Ramadan, the Muslim holy holiday of fasting, prayer and charity, begins the evening of Sunday, May 5 and now six Muslim associations and houses of worship are hosting open-house dinners to build bridges with other faiths and educate the public about the Islamic religion.
The events — coordinated by the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations or COSMOS — will all take place in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties throughout May and have a free meal after sunset to break the fast each night.
The meals, called iftars, will comprise different cuisines, from Indian to Pakistani to Mediterranean. There may be others as well, according to organizers. Those interested in attending are asked to inquire about the food at each event and RSVP so they have enough food. Attendees are also asked to dress in modest attire.
“The idea is basically for our non-Muslim friends and neighbors to come visit the mosques, see what the mosques look like from the inside and to meet with the community,” said Shabbir Motorwala, a COSMOS founding member.
In addition to members of the public and those from other religious organizations, Motorwala said that the event has been attended by local elected officials, representatives from the law enforcement community and from local colleges and universities in previous years.
Motorwala wants to focus on building bridges with other faiths and with the general public, especially in light of recent violent tragedies in Pittsburgh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Poway and others.
“In the past, when our mosque was vandalized, we had members of the Jewish and Christian community come together to have a vigil with us,” he said. “When the Pittsburgh massacre took place, we were invited to speak at the vigil in Miami Beach — and I was one of the speakers there — to show our support to the community.”
Motorwala said despite differences or disagreements, communities and faiths can and should come together to develop solutions for mutual problems and support each other.
“There are times when we disagree on geopolitical issues, but when it comes to local issues, when a synagogue or a church or a mosque gets vandalized, we all come together to hold hands together; come join the vigil and support each other,” Motorwala said. “United we stand. Bigotry and hate have no place in South Florida.”
COSMOS Ramadan events include:
- Islamic Jafferia Association, 10554 NW 132nd St., Hialeah Gardens, FL 33018 on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Jamil Rizvi at 305-607-1768 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Islamic Foundation of South Florida, 5455 NW 108th Ave., Sunrise, FL 33351 on Thursday, May 9 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Shehryar Wahid at email@example.com
- Islamic School of Miami, Al Noor Mosque in Kendall, 11699 SW 147th Ave., Miami, FL 33196 on Monday, May 13 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Naveed Anjum at 786-512-3150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Islamic Center of Greater Miami, Miami Gardens Mosque, 4305 NW 183rd St. Miami Gardens, FL 33055 on Tuesday, May 14 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Khalid Mirza at 305-904-0074 or email@example.com
- Islamic Center of Boca Raton, 3480 NW Fifth Ave, Boca Raton, FL 33431 on May 16, May 22 and May 28 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Annie Hayat at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Masjid Al-Ansar, 5245 NW 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33127 on Thursday May 23 at 7:15 p.m. Contact/RSVP: Alia Pasha at 305-467-9419 or email@example.com
Visit cosmosfla.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.