Religious leaders come together for annual Interfaith Dinner

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Religious leaders in Lexington are coming together to open a dialogue. The Kentucky chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hosted its Third Annual Interfaith Dinner on Saturday.

Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith leaders all came together to break the fast of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a pillar of Islam. For an entire month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims fast from sun up to sun down.

"Ramadan is a time for us to really get back to controlling those urges in us. They’re human urges, but they need to be controlled," Waheedah Muhammad explains. Muhammad is the Chair for CAIR-Kentucky.

CAIR-Kentucky invited other faiths to join the dinner to celebrate their traditions and similarities.

"Unfortunately, we focus more on differences. That’s why they are more prominent,” says board member Jamil Farooqui. “But if you look at it in a real sense, we are more similar than different."

One of the unfortunate similarities these religions share is the global attacks on places of worship, but many people say those tragedies have brought them together.

"Each faith group has reached out to the others in turn with support and concern when we've had those tragedies," says Muhammad.

Leaders of different faiths say they're hoping to set an example for the world by coming together.

"This is a part of what America can offer the world: A place where different religions can live together in peace,” says Pastor Mark Johnson from Central Baptist Church. “Unfortunately there are people in the world who are threatened by a world of greater diversity."

While they pray that the violence ends, they also say it shouldn't take tragedy to bring people together. Farooqui believes they can build relationships through dinner, like the Ramadan meal shared on Saturday.

"We shouldn’t start meeting like this just for the tragedies. We need to meet like this as we are today just to celebrate," he says.

Ramadan ends with the Feast of the Fast Breaking in early June.