This may not be the call to action you would expect from a lifelong Catholic.How long before all infidel women are advised to don the hijab during Ramadan so as to promote understanding?
As one of the 5 pillars of the Muslim faith, fasting during Ramadan is expected in Islam. Yet the personal motivation to fast given by one of my colleagues, Nigerian neurosurgeon Muhammed Mahmud, still resonates.
"You can talk about poverty all you want, but being poor means being hungry, and an empty stomach gets your attention like nothing else does," he explained. "We Muslims think the world will be a better, kinder place if all of us spend a month each year feeling, really FEELING, in our bellies, what it is like to be poor."
His words spoke to me. I believe they would speak to most people, of most religions. His words ring equally true to all the secular humanists I know.
Imagine, for a moment, what it would mean if every adult American, more than 225 million of us, gave up one lunch during Ramadan: at $5/lunch this would raise $1.25 billion. The savings could be donated to the church, synagogue, mosque or charity of your choice.
True understanding comes from shared experience. This year during Ramadan, let's consider reaffirming our common spiritual heritage by embracing the discipline and the spiritual concentration that skipping a lunch, or 30 lunches, would require. This shared experience with the Muslim community, here and abroad, could go a longer way toward ending our serious, and often violent, interfaith struggles than any effort to date. And maybe we could begin to eliminate world hunger along the way.
Or maybe we should all be reciting the first pillar of Islam. Remember, just the recitation thereof automatically makes the utterer a Moslem, whether the reciter believes the words or not.