07 September 2009

Ramadan reflections from the US on SOF

This Ramadan, "Speaking of Faith" (by American Public Media) has launched a series of Ramadan reflections called "Revealing Ramadan" by Muslims all over the US, as well as a few Muslims living in other places, such as Spain and Britain.

On the series website, you can download the podcast versions of the reflections, or read the text stories that accompany them.

01 September 2009

Harper shows his religious side

In an interview with the Quebec City magazine Prestige, Stephen Harper has said that family is more important to him than political success, and the judgement of God more important than the judgement of future historians.

As Harper put it, "To be honest with you, I am a lot more concerned by God's verdict regarding my life than the one of historians".

Regarding his work-life balance, Harper said, "The important thing, for me, is to preserve family ties. I can win elections, but if I lose my family, it's a disaster."

BTW, Harper belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Putting Divine judgement over human judgement and family before work is something I can agree with. These are values I share. The question is, then, why do I still find Harper so creepy?

For one thing, I think, it's because his attitude makes you wonder whether he cares about human beings outside of his family circle. And so, speaking of his concern with "God's verdict" (since he raised the subject), I wonder whether he actually thinks about whether God would approve of his particular actions, such as doing all he can to prevent Canada from taking meaningful steps to reduce its carbon emissions. If he does, I wonder why he remains as he is. Or perhaps he feels he has blanket immunity because of his faith alone?

Muslim charity serves up chicken in Toronto

According to its website, the Muslim charity MuslimServ, based in Brampton, has delivered 2,898 lbs of chicken to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto this Ramadan. They're planning to make two more deliveries, on the 7th and the 14th of September.

What I most like about this programme is that it helps Muslims who donate their money to the organisation take part in helping their needy neighbours, regardless of religious or other differences.

What I don't understand, however, is the focus on chicken. Last Ramadan, MuslimServ donated a total of 14,000 lbs of chicken, and is hoping that people will ramp up their donations of money this year, allowing it to donate more chicken to the food bank. My question is: why only chicken? Why not donate a variety of food items?

Dalai Lama supports Taiwan democracy

On a visit to Taiwan, the Dalai Lama called on the Taiwanese people to protect their democratic institutions, saying, "You achieved democracy. That you must preserve".

The Dalai Lama went to Taiwan to visit and pray for the victims of Typhoon Morakot. The visit also had important political dimensions, since he was invited to the island by the opposition. China, as usual, protested against the visit. China and Taiwan do not disagree with each other over the status of Tibet: both the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (the mainland) see Taiwan as an integral part of China (see map).

The Dalai Lama said that Taiwan "should have a very close, unique link with China".

Touring the village of Xiaoling, which suffered from mudslides as a result of the typhoon, the Dalai Lama was reminded of "Buddha's message of impermanence. It is indeed very very sad."

Hsueh Shu-Chun, who lost her entire family save her husband, said that "Praying for the victims brings relief not only to them but to survivors like me."

Something Even More Magical

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