The sweltering record-setting summer heat - the hottest in 140 years of Washington weather record-keeping - became even more overheated, particularly during July, with the Republican-led lower chamber of Congress duelling with Obama's White House on the deal over taxes and federal spending. Such was the spectre of dysfunctionality that it led the US troops in Afghanistan to openly question the military's outgoing top commander, Admiral Mullen, whether they would even receive their monthly paychecks. Spotlight also fell on the blowback effects of anti-Muslim xenophobia in the US, which was identified as a key incitement behind the mass murders in Norway. So, while the West was in search of swarthy bearded bombers, the killer within turned out to be a blond bombshell. It demonstrates how self-consuming can be the flames of hate. Come September, Palestinians plan to go to the United Nations to seek recognition of statehood. The United States plans to veto it. A major showdown, therefore, looms in the Middle East, while an intentional wall of silence surrounds this issue here. Amidst the rollercoaster ride which characterises US-Pakistan ties, ex-President Musharraf addressed a forum in Washington, where he equated Pakistans nuclear programme with Israels. Like Pakistan, Israel, he posited, is facing an existential threat. One may ask, do the Palestinians possess nuclear bombs? Fauzia Kasuri, an indefatigable Islamabad-based activist, visited Washington recently to organise a fundraiser for the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. It was commendable how many in the Washington area she was able to connect with and galvanise and it sent a good positive message that, despite the manifold problems of Pakistan, the spirit of charitable giving continues to thrive in civil society. It was a salutary reminder that, in an over-politicised and polarised world, all human suffering is the same. Meanwhile, post-9/11 Pakistan continues to draw attention in Washington. Pamela Constable, long-time Washington Post correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, who has been inspired by the humane values of Sufi saints, has just released her book Playing with Fire: Pakistan at War with Itself. The Mormon Church of America marked, on July 24, the 164th anniversary of its 1847 trek of nearly 3,000 miles from eastern United States to the state of Utah in the West, to escape vicious religious persecution. This is the church to which the 2012 Republican frontrunner for the US Presidency, Mitt Romney - who has magnified the 'Muslim menace - belongs. The influential Mormon community today is noted for its disciplined missionary work and rejection of alcohol. What is little known, even to Mormons, is the fact that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith, openly declared on October 14, 1838, that he was inspired by Islam. On the first day of Ramazan, HBO TV, a major US network, aired Quran by Heart, a documentary on children competing in a Quran recitation contest. And Ravi Kebab, a popular Pakistani eatery in Arlington, is serving complementary iftari to its customers throughout the holy month. August may be a very slow month in the nations capital, but it has not abated enthusiasm for Ramazan among Washingtons devout Muslim community. The writer is an attorney-at-law, writer, and policy analyst based in Washington DC. He is the first Pakistani American member admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar.