Last evening in a small and remote town of Utica a spectacular event happened. This year June is also a month that hosts the holiest month in Islamic calendar, the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ramadan for Muslims is a month of piety, deity and self-reflection. It is the month when Muslims are required to fast dawn until dusk for give or take 30 days. While observing Ramadan through the rigid physical and psychological self imposed diet it helps Muslims to empathize with people experiencing: starvation, social injustice, inequality, poverty and many other hardships. It is also a month of charity, where Muslims are required to donate for the good of community and to help those in need.
While Ramadan as a month is not only about the hardships but it is the month of lavish feasts known as “Iftar”. After a daylong abstinence from food and drinks the iftar is indeed a time when amplified desire for food and drinks is being fulfilled with best cuisines available in given culture. In addition, the real power of Ramadan can be seen through the social cohesion in Muslim communities. The best possible spice for an Iftar is actually inviting a friend, family or a neighbor for dinner. It is important to mention that Ramadan is also a month when Muslims are making a spiritual journey into their inner-selves. Last night, Bosnian Islamic Community Center of Utica in its campus “Gradska Dzamija” hosted an interfaith iftar dinner where constituencies from all communities, races, nations, religions, and socio-economical status could come to this flamboyant event and dissolve into a unique tolerance and compassion based interfaith community of Utica City. There were several dignitaries: mayor, religious leaders from different congregations, entrepreneurs, college professors, teachers, doctors, and lawyers, people from all different backgrounds were dining together in a perfect harmony. This dinner was a soaring quite message. It is quite because it will not be shown on primetime news, and yet it is soaring because it sends a powerful message. The diversity, tolerance, respect are traits that are making community stronger. People from all backgrounds can enjoy the time together, they are neighbors and they are as one. They stand together to all bigotry and discrimination. They stand together to build up a bright future for their children.
We would like to thanks our friends from Whitesboro, Ilion, Cooperstown, New Hartford, Little Falls, Whitestown and Utica who joined us at this beautiful event.
Yes this was in Utica, one of the most diverse places in the nation.