Interfaith iftarat church

Members of both faiths, from left, are Rosanne van Reenen, Reverend Glynis Rhodes, Zulpha Petersen, Hilton Rhodes, Inshaaf Petersen and Labeeqah Petersen.

As Muslims embarked on the last few days of Ramadaan, before Eid is celebrated either tomorrow or Saturday, followers of the Muslim and Christian faiths shared a meal together on Friday June 8.

Ramadaan is the Muslim month of fasting, with Eid being the celebration at the end of the fast.

The meal, shared at iftar, when Muslims break their fast at sunset, was held at Christ the King Church in Claremont and hosted by the Wynberg-based Open Mosque.

The event, however, was not only about food. It also created an opportunity for the 45 people of different faiths who attended, to learn more about each other.

They were also encouraged to move to a different table every hour, to increase the number of people they got to interact with.

To enable those who did not understand Arabic to follow the Muslim prayers being recited at the event, each of them was given a pamphlet which explained the meaning of each prayer.

Dr Taj Hargey, president of the Open Mosque, said the Open Mosque aimed to build bridges of friendship and tried to banish fear.

“What is important is that both Islam and Christianity believe in God. We should be focusing on what binds us, connects us and not what separates us.

“This idea of the church inviting the mosque to break our fast and previously the synagogue inviting us, this just shows how much we have in common,” said Dr Hargey.

Cheryl Bird, the archdeacon of Christ the King, shared Dr Hargey’s sentiments about finding things that the religions have in common rather than focusing on their differences.

“It is about looking at what is common in our faiths and building on them. I am all for sharing and doing things together,” she said.

Manenberg resident Zulpha Pe-
tersen, who attended the event, called for unity among religions.

“We can be together as one and not as separate people. We all are created as one God, so why must we have one Christian and one Muslim, living separately? Why can’t we be together?” said Ms Petersen.

Francisco Mackenzie, representing the Western Cape Legislature KhoiSan Council, said it was a great idea to focus on learning from each other.

“From an aboriginal KhoiSan perspective, my nation of spiritual people were never religious. We understand our being. Whether you believe from different angles, it is still the same God,” said Mr Mackenzie.

On the menu on Friday were pies, samoosas, dhaltjies, soup and chicken curry as the main dish.