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Not only spiritual and religious manners  flourish in the blessed month of Ramadan, but social bonds too. It increases along with the spirit of forgiveness, pardon and kinship ties. No doubt Ramadan connects the feelings of Muslims with social spirit, visitations between relatives and neighbors, and exchange of commitments and dishes.

However, what about new Muslims around the world?

How does one who embraced Islam spends his Ramadan in non-Muslim countries?

“worlad boliton”  newspaper of Turkey sheds light on the conditions of new Muslims in Ramadan whereby it described their social condition as “severe loneliness”. This is because most of them do not find in their non-Muslim family circle the opportunity to exchange Ramadan feelings just as Muslim societies tend to forget them.

Isolation and exclusion

“Tefani jinkinz” -an American youth who embraced Islam- says she usually feels lonely and excluded during the Month of Ramadan; because Muslim families enjoy the atmosphere of Ramadan better…as for my family, they feel disturbed when I have to wake up early to prepare sahur.

She also said: “I do not know the Muslims here, even though I am not far from the Mosque but it is like the Muslims here are maintaining their peculiar culture.”

This is the religious and social loneliness which most Muslim converts experience in America and among them is a Muslim lady called “Natalia”.  In her interaction with the “Huventajton post” newspaper She said that her non-Muslim family invites her every Ramadan to join them in eating and when she tells them she is fasting and cannot eat before sun set they reply by saying: “oh are you still a Muslim?”

Absence of the spirit of family

As for Paul Demiltor, he told the paper that since he embraced Islam about six years ago, he tried everything possible to be a sociable and active Muslim. He tried to attend new Muslim classes and hired Arabic teachers to help him read the Quran but despite all these, he finds himself feeling lonely in Ramadan.

He –a baker in his forties- also said: when he embraced Islam he was expecting that he will be turned down socially and even though he was able to make a lot of changes in his life style since he embraced Islam, he still feels like a lonely Christian in Christmas celebration during Ramadan.

Carolyn wilyamaz who embraced Islam in 2010 agrees with Paul when she said: “one of the things that impacted on me was how everybody was welcoming me in the Mosque and even though these people are loving I don’t feel they are my family”

Another female Muslim convert by name Nadia Adolf says: “invitations to house visitations are not common and most times one feels lonely and isolated when Muslims are discussing in their mother-tongue and they leave you hanging.”

Kelly Coffman jokingly said: “most often she breaks the fast alone with cocoa drink while watching “sine field” comedy or with chocolate cake and ice cream while playing with her cat”

Coffman-who embraced Islam in 2010-, also added that: “it is unique experience, and I don’t think people know it”

Merger initiatives

A few initiates to help Muslim converts have started on the social network within Muslim societies so that they will not feel isolated. Among these initiatives is the initiative of the Islamic association “dilawir” which is supervised by one Muslim convert called “fakir Sharif”, and knows the ordeal of nearby Muslim convert.

Mr. Sharif explains that he started the initiative because he observed that new Muslims were neglected which has resulted in many of them leaving Islam. He continued-in his address to the Muslims-: “you should make these people feel a part of the family, and Ramadan is a great opportunity, you should make them feel they have special value and privilege”

Electronic iftaar

The “Ifoundislam.net” website is working on establishing bonds of brotherhood between Muslim reverts and the larger Muslim society during Ramadan through a project on facebook called: “online Ramadan iftaar” to be a place where those feeling lonely can gather and share in iftaar. Members of the group can also organize themselves depending on their different local times to have iftaar together through skype or other avenues on the internet.

 

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