500 orphaned young children between the ages of 3 to 15 were treated to a traditional Iftar feast by the Sheraton Kampala Hotel a few days ago. Three orphanages run by Islamic charities were selected by the hotel to send their youngsters to the Sheraton to enjoy time in the extensive garden where a ‘bouncing castle’ had been set up and ball games were played, before the kids were taken to the ball room, where at the end of the daily fast a feast was waiting for them. The gesture by the Sheraton was hailed by not only the orphanages but also Muslim clerics as ‘an act of supreme kindness and sharing’, clearly in line with the principles the Islamic faith outlines for the annual Ramadhan month. The full moon earlier in the week signified ‘half time’ for the fasting month which will end with the Idd holiday when the new moon is sighted in less than two weeks.
Meanwhile are the evening Iftar feasts continuing at the Sheraton where in fact many of the Islamic faithful invite their Christian friends to break the daily fast with them and celebrate their unifying religious features and principles instead of dwelling on often hyped up differences. Uganda has a long tradition of religious tolerance between the various Christian denominations, Muslims and followers of other beliefs and is home to the only Bahai Temple in Africa.