BROOKSVILLE — With Ramadan set to start Monday, local cardiologist and devout Muslim Dr. Adel M. Eldin has decided that he will honor the monthlong Islamic holiday by reaching out to his neighbors.
He and his family will loan items for an Islamic art display to the Brooksville City Hall Art Gallery and sponsor a meal through the local Love Your Neighbor organization for the hungry and homeless.
"We want to share the spirit of giving in the month of Ramadan and be very generous in giving as to follow the best example of humanity that was taught by the prophet Mohammed," Eldin said. "This is the true spirit of Islam, by doing kindness."
Eldin said the theme for his family's contribution to the community is "beauty in action."
"The beauty of Islam looks at the art," he said. "We want to reflect the love and concern that Muslims in America have, not just for fellow Americans but for all mankind. We exhibit this by showing the beauty."
The art display is taken from Eldin's personal collection and includes wall hangings, plates and a three-dimensional photograph. The display, which is already in place, is part of the gallery's fall exhibit program that includes work by local artists. It will be available for viewing through Nov. 7.
Rhonda Hancock, the art gallery coordinator, said she is excited about having the display of Islamic art.
"We like people to have exposure to different cultural art," Hancock said. "The pieces loaned to us by Dr. Eldin are very interesting. He gave us information on the pieces to share in case someone is interested in learning more about them."
There will be a public artist reception at the gallery, at 201 Howell Ave., from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 15. Refreshments will be served, compliments of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. Eldin hopes to have a slide show there that will show additional Islamic artwork and two calligraphers to illustrate different styles of lettering, particularly as used in the Koran.
The other project Eldin is sponsoring for Ramadan is feeding the hungry.
"There are three things we should do," Eldin said. "You give food to the hungry and needy, spread greetings to those you know and don't know, and you pray at night when most people are asleep."
The meal for the homeless will begin at 4 p.m. Sept. 7. It will be part of the ongoing Love Your Neighbor ministry which, among other efforts to help the needy, feeds about 300 people each Sunday at the American Legion hall in Brooksville.
"This is what Love Your Neighbor is all about — everybody working together," said Lisa Callea, who helped establish the ministry last year. "It's phenomenal that Dr. Eldin wants to give back to the community in this way."
The meal will include heart-healthy foods, such as rice, chicken and salad. Callea said the doctor also wants to give each person a date.
"I want people to enjoy the health benefits," Eldin said. "So each person will take a date with them. It's a symbol of peace, and it provides an instant surge of energy and adjusts your blood sugar."
It is Eldin's hope that his family's gifts of kindness will help to "dispel a misunderstanding and fear psychology that's been hurting everybody."
"This is the real Islam — no bin Laden, no 9/11," he said. "We have to feel for each other. Enough with this madness. We should bring things back to the humanity level — what everybody has in common."
Eldin said he hopes others will follow his family's example.
"We've seen this success happen already with the Thanksgiving food baskets that my wife and I started right after 9/11 that's now going all across the nation," he said.
"This is all about how you bring the warmth and connect on a human level. We're reaching out with the hands of peace and love and truth, not just words."