muslim Tradition of Moonspotting

December 26, 2000

Source: The Boston Globe

On December 26, 2000, The Boston Globe reported on a tradition known as moonspotting, during which Muslims, "since the days of Muhammed,...scan the sky for the slender crescent of a new moon that signals an end to the fasting of Ramadan." Ramadan marks the period when the Koran was supposed to have been revealed to the prophet Muhammed. "It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the end of Ramadan to Muslims. After a month in which Muslims do not eat, drink, or have sex from sunup to sundown, the new moon signals...

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High School Senior Steadfastly Observes Muslim Holiday

December 26, 2000

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On December 26, 2000, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on Meadowcreek High School senior Haaris Quraishy, who is "among the estimated 9 million Americans observing Ramadan, the annual monthlong fasting period observed by Muslims around the world. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith and requires worshipers to abstain from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to sunset." Quraishy is "a standout guard" for the basketball team and was "named one of the top 10 players in...

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Suggested Approaches to Teaching Religion in Schools During the Holidays

December 26, 2000

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On December 26, 2000, The Christian Science Monitor reported on public schools' history of abstaining from religious material during the holidays. Since the mid-1980s, however, public schools have finally begun to focus on "the key role of religion in American life." Scholar Charles Haynes notes, "For the first time, we have a widely shared consensus that teaching about religion is important and constitutional." He claims, however, that we are still ignoring "how we will live with these religious differences."...

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Somali Immigrants Face Discrimination in Columbus

December 26, 2000

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On December 26, 2000, The Columbus Dispatch reported that in Columbus "ignorance of religious or ethnic customs" sometimes leads to discrimination against immigrants, in particular against Somali immmigrants, whose numbers have "soared to 14,000 citywide, from about 40 in 1996." Columbus has America's second-largest Somali population. Like other ethnic groups before them, Somali residents must travel a path they see as "pockmarked by fear, ignorance, unfair treatment and a lack of respect for their customs." Hassan Omar, the...

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Interview of Kwanzaa Founder

December 26, 2000

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On December 26, 2000, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published its interview of Maulana Karenga, the black nationalist and professor of black studies at California State University in Long Beach who started Kwanzaa in 1966. "Rooted in East African harvest festivals," Kwanzaa is "a festival of music, drama, dance, readings and mask-making" that is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Each day focuses on one of the nguzo saba, the seven principles of living: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility,...

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Muslims Celebrate End of Ramadan

December 26, 2000

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On December 26, 2000, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that on December 27, Muslims would celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the "feast of fast-breaking," which "marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset." They chose the 27th because the holiday is not declared until the new moon is sighted, which would happen Wednesday. "The festivities can continue for three days, with the large communal prayer on the first day...Girls decorate their hands with intricate henna designs, women sing and dance...

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Parishioners Follow Foreign National Traditions on Christmas

December 26, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On December 26, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "Chicagoans traveled many miles to attend foreign language services, revisit ethnic roots and refresh childhood memories" this Christmas. Susan Remington of Oak Park, the granddaughter of Swedish immigrants, celebrated Christmas in the Swedish tradition at Ebenezer Lutheran Church. During the service "former Swedish opera star Lennart Backstrom sang several traditional psalms and hymns in Swedish." Afterward, "traditional coffee and pepparkakor, or gingerbread snaps...

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Chicago Preachers Speak of the Meaning of Christmas

December 25, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On December 25, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that preachers look to Christmas as a time when they can impart some spiritual wisdom to believers. Rev. Mary Grace Williams said that Christmas should be thought of as a time of "looking right and doing right." The Rev. Peter Semeyn said, "'The light shined in the darkness, but the darkness did not see it,' 'That light in the darkness is supposed to be us. Maybe the reason people don't see it is because we don't let it shine brightly enough.'" Rev. Charles Jenkins said the...

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School Districts Trying To Be More Sensitive During Holidays

December 25, 2000

Source: The Denver Post

On December 25, 2000, The Denver Post reported that while sensitivity to different cultures during the winter holiday season has increased, teachers, students and families must still be careful about how they treat the holidays. In schools, Christmas concerts, Santa Claus art projects and other traditional holiday celebrations are being replaced with winter festivals and global holiday rituals. Cory Elementary School begins the season by taking its students to a production which includes different religious celebrations. Efforts such...

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