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US mosques urged to share Ramadan

The guide also contains a "Welcome to Our Ramadan Fast-Breaking" brochure designed to be copied and distributed to iftar partic

Source : OnIslam & News Agencies
Washington | 15 Jul 2011

As the clock is ticking to the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, a US advocacy group is calling on mosques across the United States to open doors to non-Muslims during iftar to share the spirituality of the holy month and enhance Islam understanding in the country.

"Individual and community outreach and interaction are key to reversing the current growth in anti-Muslim sentiment in our society," Nihad Awad, the National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations(CAIR), said in a press release on Thursday, July 14.

"Anyone who knows a Muslim on a personal level is much less likely to hold stereotypical views of Islam."

Inspired by Ramadan’s message of solidarity, CAIR issued an annual campaign for local communities to host iftar dinner receptions and open houses for our neighbors of other traditions.

During such a campaign, Awad said CAIR would be helping local Muslim communities organize "Sharing Ramadan" iftars by providing step-by-step instructions for hosting the events titled "Sharing Ramadan Resource Guide 2011”.

“Since sharing and appreciation are essential components of Ramadan, we hope local mosques, community centers and Islamic schools will take this opportunity to invite their neighbors to join them for a meal during an iftar,” CAIR said in its resource guide.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.

Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur’an and good deeds.

Sharing Tips

Giving mosques tips for organizing a successful interfaith iftar, CAIR guide offers steps for advertising and organizing the event.

“We suggest that each community interested in hosting a “Sharing Ramadan” iftar form a local committee in charge of organizing the event,” the ‘Sharing Ramadan Resource Guide 2011’ says.

“This committee can be responsible for sending invitations out to local churches, synagogues and civic groups.

“The committee can also use the draft press release included to send to local media outlets who may want to cover the event.”

The guide also contains items such as a sample media advisory for an iftar, an advertisement for the event and a "Welcome to Our Ramadan Fast-Breaking" brochure designed to be copied and distributed to iftar participants.

Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.

According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender said that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.

A US survey has also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

 

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