Invited to break fast with the city’s Muslim community, residents of Mankato city in Minnesota attended the first iftar at Envision Labs on Sunday, June 26, building relations between the religious group and the community at large.
“We’re opening our hearts and minds and saying this is our holy month and we want people to come and celebrate,” Fardousa Jama of the Somali Community Barwaaqo Organization said of the event.
Sunday marked a first for the city in that non-Muslims were invited to share in a communal breaking of fast at Envision Labs.
The event, a brain child of Jama, included providing food for roughly 200 people from in and out of the Muslim community.
Bringing in the rest of the Mankato community was seen as a way to build relations between the religious group and the community at large.
“The way you build relationships is getting to know people,” said Rebecca Sullivan, a volunteer from Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
“I appreciate that the Somali community is reaching out.”
Dick Young, another volunteer, said the feast was a chance to build bridges rather than walls.
Ayan Musse, who came to the iftar, said she was thrilled to see such a strong turnout from people of all backgrounds.
“This is proof that we live in a great community,” she said, later crediting Jama with bringing the event together.
Preparing the iftar, Jama said she hopes it would unite the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during a time of great misunderstanding.
“Tragedies shouldn’t divide us,” she said.
“They should unite us as humanity and move us forward.”