Taking Heart program brings non-Muslims and Muslims together for Ramadan Iftar meals

People of all faiths can attend Ramadan dinners organized by the Minnesota Council of Churches and metro-area mosques.

For the second year, as Muslim neighbors prepare for the sacred month of Ramadan in July, the Minnesota Council of Churches announced a series of open houses at area mosques organized by the council’s Taking Heart program. At least eight mosques and Muslim Community Centers throughout the metro area will welcome non-Muslim visitors for a traditional Ramadan Iftar, or fast-breaking meal.

Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunup to sundown. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity.  Fasting during Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of Islam.  Each day the fast is broken with a meal called Iftar.

Taking Heart has been bringing Muslims and non-Muslims for food and conversation for more than six years. The Minnesota Council of Churches has been involved in interfaith programming for more than two decades.

“Last year more than 350 guests attended an Iftar during Ramadan. We hope this year will be even bigger,” said Gail Anderson, director of the program. “We hope that people who have never had an opportunity to visit a mosque before will come join us for dinner at a mosque in their neighborhood.”

These events are free and open to the public but registration is required.  Information and registration materials can be found on the MCC website: tinyurl.com/d3qg5hh.

The Minnesota Council of Churches’ mission is to manifest unity in the church and to build the common good in the world. For more information, visit mnchurches.org.

Open houses

– Friday, July 27, 7:30 p.m., at Northwest Islamic Community Center, 3300 Plymouth Blvd., Plymouth

– Saturday, July 28, 7:30 p.m., at Islamic Center of Minnesota, 1401 Gardena Ave. N.E., Fridley

– Saturday, July 28, 8:15 p.m. at Ja’afari Islamic Center, 10301 Jefferson Hwy., Brooklyn Park

– Monday, July 30, 7:30 p.m., at Masjid Al-Iman, 1429 2nd St. N.E., Minneapolis

– Wednesday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m. at Muslim American Society of Minnesota, 4100 East 66th St., Inver Grove Heights

– Thursday, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m., at Dar Al Hijrah, 504 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis

– Friday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m., at Burnsville Mosque, 1351 Riverwood Drive, Burnsville

– Thursday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., at Masjid Al-Rahman, Muslim Community Center, 8910 Old Cedar Ave., Bloomington