Muslims across the country are marking Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic year, with charity and outreach programs.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Washington-based advocacy and civil rights group, is urging Muslims to invite their non-Muslim neighbors to join them at an iftar — the evening meal when Muslims break their dawn-to-sunset fast during the 30-day holiday, which began Monday evening.
The idea, says spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, is to increase understanding of Islam by sharing the experience of Ramadan, when Islam's holy scripture, the Quran, was revealed. Observing the fast is one of the five pillars of the faith, along with submission to God, pilgrimage to Mecca, prayer and charity.
Many Muslims make charitable gifts during the month of Ramadan, and service projects are also popular. This year, hundreds of Muslims around the nation will serve the hungry and homeless at Day of Dignity events in 18 U.S. cities. The events are coordinated by Islamic Relief USA, based in Buena Park, Calif. (Full Story)