Religions and Spirituality

Edison: Community Members Gather For Annual Ramadan Dinner, Address Acts of Violence in Orlando

9ed0e8d7a03d94f5cebe_095683473af6d0f8fb57_IMG_4578.JPG
Credits: Kenneth Downey photo
9ed0e8d7a03d94f5cebe_095683473af6d0f8fb57_IMG_4578.JPG

EDISON, NJ -  About 200 community members gathered at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Edison, Wednesday evening for the American Muslim Council’s fifth Annual Grand Interfaith Ramadan Dinner.

The holiday, Ramadan, is observed in the Muslim faith. It begins on the ninth month during the Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan began on the evening of June 5, and will last until the evening of July 5.

Throughout the month, anyone who is observing the holiday fasts from sunrise to sundown.

Sign Up for E-News

The American Muslim Council’s annual dinner consisted of many prestigious guests including State Senators Sam Thompson, Linda Greenstein, and Patrick Deignan.

“Peace to all of you. I wish all of you a blessed Ramadan,” said Sen. Greenstein, D-14. “This event is wonderful, I have been coming her for many years. I feel that any interfaith event is very great for the entire community. All communities- Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim- and your community seems to do very well in these events. Everyone is here to celebrate together, and to celebrate peace. And that is what all of our religions have in common. All of the religions are religions of peace. You always find the occasional person here and there, but the religions themselves are about peace. No man is an island, no man stands alone, and that includes women too. We certainly do need to stand together, and I know that whatever happens in our community, including the horrible event that happened in Orlando, we are all going to stand together in solidarity. We are going to do the right thing and support each other. We will support each other with friends and brothers and sisters.”

Due to the tragic events this past weekend in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Ali Chaudry, President of the American Muslim Council, held a candlelight vigil and moment of silence before dinner began.

Each guest was given a small electronic candle to light inside the enormous banquet hall. The lights were dimmed, and a moment of silence began as each guest said a prayer for the victims in Orlando.

Dr. Chaudry gave a statement on behalf of the American Muslim Council, “Muslims of New Jersey express our profound shock and sorrow and condemn the murder of 49 innocent people and injuring of another 53 in Orlando, Florida. We wish them all our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families whose loved ones have been taken away so tragically. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and the living. This individual and perpetrator of such a horrendous crime does not represent Islam, or Muslims in any sense. In Islam we know that we call for peace and mercy love, tolerance and helping others. As the Koran states, ‘whoever kills a person, it is as though they killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life; it is as though they saved all mankind.’ Hate, bigotry, and violence are our common enemy. When you accept the hate and anger, it leads to this kind of act of violence. We as American Muslims condemn the worst act of mass shooting in U.S. history in the strongest possible way. As Americans, we reiterate our commitment to peace, safety, and security of others, as well as our solidarity to fellow Americans. And we pray for the safety and security of all of us.”

At precisely 8:29 p.m., Imam Nizam Ahmed Raouf Zaman, led the guests in prayer before the break fast dinner could begin. Once the prayer concluded, everyone in attendance was directed to the back on the banquet hall and greeted with an arrangement of food served through a buffet.

Plates were filled when the speakers began again.

South Brunswick Board of Education member, Azra Baig, addressed the large group of people before her in the room, speaking about compassion and warmth during the holiday.

“As –salaam-alaikum. Greetings of Peace. It is such a beautiful sight to see people of various faiths-Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and others coming together as a united community in celebration of the month of Ramadan or the month of fasting,” said Baig. “During this holy month, Muslims fast from before sunrise until sunset and it is a time for increased spirituality, self-discipline, strength, peace, love, generosity and compassion. Tonight I would like to focus on compassion, a quality one is to possess in all matters but especially during the month of Ramadan.”

“Muslims welcomed the month with compassion as friends and family greeted each other with warm hugs and smiles, and or a nice text or Facebook Post sharing Ramadan greetings of peace and blessings wishing each other ‘Happy Ramadan’ and ‘Ramadan Mubarak.’ It is an emotionally uplifting experience as the sacred month commences. 

