CAIRO – As the clock ticks towards 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 their neighbors of all faiths and backgrounds for interfaith iftar to share the spirituality of the holy month and enhance Islam understanding in the country.
“For Muslims, the month of Ramadan serves as a season of spiritual renewal and gratitude for the bounties bestowed upon all human beings,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in Sharing Ramadan 2014 Guide obtained by OnIslam.net.
“For these reasons, CAIR is calling on American Muslim communities to take time in the month of Ramadan to reach out to their neighbors of other faiths and traditions in a wonderful nationwide initiative titled “Sharing Ramadan.””
Inspired by Ramadan’s message of unity and solidarity, CAIR issued an annual campaign for local communities to host iftar dinner receptions and open houses for our neighbors of other faiths and backgrounds.
The theme of this year's "Sharing Ramadan" guide is "Understanding and Appreciating One Another."
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 2014”.
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.
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,” Awad said in the resource guide.
“This committee can be responsible for sending invitations out to local churches, synagogues and civic groups.”
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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