LETTER: Practicing solidarity

May 16 marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer for 1.8 billion Muslims all over the world, as well as local Syrian families and practicing Muslims here on Vashon. During Ramadan, all capable adults (and some youth) fast from sunrise to sunset. When fasting, Muslims have one meal before sunrise, called suhoor, and share another meal with friends and family after sunset, called iftar. It is a holy time of reflection, patience and generosity. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festival where people visit family and friends, buy new clothes and give generously to charities and relatives. Ramadan is determined by the Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar, which means it differs annually. As you can imagine, fasting from sunrise to sunset is more arduous in June than in December. This year, between May 16 and June 14, fasting is observed from 5:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Two weeks ago, islanders born in Syria, Mexico and different parts of the United States came together for our weekly English conversation class. All of us have different spiritual practices and cultural perspectives. Some of us are young, some are old. Some of us drink coffee, some tea. Collectively, we are accountants, educators, mothers, nannies, dancers, artists, cooks, lawyers and editors. We support one another as friends and sisters.

With Ramadan on the horizon, we discussed how each of us would give up or change one thing in our lives for one month to be in solidarity with our Syrian friends. We came up with the following daily commitments: No Facebook, No self-judgment, turning off the phone for an hour and reading, 20-minute meditation, exercising; no sugar (before sundown!).

Are you inspired? What will you give up, let go of or change for the rest of Ramadan? Join us.

— Molly Matter

More in Letters to the Editor

Halloween fireworks display caused fear

I would never have thought I could be a fearful person. But… Continue reading

What to do after I-1631 failure?

You may have heard some economist last week mention the concept of… Continue reading

Gun owners need to use weapons safely

I am a Vietnam veteran (1968). Although I live within earshot of… Continue reading

Billing for ambulance transport is unfair

This year, Vashon Island Fire Rescue (VIFR) got a gift from island… Continue reading

We must act on behalf of others

It is our job to remember and show up for those who are pushed to the edges.

Each person was a light in darkness

Each of us must continue to take a stand every day.

Financially stable clinic will require our support

Vashon Island cannot have a financially sustainable clinic without support from the island.

Op-ed should have addressed concerns

Asking for accountability is not criticism.

Eliminating dangerous sport would save money

It’s imperative to place students’ health and safety first, even before educating them.

Donated funds strengthen schools

We appreciate your generous support.

LETTER: We face loss of life’s most precious gifts

Our rights and freedoms depend on the persistence and quality of our… Continue reading

LETTER: Youth need all the support they can get

I was very impressed with the mentorship program mentioned in your recent… Continue reading