Ramadan Iftar, Sponsored by the City, Draws Hundreds of Muslims

Photo by Mandy Oaklander
Mayor Parker backed Saturday's citywide iftar.
Sealed bottles of water sit on the white-clothed tables before the crowd of thirsty fasters. It's Ramadan, so for one month, observant Muslims like those gathered here at the downtown convention center will abstain from eating and drinking during the day, trading gratification for patience and restraint.

At the city of Houston's giant iftar, the evening meal which breaks the Ramadan fast, hundreds of Muslims and the religiously curious congregated on Saturday for an evening of speeches, prayers and -- at precisely 8:15 -- feasting. Consul generals from Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China were present, as well as Mayor Annise Parker and guests from the FBI. And while Rick Perry's prayerapalooza nearby sought to convert, this gathering was about acceptance.

Michael Wolfe of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media organization, spoke of ways to educate Houston at large about Muslims -- since many don't bother to learn about Islam on their own. "When we feel we are being blamed unfairly, we amongst us have a tendency to hide, to isolate ourselves," he said. "Now is not the time to be shy. Now is the time to show how good you are."

He screened a trailer for Salaam Houston, a new film released at the start of Ramadan and designed to generate discussion among people of different faiths about Muslims. "It's the group Americans know the least about, and want to know the most about," the film's narrator said.

Other speakers included Parker, Texas Congresspeople Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, and Usama Canon, an instructor at the Zaytuna Institute. Each praised the city's diversity -- and each pledged brevity.

"I always thought that the hardest time to talk to people is before they eat, or right after they eat, but I've decided tonight it's after they fast," said Canon.

Check out our slideshow here.

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Billy Noll
Billy Noll

Interesting, the way you report this in such glowing terms,  all smiles and not a single protester for this event...  not that I want there to be protesters such as those at The Response the same day, but how is it that the gov't sponsored free Islamic religious event occurred and and there are not similar protesters present i.e. separation of religion and government?  I read that this particular religion and form of gov;t is one if not the most intolerant religion that exists and has long existed i.e. doesn't this group of religious adherents spawn the majority of terrorists and violently oppose EVERY other religion (once established in a given nation.) also  homosexuality (death penalty?), is a gov't mandated religion in many nations today, is known to treat women poorly and under sharia law does "honor" murders.  Amazingly, not one protester apparently?  Could it be the real reason for the protests of the Christian prayer meeting the same day was merely the mention of the word "Christ" and the intent of that group to pray for all equally.  Conversion? vesus Acceptance? you say?  How comically sad is your blatant bias that is leading so many astray and into captivity that is clearly destructive and violently oppressive.  In my opinion you lie in the name of freedom of speech and press.  To do so you hide behind our freedoms in America and attempt to divide us. and by doing so you are attempting to destroy freedom and prosperity for all not just America.  It is not you that I oppose in prayer it is your behavior that is perhaps mistaken by you and some other as right and freeing when it is of a wrong and evil spirit.  My opinion should be as free to express as yours and you have but to look at the behavior and condition of liberal God hating people in various cities and nations to see which of us is speaking Truth and true freedom.  If I missed the protesters of this Islamic event with Gov't participants excuse me, you did not report any did you?  It is interesting that both religious groups fasted before the events.  Any mention of that or anything positive about the Christian event?  Yes, it is possible to take your writing gift and your educated ignorance and create bias and lies.  I do wonder, why do you persist in doing so? On Saturday night, hundreds of Muslims and religiously curious gathered for the 2011 Mayor's Ramadan Dinner. After an evening of keynote speakers, hundreds of Muslims broke their fast together with a free, city-sponsored iftar.


Hello it was 9:15, above it says 8:15


Very simple answer , Nowhere was it said or implied that you have to be a Muslim to attend , Unlike Perry's Christian Segregation Fest ! 

At a Muslim Iftar Dinner or at any other Muslim event , prayer or gathering, Christians, Jews and anyone else are always invited and welcome !

Thats the "Difference" between the Muslims and "Conservatives" ! 


No, Fast opens at 8:15 !

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