Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is the fourth pillar of Islam known as Saum, or fasting. It is every Muslim's duty to observe a strict fast from dawn until dusk. The benefits achieved through Ramadan can be life-altering. Can we as Christians make sense of it all?
People have struggled to master their bodies and minds throughout history. The urge to eat is one of the most powerful motivations that Muslims must overcome, along with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, which are often abused as in any other culture.
To commemorate Ramadan, Muslims convinced the United States Postal Service to issue various stamps throughout the years and every time a new one was issued there was a backlash, usually going viral on the Internet. In 2010 people started to link these stamps to Islamic terrorist attacks.
E-rumors started to surface that the stamps were for Muslims to remember the bombing of World Trade Centre in 1993, the bombing of Marine Barracks in Lebanon, in Saudi Arabia, the embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, 9/11. In other words, terrorist attacks.
The cost of one of these stamps was 34 cents in 2001, in 2007, 41 cents. Now, the stamp has a "Forever" denomination, meaning the price will never change and the value will remain constant.
During Ramadan in 2001 and 2002, two stamps were offered, written in Islamic calligraphy to commemorate the two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (blessed holidays). President Obama has ordered the United States Postal Service to remember and honour these Islamic holidays.
To Americans using these stamps, it is like being slapped in the face, an insult for those who died from the hands that these stamps represent. I urge every American and every Canadian (if we come out with one) to boycott these stamps, now that Ramadan is in full swing, I'm sure there's a stamp somewhere, designed for 2015, or maybe next year. Then again, it could just be another E-rumor.
Any which way you look at it, E-rumor or not, we don't need any reminders of the terrors of Islam. Is there nothing more positive that we can commemorate? Then I looked to see if there were any other religions depicted on US Postal stamps.
Wouldn't-you-know! There's Jewish stamps, celebrating Chanukah, a Jewish holiday, Hindu stamps celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, and one for almost every other religion you can think of, but when a new Christian stamp rolls off the press, guess what? There's a big back-lash. Why's that? Santa has been deemed okay but Jesus isn't. How fair is that?
Atheists are no better! They "went postal" back in 2010, after hearing Mother Teresa was going to be on a Christmas stamp. Then there's Wicca, we can't leave them out.
Maybe we should go back to depictions of sports or wildlife, birds and mammals. Here in Canada, maybe we should drop the silhouette of Liz?
Then again, that would infuriate us Christian ageists and royalists to no end! Now wouldn't it?
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