يوم ١ في شهر رمضان
I have just realised that I have different sets of fajr, imsaak, iftaar and prayer times for Derby for Ramadhan 1431. The London Central Mosque website is quite possibly in meltdown due to high traffic and I haven’t been able to access it this evening. Will try ringing the nearest mosque here to get prayer times for Ramadhan. Makes me ask myself why I didn’t bag the prayer times I was reading at PAK Foods last week! I don’t remember it being quite this difficult last year. Must remember to start coordinating these things MUCH sooner for next Ramadhan in sha’ Allah!
Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Radio Ramadhan Glasgow about their broadcast for Ramadhan and I’m very happy to see that Radio Ramadhan is still on air. Radio Ramadhan covers a few major cities around the country so check out their website for all details. I could get to their Edinburgh, Glasgow and Luton pages but not the Birmingham one. Since Birmingham is the nearest city to me I’ll keep on trying! Would be nice to hear some ramadhan radio at 2am! I also had the privilege of speaking with the Islamic Relief people last Ramadhan about their Ramadhan campaigns and it’s on again this year. Islamic Relief was recently named runner-up at the The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ charity finance award. Islamic Relief do very good work and they’re an incredibly well-run organisation. Do help with their Ramadhan campaign any way you can.
It’s been many years since I’ve spent Ramadhan with family. This year is the same. My parents are at Umrah and may Allah keep them well. My mother, who is the most stubborn woman on earth, was left dehydrated and sick when they were at Ramadhan Umrah last year but insists that this year she’ll be fine “except for her dodgy knee”. Well mum and dad, God keep you both well and Ramadhan Kareem!
A friend of mine texted me yesterday as I was on the train travelling from Aberdeen to Derby:
“Untuk makluman. Hidangan ayam di kfc derby, derby DE24 8EY dan 86 kfc seluruh UK yang bertanda HFA adalah halal. Info at www.kfc.co.uk/about-kfc/halal“ (Translation in brief – FYI halal KFC in Derby and 86 other KFC outlets throughout the UK)
GREAT, I thought. I must admit I do enjoy a fantastically unhealthy finger lickin’ fried chicken meal once in a while and the last time I had KFC was in Cairo last year in July! So what’s the news with KFC and halal chicken in the UK? According to this site, KFC has removed bacon from 86 of its outlets in the UK and has started a ‘halal trial’, not allowing any meat not killed to Islamic dietary law to be used. Not everyone’s as happy as I am of course. People looking for some bacon have expressed their discontent, according to this report. Further, this Muslim site discusses KFC’s halal trial in a forum, with Muslims urging that ‘stunning’ the animal before slaughter is not permissible, and that the Halal Food Authority (HFA) in the UK has “controversial standards” and “are not represented by any reputable scholars”. At the end of the day, just as with most other things affecting Muslims, it’s up to each of us to make up our own minds proportionate to what is best for each of us. I’m certainly going to find out more about this and if convinced, I’m going to get me some finger lickin’ good chicken (WITH skin!).
While in this region of the south of France one cannot avoid the force of the Old Winds –
the katabatic Mistral that blows up to 100 days a year and keeps cyclists and joggers indoors. It’s blowing forcefully right now as the sun shines gloriously. The Mistral is a fixture here and has swept up numerous legends and lores in its path. The BBC Weather page for the Mistral notes that “Locals claim that a sudden feeling of dejection sweeps through them just before the Mistral arrives; once the wind gets up, depression gives way to headaches and irritability.” (Ah! I say. Explains the temperaments of people around me this past day.)
About an hour from here another wind is blowing through France at the same time, one that has been whipping up equally forceful reactions. In 2001 the Mayor of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin, publicly lent his support to the building of a grand mosque in Marseille. On 6 Nov 2009 the green light was given for the building. The grand mosque has been scheduled to start construction on 21 April 2010 with its doors opening to welcome Eid in November 2011. It will house the largest prayer hall in France – capable of holding up to 7,000 worshippers, and it promises a minaret towering up to 25 metres. It will also house a library, an amphitheatre, a restaurant and a school. It is a mosque Marseille’s 200,000 Muslims are looking forward to. But in these times when the Swiss vote against minarets and the UK government is publicly announcing plans to racially profile travellers as part of enhanced airport security, we can be assured that there will probably be *some* resistance to the building of the grand mosque in Marseille.
Le Front National (founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972) is the most visible opponent to the building of the grand mosque. A party close to the heart of the UK’s BNP (read here for Le Pen and his position on the Holocaust), Le Front’s main stand is that the grand mosque will be an affront to French national identity, further remarking that the majority of French citizens oppose the building of minarets in France. They have demanded a referendum to decide on the construction of the grand mosque. French Muslims are determined to push forward with building plans.
Find out more about the grand mosque from the official website.