Last Wednesday, some of EPS’s leadership, members (both civilian and sworn) and community groups gathered to celebrate Ramadan by breaking their fast together at Chief McFee’s Iftar.
Ramadan marks the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, and the world's roughly 2 billion Muslims take part in daily fasting from sunrise to sunset. In Edmonton, the fasting day starts as early as 3:57am and ends as late as 8:45pm. As the Islamic Calendar follows the lunar cycle, Ramadan starts and finishes 10 days earlier every year (in 2023, Ramadan started on March 23 and in 2024, it will start on or about March 22).
Chief McFee's Iftar was hosted at the beautifully designed Islamic Family Hub (formerly IFSSA - Islamic Family and Social Services Association). The space was decorated with art by local Muslim artists, lanterns and place settings included a gold box of local sweets make by Westgate Halal and Tunisians sweets made by Sweet Time. In lieu of a treaty acknowledgement, the program borrowed from the Islamic tradition, and started with a prayer for the land and its people. It was followed by an opening citation of the Quran and included remarks from Chief McFee, reflections by Momin Said (a community leader) and an on stage conversation between Cst. Amal Abdi and Cst. Abdirhaman Kulmiye- who are both Muslim sworn members.
The EPS was also proud to host RCMP Cpl. Nader Khalil who signaled the breaking of the fast with the call to the Maghrib (Sunset) prayer. The style of the Athaan (call to prayer) made was in a Maqaam (tone) called Saba- which invokes feelings of reflection, lament and/or sadness- to honor Cst. Travis Jordan and Cst. Brett Ryan. You can watch the video on the Community Relations Instagram page by clicking here.
The program concluded with a dinner catered by a collective of newcomers and refugees who started catering businesses. The menu included Yemeni Chicken Mandi, Rice, Pomegranate Salad, Roasted Veggies, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Kibbeh while dessert included traditional home-made Arabic sweets. Chief McFee’s Iftar was a great example of fostering relationships while breaking bread and sharing tradition. Attendees enjoyed good company, many photos and meaningful conversations.
Ramadan is a time of self-reflection and spiritual renewal through prayer and fasting. It is a time when people look inward and also train their muscle of ‘empathy’. It’s a time for strengthening bonds in the family and bolstering ties in the community. It is also a time of social responsibility; when Muslims here in Edmonton and around the world reaffirm their commitment to those in need. There are countless communities hosting Iftars, supporting charities like the Edmonton Food Bank, supporting relief efforts locally and internationally as well as providing social services and programs for those in need.
Here’s what folks had to say about EPS Chief McFee’s Iftar:
“What were your favorite parts about the Iftar?”
"This was hands down the best Iftar I have attended. Very intimate and classy event. Great work "
"Bringing EPS Muslim members together! Bringing awareness to EPS non-Muslim members in attendance. Connecting with the community and showcasing Muslim representation within EPS. "
"Extremely thankful for such an event. Loved every bit of it. It was amazing to see EPS come together both during times of grief and during times of celebration. Looking forward to future events. "
"The adhan. The call to prayer given by member of the police "
"The people, the food, and the great conversations created a fantastic vibe in the room, it felt like I was breaking fast with my immediate family. Thank you EPS and all the people that helped organize such a great event."
Missed opportunity: A presentation on the police to encourage our to join EPS