At 9:19 p.m. on June 18, people of different faiths bit into dates in the Baitur Rahman Mosque, sharing the Islamic tradition of breaking the Ramadan fast at sundown. Afterwards, they filed into the mosque’s gymnasium to share a communal meal called an iftar dinner.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, where faithful Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
This year Ramadan falls May 26 to June 24. On June 18, the Baitur Rahman Mosque hosted its third annual interfaith symposium on fasting to coincide with the traditional iftar dinner.
“There are too many forces dividing us, and there need to be people who are working to unite mankind,” Imam Tariq Azeem said about the symposium.
“We believe … interfaith programs such as this, they bring us together. They make us realize we may worship a different god, we may revere a different prophet or a saint. But at the end of the day, we’re all human … and we all try to inculcate in ourselves, as well as our children, the same values.”
The interfaith event focused on the importance of fasting to the Abrahamic religions.
Rabbi Dina-Hasda Mercy, representing Judaism, explained how fasting has evolved over the years in Judaism, moving from a way to petition God to a personal choice. Reverend Paul Ingold, representing Christianity, talked about how fasting played a role in the life of Jesus Christ. Azeem, representing Islam, discussed the importance of fasting to the spiritual and moral health of Muslims.
The event included a question and answer period, as well as Islamic prayers and readings from the Qur’an.
To celebrate the end of Ramadan, the mosque will be hosting an Eid ul-Fitr dinner on Saturday, June 24.