Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is a time when Muslims not only fast during daylight hours, but also commit themselves further to works of charity. And generous hospitality, long a standard among Arabs and Muslims alike, is at the forefront. Last Thursday evening, on the night before the 8th anniversary of 9/11, Zein Rimawi and the Arab American Federation hosted a break-the-fast, known as an Iftar, to honor and thank the wider community at the Muslim Youth Center on Bath Avenue.

After those observing the daylong fast had concluded it with dates and water, prayers and then a tasteful buffet of Middle Eastern favorites, Wael Mousfar, president of the Arab Muslim American Federation, offered remarks. The keynote speaker, Ambassador Nasser Abdul Aziz Al-Nasr, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, condemned extremism on what he says are both the Muslim and American ends. He emphasized the need for solidarity especially as the world marks the 8th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Among the evening's honorees were the Hon. Robert Jackson, NYC Councilmember; Professor Mustapha Tlili, director of the Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-US/the West at New York University, and Daniel L. Meyers, president of the National Lawyers Guild, which is considered the oldest and largest public interest and human rights bar association in the U.S. Councilmember Jackson and several of his colleagues later at the podium all spoke of the success and hard work involved in passing the measure to add two major Muslim holidays into the New York City Schools calendar. They pointed out, however, that Mayor Bloomberg has not yet signed this bill into law.

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