Hundreds Break Fast Together at 13th Annual Iftar Dinner
By Aaron Burch
On Tuesday, March 28, people of all faiths and backgrounds congregated at Louisville’s Second Presbyterian Church to celebrate the 13th Annual Interfaith Iftar Dinner.
Held each year to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, the Iftar Dinner has become a celebrated piece of tradition for hundreds of people. Guests for the Iftar Dinner range from mayors and business executives to faith leaders and ordinary families. The event is co-hosted by two non-profits: Muslim Americans for Compassion (MAC) and Interfaith Paths to Peace (IPP).
After introductions by Master of Ceremonies Minhal Nazeer and Reverend Steve Jester of Second Presbyterian, IPP’s Executive Director Jud Hendrix welcomed guests early in the evening and shared a message of collaboration and hope. “We belong to each other across our religions, our ideologies, ethnicities, and races,” he said. “We need to see each other, and we need to move forward to collaborate and create spaces of justice for each other. Thank you for all you’re doing in our world, in our community.”
MAC President Dr. Muhammad Babar spoke next, showing love to many around the room and reminding those in attendance why they had gathered.
“Iftar is a sacred ritual meant to share bread together with family, friends, and strangers in fellowship at sunset after breaking the fast,” he said, noting that the event will always be free to attend because its an act of hospitality. “That’s why we appreciate the sponsors and MAC board members who with their generosity help us continue this tradition.”
Dr. Babar also recounted some of his recent trip to Turkey, along with Dr. Sajjad Jameel, to help assist the hundreds of thousands affected by the recent earthquake.
“I’m thankful for Dr. Jameel always being upbeat and optimistic in the most difficult of conditions, including a night when we felt an aftershock while laying in a tent in Hassa Turkey. We saw so much devastation that it is difficult to believe Mother Nature can show that much fury,” Dr. Babar said. “I am hoping that this journey will keep my heart softened to live a life of purpose and follow the path of the sacred ones by finding myself in service to others.”
Mayor Craig Greenberg spoke next, happy to be there in his first year as Louisville’s leading representative. He was followed by a collection of Health Care Diversity & Equity Awards given to leading health care representatives from Louisville and across the state of Kentucky.
Leaders from UofL Health, Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health, Signature HealthCARE, and Molina Healthcare were on hand to accept their awards, as well as Eric Friedlander, the Secretary for the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services. Together these six organizations have been crucial in guiding Kentucky residents through the Covid-19 pandemic and improving the health of all communities.
As the sunset, there was a call to prayer. Then all in attendance were able to break their fast together. Thank you to Jarfi’s catering for providing food for everyone, as well as Haraz Coffee for serving complimentary tea and coffee to attendees.
MAC and IPP also wish to thank all the volunteers and sponsors who made this possible including Molina Healthcare, UofL Health, Republic Bank, Old National Bank, Norton Healthcare, UofL Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Baptist Health, PNC Bank, Signature Healthcare, and Stock Yards Bank & Trust.
Once again, Iftar showed the love and brotherhood that can arise when people of all backgrounds connect and learn from each other. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.