On the evening of Thursday August 11, 2011 I had the opportunity to attend a dinner to celebrate Ramadan at an Inter-Faith Iftar at the residence of The Charge’ d’Affairs of the United States of America Anne S. Casper in cooperation with Sheikh Abdul Karim Gahutu, Mufti of Rwanda.
Ramadan is the Islamic Month of Fasting in which practicing Muslims fast during daylight hours to learn patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to Allah (God).
An Iftar is the evening meal that breaks the fast right after sundown and is typically done as a community.
The evening began with Islamic prayer. During the dinner I was sat at the table with the Charge’, the Mufti, the Deputy Mufti and two gentlemen from the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure and the Energy Water and Sanitation Authority.
The Mufti is the leader of all Muslims in Rwanda and makes decisions regarding all issues of Islamic law. The Mufti only spoke Arabic and Kinyarwandan, so I was only able to communicate with him through the Charge’ (who spoke fluent Arabic and Kinyarwandan) and the Deputy Mufti. The Deputy Mufti is only 31 years. It is quite an accomplishment for such a young man. We discussed the history and discrimination of Muslims in Rwanda pre & post genocide. We also discussed some of the commonalities of discrimination within the African Diaspora (worldwide).
The other two gentlemen and I discussed our perspective jobs, places that we have lived, traveled and languages.
It was a great evening of learning and diversity.