[Rappler’s Best] Starve for meaning

Glenda M. Gloria

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[Rappler’s Best] Starve for meaning

Nico Villarete/Rappler

'This year’s Ramadan happens against the backdrop of one of the worst wars against Muslims in modern history, the rage and raze in Gaza'

We had visitors from Indonesia last week, our colleagues from Katadata, a media and research company based in Jakarta which is as old as Rappler – and as hungry for a model that will not only save journalism, but also help societies make informed decisions outside the curated realities shaped by machines. Since most of them are Muslims, they were on a fast during our whole-day sessions but were still energized, immersed, and alert. 

As a Catholic, I have always been in awe of Ramadan, which requires Muslims to refrain from eating, drinking, fighting, and having sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset for a month. I’ve often likened it to a much-needed, month-long detox for the body and soul – one of the many reasons that Islam is close to my heart beyond my journalistic interest in the stories of Mindanao’s Muslim provinces. Ramadan brings us closer to our humanity, said one of our colleagues from Jakarta, pointing out that it’s been their form of intermittent fasting for centuries, long before the latter became in vogue.

  • For this year, Ramadan in the Philippines started on March 12, but did you know how this was determined through moonsighting? Rappler’s faith and religion reporter Paterno Esmaquel II shows us in this video report.
  • Why do Muslims look for the moon to see when Ramadan begins? Read this explainer on the lunar calendar.
  • Muslims break their daily fast by eating dates. Why dates? Paterno tells us in his interview with Salahuddin Panganting, administrator of the Blue Mosque in Taguig City.
  • It is believed that fasting from basic things could bring people to reflect on their lives and the “sustainer of all existence,” writes Mohammad Hassan Khalil in this piece, Why Ramadan is called Ramadan: 6 questions answered.
  • The daylong fast is capped by a prayer, called tarawih, which seeks Allah’s blessings. What is its significance? Watch this Rappler Talk episode where Paterno talks to Mohammad Elias Alawi, grand imam of the Blue Mosque in Taguig City.
  • The end of Ramadan, Eid’l Fitr, is celebrated also on different dates but for 2024, this will likely happen on April 10. Catholic Philippines knows little about this Islamic feast. Read more about it in this story.
  • And meet Marineth Agustin-Karim from Ilocos Norte, who journeyed from Catholicism to Islam. 

This year’s Ramadan happens against the backdrop of one of the worst wars against Muslims in modern history, the rage and raze in Gaza. Western powers had hoped for weeks that they could persuade Israel to a ceasefire during the Muslims’ holy month. But bloodshed and Israeli attacks continue. 

Here at home, extremists ambushed Army soldiers on Sunday, March 17, along the national highway of Tuayan 1, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town in Maguindanao del Sur, while buying food for Iftar, the meal to break the Ramadan fast. Suspected members of the Dawlah Islamiyah terrorist group killed four soldiers in an apparent retaliation for military operations against them in the past days.

Indeed, the remaining half of March does not seem to promise tranquility, even if it will also include the Holy Week for Catholics, which begins on March 24, Palm Sunday. 

The Atin Ito movement is planning for another civilian mission to the West Philippine Sea this month, and tension in the seas is expected, given China’s persistent aggressive behavior in the area. 

The belligerent Pastor Apollo Quiboloy has been refusing to heed a Senate order to appear in an investigation into his alleged abuses, but the unrelenting Senator Risa Hontiveros is giving no quarters to him, insisting that the upper chamber should have him arrested.

The Ides of March? – Rappler.com

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Glenda M. Gloria

Glenda Gloria co-founded Rappler in July 2011 and is currently its executive editor.