U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander, U.S. Central Command, speaks to guests during an Iftar at the Bay Palms Golf Course here July 22. Iftar is the meal that comes after a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan. (USCENTCOM Photo by Sgt. Fredrick J. Coleman, USMC)
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander, U.S. Central Command, and several distinguished visitors came together with Muslims assigned to USCENTCOM and their families for Iftar at the Bay Palms Golf Course here July 22. Iftar is the meal that comes after a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan.
“We here at CENTCOM are very fortunate to participate in events like this,” said Austin during his remarks to attendees. “Ramadan is a time when friends and families of all faiths can come together and enjoy one another.”
The evening started with an overview of the history and traditions of Ramadan presented by Alanoud Rashid, who is the daughter of Brig. Gen. Fetais Rashid, the Qatari senior national representative to USCENTCOM. Following her presentation, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Abuhena Saifulislam, USCENTCOM’s Muslim chaplain, gave the Azan, which is the traditional prayer given to signify the start of Iftar. Traditionally, fasting is broken by sharing dates and drinking water at sunset. This is followed by a variety of foods that include lamb, chicken, beef and rice to remedy the hunger caused by fasting from sunrise to sunset.
Muslims observe Ramadan during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. For a 30-day period, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset demonstrating self-control, purifying the body and soul and focusing on one’s self and their relationship to God, Alanoud explained during her presentation.