News / USA

Muslims Across US Mark End of Ramadan

American Muslims are seen offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at a community center in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).
American Muslims are seen offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at a community center in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).
Mohamed Elshinnawi
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan drew to a close, Muslim-Americans of diverse backgrounds and national origins gathered in mosques and Islamic centers across the United States to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, or "fast breaking" holiday.
 
While prayers mark the beginning of the celebration, Eid breakfast is an important meal for practicing Muslims, who had been fasting from sunrise to sunset for an entire month.
 
During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims around the world celebrate by performing special prayers, paying social visits and seeking to strengthen family and community bonds.

Eid prayers in the U.S. are usually held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Esam Omeish led the prayers at a ballroom at a hotel in the northern part of the U.S. state of Virginia.

“Eid prayers here are attended by Muslims from more than 40 different backgrounds and national origins. That much diversity does not exist elsewhere except during the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca,” said Omeish.

Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.
Imam Hassan Qazwini, President of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michgan, says his center has to offer consecutive Eid prayers to accommodate the thousands of Muslim participants.

“We perform Eid prayers five times because in such a holy occasion we have more than 7000 worshippers celebrating the end of Ramadan at the center,” said the imam.

American Muslims girls are seen celebrating Eid al-Fitr in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).American Muslims girls are seen celebrating Eid al-Fitr in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).
x
American Muslims girls are seen celebrating Eid al-Fitr in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).
American Muslims girls are seen celebrating Eid al-Fitr in northern Virginia August 8, 2013 (Mohamed Elshinnawi/VOA).
As with most holidays, Eid is a special day for children. They receive gifts or money from their parents, wear new outfits and enjoy their time with their families and friends.

Aziza Khan, a mother of two, attended with her children.

“We put on our best clothes,” said Khan. “Everyone comes dressed up. All the kids are excited, and they love showing off their new outfits. It’s just a sea of gorgeous colors.”

American Muslims do not celebrate Eid the same way people in predominantly Muslim countries do. In the U.S., many Muslims might still have to attend to their daily business during Eid.

Omar Okaily attended the early Eid prayers so that he could go back to his office.

“While we are enjoying our religious freedom in the U.S., our Islamic religious occasions are not official holidays,” said Okaily.

American Muslims mark the end of Ramadan also with charitable contributions to the needy and by helping less fortunate Muslims “taste” the joy of this Islamic holiday. Imam Shaker Elsayed of Dar Alhijra Islamic Center in Northern Virginia explained.

“Before Eid celebrations, we collect ten dollars from each fasting Muslim to buy food and new clothes for poor Muslims in the community,” said Elsayed.

For Muslim-American groups, every year Eid brings an opportunity to educate the American public about the religious observance and the Islamic faith in general. Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations says, "The Council sends out information relating to Eid to our non-Muslim constituency and friends.” The mailing, he says, is intended to serve as a reminder for all Americans that Muslims are an integral part of U.S. society.

Official Eid greetings

Since 1992, U.S. presidents have issued Eid greetings each year to the more than 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. President Obama congratulated Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world on this joyous day on behalf of the American people.

“Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr here in the United States and around the world,” the president said in a statement. “For millions of Americans, Eid is part of a great tapestry of America’s many traditions, and I wish all Muslims a blessed and joyful celebration. Eid Mubarak.”

Imam Abdulla Khouj, president of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., believes the Ramadan and Eid greetings offered by consecutive American presidents since early 1990s have helped raise awareness about Islam among Americans.

"When the president of a great country acknowledges the fact that people are fasting and somehow shares with them their feelings, that makes them feel that they are welcome in this country," Imam Khouj said.

For Sami Elenazi, a new resident originally from Saudi Arabia, the greeting had symbolic value.

A fragment of an Eid al-Fitr stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2011 (USPS).A fragment of an Eid al-Fitr stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2011 (USPS).
x
A fragment of an Eid al-Fitr stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2011 (USPS).
A fragment of an Eid al-Fitr stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2011 (USPS).
“This presidential tradition is the best proof of religious tolerance in the U.S.,” Elenazi said. “Although I am a newcomer to this country, I felt at home celebrating the end of Ramadan.”

Since 2001, U.S. Postal Service has been marking Eid by issuing a special stamp with traditional Islamic greetings in Arabic.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid