I was recently invited by one of our GurgaonMoms member and fabulous home chef Gul Ali to be a part of an InterFaith Iftar. I was really happy that someone had thought of the same as even though I had some Muslim friends I had never attended an iftar. I could not miss this opportunity for anything and though we were traveling back from a trip my daughter Simrann and I made it right in time to be a part of this special gathering. I am so glad that we could attend this interfaith iftar and meet some fabulous people and eat some delectable food cooked by various home chefs who had volunteered for the same. The organizer of the iftar Nazia Erum, author of ‘Mothering A Muslim’ made us do a small chit activity where we discussed the common stereotypes about different communities especially the Muslim community.

Nazia says

“We had a good discussion – both serious and hilarious – about these stereotypes,” says Erum. “And smashing the stereotype further was that a Muslim female pilot, biker, lawyer, doctor, and historian were present. I thought we should use the occasion to drag out some misconceptions and deal with them. I spread the word through a Facebook post. Some women friends offered to cook. One volunteered her house. Around 80 people came. We had a great discussion – hard sometimes, because how does one prove that Muslims don’t spit in their food? But it was useful to open the lid on these prejudices.”

Similar iftars were organized in six other cities by her friends as well

Here’s what some of the invitees and members of GurgaonMoms had to say about their experience

Anupama Jain

“I was invited to the interfaith iftar gathering by Rukhsar Saleem. I am so glad I went because it was an enriching meet where commonly held religious misconceptions were honestly answered by the erudite ladies – the scrumptious food was the icing on the cake. The gracious host, the freewheeling conversations made the event extremely memorable. We should have more such events where acquaintances come, chat, connect and leave as friends”

Jasmine Kurian Paul

“When I saw Nazia’s post on Gurgaon mom I straight away said yes, I am interested. It was my first blind interfaith iftar. The whole experience was just absolutely awesome. There were smiles on every face. There was so much happiness shared. The Iftar was proof that a simple meal can bring together people from different faiths and create the bond of friendship.”

 

Saloni Singh

“This was a wonderful initiative to reaching out to people from different cultures and religions and share openly our thoughts. This can genuinely begin to nurture acceptance and appreciation for other’s faith and beliefs and traditions. Also, help in getting to know the deep values and learnings associated with other’s customs and drop our judgments and biases about them. Interfaith Iftaar is a beautiful all-inclusive way of interacting with one another, which can help transcend human-made boundaries and make personal connections with people from all faith backgrounds. A heartwarming experience that took us back to our fond childhood memories of ‘mohalla’ culture. Where people from different castes, religions, and beliefs would gather at one home and eat and celebrate together. This gave a feeling of loving community which is missing especially in urban living, where most get-togethers happen outside homes and in a formal setting.”

Gul Ali, one of the hosts and who invited me says

“The idea behind this was to get people from different communities together, know them better and spread the message of harmony and peace.”

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