Muscat: The first thing that comes to mind when one hears the word ‘Iftar’ is an all-Muslim group breaking their fast, but a team in Oman has been doing something different that challenges this stereotype.
One Nation (1Nation) team is a group of young men and women who have committed themselves to serving the community in addition to their personal and professional commitments and are passionate about promoting Oman’s unique culture of tolerance and co-existence.
Last week, the group held its annual ‘Taste of Iftar’ event, an interfaith gathering that brings people of all walks of life, religions, cultures and nationalities together under one roof.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Hilal Al Rashdi, an adviser at the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, says that One Nation was formed out of the Islamic Information Centre of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is under the supervision of the Diwan.
This group aims to promote Islam and deals with new Muslims, he said, adding that the annual event provides an opportunity for the participants to get exposed to the spirit of Ramadan and fasting.
Al Rashdi said that the group collects donations for the event and around 500 people attend the Iftar ceremony every year.
Around half of the attendees are non-Omanis, he said, adding that 40 per cent of the non-Omanis are people who have recently converted to Islam.
It is the beauty of the event that even those who are not fasting are invited which is a reflection of the ‘excellent co-existence’ prevailing in Omani society, he noted.
He also said that informative speeches and fun activities for both children and adults form part of the event and in this year’s event the best prize was interestingly won by a non-Muslim.
Al Rashdi says that he has received very positive feedback from the participants whom he have interacted with, saying that they were impressed by the generosity of Muslims and are keen to learn more about Islam.