“OHR Asks Allies to Fast in Solidarity with DC Muslims on June 29”

mosque
Photo by PoPville flickr user James0806

From a press release:

“The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) and KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights encourage non-Muslim District residents to join Muslims in a day of fasting on June 29. This fast is part of an effort to increase understanding and awareness of the Muslim community in DC. The one-day campaign titled “Fast with DC Muslims: A Day of Understanding and Solidarity,” will occur during the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink during daylight hours to rededicate themselves to faith and self-reflection. Participants who register by June 19 will receive a #FastWithDCMuslims pin to wear on June 29, and an information packet to help them further understand the DC Muslim community and the significance of Ramadan.

“The vast majority of District residents support their Muslim neighbors and appreciate their contributions to the District, however media and political rhetoric often create misperceptions that can lead to discrimination,” said OHR Director Mónica Palacio. “That is why on June 29, we are asking allies and those wanting to become allies to join Muslims in fasting, and to spend the day sharing information with colleagues, family and friends about the vibrant and diverse Muslim community in DC.”

Participants can register for free online, and will pledge not to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They will be encouraged to use the provided information packet to raise awareness about the DC Muslim community through personal interactions and social media, and to share their motivation for participating. Additionally, the #FastWithDCMuslims pin will provide space for participants to write-in one of their own traits or identities – to say “Latina and Fasting,” for example – to demonstrate the wide support for DC Muslims from many communities. Individuals unable to fast for medical or personal reasons are still encouraged to register and participate, by wearing the pin and raising awareness throughout the day.

Individuals can register to participate for free at fastwithdcmuslims.eventbrite.com. Participants must register by June 19 to receive the #FastWithDCMuslims pin and information packet by mail. Additional information and an image of the #FastWithDCMuslims pin are available at ohr.dc.gov/page/fastwithdcmuslims.”

41 Comment

  • Isn’t this an example of the government supporting organizing religion? It’s my understanding that Islam isn’t a culture or a race; but a religion.

    Many in this city would be up in arms if OHR asked residents not to eat meat on Fridays out of respect, understanding and solidarity for the Catholic community in DC.

    I understand and appreciate the sentiment, but just find it hypocritical.

    • Yes, but Catholics in D.C. generally haven’t been shouted at or attacked in the streets or had their churches vandalized or had people reporting them as terrorists lately. In fact, they have a nice little section of D.C. real estate and you can stroll around like you’re in Mini-Vatican City. I do agree, however, that everyone is best served when government and religion stay far away from one another.

      • Not recently – and I don’t know about DC – but anti-catholic sentiment/legislation/prejudice was indeed a real thing. Again – my point is to embrace the constitution – separation of church and state.

    • It’s not asking people to fast out of respect but in solidarity, to encourage understanding of a religion many know little about. They aren’t teaching people about the faith with the purpose to convert. They’re doing this as a show of strength against hate and prejudice against a minority group.

      • Is there significant anti-Islamic sentiment in D.C., though? Seems like this would be largely, um, preaching to the converted.
        .
        I don’t think spending a day fasting is a particularly good way to “increase understanding and awareness” of Muslims in D.C. And it seems questionable for a D.C. government agency to be encouraging this quasi-religious observance.

        • This is exactly right. Likely good intentions, but questionable execution at best and something that government should stay out of.

          • stay out of because this kind of endorsement of religious observance (in whatever form) will cause controversy and tumult (in whatever form). Protect anyone’s right to fast; don’t encourage anyone who doesn’t believe to go along with it. Period.

    • Do you say the same when the Obama family hosts Passover every year?

      • The Obamas are deciding to hold a Seder for their own reasons. They’re not asking anyone else to do the same.

  • This is not going to go over well…
    (I support it but can see potential for a huge backlash)

  • andy

    while I’m sympathetic this feels more like astroturf than grassroots organizing. Also, clunky and not fun.

  • I appreciate the sentiment & have known & liked Muslims from numerous countries that I’ve interacted with professionally. But Ramadan is a religious observance. I don’t choose to participate in another’s religious observance. Cultural or national observances, yes. Learning a few words of Arabic, yes. Recognizing that Ramadan is starting now, yes I know this. But I find this bizarre.

  • this is more than stupid

  • “Religious” dietary restrictions for whatever faith – go ahead – knock yourselves out. But Govt. support for “Joining” or “honoring” or “observing” is at the least silly, at the most unconstitutional.

