Thankfulness (Sukrh) is a core value of Islam; Ramadan is a time to reflect on gratitude to Allah and, at the same time, to generous individuals who mirror the generosity of Allah. In the spirit of Ramadan we all owe a debt of gratitude to our Muslim neighbors who are opening their places of worship to friends who wish to share Iftar, the fast-breaking evening meal.
Taking Heart, the Iftar shared experience, has become a tradition in the metro area and is expanding state- even nation-wide. The Ramadan learning and sharing opportunity is coordinated by the Minnesota Council of Churches (http://www.mnchurches.org/respectfulcommunities/interfaithprogramming/takingheart.html) and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. (http://www.masmn.org/page/about.html)
As part of the Taking Heart project Christians and members of other faith communities gather at sunset with Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers and others. All share the fast-breaking Iftar meal as well as conversation about the Muslim faith; last year nearly 700 non-Muslims in Minnesota attended open house Iftar dinners.
This year we owe additional appreciation to the Minnesota Council of Churches. Since the first day of Ramadan, which began June 6, lawn signs have sprung up all over the TC’s and the state. The message reads “To our Muslim neighbors – BLESSED RAMADAN.” For more about the readily purchasable or reducible signs click here: http://blessedramadan.org/respectfulcommunities/interfaithprogramming/BlessedRamadanSigns.html.
Twin Cities media have covered the Blessed Ramadan project well http://www.twincities.com/2016/06/06/blessed-ramadan-signs-springing-up-in-minnesota/ and http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-council-offers-ways-to-support-muslim-neighbors-in-ramadan/382164481/ are just two examples of media coverage.
Sukrh is also due to caring individuals who have helped to share the Blessed Ramadan message in their own communities. For example, in Grand Forks the entire community shared the message when a concerned citizen planted a “Blessed Ramadan” sign in her lawn. http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/region/4050405-christians-wish-muslim-neighbors-blessed-ramadan-minnesota
The initiative has merited national attention including this piece in the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/interfaith-iftars ramadan_us_573f58b8e4b00e09e89f0061