As the sun begins to set on the Washington D.C. skyline, Muslims across the city join other estimated 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe to prepare for a month of reflection, worship, fasting, personal sacrifice, self-discipline, and increased generosity, especially toward the underprivileged. In Washington D.C., the month of Ramadan offers an opportunity for diplomats to build bridges of understanding and promote interfaith dialogue.
During this holy month, Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, breaking their fast at sunset with a meal known as iftar. In diplomatic circles, iftars are an important occasion for ambassadors and other diplomats to come together and celebrate the values of Islam, including generosity, compassion, and unity.
Throughout the month of Ramadan, embassies and consulates in Washington D.C. host iftars to welcome guests and promote interfaith understanding. These events offer a chance for attendees to experience the customs and traditions of different Muslim cultures and build bridges of friendship and understanding.
On May 15, 2019, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates hosted an interfaith iftar at its embassy in Washington DC. More than 150 religious leaders, senior government, and community officials including members of the media participated in the event. At this gathering, His Excellency, Yousef AI Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States expressed that “Ramadan is a time for all Muslims to recommit themselves to a life of giving and acceptance… We are working to bridge social, cultural, and religious divides to identify common values.”
The Embassy’s iftar is known for its elaborate decorations, which transport guests to a traditional Arabian setting.
Other embassies, such as the Embassy of Indonesia, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and the Embassy of Turkey, just to mention a few, also host iftars during the month of Ramadan.
As the month of Ramadan comes to a close, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a joyous holiday marking the end of the month of fasting. Embassies and Consulates in Washington D.C. mark the occasion with Eid al-Fitr events, which include traditional food, music, and dancing.