Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today, we:
play some music by Kenny Lattimore ...
answer a question about VOA ...
and report about how Muslims in the United States celebrate Ramadan.
Ramadan in the United States
It is almost the end of Ramadan for Muslims around the world. Recent studies say about six-million Muslims live in the United States. Shirley Griffith tells us how some are observing the Muslim holy month.
For the past few weeks, Muslims have avoided food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sundown every day. During Ramadan, believers are to pray, be more spiritual and help others. The month of fasting will end when Islamic experts report the appearance of a new moon.
Some Muslims in the United States started observing Ramadan on the morning of Friday, November sixteenth. That was the date announced by several North American Islamic organizations. However, other Muslims started Ramadan on a different date set by Islamic groups in their country of birth.
This year, Ramadan is taking place during an international crisis. Three months ago, terrorists claiming to represent Islam attacked the United States. The attack resulted in the American-led campaign against terrorism and the war in Afghanistan.
The feelings of the Muslim community in the United States are mixed. They love the United States and oppose terrorism. At the same time, they want peace and are concerned about the innocent people in Afghanistan.
Last month, President Bush led a traditional Ramadan meal for Muslim diplomats and others at the White House. He thanked those attending for their support of the American-led campaign against terrorism.
For Muslims in the United States, breaking the fasting period at sundown is a time to gather with family and friends. Food is always an important part of the celebration.
Muslims in the United States are from different cultures. So many different kinds of food are served during Ramadan. For example, Yenni Djahidin Grow lives with her family in Virginia. She is from Indonesia. Missus Grow cooks special foods during Ramadan for her two brothers, husband and son. One of her Indonesian specialties is randang, a kind of fried beef with hot spices. She also prepares mixed fruit, cake and sweet rice with brown sugar.
Missus Grow is making plans to serve other sweets and special foods at Id Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Indonesian Muslims in the Washington area celebrate at the Indonesian embassy. They will attend a religious service there before attending parties and visiting with friends.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from China. Xiao Haitao asks if our VOA programs are popular with the American people.
The short answer to that question is not really—because the Voice of America does not broadcast within the United States. VOA was created to be the voice of the United States government to foreign nations.
Congress approved a law in Nineteen-Forty-Eight that banned the VOA from broadcasting to the people of America. However, this law did not bar Americans from listening to VOA programs if they were able to receive the signals on their short wave radios. Today, people in the United States and around the world can use a computer to find and listen to VOA news and feature reports on the VOA web site.
VOA made its first broadcast during the Second World War, on February twenty-fourth, Nineteen-Forty-Two. It was a short, fifteen-minute program in the German language. It told the German people that every day, the Voice of America would broadcast news of America and the war. “The news may be good or bad,” it said, “but we will tell you the truth.”
The Voice of America continues to broadcast the truth. It reports the news. It tells about America and its people, and the policies of the United States government. Today, VOA broadcasts in fifty-three languages, including English.
When VOA began, all our listeners heard our broadcasts only on short wave radios. That has changed. Today, the fifty-three language services provide VOA programming to more than one-thousand radio stations around the world. VOA programs can be heard on local A-M and F-M stations in many countries as well as on short wave and medium wave around the world. More than ninety-million people listen every week. People also use computers to listen to any of our fifty-three languages in Real Audio, read the reports and copy materials.
Twelve VOA language services also produce television programs. Much of the television programming is also broadcast on the radio and the Internet. The VOA web site provides the latest news and information twenty-four hours a day. It also provides information about the Voice of America, program schedules, times and frequencies. That VOA Web site address is v-o-a news dot com. Again, the VOA Web site is v-o-a-n-e-w-s dot com.
American singer and songwriter Kenny Lattimore went to college to become a building designer. In college, he joined a singing group. Jim Tedder tells us more.
Kenny Lattimore grew up singing in the church, performing in shows and studying classical and chamber music. He joined a singing group called Maniquin while he was a student at Howard University in Washington, D-C. The group gained some success. However, he left the group to sing on his own.
In Nineteen-Ninety-Six, his first album was released. It is called “Kenny Lattimore.” The song “For You” was a hit.
((CUT ONE – “FOR YOU”))
In Nineteen Ninety-Eight, Kenny Lattimore recorded another album called “From the Soul of Man.” It is a collection of songs about problems in love relations. Music critics praised his soulful singing and song writing. Listen as Kenny Lattimore sings “If I Lose My Woman.”
((CUT TWO – “IF I LOSE MY WOMAN”))
Kenny Lattimore’s latest album was released in September. It is called “Weekend.” He says he wanted to create music that young people could enjoy and still keep the adult interest of his past songs. We leave you now with the title song from Kenny Lattimore’s album, “Weekend.”
((CUT THREE – “WEEKEND”))
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Lawan Davis, George Grow and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.