Santa Clarita’s Muslim community invited locals of all faith backgrounds to the Unity Center mosque for an interfaith dinner Friday night.
In the middle of their observance of Ramadan, Muslims’ month-long annual fast, a faith-based group opened their place of worship to allow others to break bread with them.
“We feel that we have some commitment to remind ourselves that we have to be aware of our neighbors and we have to respect them and invite them to share with us so they have an understanding of our religion and way of living,” chairman Moazzem Chowdhury said.
Every month, local churches conduct an interfaith meal, including Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant groups. This is a way to strengthen the community and exchange and learn about different cultures and faiths, Chowdhury said.
“We cannot be isolated in a closed door,” Chowdhury said.
As with all religions, Chowdhury said, Muslims strive to respect humanity and engage in the community.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating from sunrise to sundown. This serves as a reminder that there are people starving and in need, Chowdhury said.
Muslims also focus on charitable acts during this time, and locally, they give to the homeless, host a toy drive for children and hold a food pantry.
Additionally, participants strive to refrain from sinful behavior, including lying, anger, disrespect and harm to others.
All of these actions set a strong example for the children in Muslim households, Chowdhury said, and show them the importance of being generous and loving.
“We need our children to learn about their community,” he said. “They have to practice giving.”
The mosque is always open to the public, according to Chowdhury. Muslims hold their Jummah prayer every Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Unity Center of Santa Clarita and encourage all to join them.
“We want to show our mosque and how we practice our religion,” Chowdhury said.
The Unity Center is the oldest Mosque of three in Santa Clarita, the chairman said. There are about 1,500 Muslim people in the valley, he cited.
On June 25, Chowdhury invites community members to the Hyatt Regency Valencia to mark the end of Ramadan with a prayer.
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