While one fasts, being restricted from not eating or drinking, one is reminded of what the less fortunate and needy endure. Muslims are encouraged and obligated to take care of the less fortunate, during this month through monetary donations, contribution of clothes, food and other necessities. Muslims are obligated to give a small percentage (2.5 percent) of their savings annually and many choose to give during this month since the reward for good deeds are elevated. Taking care of each other especially the needy demonstrates having compassion.” 

She said increased acts of kindness are encouraged during the month and could include inviting friends to breakfast with you by sharing a plate of food, a box of donuts or candy with neighbors, friends and or co-workers.

“Sharing a meal shows the love and respect one has for another,” she said. “In my experience, my friends, neighbors and colleagues have enjoyed and appreciated having pakoras-fried fritters, cookies and or chocolate. Acts of kindness can go a long way and it is a simple way to show compassion. 

“In the past week of Ramadan we have experienced the death and funeral of the great beloved American hero Muhammad Ali. He embodied love and compassion and the world displayed their compassion with thousands and thousands attending his funeral proceedings. With thousands lining the streets throwing flowers on the hearse and chanting “Ali” it was amazing to see the magnitude of compassion. 

“And now in the last several days, we have witnessed the horrific attack in Orlando, Florida. There has been an outpouring of compassion from across America and around the world. Some of these actions of compassion, many lead by Muslims, include prayers for the victims and their loved ones, statements of condemnation, gatherings with candle light vigils as we have tonight, fundraising efforts for the victims  raising thousands of dollars and the donation of blood. A friend from the NJ Muslim community actually flew down a couple of days to Orlando and donated blood. This was incredibly kind and tremendous display of compassion. With this tragedy one can see the heartfelt concern and compassion for humanity. So as the month of Ramadan continues, Muslims are encouraged to possess the best of qualities including the quality of compassion.  I will leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘the simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.’”

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at ckim@tapinto.net or nwells@tapinto.net and support local news.

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 29, 2:00 PM

Otto Kaufman Community Center, Skillman

Relax, Rejuvenate, Renew

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_655bff643922e36ca526_color_me_flyer_final_cut__3_-page-001

Sat, May 5, 9:00 AM

Sewaren

Color Me Run to End Domestic Violence

Sat, May 5, 8:00 PM

Bergen Performing Arts Center, Englewood

New Jersey Ballet's An Evening of Romance and ...

Arts & Entertainment

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Hospital ER Expands as Caseload Jumps to More than 100,000 Annually

April 24, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - More than 100,000 patients come through the emergency department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, up from the approximately 40,000 cases that came through the doors less than 20 years ago.

 

"Spaces that were designed for one patient now have had two," said Dr. Robert Eisenstein, the hospital chief of emergency care. Obviously the number of ...

New Brunswick Water Department Workers Guilty in Scheme Costing City $500,000

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Two city Water Department employees have pleaded guilty to charges of falsely reducing water to about 50 different properties in exchange for bribes, costing the city about $500,000, state officials announced.

Joseph “Gordo” DeBonis, 55 of Toms River, a suspended senior account clerk, and William “Billi” Ortiz, 56, of North Brunswick, a meter ...

Gun-wielding suspect drives robbery victim to bank with two young children in tow

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers police are investigating a lunchtime robbery on Tuesday in front of Campbell Hall, 617 George St., on the College Avenue campus, which involved two young children and a trip to a Somerset Street bank.

The victim, who is affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that he was walking near Campbell Hall dorm at 12:30 p.m. when a vehicle, ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 11, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

Reps. Watson Coleman, Pallone, Sires and Espaillat Lead Introduction of Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

April 24, 2018

Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) joined co-sponsors Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) to announce The Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2018. This legislation would overturn an outdated 1986 law to build a framework of commonsense standards for handgun gun ownership in the United States by creating a federal licensing and ...

High School, College Students Sought For County Youth Conservation Corps

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Middlesex County is looking for high school and college students who want to improve and protect our environment and don’t mind lifting, bending, and getting dirt under their fingernails.

Applications are now being accepted for the Middlesex County Youth Conservation Corps, whose mission is to protect and preserve the more than 8,000 acres of Open Space ...