By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Saturday night more than 100 people broke bread with each other at a special Interfaith Iftar dinner held at the Beachmont School, sponsored by the local Moroccan American of Revere community. Attendees took the time to learn about each other’s faith and culture.
Greeted with the sounds of The Noor Ensemble, a mixture of cultures and sounds, guests, including local city councillors, clergy, school committee members, enjoyed the group before dinner.
The night started with the recitation of verses from the holy Quran by Imam Soufyan. This was followed by a call to prayer and dinner.
Currently, Muslims are in the middle of Ramadan, when they do not eat or drink during the day for a month. After the sun sets the faithful have an Iftar meal, which breaks the days fast. The meal consists of a soup, hard-boiled egg, marinated chicken, rice, vegetables and salad. There is also a plate of sweets consisting of shabakiya, Moroccan pancakes, Msamen and dates.
Moroccan-born Omar Boukili, the mayor’s aide, spoke about what it has meant for him to become an American. He came to the United States 14 years ago.
“Fear has been used to stir and stoke people to hate,” Boukili said. “This city has been built by people from around the world.”
In the past he worked as a dishwasher and busser while going to school.
“It warms my heart to see everyone say hello to each other,” Boukili said. “Get out and embrace those who don’t know us.”
He added that the attack in Orlando by a Muslim man couldn’t be something the community is held responsible for.
“Our entire community should not be held responsible for the actions of ISIS or any other terrorist group,” he said.
Mayor Brian Arrigo, whose wife wore a traditional Moroccan Kaftan dress, said we, as a community did not come here by accident. First it was the Pilgrims coming to flee religious persecution, then the Irish, Germans, Italians, Dominicans, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Brazilians, El Salvador and now Moroccans.
“The will to succeed is woven into our DNA,” Arrigo said. “We choose to be part of the story of Revere.”
He added that there is no room for willful ignorance.
“It’s fantastic to be invited to this,” said Rabbi Talya Weisbard Shalem, of Temple B’Nai Israel in Beachmont. “It’s a great way to introduce the community and break bread together.”
Revere resident and community organizer, Rachid Mouhabir, who helped organize the dinner, was pleased with the turnout. Also contributing were some local Arab and Moroccan businesses: Casablanca House of Pastry, the Good Diner, Tibari Travels, Omar Financial Services, Abeer & Associates Investment Group, and HHH Financial Solution.