Last Saturday our church invited a local mosque to have an Iftar dinner, which is the meal that breaks the daily fast of Ramadan. Fransiscans have a long tradition of interfaith dialogue and our priest thought it would be a cool idea if we invited them over to learn about Ramadan. I have actually gotten off my lazy tookus and started volunteering to do stuff at church and due to my volunteer status I got to sit at the head table. Which means, free and easy access to ask Imam Azzez (their pastor) everything I wanted to know about Islam which once I got started turned out to be a lot of things. Like, do shiites and sunnis worship together? Answer: Yes, mostly. How many mosques are there in Sacramento? Answer: About 15 And I went on and on and on... It was so cool! I have always believed if you feel confident about your faith that you shouldn't be afraid to learn about what other people believe. I believe that Jesus was the son of God and that he died and rose again to bring us forgiveness in salvation. I'm not really afraid that learning about the prophet Mohammed will change things. Apparently the 130 people at the dinner felt the same way because people really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Everyone was falling all over themselves to make friends. It was very sweet and heartwarming. It grew my love for my church and it's traditions of hospitality and peace.
And now... -trumpet sounds- I will share with you my first funny Islam story, which was shared with us by the Imam. This was a true story that someone told him...
"One day when we were kids my Dad came home and said that this year we were going to take Ramadan seriously. We were going to be really clean, go to church every night and EVERYTHING was going to be halal (this means clean or kosher). My Dad said that he had even gotten us halal vinegar. When we protested that vinegar can't be un-halal he cut us off. He said "I bought halal vinegar, it says "Islamic Vinegar-Right on the bottle" He was so insistent that we went to the kitchen to check out the "Islamic Vinegar" and my Dad proudly pulled out a big bottle that said: Balsamic Vinegar."