Iftar at a church!
You must have been taken aback by the title. However, for the past 12 years, iftar has been served at this US church every Ramadan.
People of all faiths join in this interfaith iftar.
The event takes place in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, in the US. I had the opportunity to attend the iftar Tuesday (April 19, 2022). A group of young volunteers greeted us as we stepped out of the car in front of the church. As I walked down the hall, to my surprise, I saw a large gathering of around 500 people from different religious backgrounds and races.
A number of people were seated on a small stage. A speech was in progress. All were invited to sit down by a church official. Then, one by one, representatives from Muslim Americans for Compassion, The Interfaith Paths to Peace, the founder of Moldova World Children's Fund, the mayor of Louisville, and a Kentucky lawmaker addressed the gathering.
All of their speeches centred around one specific topic -- one must be respectful of other religions and sympathise with another.
Then an official of University of Louisville took to the stage and recited azan. Following the azan, we broke our fast and had iftar, starting with the dates that had been placed on each table. There was a dinner afterwards.
I haven't witnessed such a display of communal harmony in a long time. Particularly, sitting inside a church and having iftar was a novel experience. They also celebrated the Passover and Easter Sunday at the same event.