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"Taking Hearts" - a shared Ramadan meal
Naiyer Usmani, although not directly working with the MCC, runs many of these interfaith outreach programs throughout Minnesota, including tours of the MCC. As Naiyer expressed with concern, “the media gives us problems” and there is a whole industry that makes money off Islamophobia, purposely generating unwarranted fear of the religion.1 Describing the goal of the interfaith outreach program, Naiyer said, “bottom line, as a human being you need to tell the truth” and it is the goal of these programs is “to portray the truth and get rid of the misconceptions. If you look at the Qur'an, Islam is a peaceful religion.”
Naiyer is activity involved in leading the program “Taking Hearts,” an interfaith program sponsored by both the Minnesota Council of Churches and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MASMN). The program started in 2004 when the Muslim community in Minnesota became concerned with the increasing Islamophobia.2 Geared towards building the bridges across the religious community of Minnesota, “Taking Hearts” provides the opportunity for non-Muslims to learn about Islam and get to know other Muslims over a shared Ramadan meal.