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August 4th, 2013
09:49 AM ET

For some Muslims, Ramadan fasting poses risks

By Slma Shelbayah, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='SlmaShelbayah']

(CNN) This Ramadan, Amina Jabbar faced a difficult decision.

The University of Toronto medical student’s rotation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre began around July 9, the start of the Muslim holy month.

That meant working unpredictable shifts for as long as 26 hours while fasting from eating and drinking during the day.

The fast-paced hospital environment was already challenging Jabbar’s ability to keep up with colleagues and patients. As a new physician, she felt more “error prone” and said fasting would increase her anxiety on the job.

Ramadan requires “slowing down,” Jabbar said, an impossible task for a first-year medical resident whose job requires fast decisions and clear thinking to save lives.

The 29-year-old Muslim was torn.

Should she fulfill her professional duties, eating regular meals so hunger would not distract her from patients’ critical needs? Or should she honor her religious obligations by observing the fast, a practice considered a “pillar” of Islam?

“I am spending 60-80 hours (at the hospital) and I don’t get to slow down for Ramadan,” Jabbar said. “It felt unfair to my colleagues and patients to tell them to slow down for me.”

At the same time, Jabbar said she feared that fellow Muslims would criticize her if she didn’t fast. “There’s a certain amount of shame when we talk about people not fasting,” she said.

The decision not to fast during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, is somewhat taboo in the Muslim community.

READ MORE: The Belief Blog Guide to Ramadan 

In Islam, Ramadan commemorates the time when the angel Gabriel imparted the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed.

Many Muslims throughout the world commemorate the month by fasting, refraining from sex and smoking, and dedicating more time than usual to praying and reading the Quran.

Some exceptions are generally allowed during Ramadan, which ends August 8. Pregnant women, travelers and sick people are not expected to observe the fast, for example.

But for many other Muslims, especially first responders and others with stressful jobs, the choice of whether to fast can cause its own kind of anxiety.

When Jabbar blogged about her decision not to fast, she received a mix of reactions.

One Muslim accused her of looking for an “excuse” to shirk her religious duties. Some questioned her devotion to Islam, asking if she performs other required Islamic rituals such as daily prayers.

“Of course I pray," Jabbar said. "I am just choosing not to fast. We have a lot of pressure to demonstrate to our community that we’re Muslim.”

Imam Khalil Abdur-Rashid, head of the Iqra Mosque in Brooklyn and Muslim Chaplain of Columbia University,  said that observing the fast during Ramadan is a religious obligation for every Muslim who is considered mature, mentally sane, healthy and not traveling.

There are no fatwas – or religious rulings – that grant fasting exemptions for first responders, he added. But, Abdur-Rashid said, one is definitely needed. In fact, he generated one immediately after speaking with CNN.

"The purpose of the fast is not to place the fasting person in the face of harm, but to teach self-restraint,” Abdur-Rashid said.

“And the moment the fast becomes dangerous, or external conditions place the fasting person in harm's way," he said, "then the fasting person is not only permitted, but in many cases, religiously obliged to break their fast.”

Abdur-Rashid's new fatwa may be especially valuable to Muslims like New Yorker Ahmed Sabree, who battles fires while wearing heavy equipment during the searing summer heat.

Sabree, 42, said the arrival of Ramadan this July took him back to his training days with the New York Fire Department nearly eight years ago.

Sabree endured intense physical drills that included racing up six-story buildings, pulling up hoses and crawling on the floor.

Trainers told the budding firefighters to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” Sabree recalls.

He contemplated breaking the fast, at least to drink some water, and researched Islamic texts for guidance.

Sabree concluded that his training, though grueling, was insufficient reason to drink water during the day.

Ramadan is not just about enduring physical hardships for hardships' sake, Sabree said. Instead, the holy month has a deeply spiritual dimension.

The firefighter said Ramadan's rituals offer an opportunity to “get back on track” and become more conscientious of his responsibilities to God and his fellow man.

That doesn’t mean fasting is easy for Sabree, so he takes precautions to lighten the load a bit.

For instance, he volunteered for the lunchtime watch shift at his firehouse in Harlem, New York, while others are eating in the kitchen, better to keep the alluring aromas of food at bay.

