EID AL-FITR: Today marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr celebration to end the season of fasting. President Barack Obama issued a statement citing Muslim contribution to strengthening the democratic fiber of the United States and “the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.” But it doesn’t look as if the president will be hosting his annual Iftar dinner honoring the Muslim holiday, after an American-Arab group called on Muslims to boycott the dinner over U.S. support for Israel.
Elsewhere the Muslim world is awash in jihadist-led violence …
LIBERIA: Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed and communities put under quarantine to try to halt the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus since 1976. Over the weekend, two health workers who have been treating Ebola victims were diagnosed with the virus—a Texas physician with Samaritan’s Purse and a hygienist with SIM from Charlotte, N.C., working at the hospital. Both are in stable but very serious condition.
NIGERIA: Boko Haram carried out bomb attacks at a Catholic church in Kano—forcing Muslims to cancel Eid celebrations. In Cameroon the group kidnapped the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister and killed three in the highest profile cross-border attack to date.
IRAQ faces its “most serious crisis” since its inception as a country said former minister Ali Allawi. He and foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari say territorial integrity is at stake with the country under attack by Islamic State militants already “divided into three states: the Kurdish state; the black state (under Sunni insurgents) and Baghdad.” (Zebari)
In Paris and beyond, French Catholics and others are demonstrating in support of Christians ousted from Mosul, whose homes were painted by the Islamic State with the Arabic letter nun, (the initial of the Arabic word Nasara, or Nazarene, used for Christians) before they were confiscated.
LIBYA: Rival militias have upped fighting, pausing only as U.S. military planes appeared overhead on Saturday, giving cover for the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. The interim government, wrought by a NATO air war in 2011, appears to be losing control to militia groups.
REVIVAL? Author and missionary David Garrison has documented Muslims leaving Islam and discusses the trend: Between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades after discovering “to follow Christ is not to follow a 2,000-year-old prophet but a living Lord.”
ISRAEL resumed air strikes in Gaza after putting forward a humanitarian ceasefire only to have Hama reject it and again fire rockets into Israel. Both the UN and Obama called for a ceasefire as civilian casualties in Gaza passed 1,000.
INDONESIA: Far from the madding crowd, the world’s largest Muslim country is entering the Jokowi era with the election of an outsider—apart from bloody Arab Spring-type uprisings—determined to end crony corruption.