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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Ramadan is a true test of spirituality, faith

By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com; Daily Pilot
August 10, 2010

I will be among about 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide who will begin fasting from sunrise to sunset Wednesday.

We will observe Ramadan by praying during the night and fasting during the day for the next month.

Ramadan, Muslims' holy month, is an exciting time for me. You'd think that with no food or water all day, I'd be upset and grumpy.

But the opposite is true.

Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.

Ramadan isn't just about abstaining from food and water, it's about exercising discipline, self-restraint and generosity, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"It's our month of the year where we focus on renewing our spirituality and our faith through acts of worship as well as acts of good deeds and good work toward fellow human beings and the larger society," Ayloush said.

I was taught to fast when I was just 6 years old. My uncle, Gamal Mandour, one of my mother's six brothers, was the first to tell me about Ramadan, the purpose of it and why we fast.

Khalo (uncle) Gamal wanted to simplify things for me, a child who didn't exactly understand spirituality.

Before actually getting me to fast, he wanted to prepare me mentally. He first told me that it's what God wants us to do and it's to teach us to be kind and good to others. To teach us to refrain from envy, jealousy, anger and selfishness.

Khalo Gamal said, When you feel hungry and thirsty, think of all the people and children who have no food, no water, no family and nothing at all.

Then the training began...

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