And if a fire breaks during the time of breaking the fast, Sabree responds immediately. To the fire that is, not his stomach.

“If it’s time to break the fast and there’s a fire, you gotta go,” Sabree said. “I’ll break my fast with some water and go.”

READ MORE: Muslims have mixed views on TSA Ramadan advisory

Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar of Wayne County in Michigan is also fasting this year.

Jaafar says Ramadan is “kind of a cool time,”  but he doesn’t mean temperature.

In fact, for the last several years, Ramadan has fallen during the hottest summer months. The holy month is calculated by a lunar, rather than fixed calendar, so it rotates from year to year.

“Unfortunately, I can’t adjust my schedule in the profession I am in. This year is going to be a tough one,” Jaafar said. He is expected to keep the same long hours and fulfill the same duties as his fellow officers.

But there are some perks to celebrating Ramadan in Michigan, home to the largest concentration of American Muslims in the United States. When the holy month comes around, fasting isn’t much of a foreign concept, even for those not Muslim.

This understanding translates into small workarounds for Jaafar. Sometimes, if he begins his workday early enough, he is able to finish in time to get home for dinner.

“My hours can be flexible, and usually I can break my fast with family,” Jaafar said. He uses this time to visit his mother every day and to attend the mosque with his children.

As for Jabbar, the medical resident is trying to make up for not fasting through other spiritually fulfilling options, such as praying and helping heal her patients.

“Spirituality has to become part of my clinical practice, because I spend so much time of my life there,” she said.

But Jabbar said she still misses the slowing down that Ramadan's daytime fasting requires.

"I am trying to make it up in terms of remembrance," of God, she said. "It doesn’t always feel sufficient."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith & Health • Holidays • Islam • Islamic law • Ramadan

soundoff (647 Responses)
  1. JESUS IS LORD

    This is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, and based on Christian laws. That’s how it is, and how it always will be, period.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Blah blah blah blah. Keep a trolling troll. That is a lie and you know it.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • JESUS IS LORD

        It doesn't matter if you don't like it. It's still the truth. Deal with it.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          Our forefathers did not make this a Christian nation. If they did why aren't we like Vatican City? We built this country on the soul belief of freedom for all not a few troll.

          August 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Actually it's not. There is no such thing as christian laws and we have separation of church and state.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Historically Inaccurate

      Actually, the colonies that made up the United States were bands of people fleeing religous persecution and death at the hands of Church Of England. The foundaing fathers of America made it a point to allow for free practice of religion. A few founders even took to writing strong letters against religous establishments whom attempted to pass christian based laws in the formative years of the United States Government.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Thank you for that information. You have presented some pretty good facts

        August 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Ahmed

      America was founded by people seeking refuge from religious bickering (christian brand) in Europe some centuries back. Today it is a refuge for people from religious bickering (muslim brand). That is why this is such a great nation. even if the cnn discussion boards remind us just how many brainwashed "religious" people (all brands) there are in this country.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      People from Spain were the first Europeans to build a colony in America. In 1584, England was in a race with Spain to start new colonies in the New World. Sir Walter Raleigh sent over 108 men to America. After a very hard year, these men returned to England and this colony failed. Three years later, Raleigh sent 117 men, women and children to America. John White was one of the 117 men. His daughter, Eleanor Dare, had the first English baby born in America. Her name was Virginia Dare.

      John White returned to England to get supplies for the colony. Because Spain was having a war with England, there were no ships available for three years. When John White returned to the colony, the entire colony had disappeared. What happened to Virginia Dare and the other colonist remains a mystery. Their settlement is known as the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

      In 1606, England's "Virginia Company of London" sold shares of ownership or stocks to the New World. By selling stocks, they were able to share the cost of starting a new colony. If the colony did well, the stockholders would make lots of money. The wealthy people were able to buy the stocks. If you were poor and wanted to go to America, you could promise to give the company part of any gold or silver you found in the New World. This colony was called Jamestown after King James 1.

      In 1620, a group called Separatists came to the New World. They were avoiding religious persecution in England. Today we refer to them as Pilgrims. A pilgrim is a person who makes a journey for religious reasons. This colony was called Plymouth (it was also spelled Plimoth). Many pilgrims died during the first year. An Indian named Squanto, and other Indians helped the pilgrims to survive. To thank God and the Indians, the Pilgrims held a celebration in the fall of 1621. The Indians were invited to the feast, which was the very first Thanksgiving.

