PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It was an emotional day at Beaverton City Hall last Thursday after city councilors proclaimed March 2023 to be Muslim-American Heritage Appreciation Month.
The proclamation was a result of efforts by community members and City Councilor Nadia Hasan. Hasan, who is Muslim American, said Muslims in the community have not always felt safe, especially since the September 11th attacks and during the time former President Donald Trump was in office.
She hopes this month will be a time to recognize and value Muslims in the Beaverton community and share their culture and contributions to the city. The goal is to make Beaverton and the surrounding area a more inclusive place.
“This month is twofold,” Hasan said. “One, to help our own communities feel seen, recognized, valued and heard, but also for our non-Muslim partners and friends to feel like they can walk into a mosque or they can come and meet with us and break fast with us and learn about our traditions.”
Community members requested that Beaverton’s Muslim-American Heritage Appreciate Month be held in March of this year, during Ramadan – a holy month for Muslims when they fast, pray and reflect on their community. Fasting begins at sun-up and ends at sun-down for 30 days. It starts the evening of March 22 and concludes on the evening of April 21.
To celebrate, the city is hosting a series of events throughout the month. There will be an Iftar, or breaking of the fast, held at Sunset High School on March 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a Ramadan food boxes distribution on March 25 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a toy drive for refugee and foster youth on March 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hasan was born and raised in the United States and noticed the shift that occurred in how Muslims were treated after 9/11. She remembers being subjected to additional security inspections at the airport and much more racial profiling.
She said Beaverton’s decision to honor this month is part of the ongoing learning and healing that must be done to help restore Muslim Americans’ sense of belonging.
“I think of the harm that that caused me to feel like I had to prove that I’m American enough to be in this country, when this is the country that I was born and raised in. This is the country that I call home. I am Americana. I’m American before I’m anything else,” Hasan said.
She said there were more people in city hall the day councilors signed the proclamation than she’d ever seen before.
This proclamation only applies to March 2023, but Hasan said Muslim-American Heritage Appreciation Month is something that’s celebrated every year. In future years, it might fall on different months, since the timing of Ramadan depends on the Islamic lunar calendar