DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Dearborn Heights Councilman Mo Baydoun is hosting the second annual Iftar dinner with the Dearborn Heights Fire Department on the first day of Ramadan this Thursday, March 23.
The Dearborn Heights Fire Department is planning to fast from all food and liquids on the first day of Ramadan to stand with and embrace their Muslim community members. Following their day of fast, Councilman Baydoun will hold an Iftar dinner at the fire station where he, various other elected officials, community members and the fire department will break fast together at sundown.
At the first dinner held last year, Baydoun said he sought to connect the fire department with the community on a deeper scale. He said he felt it would be a notable opportunity for the fire fighters to gain an understanding of what Muslim community members experience while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, as well as show the community that the fire fighters stand with them.
Last year, 12 non-Muslim fire fighters participated in the fast.
“The Dearborn Heights fire fighters are more than just the fire fighters to the city, they’re our community members, they thrive to work with us and they’re always trying to give back to the entire Dearborn Heights community,” Baydoun said.
Councilman Mo Baydoun with the Dearborn Heights Fire Department. Photo Courtesy of Mo Baydoun
Phil Hall, the Dearborn Heights battalion fire chief, told The Arab American News how eye-opening his fasting experience was last year. He said it allowed him to reflect on those less fortunate and those that don’t have access to food, clean water and other resources like many others do.
“A great amount of our community fasts during Ramadan, and it gives us an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the community and understand what that’s like for that period of time when members are fasting,” he said.
Hall also expressed the significance behind simply sharing a meal with community members and having the space to talk and enjoy dinner.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “And it was really nice to stand in solidarity with the community and then have this dinner where we could bring members of the community together and just have a meal and talk.”
Food is being donated by Al-Ameer and Hashem’s Meat Market. Al-Ameer is providing salad, potato balls, hummus and other appetizer dishes. Hashem’s Meat Market is providing all of the meat, grilling it at the fire station and freshly serving it for Iftar.
Ali Hashem, owner of Al-Ameer, said that he’s happy to donate food and participate in this unique experience for the Dearborn Heights Fire Department.
“Other than the fact that it is the holy month of Ramadan, these fire fighters are a staple of the community and for them to be fasting on such a special month or day is a big deal to us, and Al-Ameer is glad to be a part of that,” he said.
Baydoun expressed his appreciation for the fire department, not only for their willingness to participate in fasting, but also for their efforts to protect and serve the city of Dearborn Heights.
He said he plans to make this an annual tradition every Ramadan and continue to bridge the fire department and the community members together.