Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Clerk Nasrin G. Ahmad hosted the first Ramadan Iftar celebration in the township’s history. Iftar is the breaking of the fast during the month long observance of Ramadan, and Santino and Ahmad joined with over 300 residents to honor seven individuals who have demonstrated a unique commitment to community service. Attendees learned about Ramadan and enjoyed traditional cuisine. The gathering featured girl scouts from the Islamic Center of Long Island and students from the Hamza Academy in Valley Stream.
“As the diversity of our township continues to grow and we are proud to host a variety of programs that highlight various cultures and exemplify the welcoming nature of Hempstead Town,” said Santino. “Iftar is a joyous occasion which brings communities across the world together.”
During the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims observe Ramadan. One of the oldest rituals associated with Ramadan is Iftar, which is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily fast at sunset. The Iftar gathering at town hall included a sunset meal and other traditional components.
“I feel so proud to co-host Hempstead Town’s first Iftar,” said Clerk Ahmad. “The welcoming spirit of our township is what makes living in America’s largest township so amazing.”
Hempstead Town’s first Iftar was held in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion located at Hempstead Town Hall. The food and drinks were provided by the following sponsors: Council on PAK US Relations-PACO, HABBank, the Islamic Center of Long Island, Marmara Foods, the Ali Hasnain Foundation and the Long Island Muslim Center.
Honorees recognized at the Iftar Celebration included;
· Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, a board certified cardiologist and winner of the New York Top Doctor award.
· Dr. Irfan Alladin, an Interventional Pain Medicine Doctor with a practice in Baldwin, also volunteers to help victims of disasters worldwide.
· Seemi Ahmed, Chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Hofstra University.
· Dr. Rasheed U. Jafar, founder of the Crescent School in Hempstead, which provides a quality education in a faith-based environment.
· Rahat Hossain, founding member and Chairperson of the Long Island Muslim Society in East Meadow.
· Shaheda Motiwala, founding member of the Hamza Mosque and coordinator of the Mosque’s Friday school in Valley Stream.
· Eqbal Rasheed, founder of Hewlett Mosque serving the Muslim population of the Five Towns area.
“Hempstead Town is a community made up of many different cultures,” added Santino. “Each group brings unique and enriching traditions, all of which make our town a great place to live, work and raise a family.”