Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sharing an Iftar dinner in Iceland

We were honored to host an Iftar dinner for leaders of the Muslim community in Iceland.  As sunset approached (at almost 10 p.m. at this time of year in Iceland), our guests were able to gather and mingle.  At the appointed moment, the muezzin chanted the call to prayer then led a brief ceremony.  Then we all broke the fast together.  It was a good moment to reflect on the values we share with Muslims around the world.  As President Obama noted recently, Ramadan is a festive time that is anticipated for months by Muslims everywhere and it is also a time of deep reflection and sacrifice.  As in other faiths, fasting is used to increase spirituality, discipline, and consciousness of God's mercy.  It is also a reminder of the importance of reaching out to those less fortunate - another one of the values we share with Islam.   I look forward to further engagement with the Muslim community in Iceland and to learning more about their faith and experiences in Iceland.