Islam

Iowa City school board takes historic vote, adds days off for Eid al-Fitr, Yom Kippur

April 14, 2021

In a historic move for the state, Iowa City school district officials on Tuesday approved two days off next school year to accommodate Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday, and Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday.

It all started with one student's advocacy. Reem Kirja, 13, has been petitioning the district to change the calendar since she was in elementary school. In her three years of emails and discussions with district leadership, she has argued that allowing days off for Eid recognizes the diversity of the district, breaks down stereotypes about...

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‘Coming Back to God’: Religious Leaders Say Sacramentans Relied More On Faith During Pandemic

March 31, 2021

When Sacramento State University classes went online because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, 19 year-old Nicole Oneto moved back in with her parents about an hour south of Fresno.

“I was brought back into this bubble again,” said Oneto about feeling isolated in her rural hometown of Woodlake. She lives on 10 acres and doesn’t share some of the worldviews as her neighbors.

So earlier this year, she decided to start logging into the Sunday church services at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, where her grandparents attend.

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Religious holidays arrive for the faithful as pandemic restrictions rolled back across U.S.

March 31, 2021

For Christians across the United States, Easter services on Sunday will reflect an extra measure of joy as the nation experiences rising optimism after a year of pandemic. Even if still observing restrictions, many churches may draw the largest numbers of in-person worshippers in months.

It’s a season of major holy days for other faiths as well, occurring in a brighter mood than a year ago. Jews are observing Passover this week, and Muslims will enter the holy month of Ramadan in about two weeks.

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Members of many Covid-weary Vermont faith communities are staying online

March 30, 2021

A year after moving to online offerings, some Vermont spiritual communities are returning to in-person services this Easter, Passover and Ramadan, while others continue to restrict gatherings to virtual ones.

“If you recall, none of our churches were open for the Easter celebrations last year as we began the initial struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic,” Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne said. “Unlike last year, Easter this year is a bit more festive, a bit more celebratory.”

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'A redemption': Muslim leader gives prayer in Oklahoma Senate

March 30, 2021

Oklahoma Muslims celebrated a historic moment Monday when a Muslim faith leader gave the daily prayer in the state Senate.

Thought to be the first Muslim invocation in the Oklahoma Senate, Imad Enchassi’s prayer was years in the making

The senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City applied to lead the daily prayer in the Oklahoma House in...

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Religious Life at BU Is “Resilient and Resurgent,” despite Pandemic

March 30, 2021

In spring 2020, the 104-year-old widow of a former BU professor became one of Marsh Chapel’s first congregants to die from COVID-19. “We have not been able to gather” to memorialize her or others lost during the pandemic, as on-premises gathering remains suspended, Marsh Chapel Dean Robert Allan Hill laments one year later.

Yet while the virus forced what Hill calls “worshipping...

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Some U.S. Muslim groups try to spread the word that getting a Covid shot won’t break the Ramadan fast.

March 23, 2021

With Ramadan less than a month away, some Muslim organizations in the United States have begun addressing a critical question: whether the dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast prohibits Muslims from receiving vaccine injections during daylight hours.

The executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, Basharat Saleem, said that numerous scholars of Islamic law had been consulted on the matter.

“The...

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Local Muslim community still assessing damage to flooded mosque

March 18, 2021

The Denton Islamic Society is still assessing the damage from a catastrophic flood in the group’s Denton mosque.

Like countless other local businesses, apartments and homes, the society’s mosque was flooded after pipes froze during the February’s winter storm. Freezing temperatures had caused pipes in the mosque’s fire suppression system to burst overnight on Feb. 13, flooding the building with several inches of water...

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School Board Directs FCPS to Draft New Calendar Ahead of Vote

March 9, 2021

Inundated with messages from staff and community members on proposed changes to the 2021-22 calendar, Fairfax County School Board members directed Superintendent Scott Brabrand to redraft it.

During a work session on Tuesday (Mar. 2), the board told staff to consider ways to add flexibility through floating holidays. They said the calendar...

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Religious Groups Keep Faith During Pandemic, Remote Academic Year

February 23, 2021

D. Anthony Alvarez ’21, a member of the Harvard Latter-day Saints Student Association, has attended religious services at the same congregation off campus since he arrived at Harvard as a freshman.

This semester, Alvarez said he still attends services at that same congregation. Amid Covid-19, though, he must sign up to attend ahead of time, don a mask, and eschew singing, which can spread infectious particles.

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End of religious headwear rule says athletes are more than their uniforms

February 23, 2021

(RNS) — When she was not allowed to play in her second volleyball game of the season, 14-year-old Najah Aqeel never thought her pushback would knock down nearly every obstacle in her way, like a bowling ball knocking over pin after pin.

Last September, the ninth-grader at Valor College Prep in Nashville, Tennessee, was pulled from the court after an official pointed out that her coach had not provided a waiver for her to play while wearing her hijab, or religious headscarf. When she was told she couldn’t play, Najah started crying. She received support from her family and...

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Salt Lake County taking COVID vaccines to Black churches, mosques to reach wary minority communities

February 17, 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in at least one Salt Lake County church and soon may be offered at several other religious sites — especially those serving minority communities.

Calvary Baptist Church, one of Salt Lake City’s oldest and most prominent Black congregations, gave 85 doses Monday and will do more starting March 1, when the age for eligible recipients drops to 65. Officials hope to have enough vaccine supply to offer them twice weekly...

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Muslims in America: A forgotten history

February 12, 2021

In the summer of 1863, newspapers in North Carolina announced the death of “a venerable African”, referred to, in a paternalistic manner, as “Uncle Moreau”.

Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

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