For this year’s Ramadan, Rida Hamida is bringing taco trucks to every mosque in her community.
The holy month, which starts today and is observed by 1.5 billion Muslims, involves two key things — community-wide fasting during the daylight hours and the breaking of that fast, just after sunset, with a huge meal known as iftar.
Tacos are not standard iftar fare.
And that’s the point.
For Hamida, and thousands of other Muslims in Southern California, the iftar table is becoming a place to forge bonds with non-Muslim neighbors. That’s been true since the Sept. 11 attacks, but this year — the first Ramadan since the election of President Donald Trump — the trend is accelerating. And if the tacos-for-iftar effort happens to bring together two groups who currently feel targeted — Muslims and Latinos — so much the better, say Hamida and others.
Mosques and Muslim community organizations generally are emphasizing cultural and religious outreach as a way to showcase their faith, culture and food. The hope is that familiarity will lead to friendship and friendship, in turn, will stem a recent flood of anti-Muslim hate crimes and other incidents.
They are also hoping for a much more peaceful Ramadan, worldwide. A year ago, the holy month was marred by mass carnage, as attacks perpetrated by ISIS hit Turkey, Bangladesh, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and culminated with triple suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia. One of those attacks seemed particularly hurtful for devout Muslims, taking place outside the Prophet’s Mosque in the city of Medina where the Prophet Muhammad is buried.