University News

Hajj Dinner Unites Faiths in Exploration of Cultures

Published: October 04, 2016 | Categories: All News
Student entering Hajj dinner in Rivers Hall

On Tuesday, September 13, the Western New England University Office for Spiritual Life celebrated the annual Hajj dinner in Rivers Memorial Hall, commemorating the end of the Muslim holiday the Hajj or pilgrimage. About 65 faculty, staff, and students attended the dinner to enjoy a variety of Middle Eastern foods, and make new friends.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith. It encourages an annual pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. People who cannot make the pilgrimage gather for dinner on the three days of Eid (holiday). Some cities in the Middle East also host local fairs and festivals during this period.

Nasser Al Aumari, President of Muslim Students Association at Western New England and Mohammad Salem, the University’s International Club and Scholar Services Cultural Advisor, organized the event this year. This is the fifth year the University has hosted a Hajj dinner.

The dinner’s guest speaker was Dr. Mohammad Hazratji, Chief neurologist at the Holyoke Medical Center, who focused his remarks on the meaning and importance of the Hajj in the Islamic faith, the Five Pillars of Islam and the story of Ibrahim.

“The Hajj Dinner is a wonderful opportunity to experience the beauty of Islam and Abrahamic connections between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity,” explained Sheila Hanifin, coordinator of the Western New England University Office for Spiritual Life.

The food was provided by Taste of Lebanon in West Springfield, MA.