An article in the NY Times today about how the Orlando killings are again snatching away a sense of normality for Muslim teens during Ramadan, a time that should be reflective and celebratory.
Last year, during Ramadan, I spent a lot of time wandering the streets of Queens and Brooklyn for my new novel Watched. And what I was so struck by–and what is lost in these polarizing times where Islam is equated with frightening headlines–is the way in which Islam, observance, is part of the fabric of life, a rhythm for one’s days. I watched families hurry to pick up last groceries, stroll and linger on streets before and after prayers, crowd around tables under the pale wash of florescent restaurant light for the Iftar, the evening meal. Little children cupped in father’s arms; a man and his wife, their robes blazing white in the dark, rushed off a bus, across a busy avenue. By one tiny mosque, where the women prayed, jammed next to one another in a narrow basement, prayers voiced in through speakers, little children set off tiny bang-snaps outside, annoying the adults who also forgave them. It was such a New York, a Brooklyn scene: how many children have been doing that for generations on borough pavements?
Take a look at the beautiful slide show that captures some of this.