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3 Ways to Support Your Muslim Neighbors This Ramadan

Ramadan candle (photo by Ibrahim.ID / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

It’s easy to fear the unknown. It’s easy to fear those who are different from us, who practice different religions or represent different cultures.

Our 24-hour news cycle feeds into these fears. What we know about Islam and the Middle East—or think we know—often comes from those who have a vested interest in sharing only the most sensational and fear-based stories.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Ramadan: 4 Things Every Non-Muslim Should Know

The appearance of the crescent moon against the night sky signals the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

The literal translation of the word Ramadan is "to be burnt, scorched." This ninth month on the Islamic calendar is set apart for observant Muslims to engage in disciplined practices intended to "burn off the bad" accumulations from the previous year.

Here are three things every non-Muslim should know about this season...

''We Want Peace, Safety, Work.'' One Man's Audacious Vision for Post-ISIS Mosul

We knew it the minute we rolled up in west Mosul: this was bad news.

Some food deliveries are orderly and organized. On others, you can feel the desperation, the barely controlled chaos. We sometimes refer to these as “the desperate situation.” 

Faces of Hunger and Hope in Aleppo

6,000 families. 600,000 hot meals every month. 

Since December, we've maintained an emergency feeding center near Aleppo, serving 25,000 to 30,000 displaced families. Many have lost everything to Syria's civil war.

In the Middle of Syria’s Civil War, One Kitchen Is Sustaining 30,000 People

Ever since families poured out of Aleppo, fleeing the destruction of everything they knew, you've met them nearby with hot meals to sustain them on their darkest days. A lot of hot meals.

Much of the world has moved on. But the need here in the Aleppo province—it isn't going away.

Your Love Keeps Showing Up in West Mosul

Enormous need requires an enormous response.

That’s why you’re sending truck after truck of food, water, and basic supplies into west Mosul. Into the neighborhoods with the greatest need.

Girls Only: New Market For Female Entrepreneurs Launches In Northern Iraq

Women in our empowerment program sell their products at a similar market

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, "women’s work" has recently taken on a different dimension. Every Wednesday the city holds a special “women’s market” where local women can sell goods and foods they produce themselves.

This Month, You Helped Refugee Families Take a Step Toward Wholeness

You know that families need more than just emergency food and minimal shelter in order to have a complete life.

There are times when families fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria need food, urgent medical care, and short-term shelter more than anything else. But after that—after we’ve met their immediate needs—what’s next?

Fighting Hate with... Dinner Parties?

Photo Courtesy of MuslimNeighbor.com

You know those internet videos and memes about Muslims that are meant to generate fear?

Whenever I saw one, I always found myself yelling at my computer—“Go meet a Muslim! Ask them about their religion! I’m sure Muslims aren’t as bad as you think they are!”

Then one day it hit me: I don’t actually know any Muslims. Not one. That needed to be remedied. 

Some Aid Deliveries Are Hard. This One Was Really Hard.

Every food delivery in a war zone like Aleppo or Mosul is difficult. But some are especially hard.

This delivery in west Mosul was one of the especially hard ones.

We had a plan. Our team was ready, volunteers were in position, security checked out. And then we got the call… things were changing on the ground. People were moving, communities we planned to visit had already gotten food, and the true need—the people who needed help most desperately—they were closer in, nearer to the frontline.

If You Think Christianity Is Dead in Iraq, You Don’t Know What These People Are Made Of

There used to be more than a million Christians in Iraq. That was before the 2003 invasion. Before the insurgency. Before ISIS.

No one knows exactly how many Christians are left today. Some say as few as 250,000. Some say that Christianity will inevitably disappear from Iraq altogether. 

Getting Kids Back to School so Families Can Get Back Home

Families are returning to Telskuf, an ancient Christian community on the outskirts of Mosul. They fled when ISIS swept through the area, intent on wiping out Christianity.

Now these families want to rebuild. But there’s one thing they need before they can come home to stay:

They need a way to get their children back in school.

You're Protecting Kids from One of the Greatest Threats They Face: Measles

You probably don’t worry about the measles too much. But in Iraq, measles is one of the leading causes of childhood deaths. Due to years of war and upheaval, large numbers of children have never been vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses like polio and measles.

Shepherding Her Way through Trauma, Illiteracy, and Displacement

“We had three sheep!” It was an important point for Layla to make. She described her life centered around a two-story house in a village back in Sinjar, her home before ISIS came and changed things forever.

Children are Starving in West Mosul—So You're Sending In the Trucks

More and more reports of starvation in Mosul are surfacing each week. People inside the city have messaged us directly, describing the desperate situation and begging us to bring more food to west Mosul. ISIS becomes even more ruthless, every time they lose ground in their former Iraq capital, and it’s the civilian families who are being squeezed.

4 Things You're Making Possible in Syria Right Now

In the wake of April’s chemical attack, you showed up to let Syrian people caught in conflict know they are not forgotten. You had a remarkable response to that devastating news, even as you continued to provide for families in other parts of Syria.

While the news reports are often heartbreaking, we are not helpless to bring hope and relief. Here are four ways you showed up for war-torn families in Syria last month...

Syria Chemical Attack: Stories of Survivors

"I started to feel the effects of the gas. But I couldn’t just leave people in the streets.

Earlier this week, CNN shared horrifying footage of people dying in last month’s chemical attack in Syria. Over the past few weeks, we’ve received similar footage from our friends in Syria. It is hard to watch. Not everyone should watch it.

We’ve chosen not to share this footage because such heartbreaking images can overwhelm some people to the point that they feel paralyzed. Instead, we want to motivate you to action by sharing some of the people who survived the attack.

Moms Are People Too

On Mother’s Day, we talk about moms. A lot. For obvious reasons. But there’s a tendency to only talk about and express gratitude for this one singular role they play—as if the role of “mom” were completely isolated from all the other roles women play or their existence as whole people.

The truth is that all moms, regardless of whether or not they work outside the home, are many things in addition to being moms.

Moms are actual people. And no person can be summed up in a single story.

The Last ISIS Oil Fires Near Mosul Have Been Put Out. Now What?

The last oil fires near Mosul were finally put out in April, according to Rudaw Media Network.

Heavy black smoke filled the skies over northern Iraq for months. The fires were set by ISIS militants in the early days of the Mosul Offensive, as they were forced to retreat north. 

How Do You Explain Suffering and War to Your Kids? Light a Candle.

How do you talk with a child about the hard things in our world—like violence and war? How do you invite them into the sacred work of mending what is broken?

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