Public invited to celebrate Hajj with Muslim community

NEWINGTON – On Sunday the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities will come together to celebrate the position Abraham plays in all three faiths.

In the Footsteps of Abraham, presented by the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford and the Bosnian Islamic American Cultural Center, will be held at Newington High School, 605 Willard Ave, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Aida Mansoor, a co-organizer of the event, said that a decade ago the Muslim community began celebrating a Taste of Ramadan, which attracted 800 people last year. Sunday’s event is the first time In the Footsteps of Abraham will be celebrated. She explained that it’s a time to experience the Hajj, which is an annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, and the fifth pillar of Islam.

Mansoor said Hajj is a time to honor the prophet Abraham – a religious figure the Christian, Islam and Jewish denominations all revere.

Mansoor, who said she was able to go on the pilgrimage a few years ago, explained that the Hajj is like the entire state of Connecticut going from Farmington to Hartford and back again.

“I really don’t know how they do it,” she said, adding that each day of Hajj includes something different.

She said Sunday’s event will explain the Hajj. The event will include food, a visual presentation on what happens at Hajj, and presentations by faith leaders across Connecticut.

Speakers include Umar Moghul, Omar Bajwa, Rev. Peter Grandy and Rabbi Eric Silver.

“It’s a time to get people of all different communities together,” Mansoor said.

She noted that because various Islamic groups will be at the event, it represents the diversity within Islam, which she said is something noticeable at the Hajj.

The event is free and open to the public. Mansoor said she hopes people from all faiths will come to the presentation and take the time to learn about their Muslim neighbors.

“There’s so much misinformation (about Islam), in the news there’s so much negativity,” she said. “We want to try to reach out, not to proselytize, but to inform and share our beliefs.”

For information on In the Footsteps of Abraham visit www.muslimcoalitionct.org or all 1-866-MCC-6440.

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