On June 23, the Pacifica Institute, in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, held its third annual iftar dinner with attendance from the local and federal law enforcement community. Acting as exemplars of the event’s theme, Building Hospitality as a Way of Sharing Cultures, 120 members of the Muslim and San Diego community came together to celebrate this revered tradition.
Dr. Ozlem Demir opened the event with a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting, and followed by the children’s performance on the tradition of Ramadan.
Cindy Cipriani of the U.S. Attorney’s office remarked on the importance of bridging the gap between the Islamic and law enforcement community. She reflected, “When you join together in a celebration like this you naturally become more open and less distrustful, more engaged and less disconnected, more understanding and less likely to judge one another.”
After Cipriani’s insightful speech, Captain Marco Garmo of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department shared his thoughts on the importance of personal relationships in overcoming intolerance. He remained hopeful, saying, “As I look out and I see all the diversity represented here today, I am inspired. I am inspired that someday our world leaders, religious and political, can somehow come together and see one another for who we are. And to someday create a world of peace that our children can be proud of.”
As sunset drew closer, the guests enjoyed a video presentation explaining the significance of Ramadan and the joy and sacrifice it brings to Muslims worldwide. When the call to prayer signaled the dinner’s commencement, guests shared delicious home-made Mediterranean food.
Attendees continued with their conversations even after the kind closing remarks made by Captain Stephanie Rose of the San Diego Police Department and Ahmet Kuru of San Diego State University.