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Ramadan event shares Muslim faith in La Cañada Flintridge

This article has been corrected. See details below.

Shortly after sunset last Friday, local Muslims laid down colorful prayer rugs underneath a basketball hoop at the back patio of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and huddled together for the evening prayer.

Inside the adjacent room, religious leaders from multiple faiths stood and watched.

PHOTOS: Islamic Congregation of La Cañada Flintridge celebrates Ramadan

It was a quiet moment in a jubilant Ramadan celebration that attracted about 150 people. The annual event, hosted by the Islamic Congregation of La Cañada Flintridge, invites community members from different faiths to come together for iftar, an evening meal served at the end of a day of fasting.

Ramadan, which marks the month that the Koran was revealed as a guidebook for Muslims, began on July 8 and ends the night of Aug. 7.

Levent Akbarut, spokesman for the Islamic Congregation, said the event is usually attended mostly by members of the local Muslim community, but roughly 25% of the participants were of other faiths.

Akbarut formed the group as a way to reach out to neighbors who weren't familiar with Muslim culture, he said.

"What we wanted to do was give our community of La Cañada and the surrounding area firsthand knowledge of who Muslims are," he said. "We let people know who we are in a very natural, community-service way."

During dinner, people of different faiths commingled.

John Campbell, a member of St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church, said he has attended previous Ramadan events at the Community Center. The turnout appeared larger this year, he said.

Campbell said he thinks interfaith events are important for any community "to maintain communication and solidarity because all of us are people of faith."

Others agreed.

"It's really important to understand the beauty of the faith," said Christie Frandsen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I wish everybody had a chance to participate."

[For the record, July 24, 2013: An earlier version of this story stated that Levent Akbarut was the leader and founder of the Islamic Congregation of La Cañada Flintridge. He is its spokesman. Twelve local families worked together to form the congregation.]

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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