The Crescent Report

August 11, 2010

Muslim organization affirms religious Freedom during Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak!

“Allah intends every facility for you. He does not want to put you in difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period. And to glorify Him. In that He has guided you; And perchance you shall be grateful.”~ Holy Qu’ran.

During the blessed month of Ramadan I ask Allah (swt) to strengthen me in my understanding of faith, freedom and justice. Check out the piece below.~ Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “And the firmament has Allah raised high, and He has set up the balance of  Justice in order that you may not transgress the bounds. So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.” ~ Holy Qu’ran.

Muslim organization affirms religious Freedom during Ramadan

MAS Freedom advance campaign for Muslims right to build Mosques

Muslims all over the world have entered into the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslim are commanded by God to abstain from all food and drink from dawn until sunset each day. During Ramadan, Muslims place special emphasis on cultivating spiritual development, compassion, and generosity to others, especially the poor.

Muslim American Society Freedom (MASF) the civic advocacy and education component of the Muslim American Society, America largest Muslim grassroots organization, has launched a national religious freedom campaign. The campaign calls upon Muslims. especially  during Ramadan, to reach out to their neighbors and members of other faith communities to affirm our collective right to build mosques, as well as the right of all religious communities to build houses of worship, regardless of faith or creed.

MAS Freedom’s “Protect Mosques and American Religious Freedom” campaign is our organizational response to a nationwide challenge, from anti-Muslim groups, to stop the building of Mosques and Islamic Institutions in America. The most notorious challenge to this right is the opposition to the plan of the Cordoba Initiative to build a multi-purpose center in lower Manhattan that is two blocks from the location of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Although this project has been inaccurately described as a “Ground Zero” mosque, it is actually a 15 story multipurpose center dedicated to building bridges of understanding between Islam and the Western world.

This project has been opposed by such political figures as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and former New York Governor George Pataki. Other opposition groups, characterized by many observers as Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, include organizations like “Stop the Islamization of America” led by conservative activist Pamela Geller, organization and Robert Spencer’s “Jihad Watch”, and the Investigative Project headed by Steve Emerson (who was described by the Washington Post as a  “controversial terrorism expert”).

Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) also publicly opposed the Cordoba Initiative project, but subsequently drew criticism from many religious freedom advocates, interfaith groups, and civil rights organizations. The award-winning CNN and Newsweek Magazine journalist Fareed Zakaria felt compelled to return a prestigious human rights award, and a generous honorarium, that he had previously received from the ADL.  However, the Cordoba Initiative project received support from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and numerous prominent New Yorkers, including music producer Russell Simmons.

A study done by American University indicates that there is a growing national trend of opposition to the building and expansion of mosques and Islamic centers throughout America. Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of MAS Freedom, stated that “There is a well financed campaign in our country to demonize the American Muslim community.  However, freedom of religious expression is protected by the Constitution of the United States.  Our freedoms are not negotiable and second class citizenship for American Muslims is not an option.”

Bray further stated that, “To those who would exploit fear and ignorance, we respond with faith over fear and justice for all. During this blessed month of Ramadan, we will continue to strive and focus on that which is good and noble within ourselves, our neighbors, and our nation.”

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