Photo courtesy of Khandaker Nabil Sakib
Fresno State’s Ethics Center received the Spirit of Abraham Award from the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on July 27, their 7th Annual Night of Spirituality during Ramadan.
Dr. Andrew Fiala, professor of philosophy and director of the Ethics Center accepted the award.
The award was given to the Ethics Center for its programs and events that promote understanding and harmony between various cultures, ethnicities and faiths, and specifically Islamic values.
Dr. Fiala accepted the award from Fresno State professor Negin Tahvildary and spoke on behalf of the Ethics Center. He thanked the ICCF for its acknowledgement.
Congressman Jim Costa was also awarded with the Spirit of Abraham for his involvement in cultivating peace between various cultures in the Central Valley.
In a day and age where cynicism is sadly a part of our diet—to be critical, to be cynical and to be confrontational – it is more important than ever before that, as a people, we look to those spiritual aspects in each and every one of us that bring out the best in us, Costa said.
Darius Assemi, on the board of directors for the ICCF and president of Granville Homes, presented the award to Costa.
“This is a very spiritual time for all Muslims, and this is the time that we would like to get to know our neighbors better. Those neighbors, no matter from which community, faith or ethnic or religious groups they come from, we welcome them to the Islamic Center to share our food and our Islamic values with them,” Tahvildary said.
Professor Tahvildary works at the Islamic Center as well and helped to arrange the event. She was also a trainer for a summer workshop put on by the Ethics Center and works mainly within the philosophy department.
“This event gives us more opportunity to build more bridges with different cultures and different religions within the Central Valley, and we are very blessed for this,” Tahvildary said.
Members of the Islamic Center then partook of a traditional Persian dinner with special guests Mayor Ashley Swearingen; Sheriff Margaret Mims; former Fresno State professor and community leader Dr. Su Kapoor; Dr. Mark Scoffield from the American Medical Overseas Relief; Rev. Natalie Chamberlain, co-chair of the Interfaith Alliance of Central California; and Jim Grant moderator and host for “Forum For Better Understanding” on KNX TV.
The holiday of Ramadan is a month long period in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk as part of the Five Pillars of Islam. This month of fasting encourages frequent prayer and compassion for the poor.