In 2016, the Muslim holy month of Ranmadan covers the longest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Why does that matter? It makes Ramadan challenging because observant Muslims will observe strict fasting from sunup to sundown. At this time of year in New York City, for example, that means 15 hours a day of fasting. In December, daylight lasts only about 9 hours and 15 minutes. So, if you have Muslim friends making a month of 15-hour fasts, you’ll understand what they are going through?
Arguably the most widely recognized Islamic observance among non-Muslims, the month of Ramadan brings 30 days of daytime fasting and intense prayer. (In some years and in some regions, Ramadan lasts only 29 days, depending on the crescent moon sighting.) The sincerity with which Muslims undertake Ramadan is reflected in news headlines across the globe. Muslim athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games and players in the 2014 World Cup had to make decisions regarding key competitions and days without a single drop of water. Ramadan requires that every able Muslim refrain from food, drink, smoking, swearing and sexual relations during daylight hours to focus on God and the Quran. Strict fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Continue reading “Ramadan covers Northern Hemisphere’s longest days of 2016”
The guide is filled with contemporary definitions and is well organized, listing terms alphabetically and by area. More than 700 terms are included. The guide revives one created at San Francisco State’s Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism in the 1990s. Its latest update had been in 2002. This update was needed.
The guide is intended for journalists but can be used by anyone, of course.
The Michigan State Journalism School is proud to have supported the project by allowing Kanigel to use content from our student-produced Bias Busters series (10 guides and counting) for about 100 items. The project draws in information from a dozen other guides, as well.
The FBI has announced that its mechanism for gathering reports on hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans is operational.
Quantifying is an important step on the road to understanding a problem and then solving it. The FBI announced in 2013 it would add these groups, responding to a request from Congress.
There is an irony in the change. Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans have been attacked by misinformed people who, acting on stereotypes, meant to attack Muslims, a group already on the FBI list. According to MSNBC, “The manual now also includes guidelines on distinguishing between anti-Arab, anti-Hindu, anti-Muslim, and anti-Sikh hate crimes.”
Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, has proposed such a change since 2010. On the group’s website, he writes, “Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, South Asian, and Arab Americans have disproportionately faced senseless violence motivated by hate in recent years.”
The Pew Research Center’s Future of World Religions study projects this month that Islam is growing much faster than Christianity and that he two will have nearly equal numbers of followers by mid-century.
Why it is happening
Pew describes three trends that contribute to the change:
* Muslims have a higher fertility rate than other religions. The rate, 3.1 children per women, is ahead of second-place Christianity, at 2.7. The global average is 2.5 births.
* The Muslim population is, in average, younger than people in other religions, meaning more women will be in their child-bearing years between now and 2050.
* Christians lose more people who convert to other religions than any other faith. Muslims attract more.
Reaching way into the future, Pew projects that Muslims could be more numerous than Christians in 2070. Pew points out that lots can change in long-term population projections, but the general trend is clear.
What it means
This is harder to pin down, though changes will come if Pew’s projections hold up.
* India will surpass Indonesia as the country with the most Muslims
* Hindus will fall to the third largest religion.
* The largest growth among Christians will happen in Africa
* Asia’s share of the global population will decline
In the fall of 2014, a journalism class at Michigan State University will produce “100 Questions and Answers About Muslim Americans.” This is part of the school’s series of guides in cultural competence.
This will be the seventh guide in the series and the first to focus on one religion. We expect to do more interfaith guides like this in subsequent semesters.
We will come up with questions by asking a diverse group of Muslims what they wish other people knew about them and where they encounter knowledge gaps.
We intend to use journalism to fill some of those gaps to make it easy for people to get answers to their first, most basic questions. Then, we hope they will continue the dialogue by having more conversations on their own.
This temperature chart, from a June study by the Pew Research Center, shows that Americans on average are cooler toward Muslims than toward other groups. To us, this illustrates the need for some answers.
Course graduates attended the North American Interfaith Network conference Tuesday in Detroit to seek help on the next Bias Busters guide. The graduates were Dmitri Barvinok, a Michigan State journalism alum, and Merinda Valley, now a journalism senior at MSU.
They explained how the classes produce the guides and asked participants for questions that should be included in this fall’s guide about Muslims. The group also suggested several topics for future guides as well experts that could be consulted on guides.
This is the first guide for which a group of subject-matter experts have been consulted in advance of the start of the course.
The Muslims guide, which will be out in December will be the first in the series to deal exclusively with religion.
Sunday’s keynote was the Rev. Daniel L. Buttry, a global peacemaker with roots in the Detroit area. The undercard was a concert by the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace, a Franciscan monk and a Jewish inspirational speaker.
Monday’s event was a panel of representatives of major faith groups at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. That is where Myeengun Henry (left) spoke.
Pew research shoes that the percentage of Latinos in the United States who are Catholic is declining rapidly, from 67 percent in 2010 to 55 percent today. Still, the percentage of U.S. Catholics who are Hispanic is growing, according to research by Boston College and Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. That work says that the proportion of U.S. Catholics who are Hispanic grew from about a quarter in the 1980s to 40 percent today.
So what gives?
Pew says that the dynamic behind these seemingly contradictory changes is the sheer size of the Hispanic population, at more than 35 million adults.