American Muslims Celebrate Ramadan

November 28, 2000

Source: The Denver Rocky Mountain News

On November 28, 2000, The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported that "Ramadan began Monday for the 1.1 billion followers of Islam - 15,000 of whom who live in Colorado. But Ramadan has another side - after dusk. That's when Muslims break each day's fast with a feast. The Jodehs decided to end the first day of Ramadan with four special friends, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 'The first night of Ramadan is special, and the tradition is to invite your most dear family and friends. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have here than you,' Muhamed Jodeh told his guests, Dennis and Linda Brimhall and George and Ilene Dibble. The couples met through a network of community and interfaith boards. But now their relationship is far more...The 'break-fast' moment is momentous. Between dawn and dusk during Ramadan, Muslims live without food or water and in great personal austerity, including no physical contact with one's spouse. The new routine is hard to get used to. Siham Jodeh laughed because their daughter, Imam, 18, one of the couple's four children, kept calling during the day to ask, 'What's for dinner?'...The couples marveled at the common ground of their faiths. All worship the same 'God of Abraham.' Muslims follow the Koran as transmitted through the prophet Muhammed, who Islam teaches was God's greatest messenger. LDS members follow Scripture and the book of Mormon, and revere Jesus as God's chosen one, sent to Earth as savior. Both faiths have rigorous, regular fasting. In the LDS Church, 'we fast for a 24-hour period the first Sunday of every month,' said George Dibble, who is head of Dibble and Associates, a consulting firm. 'Like Muslims, we give the money we would have spent on food to the poor.'...Each tradition bans alcohol, too: 'It blurs the mind and is absolutely forbidden,' George Dibble said. The LDS Church is deeply involved in humanitarian work worldwide, and the couples wanted to know the latest news about getting help to the chaotic West Bank...Before dinner began, Muhamed Jodeh excused himself to go into the living room to pray - a sacred duty that Muslims fulfill five times daily. Praying at his side was his 17-year-old son, Ahmad. The sight touched Dennis Brimhall, watching from the dining room. He thought of his own dark-haired son, Dallas, and said, 'As I looked at father and son praying, I thought, 'How similar.' We have family prayer, too. As I saw Ahmad standing next to his dad, I thought, 'That could be us.' ' All agreed that Muslims and Mormons share a major link: 'Our common concern for the family,' said Ilene Dibble."