Jun 29, 2015

It's Time for Community in Ramadan

By Saadia Faruqi
Last Friday at congregational prayers, I had an eye-opening experience. As I entered my mosque parking lot, I saw two Caucasian women, possibly a mother and daughter, holding up a sign that read, "Please Help, Need Money for Food and Rent." I found it disturbing, even though my hometown of Houston is ridden with poverty and homelessness. So what was wrong with this picture? The mosque I attend is a Pakistani community, with the occasional Indian or Bangladeshi standing out like a sore thumb. Yet here were two white women standing outside practically begging.

Jun 26, 2015

Getting to Know Our Neighbors

By Nancy Agafitei
About five years ago, I was visited at the library by Saadia, one of the Muslim ladies in our community who used the library with her young children. She came with a request to hold a book fair at the library. She wanted to display books that informed people about her faith, and to offer short talks that addressed topics of current interest about Islam. I think she expected me to decline, or at least debate, her request. For me, though, it was a simple choice -- public librarians are all about giving people access to all kinds of information. I got out the calendar and booked a room for them on a Saturday afternoon.

Jun 17, 2015

Faith Behind Bars

By Alex Hannaford
Thomas Whitaker grew up in his parents’ devout Christian faith, but after eight years on death row, he’s rejected the religion he followed for 27 years. In fact, he’s rejected any belief in a divine power at all. Whitaker was sentenced to death in 2007 for organizing the murder of his family in order to collect an inheritance of $1.5 million, prosecutors said. Fueled by what they described as an “irrational hate,” he paid his roommate, 21-year-old Chris Brashear, to carry out the shooting of his brother, mother and father. Whitaker’s dad was the only one who survived.