      In 1629, another religious group called the Puritans came to the New World. They were also seeking religious freedom. They wanted to establish a place that would set an example of how God wanted people to live.

      Many died coming to the New World. Many died while trying to survive in the New World. So why did people come to America?

      One reason was that in European countries the first-born son inherited all of the fathers land. Some of the younger sons then came to America to get their land.

      Another reason had to do with religion. In England people had to worship like the King ordered them to. People came to America so they could worship in their own way.

      Some people were brought to the colonies against their will. Black slaves were brought from Africa to Virginia. Eventually there were black slaves in all of the thirteen colonies, but most of them lived in the South.

      Some English people came to bring Christianity to the Indians. Others came because they thought America was filled with jewels and gold! Many others came for the adventure of it all and the excitement of living in a faraway land! The colonists came to America for many reasons. But they had one thing in common. They wanted the freedom to live the way they thought best.

      Some colonist saw many opportunities awaiting them in the New World. They saw this as a chance for them to have lots of farmland, open new fur trading colonies, and to start a new life for their families.

      Another group was sent away from England for not being able to pay their bills. They were given land in the New World. This was a place where the poor could make a new life. This colony was called Georgia.

      The Middle colonies promised people land. Many saw this as their chance to get ahead. They came from many countries to the New World with dreams for a new life.

      In Maryland, the Catholics established a colony in order to freely practice their religion.

      The Virginia and Carolina colonies saw the New World as their chance to make money off of the rich fertile land.

      Many others came for the adventure of it all!

      August 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • His panic

      Christianity is based on the Grace of God. Is not a system of Laws, regulations and rules.

      Though many of the so called founding fathers were christians, some were not. Some were close to heretical in some of their thinking, speech and deeds.

      There is no historical precedent nor even the slightest suggestion in the Bible about anything close to nations being christians.

      A nation that have not seen one single generation of his inhabitants, live an entire life span without a war. A nation where crime was and is rampant. Where adultery, fornication, cheating, lying, deception, por.nography, theft and whatever else you can think of has been going on since its very beginnings. Cannot be such a thing.

      As far as the "laws" of the land goes, you are way off your hinges if you think the laws are "Christian". They are not even Biblical, not even fair or just, not even close to the Law of God. Then you have more than 10 million people living of and directly involved in some form of criminal activity.

      You have a nation that has become the biggest nest of false prophets and false teacher the history of mankind has ever known. A birthplace of all sorts of cults and now the new Sodom and Gomorrah of the world.

      You are making a big mistake in judgement, based on the single fact that some of them were christians. If that was so, then I could also make the claim or declare that my computer is a christian computer. There is absolutely no need for such argument. A grain of truth is not going to make the seashore any different. Just like a drop of fresh water is not going to freshen the salty oceans; and that is all that you have with some of the "founding fathers" being christians argument a grain of truth. Don't try to make it look like a mountain.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
  2. Derp

    Why bother praying if you're not going to follow the religion's rules anyway? You're busy during the day and can't get away to pray either, right?

    Islam is like any other religion. The vast majority of people that claim to follow it probably don't care and won't follow it, they're just giving into peer and cultural pressures, as this article states.

    I can easily say that maybe at best 10% of Christians, Jews and Muslims actually believe their religion and will follow it. The other 90% of self-identifiers just cherry pick what they want and like to argue with other people and pass judgment.

    At least when someone says they're atheist or agnostic they're being honest.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  3. White Lotus

    It's a problem with religions that were created many hundreds of years ago. They do not meet the needs of the people today. People should just change things as they see fit, like eating during Ramadan if you can't do your job properly. Going hungry on the job is something you just can't do in 2013.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  4. Kathy

    Muslims have the right to practice their religion and beliefs. Jewish people get holidays off to practice their religion.. Christians get days off to practice their religion. There is nowhere near us that gives Muslims days off. Yes, it is a challenge for Muslims in first responder jobs, but they made the choice of profession and they are not fasting 24 hours a day. They do eat every day. If they want to do these jobs, who are we to judge?

