On Friday 31st May 2019 the Ahmadiyya Muslin Community in Malta hosted an Interfaith Ramadan Iftar Dinner and its 11th Annual Peace Symposium collectively on the theme “Ramadan & Peace: The Concept of Fasting in Religions”, and invited distinguished guests and faith and community leaders to join in the celebration. The President of Malta, His Excellency Dr George Vella and his wife were the special guests. Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, president Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta, together with community members welcomed His Excellency and other distinguished guests.
The event brought together guests from different walks of life to join the important discussion about the purpose of fasting in religions, to celebrate the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Islam and break the fast with the community. All major faiths were represented at the event.
The aim of the interfaith gathering is to promote a deeper understanding of Islam and other faiths and to inspire a concerted effort towards lasting societal peace.
The programme began with recitation of the Holy Quran. In his opening address, the President of Malta, His Excellency Dr George Vella, spoke about the need of interfaith harmony and dialogue, and he congratulated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and said:
“It is with great pleasure that I am meeting with members of the Muslim community to celebrate the breaking of the fast together. I wish to congratulate Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat for taking such an open minded approach to celebrate the traditional Islamic Ramadan, and promoting unity by inviting us all here today to share with you the breaking of the fast, irrespective of our religious beliefs.”
He further said that: “Ramadan is a period where one exerts self discipline. It is a time to impose on one self control. It is an occasion to redirect the heart towards understanding others and sympathise with the needs of others. It is a time to be generous with those less fortunate than us. It is a time that one explores to find true satisfaction, a deep personal examination on our strengths and our weaknesses. It is a form in which one can experience spiritual awakening, and hopefully strengthen up of one’s conscious to do better in life.”
Highlighting the importance of peaceful coexistence he said: “I call on everybody to cherish, celebrate and to promote the peaceful and amicable relationships between the different communities found on these beautiful Islands we call our home.”
His Excellency concluded by saying that, “allow me once more to appeal to all of us to reaffirm our strong belief and nourishment of dialogue, mutual understanding and inclusion. Let us reaffirm Salaam (peace) as our ultimate and final objective. Asslamoaleikum.”
In this event, Rev. Dr Joseph Ellul, Chairman of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Malta, talked about a Christian perspective on fasting and Mr. Gordhan Mohnani spoke about the concept of fasting in Hinduism”.
Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta delivered the closing address, discussing the spiritual objectives and the philosophy of fasting in Islam. The session concluded with a recitation of prayers.
After the breaking of fast and Maghrib prayer, a buffet dinner was served.