For Muslims, Ramadan is a spiritual month of fasting, prayer and self-reflection. It is an intense mental and physical experience that is a symbolic equalizer of every part of humanity, rich and poor, educated and uneducated.
We embark on this year's fast during increasingly challenging and divisive times.
Since last Ramadan, Nidal Hasan is accused of massacring 13 at Fort Hood and Umar Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. Faisal Shahzad is accused of terrorizing Times Square only to later tell America that he was a proud "Muslim soldier." And now, President Obama has weighed in, or not, on the growing controversy over the proposed mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.
The president has fundamentally misunderstood the stakes and the sentiments of the American people. Opposition to a mammoth Islamic center near Ground Zero is not about religious freedom, it is about the significance of Ground Zero to the American psyche.