Celebrating diversity AT WELCOME Ramadan DINNER
American Muslims for Democracy (AMD) is a New Jersey based grassroots organization that promotes civic engagement in the Muslim Diaspora. We work with legislators and lawmakers to make them understand the issues of Muslim Citizens of their constituencies. We also lend support to community based organizations to help the poor and those who are less fortunate.
The Muslim month of fasting is started at the sundown on Wednesday June 17, 2015. AMD is hosted a Dinner on Friday June 19 at Metropark Woodbridge Hotel. The event was represented by all the faiths to promote understanding and harmony amongst different communities. The friends from other faiths (Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu, and Sikhs) broke bread with their Muslim friends and neighbors while welcoming the Holy Month of Ramadan. This was an opportunity to learn from faith leaders and how each faith views the ritual practice of fasting and to foster better understanding of each other and to promote peace. This event happened at wake of shooting incidence at a Church in South Carolina where several black members of Bible study group were gunned down by an ignorant.
Brother Muhammad Yusuf Dadani was the moderator. A brief video was shown about the Muslim Fasting in America that included a message from President Obama. Br. Basit Qari shared the Islamic perspective on Fasting. The Christian Faith was represented by Pastor Howard A. Bryant from Catholic Congregation from Rahway and Reverend Leonard Hampton from Piscataway represented Evangelical Church. Mr. Walter Ruby talked about Jewish faith, fasting, and need for understanding and harmony among all the God loving people. Dr. Ali Chaudhry spoke about his Interfaith Initiative that he started a while ago and he expressed his gratitude for all those who took time and graced the occasion celebrating diversity. A message of prayer from Buddhist priest was read by sister Azra Baig, who also organized Ramadan Dinner and fast breaking events at the work place. Mr. Kiran Desai shared Hindu religion’s message of peace.
An 11 minutes long video on Terrorism and Muslims; facts verses fiction was also shown. This documentary is prepared by Unity Productions Foundation (UPF).
Dr. Mahmood Alam, President AMD thanked all the participants and the speakers for showing their support for Muslim Festival of Ramadan and fasting. He said God is the centerpiece of our belief then we should all work together for peace and harmony among the children of Adam. He also introduced a book, Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an; Islam and the founders authored by Denise Spellberg. Numerous copies of this book were distributed to the guests. These books were donated by AMD board member, Mr. Nadeem Saleem.
Dinner was followed by the second session of the program in which politicians and legislators appreciated the efforts of AMD to curb violence and to promote peace and harmony in a pluralistic society we live in. Among those were Mayor Tom Lankey of Edison and Mayor John McCormack of Woodbridge township addressed the audiences. Dr. M. Zubair and Shariq Ahmad moderated this part of the program.
This program was positively covered by the media and a brief segment of the proram was aired on NJ channel 12 news at 11 pm.
Shahid Rehman, Director of Inspiring South Asian Youth (ISay) said, “Very nice program and congratulations on your success”. I think the addition of the documentary was very powerful. It is a great way to convey many and all messages to illustrate our (Muslims) being part and parcel of this society and country.
Reverend Howard A. Bryant expressed, “It was an honor and a pleasure to have been invited to be a part of the Celebration. I left with even a greater appreciation for the Universal God we worship and serve through our diverse ritual and cultural ways”.
I was really impressed with the Video about Myths about Muslims. I would like to possess a copy of the video when it is released. I have several venues in mind where it might be shown.