    August 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • JESUS IS LORD

      They don't get holidays because this is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, and based on Christian laws. That's how it is, and how it always will be, period.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Get lost troll. You know perfectly well this country was not based on Christianity.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • JESUS IS LORD

          Yes, it was. Let me guess, your "college" history is taught by liberals. Read some real history.

          August 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          Jesus Lord so you are one of those dumb lot who think that everything is Liberal and everything is a lie.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          jil troll. In theory there are no religious holidays for any religion, although somehow christmas crept in.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Derp

      Isn't there a night shift for those jobs? Why not rotate to night shift during Ramadan?

      August 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Anjil

      Fasting is like any other illness that can cause weakness, cognitive impairment and fainting ... a risk to self and others in the workplace, and frighteningly so if we are talking about medical personnel, fire fighters and cops.

      If you work somewhere where people can take a whole month off for a single religious holiday, let the rest of us know...it sounds awesome. Every company I have ever worked at, btw, allows employees to swap out existing holidays for their own religious holidays.

      August 5, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  5. Johnathan

    The right of religion is not absolute; your rights stop where mine start. This is western medicine, not islamic medicine. You know what you got into when you took the Hippocratic Oath. By refusing to eat and drinking for such long periods of time under stress, you are voluntarily exposing patients to medical errors. This is the same idea when British Muslim medical students (female) refused to scrub between patients because they did not want to expose skin: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1577426/Female-Muslim-medics-disobey-hygiene-rules.html

    Enough of political correctness. Otherwise, your imagination is the limit!

    August 4, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Ahmad

      It is not such a long period. You eat and drink in the morning and then in the evening. In other religeous fasts such as Jewish there is no eating and drinking for 24 hours. This is just CNN showing its Muslim bias and getting people worked up

      August 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • Anjil

        And anyone who actually fasts 24 hours shouldn't be working in any sort of responsible job during the fast either. But no one fasts 24 hours a day, for fairly obvious reasons, so can take a day off work. Additionally, very few jews in the US follow such practices so they are fairly irrelevant here, and globally the population is much smaller than the Muslim population so not as relevant.

        However, strength and brain function do start to drop after just a few hours without food. Unless someone is having regular blood glucose tests every hour, they should not be going more than 6 or so hours without eating in these kinds of jobs. The distraction alone is a problem, even without the weakness, fainting risk and cognitive issues. The whole point of this kind of religious fasting is to distract from every day activities and thought. Is that really what you want in your medical professional??

        August 5, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Ahmad

      A lot of non-muslims eat in the morning and then skip lunch. What is the big deal? cant, you see that you are being palyed by these people to get you worked up?

      August 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
      • Anjil

        And they shouldn't be working either. However, they are almost never going 16 hours (or more, depending on location or time of year). When someone skips lunch they usually at breakfast at 7:00 and then eat an early dinner at 5 or 6:00....11 hours. Again, not good, but in reality a doctor or firefighter doing this is likely to have at least a granola bar or bag of chips from the vending machine. A doctor who is fasting, however, may eat at 5:00am and then have an emergency case roll in 15 hours later, when they still haven't eaten. Five hours into the case, there simply has been no chance to eat. This is a recipe for disaster. I don't care if you're doing it for religion or some percieved health benefit, but anyone trying to work with what isalmost certainly a frighteningly low blood glucose level is engaged in malpractice.

        August 5, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • Thought Purification

      if I may add "Woman died after Muslim nurse refused to help as he was praying"

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9162051/Woman-died-after-Muslim-nurse-refused-to-help-as-he-was-praying.html

      August 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • DMR

      Here in America, it is just medicine. Same with science. We don't prefix everything with a captal "Western" like you guys do across the pond. Adding that ethnocentrically loaded word turned your potentially valid point into an angry rant.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  6. The Good News!

    Have you heard the good news? There is no god! Great, isn't it?

    Now you can burn all of your stupid holy books and shove those moronic religious traditions up the old dark hole!

    Congrats to science for proving the god does not exist! Finally.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Thought Purification

      religions were science too, only thing is different....it is outdated science like steam engines.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • A muslim

      Haha. Hilarious. Just judging people who believe in god. Absolutely stellar individual. Brilliant.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  7. georgex9

    This is a old and silly tradition that modern Muslims ought to dispense with.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • The Good News!

