Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By SAIMA SITWAT
Last Sunday was a special day for the Muslim community in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. It was a day of hope, empowerment and building relationships. It was the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh’s (MAP) Annual Interfaith Iftar, where more than 200 people of different faiths broke fast together during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
This year we had the honor of hosting U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus and state House Speaker Mike Turzai, who joined the faith community in its message of promoting universal peace and harmony.
The Islamic month of Ramadan holds a distinct place in the lives of Muslims across the world. It is characterized by the spirit of charity and compassion.
Speakers for the night, Shaykh Abdul Hakeem Dickenson, religious director of the Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Rev. Jeff Sterling, pastor of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, both condemned not only the heinous acts committed in the name of Islam but also the backlash against everyday Muslims. They were later joined by Mr. Rothfus and Mr. Turzai in highlighting Muslim contributions to society.
In these times of negative political rhetoric, the presence and support of the local leaders were welcomed as a breath of fresh air by the Muslim community. They came with their spouses and helped break political stereotypes for MAP’s largely immigrant congregation.
The interfaith iftar attendees broke fast in the backdrop of a beautiful full moon. It provided us all with an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of nature and a desire for peace and the fostering of kindred spirit in our region among people of different faiths and cultures.