Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Garland, Richardson, Sachse, and Wylie recently joined together with members of the Dialogue Institute Dallas from the same areas to enjoy an Iftar dinner.
Iftar dinners break the day-long fast – sun up to sun down – of nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide during the month of Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. This year Ramadan extends from May 6 through June 4.
As a show of neighborliness and in an effort to develop stronger bonds and a better understanding with the many faiths in our area, The Dialogue Institute shares an Iftar with many Churches and organizations during Ramadan. Since this sacred month follows the lunar calendar, it begins 11 days earlier each year, thus cycling through all the seasons.
Huseyin Peker, Director of the Dialogue Institute Dallas explained,
“At the Dialogue Institute, we visit different faith communities every day during this month to experience an engaging fast-breaking dinner with other religious organizations. At these interfaith dinners, guests learn about the Muslim practice of Ramadan and fasting and also learn of the host faith’s practices. Through this type of community gatherings and interfaith outreach, we strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood throughout our local community.”
Garland resident Barbara Kershaw was one of the approximately 65 attendees. Her thoughts are representative of all who were there,
“I was delighted to be invited to share a meal with members of the Muslim faith as they broke their fast. This was my first opportunity for this experience. We found as we visited that three of us at the table (including myself) share a common profession in nursing. The joy of serving others in helping to relieve suffering and pain was a part of our pleasant dinner conversation. We also delighted in learning more regarding each others’ practices of fasting in order to be closer to God. The evening was a wonderful time of sharing and learning about beautiful people as they shared their culture and delicious meal with us. I truly enjoyed making new friends.”
James Monroe, president of the congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Richardson, encompassing parts of North Dallas and Richardson along with Garland, Sachse, and Wylie, expressed his thoughts on the evening spent together this way:
“It is always good to reach out to others in our areas faith community and establish good thoughtful working relationships. Those begin by getting to know each other and by gaining a better understanding of beliefs.
We were delighted to learn of the common practice of fasting in Islam and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In our faith, members fast two meals, or 24 hours, on the first Sunday of each month. A generous ‘Fast Offering’, at least the amount of the two missed meals, is then contributed to the head of a member’s congregation for the benefit of those in need. Muslims also give generously to the needy as part of their Ramadan observance.
Though there may be differences in dogma, there are many worthy endeavors in our communities that we can work together in accomplishing.
It was wonderful spending time with members of the Dialogue Institute. What a great opportunity to become acquainted with each other and build on our common beliefs.”