Muslims sit down to a meal with homeless

By Shauni James

For Rotorua's Muslim community Ramadan is a time to share and what better way to do that than by sharing a meal with the city's homeless.

Members of the community prepared food for those in need at Love Soup Rotorua this week before eating together to show "they [homeless] were not invisible".

Shiffa Harunani said Muslims were coming to the end of Ramadan, a religious month where they fasted from sunrise to sunset.

They tried to fast with both their mouths and with their actions, "to be a good human being", Mrs Harunani said.

She said she and her husband donated food to charity Love Soup Rotorua each week, but as part of Ramadan they decided to cook the dinner themselves.

They also invited the Muslim community to join in, Mrs Harunani said.

One of the things Muslims did at Ramadan was to share, she said.

Her husband Aladina Harunani said a part of fasting was to understand what those less fortunate went through.

"We should all be doing it in Rotorua. We should all be sharing food with poor people."

Mr Harunani said he wanted to raise awareness there was homelessness in the community and "we should all be responsible for preventing it".

It was also about raising awareness of how, as part of the Islam religion, giving was a must just like fasting, he said.

He said the team at Love Soup Rotorua did some "great work".

Love Soup Rotorua co-founder and co-ordinator Elmer Peiffer said the Harunanis contacted him and told him about Ramadan.

They had said the Muslim community wanted to "come together and sit with the people to show that they were not invisible", he said. "I thought it was ... brilliant."

Mr Peiffer said Love Soup worked hard to make the community aware of the problem and with Mr and Mrs Harunani's support it had reached an entirely different community.

One of those at the dinner, Hombre, said the food was "yum" and Love Soup was one of the best charities he had encountered.

"They've helped me a lot."

- NZ Herald

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