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MECCA hosts traditional Muslim dinner

Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 09:09

Last Friday evening, Muslim Endeavor to Create Cultural Awareness (MECCA), a campus organization comprised of 40-50 mostly non-Muslim members, hosted a dinner in Loyola Basement, featuring traditional kosher Middle Eastern cuisine such as humus, shishkabob, baloneys, peta bread and rice. The event, catered by Bay State Bakery, attracted 110 people, including members of the greater Worcester community and visitors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute as well as students and faculty.

MECCA president Momena Sayed '05 and Aws Shemmeri '07 briefly addressed the crowd, thanking them for their participation and explaining the meal's significance in Islam.

The meal is called iftar, "breaking of the fast," and is consumed during Ramadan, the holy month in which the Qu'ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During this time, Muslims fast from sunup until sundown. After a prayer, they break the fast with one or two dates, followed by a full meal. Frequently, they arise at 4:30 in the morning to consume another meal before returning to bed and getting up in the morning to continue the fast. The food has to be kosher, requiring certain prayers before an animal is slaughtered for meat.

According to Sayed, MECCA hopes to hold a concert in the spring featuring Islamic music and demonstrating the connections between music and faith.

As an organization, MECCA aims to provide a community for Muslim students as well as counter societal myths about the Islamic faith and Muslims.

"I thought we, as a Holy Cross community, should be exposed to other cultures and faiths and this desire led me to become a part of the group," said Renee Chachakis '04, MECCA secretary. "We hear a lot from the media, but if you want to get to the source of the Islamic faith and culture, MECCA is a great way to do this."

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