2,000 attendees thronged the Bayou City Center for the Houston Iftar 2022

HOUSTON: As the public activities have started to transpire, for the Houstonians, beginning of Ramadan 2022 meant the exciting news that in-Person “Houston Iftar: Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor” is happening on April 10th, 2022 at the established picturesque Bayou City Event Center near the METRO Depot. During pandemic in 2022 and 2021, this event was held as the largest North America drive-thru & virtual iftar occasion.

This tradition of Houston started 23 years ago when around 200 persons gathered in front of the City Hall to break-fast with the Honorable Lee P. Brown. This Houston Iftar 2022 was attended by around 2,000 persons, and everyone enjoyed the candid talks, spiritual messages, inspirational supplications, sumptuous Iftar & Dinner, and together established the Mughrib Prayers.

Congressman Al Green honored the Houston Iftar organizing Committee with the U. S. Flag, which flew over U. S. Capital & a Congressional Certificate in recognition of organizing a very successful Signature event of the City of Houston since over a decade, which was received by Chief Patron Syed Javaid Anwar, Honorary Chair Nasru Rupani & Coordinator Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Ayman Kabire, Murad Ajani, Yusuf Mogri, M. J. Khan & others.

“Muhammad Saeed Sheikh: Next year being my last year as Mayor: As such this event has to be larger, bigger, & better: This event should be upgraded next year to more than 3,000 persons”: Exclaimed Honorable Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner, as he addressed the gathering, and gave this challenge to Coordinator of Houston Iftar Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, President of the Houston Karachi Sister City Associations (HKSCA).

Every year for the past 12 years, this event is diligently organized by Abu Dhabi, Baku, Basrah, Istanbul, and Karachi Sister City Associations of Houston, along with The Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), The Ismaili Council for Southwestern US, and esteemed 50+ collaborating organizations.

Houston Iftar 2022 was ably emceed by young Sister Nadeen Mustafa. Proceedings got started with recitation of Quran by Imam of Turkish Center Houston; followed by National Anthem of USA presented by a University of Houston student. Everyone was warmly welcomed by Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Houston Iftar 2022 Nasruddin Rupani of Ibn Sina Community Clinics, and Coordinator Muhammad Saeed Sheikh of the Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA). They especially thanked Mayor, Congressman AL Green, Elected Officials, and the many Heads of the Diplomatic Missions in Houston, for their presence in large number.

Nasruddin Rupani of Ibn Sina Community Clinics amidst ovations informed that Institute has taken care of more than 1 million patients.

This was followed by speech of Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was introduced by the Chief Patron of the event Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Syed Javaid Anwar of Midland Energy. Honorable Mayor Sylvester Turner highly appreciated Syed Javaid Anwar for his most generous contributions towards the Houston Iftar and US society at large; especially as he unites Republicans & Democrats. He said Houston indeed has diversity is an asset; but it is truly strong when we have Diverse and Inclusive.

Mayor Turner added that 7 federally declared catastrophes in the past 6 years have meant many people are living at the margins; and they need all of our prayers during these blessed moment so Ramadan.

Through courtesy of Syed Javaid Anwar, Governor of Texas Greg Abbott sent special video recorded message of greetings, deliberation, and tranquility.

Honorable Congressperson AL Green gifted to the Organizing Committee “Flag of USA that was flown at the Capitol of USA”; as an appreciation to the Houston Iftar 2022 Committee for bringing together people of diverse background. “We need Unity without Uniformity in the US: It is important”: Added Honorable Congressperson AL Green.

President of ISGH Ayman Kabire in his speech said Muslim community is indebted to all the elected officials to have supported during pandemic & all other calamities; and we have tried our best to assist our neighbors in the larger society.

Guest Speaker of the evening was Shaykh Kamal EL Mekki, who is dubbed as the Black Belt of Dawah (outreaching with the true message of Islam); spoke about the true essence of Ramadan, as it brings in persons traits of patience, perseverance, and empathy.

Shaykh Kamal EL Mekki added: “Real reason of Ramadan is to Connect with the Lord of the Universes; The Most Merciful: Some people worship and others help humanity, but without properly connecting to God: 8% of the year is Ramadan to give our best to become disciplined by controlling our desires & not be controlled by our desires.”

Shaykh Kamal EL Mekki was earlier introduced by Former City of Houston Councilperson and Former President of ISGH Masrur Javed Khan, who also mentioned about the need of lessening of tensions & violence across the globe; the imbalanced allocation of resources & wealth; and the need to stand for good & stop evil.

Following the motivational supplications by Imam Mohammad Ahmad Khan of Maryam Masjid, and Aadhan by young Aquib Gazi, around 2,000 enjoyed the Iftar and Dinner prepared sumptuously by Tempura Restaurant & Catering; Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill; Sweet Factory of Houston; and nice assorted beverages by Famous Food. Everything was nicely served by Ismaeli Muslim Volunteers of Houston.

Houston Texas is one of our nation’s most internationally diversified cities and over many decades now Mayors of the City, including the present Mayor Honorable Sylvester Turner have kept this as one of their administrations top priorities. The Muslim community has been very active in Business, Government, Cultural, Social, and Charitable areas; and continues to contribute to make this one of the best places to live.

This Houston Iftar with Mayor 2022 event brought the different fragrance & colors of the bouquet of various communities’ of Houston getting together, and many said they will be eagerly waiting for the next one in 2023. For more information please visit: www.houstoniftar.org / email: info@houstoniftar.org; or call 281-948-1840.