Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, in partnership with the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation and the Montgomery County Muslim Council hosted Iftar Dinner on June 15 at the Montgomery County Council Executive Office Building in Rockville.
Iftar is the meal that Muslims eat to break their fast after sunset during Ramadan. After maghrib prayer, a full-course meal, consisting of soup, salad, appetizers and main dishes is served. Iftar is a social event which involves family and community members. It is common for Muslims to host others for dinner, or gather as a community or to invite and share food with those less fortunate. The spiritual reward for charitable giving is considered to be especially significant during Ramadan.
The iftar dinner was attended by more than 400 guests including a large number of Montgomery County residents who serve as faith leaders from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist faiths. In addition to Leggett, the event was attended by Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, and Councilmember Marc Elrich. In addition to the above, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, Maryland Delegates Aruna Miller and Dr. Hassan Jalisi were also present in the event.
Besides the elected representatives, several Montgomery County and Maryland State officials attended the event which included representatives from the Office of the Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger, Officials from Human Right Commission, Special Assistant to the County Executive Chuck Short, Interfaith Community Liaison Rev. Mansfield Kaseman, Director of the Office of Community Partnerships Bruce Adams and several others.
During the event, the County Executive and County Council issued a joint Proclamation declaring May 27, 2017 to June 24, 2017 “Muslim American Ramadan Heritage Month.”In their comments, both Leggett and Berliner appreciated the contributions made by the 65,000 resident Muslims in diverse professions and trades in the Montgomery County. Sarbanes in his address admired the significant role played by the Muslim community in Maryland in all walks of life.
The highlight of the program was a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” awarded to the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation by U.S. Rep. John K. Delaney.
The citation reads as follows: “In Celebration of the 2017 Annual Iftar Dinner and for your dedication to encourage and promote Interfaith activities and dialogue in the community. Your commitment to creating community development services to reduce hunger in Montgomery County is a testament to your dedication to serve the needy.”
MCMF members were also active in charitable events during Ramadan. They launched a Ramadan refugee project in which they served meals to more than 400 refugees, distributed 150 Toys R Us gift cards to refugee children, donated cars to help refugees drive to work, distributed more than 2,000 items of clothing to low-income residents and aided in the monthly food pantry distribution to low income residents of Montgomery County.
Tufail Ahamad, chairman of MCMF, expressed his thanks to the County Council for their support for the mission of the MCMF. He also mentioned that lack of office space is preventing the efforts of MCMF to expand its various programs.