DISCOVERING THE BEAUTY OF RAMADAN
COVER STORY—Now more than ever, we all should try to learn more about Ramadan. Anti-Muslim bias is on the rise in many parts of the West, which fuels global tension and that seems especially tragic in this annual month of fasting and peaceful, prayerful renewal for a quarter of the world’s population. During Ramadan, Muslim families around the world turn to the kind of self-reflection that Christians traditionally experience during Lent and Jews seek during the High Holidays.
We recommend the classic overview of this month by Najah Bazzy, a Muslim educator, philanthropist and nationally known expert in cross-cultural healthcare. You can learn more about her book in our bookstore. Or, you may prefer to read a sample of her book, the chapter titled Why We Fast. We also invite you to enjoy—and share with friends—this interview with Najah Bazzy about her work and the traditions of the fasting month.
Also, our Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on Ramadan 2017, including a new Pew Research Center report on the growth of the world’s Muslim population.
After a decade of publishing ReadTheSpirit, we know that our online magazine is read around the world. But we also know that a majority of our readership lives in the U.S. and Canada—and has a Christian affiliation. So you might ask: Why do we pay so much attention to Ramadan and reaching out to our Muslim friends and neighbors? Joe Grimm, who teaches at the Michigan State University School of Journalism, answered that question for us in a column headlined: How your Ramadan greeting can build a healthier community.
In keeping with our Ramadan theme, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis brings us a two-part column that was published a couple of years ago—yet remains a popular destination for readers seeking stories about refugees from Afghanistan and their food traditions. Part 1 in the series describes Parwan Anwar’s family customs during the month of Ramadan and includes a recipe for bolani, an Afghani stuffed, fried bread that is terrific when it comes time to break the daily fast. Then, in Part 2, Parwin describes the dangerous trek through mountain roads that she and her family followed in fleeing from Afghanistan in the 1970s. That column has a recipe for another Ramadan favorite: Shorba Birang, a rich vegetable soup from her homeland.
Want more on holidays? Remember the simple address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.
GOD SIGNS—This week, columnist Suzy Farbman brings us the story of a family that kept a secret for many years—about a daughter of jazz legend Louis Armstrong. The story finally has been breaking into the news media in recent years, including original letters from Armstrong about the relationship. Suzy tells us the story of the two women most directly affected by this unusual family story.
FILM & FAITH:
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.
Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:
- COLOSSAL—Ed writes, “Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo fantasy film is a fascinating tale of the wounded psyche wreaking havoc in the world.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- LOST CITY OF Z—”If you enjoyed the Indiana Jones adventure films, writer-director James Gray’s is the film for you, based on the 2009 book by David Grann,” writes Ed in giving this film 4.5 stars.
- THE PROMISE—This week, Ed weighs in on the movie that’s sparking headlines worldwide, because of its portrayal of the Armenian Genocide a century ago. Ed gives The Promise 4.5 stars. You may also want to read last week’s Cover Story about global controversy that remains around this tragic event.
- FRANTZ—Given this week’s theme in ReadTheSpirit, this heart-felt German-French production is a terrific choice—set in the World War I era and exploring the human cost of war long after the conflict ends. (5 out of 5 stars)
- PERSONAL SHOPPER—Starring Kristen Stewart, the movie seems to be a mix of genres, including ghost stories and thrillers. (4.5 stars)
- BORN IN CHINA—It’s appropriate that Disney engaged Chinese director Lu Chuan to helm this beautiful nature film, most of which was shot in the China highlands. (4 stars)
- AFTER THE STORM—Japanese director/writer Hirokazu Koreeda explores the broken life of a Japanese family in both a dramatic and humorous way, bringing out well the universal theme of not living up to one’s early promise. (5 stars)
- LAND of MINE—In his Oscar-nominated film, Danish director/writer Martin Zandvliet gives us a new slant on WW 2, as well as an always needed lesson on human decency. (5 out of 5 stars)
- LOGAN—The latest X-men thriller also gets 5 stars.
- ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE—Ed reflects on the Holocaust film along with excerpts from Psalms. (4.5 stars)
- WHITE HELMETS—”We are indebted to Netflix for making documentarian Orlando von Einsiedel’s short film so widely available,” Ed writes. (5 stars)