news 3 days ago

Latter-day Saints group reaches out to Muslim neighbors

The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City — Carla Hinton The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

May 23-- May 23--NORMAN -- Members of one metro-area house of worship refused to let the coronavirus crisis keep them from reaching out to people with different faith beliefs.

The Norman Area Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints planned to attend an iftar dinner hosted by Muslims during Ramadan. Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, began at sundown on April 23 and is set to send at sundown Saturday. During Ramadan, Muslims break their daily fast at meals called iftar dinners.

Katee Bailey, a member of the Norman stake, said Muhammet Ali Sezer, executive director of the Dialogue Institute-OKC/Turkish Raindrop House of Oklahoma, helped connect her group with local Muslims who invited the Latter-day Saints to a communal iftar meal.

Bailey said the pandemic meant the dinner had to be canceled, but she wanted to find another way to show interfaith goodwill for the Dialogue Institute and other Muslims observing Ramadan. She asked other Latter-day Saints to teach their families about Ramadan and to post pictures of themselves with signs of goodwill for their Muslim neighbors. She put the pictures together in a collage and sent it to the Dialogue Institute.

Participating families told her that they learned that the two faith traditions have some aspects in common. Bailey said while Muslims fast from sunset to sundown during Ramadan, Latter-day Saints fast one Sunday of each month.

"It was really good for our faith," Bailey said.

The Dialogue Institute expressed gratitude for the thoughtful sentiments.

"We scheduled a Ramadan Dinner with our friends from the #Norman Area Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before the pandemic. Unfortunately we had to cancel it. But they took time with their families and learned a few things about #Islam and #Ramadan and wrote it down to share with us. Their kindness and thoughtfulness made our day, our week and our Ramadan. THANK YOU all!" the organization said in a Facebook page post.

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