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Muslims Invite the Homeless to Join in Ramadan Sunset Meal
Chicago Sun-Times
October 5, 2005

By Rummana Hussain
Staff Reporter

The Downtown Islamic Center is inviting the homeless to join Chicago area Muslims when they break their fast at sunset every day during the holy month of Ramadan.

The mosque, 231 S. State, has always encouraged its neighbors to eat "iftar" -- or the meal breaking the fast at Ramadan. But it's the first time the "open houses" are targeting those without shelter.

"Since the very beginning, the Islamic tradition has worked to cultivate in Muslims a compassionate outlook toward serving the poor and the needy. . . . The Quran is replete with verses that urge the faithful to reach out to the destitute," said Ahmed Rehab, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago.

"One of the many blessings of the fasting ritual is understanding firsthand what it is like to suffer deprivation from the basic sensual pleasures of life. This in turn makes Muslims genuinely appreciate the predicament of those who are less fortunate than they."

The world's 1.2 billion Muslims are supposed to abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.

In the United States, Ramadan began Tuesday evening, but today is the first day most Muslim Americans will begin fasting.

copyright © 2005, Chicago Sun-Times

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