WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a collaboration between the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC), Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), and Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, the fourth annual interfaith Iftar took place in-person on Thursday for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian community members came from around the Washington, D.C. region to partake in the program.
Attendees had the opportunity to witness Muslim participants chant the final prayer before the meal within the synagogue sanctuary, with Imam Talib Shareef leading the proceedings. Hearing “allahu akbar” reverberating off the walls in a synagogue was a unique experience for the non-Muslim participants, most of whom expressed gratitude for the ability to stand alongside their fellow participants during Ramadan and before the Iftar meal.
“I am of the religion of humanity, with all people, regardless of who I am,” said Anila Ali, CEO and Founder of AMMWEC. “I am asked whether I’m Shia or Sunni, Pakistani or American, but I see the full human person and picture of our humanity together, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or any other religion.”
White House Liaison of Muslim Affairs Moshtayeen Ahmad served as the keynote speaker for the event and emphasized the commitment of the Biden administration to “condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate.”
The program began with an introduction from Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, founder and senior rabbi at Congregation B’nai Tzedek. Other speakers included Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel in Washington Eliav Benjamin and Dr. Safi Kaskas, an imam and scholar of Islam who has lectured throughout the U.S. and Saudi Arabia on interfaith reconciliation between evangelicals and American Muslims. In concurrence with remarks from Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S. Khazar Ebrahim, the Azerbaijani government officially opened an embassy in Tel Aviv a few days before the Iftar event in DC.
Dr. Fr. Nicolas Kazarian, who oversees ecumenical and interfaith relations for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, also gave remarks. And Christina Wong Poy — the Maryland Governor’s Commissioner on Asian-Pacific Affairs — presented a proclamation for the month of Ramadan (March 26, 2023-April 22, 2023) to be officially recognized in Maryland.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) is a global coalition engaging more than 700 partner organizations and three million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM acts collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.
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