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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 01, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 28Nov00

By Kent Larsen

LDS Families Experience Ramadan, Learn Similarities With Muslims

DENVER, COLORADO -- Two LDS couples got to experience first hand the begining of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the invitation of their Muslim neighbors. Dennis and Linda Brimhall and George and Ilene Dibble were the guests of Muhamed and Siham Jodeh, natives of Jerusalem, for the feast that ends the first day of the month-long holiday of fasting from dawn to dusk. And during the feast the Brimhall's and the Dibbles discovered that Islam and the LDS faith have much in common.

"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. The couples met through a network of community and interfaith boards, but the friendship among the couples has developed further since they met, "Out of these things comes friendship," said Ilene Dibble, who is director of public affairs for the LDS Church in Denver.

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from food, drink and physical contact with one's spouse from dawn to dusk each day. Then, at 4:35 pm yesterday, the moment of sundown, they "break-fast." Muhamed marked the moment Monday in the traditional way, offering a place of sweet dates from Morocco.

During the meal, the friends shared traditions. The Brimhalls, who are seasoned Mideast travelers. Linda Brimhall marveled at what Ramadan requires, "I have so much respect for Siham -- getting up early for 29 days to prepare meals," she says. Brimhall is director of community relations for the LDS Church in Denver.

During the meal, the friends identified several areas where the LDS faith and Muslim beliefs are similar. Both worship the "God of Abraham" and believe in scriptures transmitted from God. Both believe in "rigorous, regular fasting."

"We fast for a 24-hour period the first Sunday of every month," said George Dibble, head of consulting firm Dibble and Associates. "Like Muslims, we give the money we would have spent on food to the poor." "It's a matter of subjecting the physical things of this world to the spiritual," said Dennis Brimhall, the president of University of Colorado Hospital. Both the LDS faith and Muslims also prohibit using alcohol.

The LDS couples also learned about conditions on the West Bank, learning that the people there are in desparate need of medical supplies, "They've been screaming, 'Send us some supplies' -- especially sutures,' said Muhamed Jodeh of communications he has had with friends there.

And the couples learned that family is as important to Muslims as it is to Mormons. Recalling seeing Muhammed pray with his son in another room, Dennis Brimhall 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."'


Ramadan bolsters interfaith friendships
Denver CO Rocky Mountain News 28Nov00 P2
By Jean Torkelson: Denver Rocky Mountain News Religion Writer
Muslims are joined by Mormons for feast after first day of fasting


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