The event started with recitation of the Holy Quran and a brief documentary about fasting during Ramadan. The following speakers delivered their speeches and answered the questions from the audience.
“Salaam Aleikum, and Ramadan Mubarak.
I would like to take a moment to salute your message, and your disciplined efforts to promote openness, tolerance, and interfaith dialogue. “Love for all, hatred for none” it is simple and powerful; an end to war.
So thank you for this message. Indeed, what unites us, what we share, is far stronger than what divides us. It seems so often in our world today that we have to keep repeating this message that we have to teach and re-teach the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Sometimes it feels like nobody is listening. In America, our commitment to freedom of religion is sacred, but at the same time, we acknowledge in the first lines of our Constitution that we are forever in pursuit of “a more perfect union.” That we always have more work to do. And tolerance and progress are not linear, either. We may never get to that perfect union, that Platonic ideal, but we are committed to working for it, and to repeating messages of tolerance, community, humanity, and love, alongside friends and partners like you who share these same values. Along the way, we all have to stay focused on the message, and ignore the noise – quite a challenge, as we live in the very noisy and distracting social media era.
What we share is far stronger than what divides us.
Thank you once again for giving us the honor of sharing this Iftar with you. Wishing you peace, love and health for you and your families this month and for the year ahead. Saha Ftourkom!”
“The command to fast, whatever its details, is to be found in most religions in one form or another. In fact, fasting is a form of devotion and self-discipline.
As far as fasting in Islam is concerned, the fundamental objective and underlying philosophy of fasting has been stated in the Holy Quran as the attainment of Taqwa – meaning piety and righteousness.
The observance of the fast is obligatory upon every adult Muslim during the month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam begins everywhere at the first appearance of dawn, and ends with sunset. During this period one is expected to abstain from all food and drink completely.
It is not just physical hunger and thirst that constitute the Muslim fast, but the recitation of the Holy Quran, understanding the commandments of God and making those part of everyday life, serving mankind, giving charities, helping those in need, being punctual in five daily obligatory prayers, waking up many hours before dawn for the individual prayer and the remembrance of God, and thus spending a greater part of the night in spiritual exercises make up the very essence of fasting.”