      Along with all of their other stupid traditions since god does not exist!

      August 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  8. John

    I hope the Taliban terroists that killed the children at the Indian Embassy were following the rigid fasting protocol. I mean that would be a sin if they ate before they commited murder! Terrorist attack on Indian consulate in Afghanistan left eight people dead and injured another 20; however, all the Indian officials in the consulate remain unharmed. A suicide blast detonated outside Indian consulate in Jalalabad on Saturday. Consulate officials have confirmed some damages to the building

    August 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  9. Johnson

    More laughable "coverage" of Islam from CNN. Try telling the truth about Islam. You might have a shred of credibility then. How many muslims committed murder today (and each day) SPECIFICALLY because of their faith? Where's your coverage of the 40 christians murdered by muslims just a few days ago, specifically because they were christians?

    If a single christian ever dared killed a muslim specifically because they were muslim, CNN would be doing everything it could to whip people into riots. Yet not a peep at the endless stream of hate murders committed by muslims every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Jez

      Lemme guess – you're muslim. Sorry – your peeps have bombed the world. You are not loved.

      August 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvvOy7Wgutc

      August 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      What is a laugh is that you foolishly deny the fact that all religions try to force their views on people.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  10. Thought Purification

    Ramadan fasting poses risks for some Muslims AKA American Muslims......for others it is unthinkable......in Middle Eastern countries shops and businesses FORCED closed to observe Ramadan; and Ramdan police is out in full force patrolling the streets (like we do here for terrorist threats) and discouraging not only muslims but non-muslims too from eating in public.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • beinspired5

      This article is rubbish and only showing how fasting is bad for people who lives in West.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Derp

      I know you're wrong because I have a blonde, blue-eyed female co-worker that told me she travels to middle eastern countries, and the ones she went to specifically during Ramadan she mentions eating at restaurants during the time others are fasting and it wasn't an issue for her.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Thought Purification

        RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 9 (UPI) - Saudi Arabian government officials have warned that citizens and foreigners who do not show respect for Muslims during Ramadan will face stiff penalties.

        Government officials said all people are expected to abstain from food, drink or smoking in public during the month-long sunrise to sunset fast, which starts Wednesday, Gulf News reported.

        Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/07/09/Saudi-Arabia-threatens-Ramadan-punishment/UPI-78121373377801/#ixzz2b3WwcjWt

        August 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Anjil

      It depends on the country. Countries in the middle east vary widely.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  11. Yuck_Go_away

    It's simple like this:

    You put your JOB above your silly fairy tails..If these Muslims want to take time off BEACUSE of their religion,then they should get FIRED one the SPOT!

    August 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Thought Purification

      then what is the difference between you and those religious extremists back then who beheaded people for refusing to accept their God?

      August 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  12. Jay Ganguli

    If your religious practice is preventing you from performing critical duties like rescue or helping a fellow American being in distress, then humanity should take precedence over your religion. Humanity and Nation come first...your religious beliefs second. If you want to put your religion before Human values and nation, probably this is not the country for you. The religion could be islam or x or y or z...doesnt matter.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Anjil

      Same for the idiot pharmacists who states like Texas allow to refuse to dispense any drug of which they disapprove. Don't like birth control...don't have to fill bc prescriptions or provide emergency contraception to ra_pe victims. Religious feelings on a certain animal...don't have to fill any prescription tested on or using that animal. Disapprove of animal testing...well...not a lot of work for you to do. Religions should never get special treatment when lives are at issue.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  13. Felicia

    I.... am SO GLAD I am not religious.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Then what is it that seems to have "drawn" you to a Belief Blog..? Curiosity perhaps..?

      August 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • Johnson

        Perhaps it was the gigantic link at the top of CNN.com, brainiac?

        August 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Funny... I have to go thru hoops just to get to here, Dumbo...

          August 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • Jez

        I'm sure she was fascinated by the mass insane belief in fairy tales. It is a tad compelling.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Fairies? That's so gay...

          August 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • shamgar50

        Some of us are fascinated by silly people.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          How quaint... We have a comic in our midst... :mrgreen:

          August 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Salero21

      Well, well... what have we here? Sorry to pop your bubble but not being religious is not the biggest virtue in the world; there are many, many others.

