DANVILLE — We are all the same community, Dr. Umar Tariq said in inviting the public to a Ramadan dinner Friday at the Danville Muslim Community Center, at 14 Oak St.
"I have been here five years and love every second here," the Geisinger radiologist told the Montour County commissioners Tuesday. He also invited them to the dinner. Commissioner Trevor Finn has attended a previous dinner and said the food was "so good."
Tariq, the secretary-treasurer of the community center, said they fast during Ramadan from dawn until sunset, adding that the holy month is considered a time of cleansing and purification of the soul and body.
They break their fast together during the four Fridays of the month of Ramadan.
"The Danville Muslim Community will love to have you with your families for our Iftar dinner," he said.
They break the fast at 8:30 p.m followed by a Maghrib prayer at 8:45 p.m. and an Iftar dinner at 9 p.m. Those attending don't have to pray with them, but are welcome to watch them pray, he said.
He said Mahoning Township supervisors and a Danville pastor have attended previous dinners.
Tariq said he has visited Trinity United Methodist Church and Shiloh United Church of Christ.
"We are more similar than different," he said.
He said they plan a lot more get-togethers. Many from the center are Geisinger doctors. "We're all nice people who believe in the community and we are a family-friendly community," he said.
"Thank you for the invitation," Commission Chairman Ken Holdren said.
At a previous dinner, Finn said, "Everyone was so accommodating. I met a man from Pakistan in his 80s who was with his son. He had a lot of questions for me. It was very pleasant."
Tariq said his daughter attends St. Cyril Preschool and Kindergarten, where she is taught by Finn's wife, Betsy. "She is learning a lot of things," he said.
"Imagine our little community starting the ball rolling to stop hatred," Finn said.
Those interested in attending can RSVP to email@example.com or call or text 570-245-1076.