Attendees of the interfaith dinner sit and listen to speakers.
Photo by Azeem Sikander
On June 3rd, Memphis Interfaith held its twelfth annual Interfaith Dinner at the Esplanade.
Members of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu communities were invited to partake in a celebration of religion and to learn more about each other’s cultures.
The guests filed into the building at 6 o’clock, exchanging pleasantries and getting to know each other before the night began. When everyone was finally seated, Sally and Sameer Mansour began introductions, followed by a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Bilal Siddiq.
The theme of this year’s dinner was “Enrichment Through Selflessness,” and Reverend Gina Stewart, Rabbi Micah Greenstein, and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi all discussed their own interpretation of the subject and the importance of a shared community.
“Each of the speakers did a fantastic job in their speeches, and I genuinely enjoyed their passion and dedication of the subject matter,” said attendee Shwetha Ganesh, “My eyes and ears were fixed on them the whole time!”
After the speakers were done, each table participated in a reflective talk where they discussed their perspectives, advice, and misjudgements. Imam Anwar Arafat then engaged in a spiritual reflection, in which he recounted the importance of religion in contemporary society.
As salat al-Maghrib approached and passed, dinner finally began, and the guests continued their thought-provoking conversations over a delicious meal.
Finally 9 o’clock rolled around and dinner was done. After closing statements were made, guests continued to engage in conversations and some even filmed a summary of their experience on the way out.
“Tonight, I have learned more about religion and culture than I have in my entire life, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity. I consider all of the people here to be my family, and I loved hearing each and every one of their stories. I look forward to next year’s dinner, but I don’t know how they’ll top this one!” said attendee Shanice Williams about her night.