      Now, belonging to, having or practicing a religion is something that is distinctively Human. See, the point I would try to get through you is, that religion even if it is the wrong religion, is that one great thing that differentiates and separates us Humans from the other lower levels of Created creatures. You see.. animals have customs, rituals, routines but unlike us Humans they don't and can't have religion. Even if it is a wrong religion, like in this case of Islam, even if it is Idolatry is still something that animals can't and don't do.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
      • Johnathan

        Religion is a side effect of a highly developed brain. How many animals species can travel in space?

        August 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  14. JM

    It's funny how people try to make irrational things rational. With no intent to insult anyone, I just want to point out that religion is about faith and not about evidence or rationality. In essence the fasting or other customs that the different religions demand, are irrational. It's funny how people want to reconcile all these irrational demands with the rational demands of work and everyday life. If one is a doctor, the rational thing would be to not engage in any activities that would endanger the lives of patients. If one's religion states that the religious practices are more important, then one can't really have a rational argument.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Jez

      I am so glad that I don't believe in any god.- or goddess.

      However, I went to church today (Christian) with some new friends who are true believers. The people were great the sermon (a huge church with about 3000 people per sermon). The Sermon was intresting, and the energy was mostly good. I am glad for people who believe, but the extremes of religion are concerning. It would be great if everyone would believe as they will, wthout trying to force their beliefs on others. I can listen to new ideas and think about it – I just want to do it on my own terms and in my own time.

      Intrestingly enough, the people who (very gently) urged me to go to church with them are Russian immigrants with green cards. I must say, I was so impressed with their sincerity and their hearts that I could not refuse to meet them at church.

      August 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
      • Jim in Long Beach

        I understand your feelings about this situation very well. I lived and worked a few years in an Islamic dictatorship (Saudi Arabia) and I met truly nice people who wanted to include me in their faith. It was very uncomfortable and I had to make lots of excuses because, of all religions, this is the one I would least want to participate in. If anyone is considering converting to Islam, please experience Ramadan. In Saudi Arabia you will be thrown in jail if you eat or drink in public. And then there's the truly cruel and onerous practice of praying 5 times a day while facing Mecca. In wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia with lots of foreign workers to take up the slack, the negative effects of fasting or the shirking of duties to avoid it, are not as serious. However, in other countries where work performance and dependability are key–strict adherence to Islamic rituals is going to have a negative effect. I do not want to go into a hospital or get into a taxi that's operated by anyone who is fasting from sun up to sun down.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • LO

      True.

      August 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  15. Jez

    This is the country to have a porta-potty business. You can make a fortune.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  16. Jez

    Welcome to the 21st centruy. I hope more muslms get their heads out of the sand and assimilate.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  17. Hussein obama

    Nuke the filthy muslim pigs now and let allah sort it out.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
  18. nan0

    who gives a rats ass.why the need for this story.so dumb.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  19. Mahadi

    This is the reason we have to make effort on our Imman ( faith), when faith is strong its easy to observe , with weak Imman all acts of worthship become hard, the doctor should make effort to strengthen her Imman then she wont complain

    August 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  20. lamelionheart

    Today's atheistic fanatics have tendencies to bring up religious atrocities from past histories even though today's many varied religions have long since been found marginally harmonious in today’s structures of socialized moralism and nationalized civilities.

    While worldly nationalistic pertinences are varied each according to their own citizenry’s demands, religious sovereignties around governing nationalisms are halfway censored within governing bodies here in the U.S.A. As this world's internationalisms become ever a globalization issue, many religious ambiguities are left stranded with hardly any altruistic steering currencies by which to navigate their own religious flocks toward their becoming governmentally wise. Therefore, is it really wise to establish rules of governmental laws being disrespectful of many religions' absorption ratios within their many varying religiously societal regimes that dare protrude righteously (but sometimes negatively) upon the social fabrics of moralistic and civilized disciplinary virtues?

    And yes, I know there are religious extremists nowadays that are fanatical on many fronts of their religious orientations. The internationally committed religions toward a unifying order of secularly religious globalization might well have to reign-in on such religious fanaticisms but at what costs to those rightly orientated religious regimes that are socially moral and civilly obedient..?

    August 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.