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It seemed as if prayers were answered Tuesday afternoon when droplets of rain began to fall from the skies throughout the inland region.

 

Just a few weeks before, hundreds of Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs sat shoulder to shoulder at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Baitul Hameed Mosquecq in Chino to hold an interfaith prayer for rain, a spiritual response to a uniquely Californian drought problem.

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In separate attacks last week, ISIS terrorists killed 39 tourists at a beach resort in Tunisia, and close to 30 worshipers at a Shia Mosque in Kuwait. The onslaught came shortly after the group called on its militant Jihadi sympathizers to expand operations in the month of Ramadan.

ISIS has demonstrated an unflinching determination to take out anyone who dares to disagree with it. Its members have slaughtered Yazidis and Christians, but the vast majority of its victims have been Muslims who resist it and refuse to acknowledge its authority. ISIS has even executed Sunni clerics who refused to swear allegiance to it, and Muslim women who did not submit to its worldview.

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Bedeviled by drought, Great Plains settlers in the early 1890s developed a keen interest in rainmaking.

With funds appropriated by Congress, Gen. Robert St. George Dyrenforth set off gunpowder explosions in Texas under the theory that they could trigger friction and generate nuclei to produce moisture. When his test runs came up dry, disillusioned farmers and ranchers dubbed him "General Dryhenceforth."

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It was the October of 2005, during the month of Ramazan, when a devastating earthquake claimed close to a hundred thousand lives in the north of Pakistan, and injured just as many. I had the opportunity to serve the victims of this tragedy in the Kashmiri city of Bagh.

Of the many things I vividly remember is caring for some men and women with life-threatening injuries who refused treatment because they were fasting. They considered it a grave sin to break the fast. As a medical professional, this was especially frustrating for me. Similarly, we have all come across pregnant women who suffered from hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episodes but still continued to fast during the month of Ramazan, putting at least two lives at risk.

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For many Muslims around the world, Ramadan started with the sighting of the crescent moon last week. This means that from sunrise to sunset, Muslims will abstain from drinking or eating. While to some people Ramadan may seem a little harsh for commanding starvation, for others it means fulfillment of the soul and nearness to their creator.

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About 700 people are expected to gather Saturday evening to pray for rain, in light of a three-year drought that faith leaders say is deserving of spiritual attention.

The interfaith service, hosted by the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, begins at 6:30 p.m. and will include Daniel Stevenson, stake president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Rev. Michael Miller from St. Margaret Mary Catholic church, both in Chino.

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CHINO >> They came from diverse religions, to seek, with uncommon unity, a spiritual solution to an earthly problem — California’s four-year drought.

While they prayed, a drought-driven fire raged in the San Bernardino Mountains, dislodging people from their homes and sending great plumes of smoke into Joshua Tree National Park. And Southern California sweltered under near or at triple-digit heat, its year-to-date rainfall totals a fraction of what they once were from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire.

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Recently there has been a pastor in Northern Idaho who has been outspoken in his criticism of Islam. Pastor Shahram Hadian is an Iranian convert to Christianity and claims to have a knowledge of Islam that others do not have as a former Muslim. 

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