In the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, daytime fasting ends at sunset with an Iftar dinner. On Wednesday night, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown hosted such a dinner in the lobby of City Hall.
Participants from many different Muslim communities in the area were present. Brown works with the Turkish Cultural Center and the Peace Islands Institute to arrange the meal. Local politicians and public officials were also invited, including County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Common Council member Joe Golombek.
The Ramadan fast is extreme, with no water or food allowed during daytime. But that "daytime" changes from year to year, relative to the Western calendar, since Ramadan is determined by a lunar calendar.
Imam Dawood Adeyola says he is old enough to have observed Ramadan at all times of the year.
"I found a diary from 1982, and at that time the fasting was in the same time of year as it is now, you know, June and July, and what happened is that over the course of the last 31, 32 years it's cycled through the whole year. So, I've fasted in every season," he observed.
Besides fasting, Muslims are supposed to help the poor and do good deeds.
Observant Muslims say Ramadan can be more difficult in a non-Islamic country, since in Muslim countries life slows down, a reflection of so many people going without food or drink during the day.