Macon Mayor Jack Ellis has reserved the City Council chambers today to mark the end of Ramadan, an Islamic holiday that observes the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which God is said to have revealed the Quran to the prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan encourages abstinence from earthly pleasures and requires fasting during daylight hours. This year, the holiday began in mid-September and will conclude Friday.
Ellis and the Macon Islamic Center will sponsor a discussion of Islam at 5:30 p.m. today in the council chambers. The forum will last until 6:30 or 7 p.m. and culminate in a communitywide feast in the foyer of City Hall, said Clarence Thomas, a communications specialist in the mayor's office.
Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders have been asked to attend, he added, as have City Council members.
"It's designed to be a communitywide event that the public is also invited to participate in as well," he said.
Ellis was raised a Christian but is now a Sunni Muslim. In December he converted to Islam while visiting Senegal, a country on the western coast of Africa. He has said he also intends to legally change his name to Hakim Mansour Ellis, but he has not yet done so.
"As both a practicing Muslim and the mayor of Macon, I'm charged with meeting the needs of all religions," Ellis said Monday in a news release.
"This administration has practiced the inclusion of every resident in our efforts to better this community, so this discussion and meal is yet another reflection of our continued commitment to bringing together citizens of varying religions and cultures whenever the opportunity presents itself."