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Posts Tagged ‘Harriet Marsden

Eid al-Fitr: Muslims around world celebrate end of Ramadan fast

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the holy month of fasting

This weekend, Muslims all over the globe begin celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan.

The name translates as “the festival of breaking the fast” as during the month of Ramadan, Muslims perform one of the five pillars of Islam: the fast.

Food, water and sexual activity are all banned until after sunset.

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Egyptian Muslim men and women are separated from each other as they gather for a prayer in the village of Dalgamon, Tanta, some 120 kilometres north of Cairo, Egypt (EPA / Khaled Elfiqi)

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is believed that the Quran’s first verse was revealed during the last 10 nights of this month.

The exact date of Eid depends on the lunar cycle, and it is traditionally celebrated for three days – although from country to country, the festival can last anywhere from one to four days.

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Muslims offer prayers outside the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Great Mosque of Paris) (AFP / Zakaria Abdelkafi)

Muslims in the UK generally celebrate Eid for a single day.

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Saudis and foreigners perform prayer at the al-Masmak grand mosque of Prince Turki bin Abdulla palace in Riyadh (EPA / STR)

It’s not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, the “sacrifice feast” – so-called to honour Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael – which takes place two months later and coincides with the annual Mecca pilgrimage.

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (3rd R) attends prayers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, inside a mosque in Hama (SANA Handout via Reuters)

To commemorate Eid, prayers are offered in the morning at the mosque, with readings from the Quran.

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Pakistani residents offer Eid al-Fitr prayers on the outskirts of Peshawar (AFP/Getty Images)

Celebrations then take place with friends and family, as well as among the whole community.

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Bangladeshi Muslims travel home for celebrations on a crowded ferry in Dhaka (Rex Features / Sony Ramany)

Children often receive new clothes and their first pocket money, and parents exchange gifts and pastries.

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Afghan children ride swings during celebrations in Herat (EPA / Jalil Rezayee)

 

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In Albanian capital Tirana, prayers take place on recently renovated Skanderbeg Square (AP / Hektor Pustina)

 

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Egyptians try to catch balloons released after prayers, in a public park outside Cairo’s El-Seddik Mosque (Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

This year marks the first time since 1996 that the White House will not host a celebratory iftar dinner to commemorate Eid.

First held in the White House in 1805, Hillary Clinton made the ritual an annual tradition in 1996 after learning more about it from her daughter Chelsea.

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An Afghan woman and her son beg at a Kabul mosque on the first day of Eid (Reuters / Omar Sobhani)

The White House issued a statement on Saturday evening: “Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honour these values.”

The statement ends with the traditional greeting: Eid Mubarak (blessed Eid).

Why we should compare Trump to Hitler

Comparing dictators to Hitler, or fascists to Nazis, is often criticised as intellectually lazy, inaccurate and even dangerous.

However, over the past year parallels drawn between the rise of Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump have been numerous.

A 1922 article from the New York Times archive resurfaced in February 2015, which massively underestimated Hitler’s capacity for destruction, dismissing much of his campaign promises as political rhetoric.

Many drew comparisons with the response to Trump’s victory, after which people were hopeful that Trump cynically uses nationalism and xenophobic anti-immigration in order to gain votes, but will be tempered from acting on his more brutal promises.

Some of the descriptions of Hitler and the rise of Nazi populism seemed very familiar…

Another condition favourable to the outburst of the movement is the widespread discontent with the existing state of affairs among all classes in the towns and cities under the increasing economic pressure.

He is a man of the ‘common people’ and hence, has the makings of a ‘popular hero’ appealing to all classes.

His program consists chiefly of half a dozen negative ideas clothed in generalities

He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish.

He talks rough, shaggy, sound horse sense, and according to public opinion, a strong, active leader equipped with horse sense is the need of the hour.

In particular, one image of a sign in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which describes 14 early signs of fascism, went viral after acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates was fired.

Timothy Snyder, Yale professor of history and author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, released this video explaining the value of comparison.

He explains how comparing Trump to Hitler can be useful, despite key differences.

Obviously, comparing Trump to Hitler does not necessarily imply that Trump is going to perpetrate a genocide.

Nevertheless, without a proper consideration of history we are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

Transcript:

So the way to start the discussion about comparisons is to point out that Americans are extremely lazy about history. I mean that’s one way in which were definitely number one among major nations.

And one of the ways we’re lazy about history is that as soon as anyone suggests that the past might be useful, then we say “but wait it’s not exactly the same and therefore I’m just going to discard it.”

In that way in two or three seconds we give ourselves an excuse not to think about history.

The premise of the book “On Tyranny” is not that Hitler is just like Trump or Trump is just like Hitler. The premise is that democratic republics usually fail and it’s useful for us to see how they fail.

One of the ways a democratic republic can fail is Germany in 1933. There are plenty of other examples in the book, also from the left wing Czechoslovakia in 1948 becoming communist.

The point of the book is that these things really happened over and over again and that intelligent people, no less intelligent than us, experienced them and left a record for us to learn from. (And they were far more cultured and read abundantly and discussed at length and met)

So what I’m trying to do in the book is to help us to learn from that record so we don’t have events like Germany in 1933 or Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Just saying “Hitler’s not like Trump“ or ”Trump is not like Hitler” isn’t going to save us.

Learning for the past though, could.

Early signs of fascism, went viral after acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates was fired.

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