Ghana Latter-day Saints open stake center to more than 1,000 Muslims celebrating end of Ramadan

The Takoradi Ghana Stake Center hosts this year’s Eid Mubarak Festival as other Church members around the world also gather with their Muslim neighbors

When members of the Takoradi Ghana Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found out that the Muslims in their area did not have a facility large enough to gather at the end of Ramadan, the stake presidency offered the grounds of the stake center.

The Muslim leaders in Sekondi-Takoradi gratefully accepted, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom, and on April 22, more than 1,000 Muslims gathered at the stake center for this year’s Eid Mubarak Festival.

The festival celebrates Eid ul Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast. Muslims throughout the world consider this an important religious event and join in celebration.

At the gathering, Chief Imam Alhaji Umar Sabutey prayed for peace and prosperity for all in the nation and expressed his appreciation to the Church for making the stake center facilities available to the Muslim celebrants.     

Also attending the festival was the Regional Minister and member of Parliament for Takoradi, the Honorable Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah. Mensah noted the close bond between the Muslims and their Christian neighbors represented by the historic gathering.

The Church’s communication director for Ghana, Emmanuel Botwe, helped welcome the worshippers that day. 

“This is the culmination of many years of working with our Muslim friends,” Botwe said. “We attend each other’s meetings, our youth groups work together, and we partner together for the betterment of our community. When they needed us for the festival, we were there.”

Chief Imam Alhaji Umar Sabutey, left, with Emmanuel Botwe, Ghana’s national director of communications for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the Eid Mubarak Festival held at the Takoradi Ghana Stake Center in Takoradi, Ghana, on April 22, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Latter-day Saints and Muslims gather together

In many locations around the world, groups of Latter-day Saints and Muslims met together throughout the month of Ramadan for Iftar dinners of friendship and interfaith dialogue. Ramadan is a holy month of fasting for Muslims and Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset to break the fast.

Elder Johnny Baddoo, an Area Seventy in the Church’s Africa Central Area, represented the Church at an interfaith Iftar dinner hosted by the Interreligious Council of Kenya on April 15.

“The event was very well attended,” Elder Baddoo wrote in a Facebook post from the area. “There was a number of different organizations represented in addition to the many faiths that were there. This included representatives from the United Nations, the U.S. embassy, and several Kenyan government leaders.”

In the Philippines, the Church partnered with Religions for Peace and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy to host an Iftar dinner on April 20.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is committed to promoting interfaith harmony and fostering mutual respect among people of all faiths,” said a post from the Church’s Philippines Facebook page. “Events such as the Iftar dinner can serve as a catalyst for building a more peaceful and united community.”

In Singapore, Church members joined Muslims and interfaith partners on several occasions to break fasts during Ramadan, reported a post from the Church’s Singapore Facebook page.

Several stakes in the U.S. took part in Iftar dinners throughout the month. For example, in Austin, Texas, members of the Round Rock Texas East Stake were invited to an interfaith Iftar dinner on April 1 hosted by the Austin chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Michael James, a Latter-day Saint, had an opportunity to address the audience. “In practice, we may differ in how we apply the law of the fast, but there are many similarities shared between Muslims and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said in a Facebook post.

Members of the Atlanta Georgia Stake helped serve dates, water and other food for a community Iftar meal on April 8, said a stake Facebook post. “We were so grateful for their hospitality and loved being able to eat and visit together,” said the post.

In Irvine, California, the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council hosted an Iftar in April at the Northwood Ward building on Bryan Avenue. Muslims broke their fast along with members of the Church who were also fasting that day.

Several stakes in Indiana and Kentucky attended the 13th Annual Interfaith Iftar hosted by Muslim Americans for Compassion and Interfaith Paths to Peace at the Second Presbyterian Church of Louisville, Kentucky.

Members of the New Albany Indiana Stake, Crestwood Kentucky Stake and Louisville Kentucky Stake attended the event on March 28.

On Facebook, Louisville Kentucky Stake President Jonathan Nelson wrote, “The kind invitation from our Muslim friends to share a meal, breaking their fast, has been a rewarding experience. ... I feel the Savior’s love and His presence as I meet and get to know so many happy and purposed people.”

Also on March 28, leaders of congregations in the Columbia Maryland Stake were invited to an Iftar at an Islamic Center in Ellicott City, Maryland.

A Facebook post from the stake said it was “a beautiful and inspiring evening.”

“Muslim leaders shared reasons they fast in a speech over dinner. Every reason aligns with fasting principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We love sharing faith practices with our wonderful neighbors,” said the post.

And on March 31 on the eve before Ramadan, members of the Church joined several other faiths in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a discussion with the Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network about the benefits of fasting and other habitual religious practices.

Participants also assembled 70 hygiene kits for those in need which were delivered to Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte.

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