CALGARY -- Over 200 packages of food and juice were donated to members of Calgary's Muslim community today in honour of Ramadan.

Members of the Ascension Catholic Parish donated the packages to the NW Islamic Centre in front of a small gathering of members from both communities.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims globally as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. During Ramadan, adult members of the Muslim community fast from dawn to sunset.  The food and juice packages are meant for when the daily fast is broken at sunset.

"It's very important," said Umar Arshi, Director of Interfaith with the NW Islamic Centre. "It's a really nice gesture from the Roman Catholic community; it shows what we are doing and understand another side, a different faith, as well," said Arshi. 

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On hand for the donation was William McGrattan, bishop of the Diocese of Calgary. He said challenges created from economic and pandemic-related hardships have actually helped to bring different religions together. "The pandemic has affected our societies and our faith communities, I think we need to share on how to continue to work together to build a better society." 

"Religion can assist in doing that."

Francis Aranha, the organizer of the event, said it's important to maintain positivity in challenging times. "I grew up in Bombay, India; there was the Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Christian communities.  The one thing they had in common was an emphasis on peace and harmony," said Aranha.

"A lot of people are wasting their positive energy on doing wrong things, if they could divert their energy to something positive like this, the world would be a better place," Aranha added.

The NW Islamic Centre plans on distributing the donated food packages amongst its community members throughout the next few days.