Recently members from the Public Affairs Committee in the Denver Metro Area were invited to attend an evening of cultural enlightenment with the Turkish Muslim Community. This group is part of the Multicultural MOSAIC Foundation, and their mission is to inform and practice open dialogue in order to promote peace and harmony in the world.
At this dinner, one of the leaders of MOSAIC taught us about Ramadan. After which, Elder Hillier of the Seventy discussed Mormon Fasting.
Here are some things that were taught:
-Ramadan is practiced by faithful Muslims throughout the world
-Ramadan is named after the month of the Muslim calendar that the community spends fasting
-Fasting during Ramadan occurs from sun-up to sun-down, about 16 hours a day. This includes food and drink.
-At the end of the fast each day, families are encouraged to engage in a Thanksgiving type feast and invite friends and family over to enjoy the meal
-After Ramadan, Muslims embrace 3 solid days of celebrations with family and food!
-Ramadan is practiced to promote humility and to learn to serve those less fortunate
-Muslims are asked to contribute a portion of their income (2.5%) to the poor.
In many ways, their Ramadan is similar to the Mormon fast. Here is what the Mormon fast consists of:
-Once a month, usually the first Sunday of the month, Mormons are asked to fast for 2 meals or 24 hours. This includes both food and drink.
-Mormons are asked to contribute the money they saved by not eating (i.e., the money they would have spent on food) to the poor. This money is given to the Bishop of the ward (congregation), who uses this money to help those less fortunate in his congregation. If more money is collected than needed, that money is given to other wards in the area, or sent to Salt Lake City for the church as a whole to use throughout the world.
-Fasting is used as a means to help members be humble and to learn to serve those less fortunate.
From this evening, members of the Public Affairs Committee realized that Muslims and Mormons share many of the same ideals and beliefs. In fact, we are very similar in many ways. It was wonderful to share our mutual beliefs and learn from each other.
Plus, as an added bonus, we got to enjoy their fantastic feast after the sun went down- and it was DELICIOUS!!!! Truly, The Mosaic Foundation is a wonderful organization, and we were blessed to partake in such a wonderful evening.