Muslims in Los Angeles and around the world begin fasting today in observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. From sunrise to sunset for the next 30 days, Muslims will abstain from food and drink — including water.
At the end of the day, families and communities break fast with a traditional meal called the Iftar. The meal often begins with the eating of a date.
At the Iranian-American Muslim Association of North America building on Motor Avenue in the Palms area Monday afternoon, Saman Namazikhah oversaw the delivery of enough black, hibiscus, chamomile and peppermint tea for 80 to 150 people. The tea will accompany dates, bread and cheese, traditional Mideastern staples.
At 8 p.m. tonight, members of the Muslim community will come to the IMAN center to break fast, share stories and pray.
Namazikhah -- whose father founded the center in 1992 -- is a member of the board of trustees, and told Patch this is his 14th year fasting. He compared the experience to pressing the “reset” button on a computer.
“It’s an annual reboot,” Namazikah said. “You start thinking about your life, where you are with your religion. It’s a time to remember the year past and get in touch with your spiritual side.”
For the second year, the center will also be hosting a mini street-soccer tournament in its parking lot. One 30-minute match will take place at 9 p.m. tonight, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ten teams, made up of college students and young professionals, will be squaring off. The pitch resembles the Iranian tradition of street soccer, with a small goal.
The goal is to bring younger generations to the center, Namazikhah said.
An interfaith festival will take place at the end of the month to unite a variety people from with religious perspectives. An overarching goal of Ramadan is to express the peace and solidarity of Islam, and combat negative stereotypes toward Muslims, Namazikah said.
“We have open houses, open doors,” he said. “It’s bringing more people in to see…we’re not different.”