Iftar in the South: Muslims gather for breaking of Ramadan fast

Kareemah Budair awaits guests' arrival for Iftar, the feast ending Ramadan, at her Georgia home.

Story highlights

  • Kareemah Budair hosted a gathering for Iftar at her suburban Atlanta home
  • The feast marks the breaking of the fast during the holy month of Ramadan
  • Raised Catholic, she converted to Islam 17 years ago
  • Of Ramadan, she says: "It's an opportunity to purify ourselves"
Kerry Swift stands in the kitchen of her Georgia home, warming food and setting out cutlery for her guests. Another humid summer day in the South nears its end. She is hosting a dinner party tonight with numerous families attending, and her guests are slowly trickling through the door.
"Salaam-a-lakom," she says, greeting her guests as they enter the foyer. The women are in headscarves, and the men are in modest attire. They respond cordially and thank Kerry, also known as Kareemah Budair. Kareemah is hosting Iftar, the meal in which Muslims break their Ramadan fast. It is often celebrated in a community setting such as this.
Kareemah says she was raised as a devout Catholic but converted to Islam 17 years ago. Like many young people, she searched for meaning in her life after graduating from college.
"I started to meet people of different faiths," she says. "The Muslims I met, I really connected with. I started asking about the teachings, and I just connected with the ideas."
Kareemah's features immediately give away her Irish heritage. One can't help but wonder what it's like to see life through her eyes.