“This is a historic moment for Canberra,” declared Mohammed Ali, founder of Helping ACT and leader in the Muslim community here in Canberra. Historic because to his knowledge this was the first time an Iftar was held in a church.
Kippax in collaboration with Helping ACT (a community service organisation helping Muslim Canberrans) and the Ginninderry developers hosted Iftar for over 160 people on Saturday night. It was the second of two Iftars, the other being held in Ginninderry 2 weeks ago.
The Iftar, or the breaking of the fast, is one of the most significant points in the day during Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Observing Muslims will abstain from all food and water — yes, even water — from the crack of dawn all the way until sunset, every day of this month. Iftar is the main meal of the fasting day, which occurs at sunset every day of Ramadan.
It was a joyous occasion and a wonderful example of shared hospitality and respect across the faiths. Our Presbytery was well represented by Co-Chair Janet and Presbytery Minister Liz as well as people from a number of congregations in Canberra. Also present were a leader of the Hindu community, the Deputy High Commissioner for Pakistan and ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Yvette Berry.
Of course such an event can only happen with the support of many volunteers, more so because we held our regular Marketplace the same day. Our wonderful congregation managed to run Marketplace, flip the building from Marketplace to dining room for 160 people and a prayer space, serve and clean up the meal, then resent for worship.