Students from Arqam’s Academy and members of the Islamic community joined Mayor Ken Welch in ushering in the holy month of Ramadan with a proclamation from the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, March 30. | Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — The City of St. Petersburg ushered in the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this Saturday, with a proclamation from Mayor Ken Welch speaking from the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, March 30.
Ramadan, celebrated by those of the Islamic faith the world over, is a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection and lasts from one crescent moon sighting to the next.
Mayor Welch said St. Petersburg is a city that celebrates diversity and honors tradition across all faiths.
“And I’m thrilled to be here today to offer a proclamation declaring April the month of Ramadan in St. Petersburg,” said the mayor. “And offering our city’s best wishes for a successful fast to all those who recognize this special holy month. In the spirit of diversity, in honor of faith, I’m happy to present the following proclamation.”
He formally proclaimed April 2022 – coordinated with the Hijri calendar year of 1443 – as the month of Ramadan in St. Petersburg “and extend our best wishes for a very successful fast in celebration.”
Imam Abdul Karim Ali, president, Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, Inc., explained that Ramadan was a month when revelation, or information, was revealed to Muhammad, the prophet, to bring not only his countrymen but the world out of darkness.
“Ramadan addressed the poor, the needy, those who need assistance. Ramadan is a month of giving, and I’m sure we can all agree, in light of the situation that has taken place in our world … that there’s a need for some revelation, some information, some enlightenment to bring humanity back together,” Ali said, noting the war in Ukraine and other atrocities going on in the world.
Ali invited the community to come out and celebrate the annual Iftar dinner, which is the evening meal Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset, this year on April 14 at the Coliseum, beginning at 6 p.m. The yearly dinner is held to break down barriers and find common ground.
“We will have a night of enlightenment,” stated Ali. “We have a night of wonderful food, but most importantly, the theme that we have selected is, ‘we the peoples breaking bread together with love and compassion.’ That’s what we’re all about.”
To register for the free dinner, visit bit.ly/Iftardinner.