Hollywood Iftar Encourages Creators to Reject “Stereotypical Stories” About Islam

ebf_iftar_london_2019-publicity-h_2019_The third annual event was hosted by the Muslims on Screen & Television Resource Center, Unity Productions Foundation and the Writers Guild Foundation.

On Wednesday night the Writers Guild Foundation and Muslims on Screen & Television Resource Center (MOST) welcomed influential film and television creators to the third annual Hollywood Iftar.

The London Hotel in West Hollywood played host to the event, a collaboration between the Writers Guild Foundation, MOST and Unity Productions Foundation.

An iftar is a sacred sunset meal Muslims use to break the daily fast of Ramadan.

Wednesday’s iftar was open to both Muslim and non-Muslim members of Hollywood in the hopes of fostering a better understanding of Islam by those who create film and television. Writers and producers like Greg Daniels (The Office), Joy Gregory (Madam Secretary) and Chip Johannessen (Homeland) mixed and mingled with members of the Islamic community to learn about the nuances of Islamic culture and traditional Muslim practices.

Daniels, showrunner of The Office and Parks and Recreation, says he first experienced the Hollywood Iftar a couple of years ago, after attending a master class with Arab TV writers in Abu Dhabi.

He says he strongly believes in the need for television writers to familiarize themselves with different cultures. “I think it’s important for all writers to learn about as much as they can just to have their writing reflect the world accurately,” Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter before alluding to the current political climate. “I also think it’s important to show solidarity with minority communities, especially now.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 

Muslim members of Congress host Ramadan feast at the Capitol

CONGRESSWhile Rep. Ilhan Omar fasts during Ramadan from food and water — and even, she is quick to point out, from coffee — her responsibilities as a congresswoman often keep her from breaking her daily fast at a celebratory iftar meal. Sometimes, she said, it’s a quick bite to eat after the sun sets and then back to the House floor for a vote or to a committee meeting.

But not on Monday. On this night, halfway through the month-long holiday of Ramadan, Omar enjoyed a buffet of food as she and two other Muslim members of Congress hosted some fellow members for a traditional Ramadan meal.

The congressional iftar, hosted at the Capitol, was a night for Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) to explain their faith to their colleagues. Of course a break-the-fast meal in the halls of Congress included a hefty serving of politics alongside the naan and kebabs.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Minnesota Muslims shift toward eco-friendly practices during Ramadan

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As the clock approached midnight, volunteers in the kitchen of the Islamic Center of Minnesota’s female-only clubhouse washed cutlery and ceramic plates to be used for the next iftar dinner in the days to come.

It made more work, but that meant less trash after the traditional evening meal to break the fast during Ramadan.

“A few years ago, when we decided to organize iftars, we reached out to the community and asked for old plates, silverware, dishes and cutlery. We have been using them since,” said Sally Hassan, director of the clubhouse, called Club ICM, in Fridley. “People are used to the convenience of using plastic or paper plates. They want the easy way out.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 

In a first, iftar held inside a church premises in Ras Al Khaimah

Keeping with the UAE’s vision for 2019 to be the ‘Year of Tolerance’, a group of expats took the opportunity on Thursday to celebrate Ramadan and partake in a special Iftar inside a church in Ras Al Khaimah.

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In what could be a first, the expats, mainly from Kerala, India, spent the evening celebrating Ramadan and partaking in the Iftar inside St. Luke Anglican Church in the northern emirate.

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Muslims break their fast inside St. Luke Anglican Church in Ras Al Khaimah on Thursday, in a bid to support the Year of Tolerance in the UAE

St Luke Anglican Church is part of the Chaplaincy of Dubai and Sharjah with the Northern Emirates, within the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf; one of four Dioceses which make up the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which is also a Province within the world-wide Anglican Communion. There are five churches within the chaplaincy: St Luke Anglican Church, Ras Al Khaimah; St Nicholas Anglican Church, Fujairah; St Martin Anglican Church, Sharjah; Christ Church (Anglican), Jebel Ali; and the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Dubai.

Chief priests from three religious groups – Hindus, Christians and Muslims – came together to spread the message of peace, love and harmony among the expatriate community in the UAE.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE KHALEEJ TIMES 

Ramadan 2019: Why is it so important for Muslims?

wc-22.10.2018.Ramadan-Questions-1The Muslim holy month is upon us once again. Here is what happens.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy adult Muslims fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during the holy month.

Muslims also believe the Quran was revealed in Ramadan.

During the holy month, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor, and they break their fast with a meal referred to as iftar.

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When does Ramadan begin in 2019?

It is common for mosques to host large iftars, especially for the poor and needy. Nightly prayers called Tarawih are also held in mosques after iftar.

Different cultures have different traditions during Ramadan, whether it is a special food they must cook, or eating iftar with the extended family. Islamic tenets such as generosity inspired most of these traditions, including sharing food and inviting guests over for iftar.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Ramadan unites Christians and Muslims in Egypt

A group of Muslims and Christians have come together in Egypt to give their time to help the needy of society.

In the Cairo district of Masr El-Qadima, they are putting together Ramadan boxes, filled with basic food items and provisions, which have been donated by volunteers.

Volunteers preparing Ramadan boxes

For the past three years, landlord Atef William has been hosting the activities of an organization called “Helm Establ Antar”, meaning the dream of Establ Antar, the area where it takes place.

“We are all equals, we are Egyptians,” he says. “I was brought up not to differentiate between people on the basis of religion.”

Atef William

Much like Masr El-Qadima, the middle-class district of Shobra is considered to have a high level of social coexistence with friendly residents.

Gamil Banayouty is a Christian. He organises an iftar tent that has been set every Ramadan for the last 40 years. He works alongside elderly men who were teenagers when the activity first started.

Gamil Banayouty

“Our Ramadan table is called the National Unity Media, and it’s open to everyone – Muslims, Christians, we don’t differentiate,” he explains. “As for me, I’ve been attached to the month of Ramadan since the October War [1973 Arab–Israeli War]. I was an officer, and we were fighting during Ramadan, and I could not not fast with my soldiers. ”

Banayouty and his neighbours are very proud to have kept the iftar activity going for such a long time and they continue to reap the reward of the unity it brings between their community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EURONEWS

What Ramadan means to Muslims: 4 essential reads

1. Importance of Ramadan

file-20190506-103057-ss2d5gRamadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Each pillar denotes an obligation of living a good Muslim life. The others include reciting the Muslim profession of faith, daily prayer, giving alms to the poor and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Mohammad Hassan Khalil, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University, explains that the Quran states that fasting was prescribed for Muslims so that they could be conscious of God. He writes,

“By abstaining from things that people tend to take for granted (such as water), it is believed, one may be moved to reflect on the purpose of life and grow closer to the creator and sustainer of all existence.”

He also notes that for many Muslims, fasting is a spiritual act that allows them to understand the condition of the poor and thus develop more empathy.

2. Halal food

During Ramadan, when breaking fast, Muslims will eat only foods that are permissible under Islamic law. The Arabic word for such foods, writes religion scholar Myriam Renaud, is “halal.”

Renaud explains that Islamic law draws on three religious sources to determine which foods are halal. These include “passages in the Quran, the sayings and customs of the Prophet Muhammad, which were written down by his followers and are called ‘Hadith’ and rulings by recognized religious scholars.”

In the United States, some states such as California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Texas restrict the use of halal label for foods that meet Islamic religious requirements. Various Muslim organizations also oversee the production and certification of halal products, she writes.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CONVERSATION