During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which we’re in the middle of right now, it’s traditional to break the fast in mosques and homes. In fact, you’re supposed to be in congregation with others. This was the notion behind the project which was started by Omar Salha, who initially started the event for students, many far from their homes in Muslim-majority countries, it quickly expanded — incorporating people of different faiths, or no faith at all, or those who just happened to be passing by.
The first Open Iftar in the United States was held last year in Portland, Oregon. And this year, the event was especially charged, coming less than 24 hours after two people were killed standing up to anti-Muslim violence. Over 600 people turned out for the Open Iftar at a local community center, sitting on folding chairs and on the ground, indoors and out. Many had never really sat down with their Muslim neighbors before, but felt compelled to show up and show support.