During October, 2005, American Muslims opened their doors and arms as never before.
     Here around San Francisco Bay, at least five mosques invited the world inside.
     People responded.  People met, learned, prayed.  Stereotypes dissolved. 
     Walls fell, probably forever.

     New kinds of newspaper banners appeared.

Mosques reach out to non-Muslims: Various open houses intended to educate public, dispel stereotypes

San Mateo Times -- October 5, 2005


Non-Muslims invited to join celebrations marking Ramadan

San Francisco Chronicle -- October 15, 2005.


     "That's California for you," did you say?
     Look to Columbia, Missouri in America's heartland, where they expected ten, and five times more arrived.

Potluck for peace: Jews, Muslims share dinner as holidays mesh

Columbia Daily Tribune -- October 5, 2005


Potluck attempts to unite Jews, Muslims: More than 50 gathered for the dinner Thursday on the MU campus

The Missourian -- October 7, 2005


     On the East Coast at Johns Hopkins University, 165 Muslim and Jewish students set aside textbooks even during midterm exams.
     They wanted to be sure of success for their second annual  Holy Day~Ramadan Banquet.
     It was student-inspired, student-planned.
     It succeeded.
     Twice as many people as expected showed up.

     Clearly, we can expand our identification while strengthening in our own identity and increasing our faith in the highest.
                - L&L

Published in the Baltimore Jewish Times -- 14 October 2005

Jews, Muslims, Gather For Joint Holidays
Andrew Scherr Staff Reporter

     Last Monday night, Oct. 10, Jewish and Muslim students at Johns Hopkins University learned they have a lot in common. For instance, the two groups have coinciding holidays, Yom Kippur and Ramadan, both of which involve fasting. In addition, they seem to share a mutual desire to learn about each other, as well as a penchant for kosher Chinese food.
     At the height of the midterm season, 165 students broke away from their textbooks to attend the second annual High Holy Day/Ramadan Banquet. Co-sponsored by the Jewish and Muslim student associations at Hopkins, the event took place in the midst of the Jewish High Holidays and the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
     During these highly spiritual and politically charged times, the event gave the students of different backgrounds an opportunity to interact and learn about each other's traditions.
     "This campus has an environment of not just tolerance across religious, cultural and ethnic lines, but a real respect and desire to learn from each other," said Rabbi Joe Menashe, director of Hopkins' Hillel. "It sounds trite but there is much more that unites us as humans than divides us, and this is a small effort by two communities to celebrate that fact."
     Rabbi Menashe pointed out that the banquet was organized almost entirely by students from both organizations. Two students who co-organized the event were Joshua Lerman, the JSA's education chair, and Moktar Sheikh-Salah, religious brothers chair of the MSA.
     Mr. Lerman said the JSA removed all Jewish imagery and iconography from the banquet room before the arrival of the Muslims, since the latter group is forbidden to pray in front of other religion's symbols. Similarly, the Muslims agreed that the cuisine served at the gathering would be kosher to accommodate kashrut- observant Jews.
     "This is to promote humanity more than religious ideologies," Mr. Sheikh-Salah said. "In the end, Jews and Muslims are just trying to be good people."
     Mr. Lerman said that twice as many people showed up at the banquet than expected. "Even though there is a calc test, a systems test and a neuro-science test tomorrow, people came out anyway," Mr. Lerman said. "They come out because they enjoy meeting people they don't normally meet."
     As the students poured into the center, Rabbi Menashe briefly greeted everyone and requested silence so the Muslim students could perform their traditional prayer for iftar, the breaking of the fast during Ramadan. The Muslim students congregated in the corner of the room and prayed for nearly 20 minutes while the other students observed them in respectful silence.
     After the Muslims finished their prayer, they rejoined the Jewish students in the buffet line where some served food along with JSA president Rebecca L. Grammer and Rachael Heinmann, Hopkins' assistant Hillel director. The students subsequently sat together and schmoozed over orange chicken and kosher spring rolls.
     Toward the end of the meal, a Muslim and a Jewish student spoke in front of the audience about the significance of fasting in their respective religions.
     "It feels good to be with other people who are worshipping and fasting," said Amira Quraishi, adviser for the MSA at Hopkins. "This allows [students] to share their spirituality in a mixed context."
     Following the event, MSA president Safi Shareef said he was pleased with the turnout. He said that such interfaith gatherings and dialogues are "necessary in today's world."
     "To have the opportunity to share experiences is something that doesn't happen naturally," Mr. Shareef said. "To have an organized event like this is a great opportunity to have a dialogue."