Now food threatens right-wing bloggers.

 

| Tue Aug. 9, 2011 1:29 AM PDT

For the last two weeks, Whole Foods promoted frozen products made by Saffron Road, maker of all-natural halal foods, in celebration of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Emphasis on these products, which include famous Indian and Thai dishes, drew the ire of right-wing bloggers like Debbie Schlussel, who in late July blasted the Whole Foods promotion on her blog with a story titled ”Anti-Israel Whole Foods Wishes You a Happy Ramadan.” According to various media outlets, the backlash forced Whole Foods to cancel the promotion. This morning, theHouston Press said it obtained an email from Whole Foods that reads: “It is probably best that we don’t specifically call out or ‘promote’ Ramadan…We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.” Not surprisingly, commenters on Twitter spending the better part of the morning blasting the company for the leaked message. Reza Aslan, an expert on Islam, tweeted: “Under pressure from Right Wing Nuts, Whole Foods cancels #Ramadanpromotion. Right. BC my local Whole Foods is full of Republicans. Morons.”

But not so fast: the grocery store says the promotion is still on.…

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beingblog
I have always enjoyed Being’s thoughtful attempts to increase understanding. Ramadan began two days ago, and Being revisits its efforts to elicit the meaning of that time for everyday people who observe it. I believe a civil society is one which takes time to increase its understanding of all of its members, and I invite you to that project.
beingblog:

The Triumph of Ramadan
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Two years ago I had the privilege of interviewing three dozen people for an online project we were calling “Expressions of Muslim Identity.” It was a single phrase that sparked this initiative: “the Muslim world.” This three-word bit of shorthand was — and still is — being used by television reporters and newspaper columnists, bloggers and foreign correspondents, and it was even creeping into drafts of our production scripts.
But how could this phrase possibly be applied to more than a billion Muslims living in all cultures and segments of society — from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, from Turkey to the United States and Canada? When we journalists repeatedly employ this phrase into our scripts and our copy, how do we homogenize this diverse group of people and create a monolithic bloc with erased faces? 
So we aimed to change the conversation — for ourselves and for our audiences — by directly appealing to Muslims. We asked them to respond to these questions:
What does “being Muslim” mean to you?
What do you find beautiful about Islam?
How does it find expression in your daily life?
What hopes, questions, and concerns are on your mind as you ponder the future of your tradition?
We received hundreds of eloquent responses and selected more than 30 people to interview. What was meant to be an online-only project quickly morphed into a radio an podcast production. Our intent was to craft one hour of radio to be called “Living Islam,” but, once we started listening to all these voices, we realized that almost every Muslim offered an unsolicited story about Ramadan.
With all these wonderful memories of fasting and prayer and family, we decided to create a second hour of radio featuring the voices of 14 Muslims. Even then, we were still discarding more than double that number of poignant stories about Ramadan, so we created a special podcast that was promoted by iTunes: 30 voices in 30 days, one voice for each day of Ramadan. “Revealing Ramadan” was the result, and I couldn’t be prouder.
Give it a listen and share with your friends. Whether you know a little or a lot about this holiest month, you’ll be moved and reminded of the distinct character of the many Muslims who observe Ramadan. They will delight and surprise you, and paint a self-portrait of what it means to be Muslim in their own words.

I have always enjoyed Being’s thoughtful attempts to increase understanding. Ramadan began two days ago, and Being revisits its efforts to elicit the meaning of that time for everyday people who observe it. I believe a civil society is one which takes time to increase its understanding of all of its members, and I invite you to that project.

beingblog:

The Triumph of Ramadan

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Two years ago I had the privilege of interviewing three dozen people for an online project we were calling “Expressions of Muslim Identity.” It was a single phrase that sparked this initiative: “the Muslim world.” This three-word bit of shorthand was — and still is — being used by television reporters and newspaper columnists, bloggers and foreign correspondents, and it was even creeping into drafts of our production scripts.

But how could this phrase possibly be applied to more than a billion Muslims living in all cultures and segments of society — from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, from Turkey to the United States and Canada? When we journalists repeatedly employ this phrase into our scripts and our copy, how do we homogenize this diverse group of people and create a monolithic bloc with erased faces? 

So we aimed to change the conversation — for ourselves and for our audiences — by directly appealing to Muslims. We asked them to respond to these questions:

  • What does “being Muslim” mean to you?
  • What do you find beautiful about Islam?
  • How does it find expression in your daily life?
  • What hopes, questions, and concerns are on your mind as you ponder the future of your tradition?

We received hundreds of eloquent responses and selected more than 30 people to interview. What was meant to be an online-only project quickly morphed into a radio an podcast production. Our intent was to craft one hour of radio to be called “Living Islam,” but, once we started listening to all these voices, we realized that almost every Muslim offered an unsolicited story about Ramadan.

With all these wonderful memories of fasting and prayer and family, we decided to create a second hour of radio featuring the voices of 14 Muslims. Even then, we were still discarding more than double that number of poignant stories about Ramadan, so we created a special podcast that was promoted by iTunes: 30 voices in 30 days, one voice for each day of Ramadan. “Revealing Ramadan” was the result, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Give it a listen and share with your friends. Whether you know a little or a lot about this holiest month, you’ll be moved and reminded of the distinct character of the many Muslims who observe Ramadan. They will delight and surprise you, and paint a self-portrait of what it means to be Muslim in their own words.

Today begins the holy month of Ramadan, Islam’s most sacred time of year. It celebrates when Muhammad went to the desert, encountered Allah in the form of the archangel Gabriel, and received the scriptures that form the Qur’an.

There are about 1 billion Muslims around the world observing Ramadan. Muslims past the age of puberty are required to fast from sunrise to sundown this month. It is a strict fast — no food or water is allowed during daylight hours, and neither is smoking. Elderly people and sick people are exempt from fasting.

The point of the sacrifice is to become closer to God, to practice self-discipline, and to aid in self-purification. Each evening of Ramadan, the fast is broken after the sunset call to prayer with a meal called the iftar.

In many parts of the world, Ramadan is the most festive time of the year as well as the most solemn time. In places like Cairo, fancy restaurants serve all-you-can eat gourmet iftar buffets, and the city packs a month full of Ramadan nightlife into the calendar — concerts and theater and open-air dancehalls. All of this happens without alcohol, of course.

Ramadan ends exactly one lunar month after it begins, with the sighting of the new moon. It’s followed by a three-day feast called Eid al-Fitr, the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast. People travel to be with their families or take a vacation from work. And everyone eats plenty.

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor for Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Nothing shall cross the lips." I am mindful of my friends beginning this month-long spiritual journey today. Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!