The event took place on Saturday, May 18, at the Grand Bay Social Welfare Center. Maison Dawah had planned an intercultural Iftar Gathering in close cooperation with the Nujjoo family from Grand Baie. Around sixty additional compatriots had responded to our invitation. Father Emmanuel (of French nationality) spoke on behalf of Father Philippe Goupille, the Council of Religions’ president. Following the opening remarks, Hossen Kurrimboccus of Maison Dawah presented a PowerPoint presentation on “Islam and Ramadan.” He essentially explained the five pillars of Islam and some facts of fasting during Ramadan. The subsequent interaction session was very lively, and we welcomed questions or comments the feedback was as follows:
- Why do Muslim women cover their heads with the hijab?
- Why do people choose to wear hijabs?
- Father Emmanuel of Grand Baie informed us that several priests in European nations keep a lengthy beard.
- A woman inquired as to whether “Assalamu’alaikum ” mean “peace.”
- A second woman said that she is a Muslim and a Christian.
Father Emmanuel addressed the audience. He read the written message that Father Goupille had graciously forwarded – a message of fraternity and friendship in the midst of Ramadan. Father Emmanuel expressed his joy at being with us for this multicultural encounter. He was taken aback when he witnessed the brotherly and joyous mood that pervaded the event.
After sunset, the guests were welcomed to have iftar with Maison Dawah’s team. The visitors were then invited to sit and watch their Muslim compatriots do the Maghrib prayer. It was a gracious and amicable atmosphere. Everybody was then invited for dinner and savored a delicious “chicken briani.” The visitors expressed their pleasure at having seen Islam “live” at this gathering.