|code: 262122||Date: 2011/08/27||source: newsok|
Interfaith group gathers at Oklahoma Capitol for Ramadan dinner
Held Aug. 17 on the second-floor rotunda of the state Capitol, the evening event was hosted by state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman.
Guest speakers representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities spoke to the crowd of about 175 people about the role of fasting in their respective faith traditions.
After sundown, many Muslims in attendance went to a quiet area of the building to pray before joining other guests dining on the iftar meal.
Iftar is the traditional meal that ends each fast day during Ramadan. The holy month began Aug. 1 and ends Aug. 30.
Virgin thanked the crowd for attending and said it was fitting that the iftar dinner was held at the Capitol where the core values of American democracy are put into action.
“We must remember that there is more that unites us than divides us,” Virgin said.
Keynote speaker Jerome A. Holmes, U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 10th Circuit, expounded on the unity theme Virgin mentioned in her welcome.
Holmes told those gathered that, despite their differences, they are all on “one American team.”
“We need not worship in the same way to be unified as Americans,” he said. “No religion has a franchise on being an American.”
Abby Jacobson, rabbi of Emanuel Synagogue; the Rev. George Young, senior pastor of Holy Temple Baptist Church; and Imad Enchassi, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, spoke about fasting.
Jacobson reminded the crowd that Queen Esther fasted and asked others to fast with her before pleading the cause of her fellow Jews to her husband and king, as chronicled in the Old Testament.
Young said Christians fast for many reasons, including a desire to be closer to God and to become more righteous.
Enchassi said fasting strips people down to the most basic level and helps them become better connected with God.
“We may have to start seeing with the eyes of God,” he said.
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