Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA's radio magazine in SpecialEnglish.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:
We play some music by Jesse Cook ...
Answer a listener's question about Washington, D.C. ...
And report about Muslims in America.
Muslims around the world are completing their observance ofRamadan this week. Studies say that about six-million Muslims livein the United States. Shep O'Neal tells us how some of them observedthe Muslim holy month.A mosquein Chicago.
Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the UnitedStates. Yet American Muslims know they are a religious minority.This is especially true during Ramadan. In some countries whereMuslims are the majority, businesses reduce their hours of operationduring Ramadan. That does not happen in the United States.
For many American Muslims, Ramadan has been taking place during adifficult period. The United States has threatened to use militaryforce to disarm Iraq. One year ago, Ramadan took place after theterrorist attacks against the United States.
p>Imam Elahi is a clergyman with the House of Wisdom, an Islamiccenter in Dearborn, Michigan. He says it has been a difficult yearfor Muslims since the terrorist attacks.
He criticizes accusations made against Islam. He says most weremade for political purposes or by people who do not understand thereligion.
Imam Elahi says he believes that Muslims need to find ways tocommunicate better with non-Muslims. He says the communications willfail if one side or both overestimate their own importance. SomeMuslims say they are reaching out to other Americans and educatingthem about Islam. Others say they feel like they have to defendtheir religion and prove they are real Americans.
This year, the American holiday of Thanksgiving was celebratedduring Ramadan. Thanksgiving is a time when Americans gather withfamily and friends and have a special meal. During Ramadan, however,healthy Muslim adults are not permitted to eat or drink during theday.
American Muslims say there is no reason why Thanksgiving shouldhave been any different this year. They say Islam did not preventanyone from cooking during the day. They note that having a meal atsundown always is an important part of Ramadan. A Muslim writer oncesaid it is not always easy to live a truly Muslim life in America.However, she said it is worth the effort.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nigeria. AugustineAlumonah asks about the meaning of the letters D and C in the nameof the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C.
To answer the question, we must go back about two-hundred years,to the beginning of the United States. The states approved aConstitution for the country in seventeen-eighty-eight. But theycould not decide where to build the permanent capital. Northernstates did not want the capital in the south because of slavery. TheSouthern states did not want it in the north. Several places wereproposed, but Congress could not agree on one.TheCapitol building under some pre-winter snow thisweek.
Then Thomas Jefferson of Virginiainvited Alexander Hamilton of New York to dinner to discuss thedispute. Two congressmen from Virginia were also there. The four mentalked politics.
Southern votes had defeated a bill in Congress that MisterHamilton wanted very much to be approved. It would have required thefederal government to pay the money owed by the states for fightingthe war to gain independence from Britain.
The two Virginia congressmen agreed to change their votes againstthe bill. And Mister Hamilton agreed to find northern votes tosupport a proposal to build the capital along the Potomac Riverbetween the states of Virginia and Maryland. That is how Congressagreed to build the capital in a federal area on land provided bythe two states.
A year later, officials announced that the city would be calledWashington, in honor of the country's first president, GeorgeWashington. The larger federal area would be named the District ofColumbia. Columbia had become another name for the United States,one that was used by poets and other writers. The name came fromChristopher Columbus, the explorer who sailed from Europe across theAtlantic Ocean to the Western Hemisphere.
Today, Washington, D.C. is known to those who live in the area asthe District. But if you want to write to us, our address isWashington, D.C.
Jesse Cook is a songwriter who produces his own records. Butfirst and always he is a guitar player. His music is an unusual mixof Afro-rumba-flamenco-worldbeat-jazz-pop. Mary Tillotson tells usmore.
Jesse Cook was born in Paris, France to Canadian parents. Hespent his early years in southern France and Spain. He beganlearning to play guitar when he was only three.Graphic Image
He expanded his musical educationin Canada and the United States before returning to Europe. Hestudied with great Spanish guitar masters in Andalusia, Cordoba,Granada and Madrid.
There is little he can not do with a guitar. Listen to hisrecording of "Breathing Below Surface" from his album, "Vertigo."
Critics call Jesse Cook's music "World Music." That is because heuses the sounds of many different places and music from manydifferent lands.
Listen to this mix of sounds in a recording called "Rattle andBurn."
Jesse Cook recorded this next song at the Canadian GovernorGeneral's Awards Ceremony in Ottawa. We leave you now with JesseCook playing a very fast Samba. The song is called "Mario Takes aWalk!"
This is Doug Johonson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. AndI hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA'sradio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by George Grow, NancySteinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Glen Matlock.And our producer was Paul Thompson.