Winnipeg Islamic community shares dinner, Ramadan teachings with non-Muslims

Nearly 200 people gathered in Winnipeg on Friday evening to enjoy a meal, break their Ramadan fasts, and share teachings about the sacred month with non-Muslims.

Muslims go without food and water from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, which began on Mar. 22 this year and goes until Apr. 20. It’s observed by about 25,000 Muslims in Manitoba and nearly two billion worldwide.

The Manitoba Islamic Association held the dinner to celebrate iftar, which is when Muslims break their daily fasts during Ramadan, inviting people from beyond the Muslim community to share the meal with them.

“Every year is special, but this year is even more special, because we don’t have any restrictions due to COVID,” Ruheen Aziz, board member of the association, told CBC.

The purpose of fasting during Ramadan is to do some inward reflection and gain a stronger sense of community and faith, she said.

“This is a great time to give charity and to think of those that don’t have the luxuries that we have,” Aziz said.

While around 150 people were expected to come to the event, she said they were glad to welcome even more, with about 200 people showing up.

“We’re happy for the response and to share our knowledge of Ramadan with them.”

Obby Khan, Fort Whyte MLA and Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, was also in attendance at the event.

“If you look around, there’s actually a lot of people who aren’t Muslim, so it’s about coming together as a community,” he told CBC.

A man in a suit looks forward.
Fort Whyte MLA Obby Khan said Friday’s dinner shows the diversity and inclusivity of both the Muslim community and Manitoba. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

He said Ramadan this year is monumental for him since he is the first Muslim MLA and cabinet minister in Manitoba’s history.

On Wednesday, Khan became the first to deliver a ministerial statement in the legislature to mark the beginning of Ramadan.

“To me, that carries an extra specialness, closeness to my heart.”

Khan said the event shows the diversity and inclusiveness of both the Muslim community and Manitoba.

“This event is just another example of what’s so great about Manitoba.”

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