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”Amerikanska muslimer planerar protest och aktivism under Ramadan i Gaza-krigets skugga”

Aktivister planerar intensiva månader med handling och organisation under ramadan för att stärka gemenskapen.

Every weekend during the month of Ramadan for the past six years, tens of thousands of Muslims have flocked to Dearborn, Michigan, to attend a late-night Suhoor Festival, named for the meal eaten before the daylong fast starts during Ramadan.
From 10 p.m. until 3 a.m., the festival’s attendees, who will fast from food and water once the sun comes up, spend the pre-dawn hours eating and drinking with family and friends from specialty food trucks and shopping in the warmth of vendors’ heated tents. The joyous occasion has become a hallmark of Dearborn life, where more than half the residents are Arab Americans.
But this year, in light of the war and starvation taking place in Gaza, as well as Muslim-majority countries such as Yemen and Sudan, the organizers of the festival have scaled it down, rebranding it as “Suhoor for Humanity.”
“This year, we are not looking to be festive, but to bring people together for a good cause,” said Ali Sayed, owner of Hype Athletics, a youth center in Dearborn Heights where the rebranded event will take place. A handful of food trucks and vendors will be on-site, but organizers are focused on raising money for three charities that provide aid to Palestine, Yemen and Lebanon, which is currently facing a devastating financial crisis.
They are also hoping to add spiritual and religious speakers to their roster of events this year. “We are hurt and devastated by the atrocities taking place in Palestine, and the city as a whole is hurt and torn by it all, especially with the lack of trust and support by our government.”
As Israel’s war on Gaza enters its sixth month, Muslim Americans are struggling to make sense of the level of death, destruction and displacement that has befallen Gaza, with more than 85% of the population forced from their homes and more than 31,000 Palestinians killed, according to local authorities, including an estimated 13,000 children.
They are angry, too, at President Joe Biden’s and other American politicians’ slowness in calling for a cease-fire or even initially in acknowledging the loss of life. Many have stopped watching mainstream media and instead are livestreaming graphic images posted by Palestinian and other citizen journalists, which have left them feeling raw and demoralized.
”People are crying, trying to make sense of it all,” said Hanan Hashem, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at William James College in Boston and a community educator at the Family & Youth Institute, which focuses on mental health among young Muslims. ”They’re finding it very difficult to function, very difficult to show up in class, to pay attention, to finish their assignments, to have conversations with their coworkers, to show up to meetings.”
Hashem, whose family hails from Yemen, said the closer they are to people in the conflicts, the more trauma they suffer and the harder it is to know how to respond.
The holy month of Ramadan, experts say, might be arriving just as these Muslims need it most. The most sacred time of the year, Ramadan is a time for reflection and deep prayer, and mosques are often buzzing with people gathered to recite the Quran. It is also a time to highlight Muslim values of selflessness and philanthropy and of unity: Besides refraining from food and drink, Muslims are to abstain from fighting and gossip.
These disciplines tend to focus participants on their spiritual goals. Hashem and others have been looking to popular imams to explain how to use Ramadan’s time of discipline and prayer to turn Muslims’ empathy for those caught in the war zone into action.