Muslim Community Hosts Iftar for Olive Tree Initiative
By Anila Ali

The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) is a diverse student, faculty, and community initiative promoting dialogue and understanding through experiential learning. For the past four years, Professor Daniel Wehrenfennig, Director in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at UCI, has directed this initiative very successfully. OTI was recently awarded the OC Human Relations Commission Award and UC Office of the President Leadership Award. OTI aims to foster respect and informed dialogue about the Middle East conflict on campuses. It also aims to build a body of students and communities that are well informed about the complexities of the conflict and are able to respect multiple perspectives and discuss it in an informed and respectful manner.

The fourth group of students going on the OTI Educational trip to Jordan-Israel-Palestine from UCI and UCLA was present at the iftar. The group will be visiting DC for a week where it will also be meeting with Ms. Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

To wish theOTI group bon voyage, the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI), Muslim community-Zanbeel Art, Adnan and Tina Khan, Mariam Rashid, Nobia Kibriya, Dr. Farhat Zubair, Azza Attassi, Anila Ali, and Nikki Kardar hosted an iftar at the ICOI. As community members of all faiths gathered for this interfaith iftar, Brother Issa and Sister Yasmin warmly welcomed the OTI. The Mayor of Irvine, Sukhee Kang, and Councilwoman Beth Krom expressed their joy at seeing people of all faiths breaking bread together. Councilwoman Krom commended her city for its diversity and a fully integrated community. Mayor Kang commended the efforts of the Muslim community in its outreach and wished the Oti bon voyage.

Professor Wehrenfenning thanked the ICOI and the Muslim community for opening its doors and introduced the students and faculty from UCI and UCLA that were present.

Tina Khan from the American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council (AMWEC) handed gifts of friendship to the students and faculty. After dinner, the OTI was given a tour of the mosque.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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