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Sat May 21, 2016, 08:31 AM


Interfaith Iftars Aim To Bring Communities Together This Ramadan

Get to know your Muslim neighbors this Ramadan.


Many Muslims break their daily fast and begin the iftar meal with three dates, emulating the Prophet Muhammad who is said to have broken his fast in this manner. VOYAGERIX VIA GETTY IMAGES

05/20/2016 04:44 pm ET | Updated 13 hours ago

With Ramadan quickly approaching, when Muslims around the world will fast from sunrise to sunset, Rev. Cynthia Bronson Sweigert has her plate full.

For the second year in a row, the Minnesota-based Episcopal priest is organizing a state-wide effort to bring Christians and people of other faiths into mosques during the Muslim holy month. And if last year’s program is any indication, close to a thousand non-Muslim Minnesotans will be breaking bread with their Muslim neighbors this summer.

“Christian-Muslim understanding is critical at the moment because of rising Islamophobia,” Bronson Sweigert told The Huffington Post. “While I feel as a native Minnesotan that people are generally open and welcoming, there is still so much misinformation about Muslims, and therefore, about our neighbors.”

Bronson Sweigert is coordinating the Minnesota Council of Churches’ Taking Heart program, a series of open houses the council has organized at local mosques for the last 10 years in partnership with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. Fifteen mosques have signed up to host these free interfaith iftars thus far, opening their doors for non-Muslims to join them in the ritual breaking of the fast after a long day of prayer and worship.


Ramadan begins June 5.

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