Houston Iftar 2023: Largest-ever Iftar Gathering Pays Tribute to Mayor Sylvester Turner

At the Houston Iftar 2023, Chief Patron Syed Javaid Anwar (center) is seen with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Tanweer Ahmed, Coordinator Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, and members of the organizing committee. An Award of Appreciation was presented to Mayor Sylvester Turner as a tribute for his support.

HOUSTON: A large gathering on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023, at the Bayou City Center in Houston of around 2,300 persons, making it the largest-ever Iftar dinner in the United States.

“Friendships matter. I want to thank Syed Javaid Anwar, Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Tanweer Ahmed, and all the patrons & collaborating partner organizations for putting together this sterling event,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We have accomplished this together, as Houston has shined tonight at this Annual Iftar Dinner. God: The Most Gracious – The Most Merciful Has Smiled on Houston.”

This event has been organized for the past 13 years by the Muslim Sister Cities of Houston, namely Abu Dhabi, Baku, Basrah, Istanbul, and Karachi; together with collaborating partner organizations, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States, Bohra Jamat, the Helping Hand For Relief And Development (HHRD), and over 60 Community organizations.

Several benefactors and sponsors, especially Syed Javaid Anwar, Tanweer Ahmed, HHRD, & others contributions played key roles in putting together this well-coordinated and impressive event.

A gathering of 2,300 persons at the Bayou City Center attended the largest-ever Iftar dinner in the United States.

This was the last Iftar dinner for Mayor Turner as the Chief Guest, as he will get termed out after 8 years by the end of 2023. A special tribute was paid to Honorable Turner through an exceptional documentary video produced by Zeeshan Jafry and Muhammad Saeed Sheikh.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s video message of Ramadan greetings to the Muslim American community was also played on the big screen at the Iftar. Other special speakers on the occasion were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Congressman AL Green, who also gave special congressional certificates to the Organizing Committee of the event.

Two distinct presentations were done by Dr. Saleha Bashir Khumawala of the University of Houston on the topic of “Building Communities: The DNA of Islam”; and Dr. Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, President of ALMaghrib Institute, who spoke about the Significance of Ramadan, saying this month is about inculcating Self-Control to achieve God Conscience; spoke about societies losing the moral campus, & he supplicated for the whole world as we are engulfed by Climate Change, & Earthquakes in Pakistan, Syria, Türkiye, & elsewhere.

Other notable speeches on the occasion were a welcome speech by Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, well-known Pakistani American businessman and Chief Patron of Houston Iftar Syed Javaid Anwar, Chris Olson, Director of Mayor’s Office, President of ISGH Ayman Kabire, President of the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States Murad Ajani, and former City Council Member M. J. Khan.

The invocation was conducted by Imam Hamza Ghia of Hamd Institute, the call for prayer (Aadhan) by Imam Hafez Furqaan Sayed, and the Mughrib prayers led by Mufti Abdul Qadar Siddiqui. Sumptuous food was served by Tempura, Fadi’s, and Sweet Factory.