Growing up Christian, I was taught to Love thy neighbor as thyself. Being taught to be open and loving towards others is something that was without question. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. From the beginning of time and until today people persecuted because of their religion, language, culture, etc. In my life I’ve been hurt by others because of their ignorance or intolerance towards us. That being said l, I know I’m not the only one. Despite its actually motivated me to learn more about others religions, it has not deterred me to try to find the good in everything. This inherent need I have to connect with others via traveling and being engaged in my community, led me to explore my first Iftar ( meal to break fast) during Ramadan.
I knew little about more about Islam other than the bits of information my friends would share with me. But I’m those conversations I found some similarities. We believe giving back part of our income to charity, follow a code of health and prayer for example.
I was introduced to an organization called : Meet the Middle East, a non-profit organization, who fosters relationship with the US and the Middle East. They invited those of different faiths in the community to break the fast at an Iftar dinner. I remember sending a text to a good friend , who is now back home in Saudi Arabia, what I should expect. He simply said, “Enjoy it and be observant”.
We broke the fast around 8:30 pm that night, by tradition with plentiful dates and water. The men and women praying invited an atmosphere of peace and reverence. It was also a lovely sight to see children join in prayer with their fathers. I admired them for their dedication to their faith in God. A thought occurred to me as I was observing their prayer. I began to think about my own personal relationship to God. It was a testament to me that good things come from God. Their example strengthened my own testimony of Christ, God and the gospel. It made me reflect on my own prayers. “My prayers could be a little longer, and they could be more sincere”.
A friend that attended the dinner with me was impressed by a woman and her husband that night. The woman she spoke to held a Ph.D. and had written several books. Her husband was also one of the men in charge of a local mosque in Denver. We met many accomplished individuals and devoted loving husband and wives.
There was a special spirit that was felt there that night.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, one of basic principles to our belief is this: If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things
i look forward to my curiosity continuing to take me through the world and teaching me more about how other live and worship