Logan family invites Queensland Police chief to Ramadan feast in bid to break down cultural barriers
Remember: there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.– Frank Zappa
The daily family ritual of sitting down to dinner together has taken on a new significance for about half a million Australian Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan.
They must abstain from all food and drink during daylight hours to purify the soul, refocus on God, and practice self-sacrifice.
The fast is broken every evening at sunset with special meals enjoyed together with family and friends.
“It is such a special thing for us, the Ramadan dinner,” said mother-of-five, Canan Coskun, from Logan, south of Brisbane.
“If you can imagine you haven’t eaten all day so you’re really looking forward to that soup and that bread, and everything just seems so delicious.”
Her family hosts the special dinners, or Iftars, where they invite non-Muslim guests to share in the evening meal at their home.
This year, the Coskuns counted Queensland’s Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Brent Carter among their guests.
“What better thing to do with someone than to sit down and have food with them?” said Mrs Coskun.
“Especially when we’re in my home and I’m serving them food.
“To share that special moment with people from other faith backgrounds, it means a lot to us.”
Mrs Coskun said she believed having a meal together could also help to break down barriers.
“I’ve had many people over at my house who have never seen a Muslim person before, or maybe they’ve never seen a woman in a hijab,” she said.
“They’re sitting at my dinner table and just kind of looking at me serving them soup and serving them sweets, and I can see them thinking, ‘wow, they’re pretty much like us and they’re quite normal’.”
The notion of going without food or water for thirty days also sparks plenty of questions from non-Muslim guests.