Around 4000 Naperville families fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The 30-day observance commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are required to avoid food, water, and sinful behavior during daylight hours.
But many non-Muslims aren’t aware of the holiday’s significance. Moms Building Bridges is hoping to change that.
“In Naperville the Muslim community, I find, that it appears to be growing,” said Moms Building Bridges founder Kathy McBane. “It’s visible. So we know they’re there. But how do you get a chance to meet one? Out of curiosity or out of just wanting to make a connection with somebody.”
Making connections is exactly why Moms Building Bridges was founded almost three years ago. Their goal is to bring moms of different cultures and faiths together to promote unity.
The group’s latest project is signs wishing their Muslim neighbors a blessed Ramadan.
“To say ‘Blessed Ramadan’ to a Muslim is like saying Happy Easter or Merry Christmas to a Christian,” said McBane.
The signs are meant to help Muslims feel welcome in the community, as well as support religious freedom.
“I thought it was a great idea. It’s touching,” said Ummehani Majeed, a Muslim and member of Moms Building Bridges. “It’s definitely a beautiful thing to see out there to see a neighbor acknowledge my holiday which hasn’t been acknowledged in the past or that not many people know about.”
The group is raising funds for the signs on GoFundMe where supporters can donate to offset the cost of the signs.
McBane’s initial order was for 200 signs, but if she runs out, she’s more than willing to purchase more. They’re similar to the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs which gained popularity in the Fall of 2016.
That campaign began in Chicago, and attempted to counter hate and intolerance with positive messaging, a cause Moms Building Bridges strongly identifies with.
“I think it’s very important,” said Maggie Ruiz, another member of Moms Building Bridges. “Because if you don’t have that type of exposure, you can get in your bubble. And inside your bubble, there are tons of things that you can think and become afraid of. And I think that was one of the challenges that Moms Building Bridges represented for me.”
Building bridges one sign at a time.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.