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My Friend Jamal - Glossary

Civl War
Halal Food
Halal in non-islamic countries
Somali refugees

Civil war
A civil war is a military conflict, which arises when two opposing sides in the same country go to war against each other.

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In Arabic-speaking countries, the word ‘Halal’ is used to describe anything permissible under Islamic law, in contrast to haraam, that which is forbidden. This includes human behavior, speech communication, clothing, conduct, manner and dietary laws.

In non-Arabic-speaking countries, the term is most commonly to describe food which Muslim’s are permitted to eat by their religion - especially where meat and poultry are concerned

Halal food
For Mislims, in order for food to be considered halal, it must not be a forbidden substance and any meat must have been slaughtered according to traditional guidelines.

Halal in non-Islamic countries
In Dearborn, Michigan, United States, home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab populations in the United States, a number of fast food chains like McDonald's introduced halal chicken nuggets. [7] In the UK, American-style fried chicken is becoming increasingly popular with the Muslim population, and hundreds of outlets serving Halal fried chicken have sprung up.

Depending on which definition of halal a Muslim chooses to adhere to, and the strictness with which the person chooses to adhere to it, living in a non-Muslim country can pose minimal or great difficulty.

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Ramadan is a Muslim festival that takes place in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. It is the most important month of the Islamic year. Over the period of Ramadan Muslims must practice prayer, fasting and charity. It is a time of penance and reflection.

Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam.

The daily period of fasting in Ramadan begins at dawn and ends at the sunset. In the daylight hours Muslims totally abstain from food. Muslims have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset. Because the sun rises and sets in different parts of the world at different times, it can be difficult to work out exactly when to pray and fast. In some communities, where there are lots of Muslims, local shops or post-offices have leaflets like this one from Slough, outlining the times exactly.


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Ramadan lasts for 30 days and ends with the holiday Eid (fully called Eid ul-Fltr). ‘Eid’ signals the end of the fasting period and the end of Ramadan. Eid lasts for three days.

In Muslim schools the 3 days of Eid is an official government/school holiday.

On the day of Eid, prayers are held in mosques. The families gather together for meals and celebrations. Families try to agree to resolve arguments and put disagreements they may have had behind them.



Refugees: According to the 1951 United Nations Convention, a refugee is someone who has fled from his or her country and cannot return ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, mambership of a particular social group or political opinion’.

Refugees who have been persecuted and claim the right to asylum (a safe place in the country they have come to) are called ‘asylum seekers’.

If you leave the place you are born and have to move to another part of the same country, you are not called a refugee, you are called a ‘displaced person’.

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Somali refugees
Estimated number of Somali refugees in selected Western countries of asylum*, 1991-2000