CANNINGTON-based Intercultural Harmony Society members are opening their homes to strangers for Iftar dinners this month with the aim to educate the wider community about Muslim values and cultures.
Ferndale resident Fuat Layic and chairperson of the not-for-profit organisation, said Iftar was the evening meal to end the daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
He said Ramadan was a four-week period of fasting and charity-giving for Muslims.
“Charitable work, compassionate work, doing good things within Ramadan is extremely important,” Mr Layic said.
“A Muslim person will start their fasting early in the morning around 5.45am before the sun rises and the person abstains from food or drinking until sunset.
“The initial one or two days may be a bit difficult. However, once you pass those first few days it becomes normal.
“Fasting is done because it is a requirement of the religion. By fasting, you understand a person who is needy.”
Last week the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interest Paul Papalia was a guest at Mr Layics home for Iftar dinner.
Mr Papalia said it was a privilege to share an Iftar dinner with Mr Layic and his family as part of the society’s home Iftar dinner initiative.
“Initiatives such as these provide us with an opportunity to learn more about the many different faiths and cultures that are a part of our wonderful multicultural community,” said Mr Papalia.
Mr Layic, an engineer, said the society had 40 members from mostly Muslim backgrounds.
He said society activities including speaking at community groups including churches and synagogues and opening mosques to the public.
“We are a platform for multiple cultures coming together and having an information exchange.”
Mr Layic said there was need for the Muslim community and the wider community to engage to remove misconceptions.
“There are so many values that are in common but unfortunately because there are a couple of world events triggered by some political reasons they [terrorists] are taking the media stage. These are marginal people where as the majority of Muslims are peaceful and happy and are open to embrace other cultures.
“We really do not associate the people who do these atrocious crimes with having anything to do with Islam.”
He said society members were available to engage with wider community groups to promote dialogue and understanding.
The group meets monthly at the Queens Park Neighbourhood Centre and is open to new members. For more information, visit the Intercultural Harmony Society’s Facebook page.