Islamic Center of Inland Empire Hosts Interfaith Iftar Dinner
By Haseeb Patail
On August 11 th 2011, the Islamic Center of Inland Empire a.k.a. Rancho Mosque, located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA hosted an Interfaith Iftar Dinner to forge solidarity and unity in the community. Iftar in the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan is an evening event where the Muslims break their fast of refraining from eating and drinking during the daylight hours.
The event brought together the preachers and practitioners of the three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Judaism and Christianity, as well as other non-Abrahamic faiths such as Hinduism and that of Native American Indians. The event was also attended by the Center’s neighbors, Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Dennis Michael, Consul General of Pakistan Mrs. Riffat Masood, Mayor Protem Sam Spagnolo City Council Chuck Buquet, Law Enforcement Agencies LAPD and LA County Sheriff, Claremont School of Theology, Upland Church of Scientology, and representatives of local charity organizations.
The Master of Ceremony was Sister Shahana Samiullah, PhD. She and Shoaib Patail, Chairperson of the Center and a pediatrician by profession, welcomed the guests. Ahmed Soboh, a dentist by profession, highlighted the significance of fasting in the month of Ramadan. Besides local Rancho Cucamonga residents, guests from Los Angeles, Walnut, Claremont, Ontario, and Fontana also attended the event.
Mrs. Riffat Masood, Consul General of Pakistan, took the stage and highlighted the current issues concerning Pakistan and her current relationship with the United States of America. She mentioned that the Pakistan Embassy, Consulates General of Pakistan, and Pakistan-American community are playing a vital role in engaging with the US State Department, LEA(s), and religious organizations. She emphasized that in these difficult times it is essential for the community to come forward and improve the channel of communication between not only Pakistani Muslims but Muslims at large with communities of different faiths. She also stressed the importance of Muslims’ engagement with fellow Americans to raise awareness of the current situation in Pakistan.
The keynote speaker of the event was Mayor Dennis Michael. In his speech the Mayor mentioned that he was proud of the City of Rancho Cucamonga and its diversified community. He also mentioned that American Muslims are an important part of the fabric of the United States of America. He appreciated ICIE for its generous contribution to the City and organizations locally and abroad during disaster and calamity. Mr. Michael greatly appreciated the hospitality and organization of the well attended, lively, and no-charge (free) event. He also thanked the Host Committee and the Muslim community for their continuous and tireless contribution to the city and to our nation.
Mr. Adnan Khan, President of Council of Pakistan American Affairs, Officer Jim Buck, LAPD and Deputy Sheriff, Sheriff Morsi also spoke on the occasion.
After the guests received a tour of the Islamic Center, observed Muslims offering Maghreb prayers, and enjoyed a sumptuous Mediterranean dinner, the event concluded with all non-Muslim guests receiving gift baskets as a parting gift.