“Most people don’t know what Ramadan is, and don’t know why we fast,” said Thamreen Siddiqui.

Siddiqui, social services coordinator at the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, made her remarks as she was explaining the importance of her organization’s upcoming Iftar.

An Iftar — indeed, not a name that most Westerners would be familiar with — is a meal, an important part of the process of celebrating Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims. Throughout Ramadan, which commemorates the revelation of the words of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims fast from sunup until sundown. Muslims share an Iftar to break their fast each of the 28 days of Ramadan.

But this year, as in recent past years, they won’t be just sharing with each other. The Council will hold its 10th Annual Interfaith Iftar on Oct. 9 in south suburban Orland Park.

Iftars are traditionally inclusive, and therefore provide a natural interfaith setting, according to Jason Renken, assistant to the directors at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

The Archdiocese invites Catholics to the Iftar each year.

The interfaith Iftar provides an “opportunity for those who are not Muslim to attend the breaking of the fast, prayer, dinner and program,” Renken said.

The event’s importance to Muslims makes the inclusion of other faiths just that more significant, he explained. . .

The interfaith Iftar is held at a different mosque each year. This year the Prayer Center of Orland Park, 16530 S. 104th Ave., will host.


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