Guide to Organising a Community Iftar
Form a committee
Form a Community Iftar committee in your community to help in this effort. Once a committee has been formed, please email IMPIC at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know so we can be in contact with you and assist in organising the Community Iftar.
Date & Venue
Choose a Date and Venue for the Community Iftar .We recommend to hold the Iftar in the Mosque or the Islamic Centre, however it may be possible that due to limitations of space, you may not be able to organise the Community Iftar in the Mosque or Islamic Centre. In this case we recommend you hire a community hall or a hall in a hotel.
Utilise Sample Forms
IMPIC will provide sample news release for local press and invitations for your guests, which you can customise by filling in the bracketed items with your information.
Print brochures and flyers
IMPIC will provide “Welcome to our Ramadan Fast Breaking” brochure and the flier and print a sufficient number of copies for your guests to take. We will include your local contact information in these fliers and prints.
Decide who you want to invite and send invitations
The Community Iftar committee will have to compile a comprehensive list of who you could invite by researching churches, synagogues, temples or other houses of worship as well as city and state political offices in your area.To invite prominent civic or religious leaders, a personal phone call from a committee member should follow a formal written invitation.
It is essential to invite media to cover the Community Iftar. This will ensure that positive news will be highlighted by the Media.
Designate a Spokesperson
Appoint a spokesperson who will handle all media interviews related to the actual event. The committee should discuss what message they want to send with the event. If the spokesperson is new to media interviews, he/she should practice with others beforehand. Community Iftar Guide Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC) www.impic.ie
Educate members of your local community
If your community questions why such an event is necessary, you might remind them of the importance of building a positive image of Islam and Muslims in Ireland. Let them know that experience of other communities has shown that a positive neighbourhood image offers many benefits. You should also inform them know how the Quran and Sunnah emphasise on bridging communities and building Peace between all communities.
Hosting a Community Iftar is a good way to show your neighbours what your community believes and represents and to give them an opportunity to ask any questions they have. Alittle knowledge about Islam or a look inside a mosque can help remove any curiosity or discomfort people might have about Islam or Muslims.
Prepare the Venue
Clean and prepare the mosque or venue — the first impression is one that will last. Have a mosque clean-up day before the open house. Consider touching up areas that need painting or other minor maintenance. Set up a reception area Prepare a reception area where guests can be received, informed about mosque etiquette and served refreshments.
Give guests name tags, and encourage mosque members to wear name-tags too. Consider a special designation like a coloured dot on the name-tags of the hosting committee so guests can approach them if needed.
Have greeters at the door to direct arriving guests and have knowledgeable people to conduct tours of the facility. Don’t leave guests unattended or they may feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. Make sure there are volunteers available to give tours through the mosque.
Working with guests on mosque etiquette
You might want to give your guests information about mosque etiquette (such as removing shoes in prayer areas) before they arrive with the idea of helping to make them feel more at ease. Decide whether or not you will ask female guests to cover their hair in the Musallah. If yes, make sure you provide extra scarves. Be ready to answer questions about prayer, separation of men and women during Salaah, and other common issues.
Pamphlets and Handouts
Select literature to be given to the guests. Avoid material with a political message. Make the literature available, but don’t push materials on guests. It’s a good idea to have a display or make a presentation about Islam and Muslims.
Short Program before the Dinner
45 Minutes before the Azaan of Maghrib (time to break the fast) start a short program. Start the program with recitation of the Holy Quran (and English translation). The President of the Mosque or Head of Community Iftar Committee should welcome all guest and thank them for attending. If you would like a representative of IMPIC can speak on the Community Iftar initiative . Then request a religious leader of another faith say a few words to all attendees. If time allows use the opportunity for a short Q & A session.
If you are inviting guests from a religious tradition with dietary restrictions, be sure to learn what they are in advance and accommodate them as much as possible.
The Community Iftar should conclude by thanking everyone by the spokesperson of the local community and a Peace prayer by the local Imam.
Document the event
Document the Iftar with photos and video if appropriate and if guests are comfortable with it. Ensure all guests sign in on a attendance register.
The photos and info on your event can later be shared with your guests or with the media (if your guests gave permission for this).
If possible, please send IMPIC copies of pictures, videos, and news articles about your successful “Community Iftar” event to help us document the national success of this project. We would only publicise any photos or video with your permission, and would of course credit your mosque or Islamic Centre.