Annual Community Iftar 2013
by Khalida Baste
On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, the Mosque Foundation hosted its annual Ramadan Community Iftar. This is an important event that builds great relationships between local elected officials, schools, libraries, police and fire departments and the Mosque Foundation. The program started at the Mosque Foundation with a tour and general background on Islam presented by Sheikh Kifah Mustapha. Then the guests moved to Paradise Banquets for the rest of the program.
After the Masjid President, Hussein Ata, gave some welcoming remarks, Sheikh Jamal Said, delivered practical advice on how non-Muslims can work with their fasting Muslim colleagues during this blessed month. Following, Sh. Jamal’s Ramadan Reflections, we were privileged to have Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, the President of Moraine Valley Community College, as the keynote speaker. Last year, she took office and has been proactive in establishing a strong bond between the masjid and Moraine Valley. She reaffirmed the college’s commitment to embracing diversity and finding ways to connect our community to the college.
There were also two awards presented this year. The Community Service Award went to Tom Lenz. He recently left his position as Lead Organizer of United Power for Action and Justice. This organization has worked closely with our masjid on various projects such as health insurance, housing for low-income families, etc. The Friendship Award was presented to Thomas Durkin and Janice Roberts. They are a husband and wife team of lawyers who are committed to working for justice. They have worked to protect the rights of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Alhamdallah, they have also done a lot of pro bono work for our masjid and the community, also.
This year we had many special guests attend our event. We had both the mayor of Bridgeview, Steve Landek, and mayor of Oak Lawn, Dr. Sandra Bury. In addition, we had Mary Flowers, 31st district congressional district representative, attending. Also, from the school districts we had Oak Lawn Community High School superintendent, Michael Riordan. In addition, many village trustees from Hickory Hills, Bridgeview, Oak Lawn, and our neighboring suburbs attended. There was also great support from the leadership of our local Muslim organizations, including the CIOGC, Zakat Foundation, MAS, ICIRR, AMP, Aqsa and Universal Schools.
It was an informative evening as the guests leave learning a lot about Islam, in general, Ramadan, and the background/history of the Mosque Foundation. Additionally, they had the opportunity to socialize as they ate a catered meal from Al-Bawadi restaurant. To get the guests to network on each table, they were given masjid trivia questions to answer together as a team. The winning tables received Mosque Foundation customized mugs with goody bags. Alhamdallah, we are so grateful to everyone who joined us and made this evening a great success.