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رمضان مبارك, Joyeux Ramadan, Happy Ramadan, Selamat Berpuasa, Feliz Ramadan, ماه رمضان مبارک – To all my Muslim followers.

It’s been interesting following the “trending topics” on Twitter, especially when there is something of value (i.e. NOT “Justin Bieber” or the latest Disney film). Last night it was the beginning of Ramadan. Even though I’ve read about Ramadan, this was the first time I’ve heard in detail from those who are practicing it. It was fascinating to read that nearly every practitioner who was writing about it saw this time as an opportunity to deepen their spirituality and their relationship not only with God, but also with their families and themselves. A typical posting, this one from @NomadicEmpress, reads:

“I am in complete happiness! The beautiful month of Ramadan is here to bless and cleanse us all. May we all benefit from the month of mercy.”

Reading these filled me with such a feeling of joy and happiness for my Moslem brothers and sisters. Suddenly all the noise about the “Ground Zero mosque,” Geert Wilders and other anti-islamists appeared to me to be shallow, hateful, self-righteous and intolerant.

I also felt a small twinge of envy. As a practicing and faithful Catholic, we have our own season of self-denial and spiritual examination in the Lenten period before Easter. Feeling the depth of the experience reflected through social media made me realize how much deeper an experience it can be.

Thank you, my Moslem brothers and sisters, for sharing a glimpse into your faith. I wish you strength, health, happiness and a deeper spirituality during this time.

Ramadan Mubarak.

[This was originally posted on an old blog of mine back in 2007. I’ve resurrected it for a recent discussion on “Chinglish”]

Do you think there might have been one person at the Volkskrant who thought this headline might be offensive?

Some background: the title reads, “Only in China do they not know Klouif.” The story is in connection wtih the Dutch football great Johann Cruiff’s 60th birthday celebration. By spelling it “Klouif”, the editors not only make fun of those who cannot speak the Dutch dipthong “ui” properly (sounds similar to the English “ow”), but especially the Chinese who cannot pronounce the letter “r”.

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Leo Salazar

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