Ramadan 2016 – A month of inner reflection, and outer empathy

By Catherine Shakdam
Ramadan so far has been somewhat bitter-sweet in the UK, since violence, xenophobia, and sectarian bigotry have but hugged the global socio-political narrative, putting an entire faith on trial over the actions of a dangerous minority few.
One particular Muslim NGO, The 10th Day, has focused its energy on enacting Islam’s message, by positively impacting the British community, and thus promote better understanding. A new vibrant youth organization The 10th Day has chosen this year to focus on history to help foster understanding – demonstrating to all people, and all manners of faith that Islam stands testament to those very values, and beliefs they hold dear.
Often portrayed as a foreign religion, a faith which root is too far remote from Western values to truly have a real echo, or a real chance to “assimilate” The 10th Day has dedicated its efforts to linking Christianity and Judaism to Islam by way of the prophets. From Adam to Abraham, Moses and Jesus, both Judaism and Christianity can be found in the Quran.
But not only that … To present Islam, The 10th Day has chosen to stand behind one of its greatest martyrs: Imam al-Hussain, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad – a man whose name has echoed across the centuries, a man whose valour and unparalleled courage in the face of adversity has inspired historians, scholars and politicians to reflect.
It was Edward Gibbon, a prominent English historian and member of parliament who wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of Hussain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”
And Antoine Bara, in his book Hussain in Christian Ideology: “No battle in the modern and past history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Hussain in the battle of Karbala.”
A revered Islamic figure, Imam al-Hussain’s name has always commanded respect, and admiration. More importantly his legacy has echoed of unity, truth, and profound devotion to the Word of God, and Islam.
It is behind his banner, and through his deeds that The 10th Day felt it could best introduce Islamic values to the British public this Ramadan.
At such times as ours, when doubt and fear have tainted society and made communities to stand divided, British Muslims have said to be determined to transcend Britain’s differences by celebrating what all people share in common: an innate yearning for peace and justice, an intrinsic desire to stand free from tyranny.
Inspired by The 10th Day efforts in Bradford on June 18th to promote dialogue through education, dialogue, and humanitarian work, Muslims in across the UK have said to want to follow suit by emulating such efforts in their own communities.
Dr Riaz Karim, from The Mona Relief Organization said in exclusive comments that The 10th Day’s new social outreach program could help toward social integration, and social cohesion, in that it would foster positive exchanges among religious groups, while remaining all-inclusive of people’s cultural backgrounds.
“Britain remains a secular society, and it is important for Muslims to promote their own identity, while being tolerant and respectful of others’. The 10th Day has quite cleverly reclaimed Islam through history, and thus made it accessible to all. What a better way to mark Ramadan?”
Indeed …
MP Imran Hussain in Bradford, who attended on June 18th an event promoted by The 10th Day noted how important such efforts were for Britain, and in relation to combatting racism. “Imam Hussain’s message to humanity, and the events of over 1000 years ago should never be forgotten,” he said.
A month dedicated to reflection, and peace, Ramadan is also a month of togetherness and compassion – whether communities identify themselves as Sunni or Shia, Christians or Jews, it is our love for God and pledge to abide by His words which at the end of the day unite us all.
This Ramadan 2016 The 10th Day presented a loving and caring image of Islam – as it was meant to be all along.

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