SHAFAQNA -Â Known across the world as a time for spiritual reflection and piety, Ramadan has become a valued period awaited from year to another to extend a hand to those who do not yet know or understand Islam, sharing them the spirits of the holy fasting month.
â€œA lot of people who are not Muslims really felt curious about Ramadan, especially since they think we are all crazy for that long and not drinking water,” one of the organizers of the Share Ramadan Campaign, Hushiyar Ali, told Shafaqna.
“It is a form of challenge for them â€¦ in a good way of course. It’s good to walk in a person shoe.”
Ali, Nanu Miah, and Kabir Ahmed from Westwood have all helped together get this campaign off the ground for the second consecutive year.
The campaign spread by calling on their followers on social media as well as friends and family members to invite their own circles to join in this interfaith exercise.
The plan is simple:Â the Share Ramadan campaign which was launched ahead of the start of the 30-day fast on Wednesday, June 17, encourages Muslims to invite friends, neighbors and colleagues of different faiths to fast for a day and then invite their guest to their homes to break the fast.
“But the whole idea of this is to create a dialogue between different people from different backgrounds and create a discussion about fasting and what it feels like,” Ali said.
“Itâ€™s all really about breaking down barriers, preconceptions and learning about other religions and values. Without understanding and a sense of belong within the community there can never be true friendship and compassion.”
Ali also explained how theÂ Share Ramadan campaign will add an extra dimension to this interfaith experience by allowing different people from different backgrounds to become guests in a Muslim household.
“There is a human touch to our efforts. Only by experiencing what Muslims go through and how we live our faith other people would understand where we come from and what we are all about,” he explained.
All those taking part in the campaign have been invited to share their experience online by posting pictures and comments under the hashtag ShareRamadan.
In another corner of the UK, York Muslims have been working hard to promote interfaith tolerance and solidarity to mark this Ramadan 2015.
On June 18th, fourteen Christian pastors met with neighboring Muslims to discuss matters of faith and convene of ways in which to improve on their relations.
In the spirit of the values both the Christian and Muslim communities share, the fourteen pastors called on their congregations to embrace their Muslims neighbors as their brothers and sisters.
Rev. Sam McGregor, who inspired this outreach program toward the Muslim community said he felt compelled to react to the recent wave of intolerance and hatred towards Muslims in the UK.
“As a religious community we understand how hatred and prejudices can generate irrational behaviors and bring the worst in people. Islam is a religion of peace which calls for the same respect and advocates for the values as our Bible. This is why it is important we defend those common values together,” Rev. McGregor said.
In the second year for the Share Ramadan campaign, Ali said he, like his friends, hopes such efforts will spearhead a global campaign of interfaith solidarity which will expand beyond Ramadan.
These campaigns will help improve relations in between people and communities everywhere, he added.
â€œThe idea is to make it go global, but at the same time focus on the three million Muslims in the UK,” Ali said.
“In this current climate of Islamaphobia there is a lot of negative press about Muslims, but we want to help eradicate things like racism.â€
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, kicked off in UK on Thursday, June 18.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.