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Arts/Culture

Diverse crowd celebrates Ramadan dinner at City Hall

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This the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, an annual period of abstaining from food and water during the daylight hours. At sunset, there is Iftar, a dinner to break the fast.

An Iftar dinner was held in the lobby of Buffalo's City Hall Thursday night, sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Center. While the event was sponsored by the Sunni Muslims of the cultural center, guests ranged across the area's Muslim community and local politicians and law enforcement figures.

The gathering included Muslims from Syria, Iraq, Burma, Bosnia, Albania, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, among other backgrounds.

Tevfik Kosar says it's an attempt to better explain Islam to the people who are unfamiliar and to ease lack of knowledge.

"Not just about Ramadan but about the Islamic faith in general. When [I] meet someone on the street and say I am a Muslim, they have some stereotypes...and they don't really know what a Muslim means and generally they don't know anything about Ramadan and fasting," Kosar said.

Kosar says Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a time to try to understand and resonate with how the less fortunate live. The holy month requires the giving of charity, or zakat.

Ramadan is set by the lunar calendar which is shorter than the regular calendar. It shifts each year by 11 days, gradually moving from long days of summer heat to shorter days in the winter.

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  • This year, the Olympics fall during the Muslim holy month, and some athletes have to make a choice: be in top physical condition, or maintain a primary tenet of their faith. Fasting for Ramadan can be a physical and mental challenge, but it poses a particular dilemma for Muslims competing in London.