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(ST. LOUIS, MO., 7/10/2014) -- On Thursday, July 17, The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-St. Louis) and Interfaith Quest will host the city's first-ever interfaith youth Ramadan fast-breaking (iftar) dinner in an effort to promote mutual understanding.
WHAT: Interfaith Youth Iftar Dinner
WHEN: Thursday July 17, 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis Gym, 517 Wiedman Road, Ballwin, MO, 63011
Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God's commandments.
At each sunset during Ramadan, Muslims have "iftar," a meal that breaks the fast. It is a time for food, community, prayer, and fellowship. This year, the interfaith community is working to build bridges of peace and mutual understanding by encouraging high school and college students of various faiths and backgrounds to join together in the breaking of the fast with Muslim youths.
Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of Islam.
"We are all very excited to have young people of various faiths participate in the iftar," said Beth Damsgaard Rodriguez, an interfaith consultant and director of Interfaith Quest. "The best way to build peace, tolerance and understanding within a society is for people to interact with one another and understand what is sacred to each faith. What better way of doing that then having young people participate in the breaking of the fast?"
The evening will include informal discussion with young people before the breaking of the fast, followed by the sunset Muslim prayers and then dinner.
"We've been hosting iftars for years," said Sara Beg, one of the key organizers of the event and whose family is sponsoring the meal. "This year, we decided to host it specifically for young people to add to the recent interfaith youth activities that we have organized within the last couple of years."
"Sharing Ramadan with others is a part of our faith," said Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-St. Louis. "What better way of building friendships with others than by sharing in a meal?"
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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