  • It feels like people are overthinking this. Days of fasting have a long history, Muslims are having a hard time of it, Muslims are fasting for Ramadan, therefor fasting in solidarity Muslims is kind of an obvious thing if you’re the sort of concerned bureaucrat that works for the Office of Human Rights and is keen to demonstrate your sensitivity to other oppressed cultures. And, just as the bored civil servants at OHR need something to justify their existence, so do KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. Now everyone has a press release with their name on it, everyone feels good about themselves and the profile of anti-Muslim actions has been raised because we’re all talking about it. Someone might even learn something about another religion. And, since the fast is “in solidarity” and not in observance of Ramadan, it’s not even a “quasi-religious” action. Allah akhbar, dude.

    • Wow. Lots of words. How about everybody does/eats/dances however they want. Respect whatever – as long as the powers in charge aren’t trying to exclude or kill you. You don’t actually have to embrace/understand any religion/cult/ethinic group. Any religion that doesn’t kill people is fine by me.

  • Given Islam’s often intolerance of Western values, I am always surprised how tolerant the West is of Islam. I don’t think fasting is necessary.

    • ^ignorance is never in short supply here, i’m afraid

    • That’s because the West tries to remain civilized, regardless of how badly other cultures would like to see us burn.

      • LOl, you do realize that the US and Europe continue to reap the dividends of slavery and colonialization – all done under the guise of Christianity and “civilizing” the natives?

        • LOL, you do realize that you wouldn’t be able to use a computer to condescend to people on the internet without the US and Europe?

  • Can’t I show solidarity in some other way? I like food, and I don’t think that not eating will increase my understanding of what it’s like to be a Muslim.

    • It might have been smarter of them to ask people to join Muslims in celebrating Eid al-Fitr (feast at the end of Ramadan).

      • Yes. Being part of a celebration feast would be more my style.

        • Fast – feast – whatever works for you. As long as you reject the the crucifixion/beheading/burning alive/drowning as a witch parts of religions – go ahead! Stand on your head – flagellate yourself – as long as you’re not hurting other people.

  • Seems unconstitutional and stupid. Please lay off the religion, DC government.

  • The picture for this post is of the mosque on Mass Ave. which is frequented by diplomats–certainly not an accurate representation of the Muslim community here in DC. Want an authentic taste of the DC Muslim experience? Stop by Masjid Muhammad in Shaw for a bean pie. The mosque has been there since the 1960s– way before there was a Shaw Main Street. Better yet, next time you’re exploring the new distilleries, Nike Store, or over-priced Hecht’s apartments in Ivy City (or wait do we call it #Douglastown now?), check out Ivy City Masjid. Maybe you’re not a hipster (we call ourselves mipsters– wait for it, muslim hipsters) and Georgetown is still your scene– go check out the archeological dig site at Yaro Mahmoud’s former home or his dope portrait just around the corner at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. Yaro was brought to this country as a slave and died a property owner. If it’s a history lesson you’re looking for, check out America’s Islamic Heritage Museum on MLK Ave. in Historic Anacostia– go east of the river for the afternoon and give your self a pat on the back. We’ll be breaking our fast every night for the month around the city at sunset. Yes at mosques, but also out at cafes and restaurants, maybe even at the table next to you. So pull up a chair and come join us because the Muslim community is part of the fabric of this city, yet just this spring Popville talked about how we’re still being harassed by the fabric on our heads. (http://www.popville.com/2016/03/muslim-women-reclaim-safe-space-at-shaw-library-saturday-2pm/)

    • Linc Park SE

      Nice – well said.

    • justinbc

      Condescension, the quickest way to win people over!

    • Masjid Muhammad is in Truxton Circle.

      • It was Shaw before you moved in and real estate agents re-branded it.

        • It is indeed amusing how Shaw was a bad word even a couple years ago and now everyone is stumbling over themselves to say they’re in Shaw. For the record, we didn’t learn that we’d moved out of Shaw until after our move across New Jersey Ave. That’s how I learned to be pedantic about it. But yes, the long-timers in the neighborhood have made clear that it was long Shaw as far as the eye could see.

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truxton_Circle
          .
          “Named for a traffic circle that was demolished in 1947, the neighborhood is reclaiming its identity after decades of being presumed nameless.”

          • Linc Park SE

            Curious – how many blocks make up a neighborhood? Hill East= big, Cap Hill = big, Barney Cir = tiny etc

            How dies one decide their neighborhood isnt named?

Comments are closed.