News / USA

Muslim Americans Observe Holy Month of Ramadan

Muslim devotees take part in a special morning prayer to start their Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of Muslim's holy fasting month of Ramadan, outside the Baitul Ma'Mur Mosque in Brooklyn, New York, 20 Sep 2009
Muslim devotees take part in a special morning prayer to start their Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of Muslim's holy fasting month of Ramadan, outside the Baitul Ma'Mur Mosque in Brooklyn, New York, 20 Sep 2009

Ramadan in America, like elsewhere in the world,  is a month of fasting, prayer, charitable giving and reflection.  Muslim Americans of diverse backgrounds and national origins gather in Islamic centers across the U.S. to worship and celebrate their faith.  For many, Ramadan also is an opportunity to educate non-Muslim friends about their culture and traditions.

"Fasting is an important matter especially in this month," said an Imam speaking to Muslims in the Washington area.  As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, American Muslims gather in Islamic centers to worship, break the dawn-to-dusk fast together, recite their holy book - the Koran - and help the poor.

Imam Abdulla Khouj is President of the Islamic Center in Washington, the oldest one in the U.S. capital.  He said, "We try to make people feel like they are in any Muslim country and Muslim community.  We offer the meal to break their fast.  We have more than 500 people, males and females, their children, families and, also as far as prayers, we have a lot of people.  They come and pray with us."

Imam Bassim Sayed leads a congregation in San Diego, but was visiting Washington, D.C. He has a similar plan.

"We will be reciting the Koran every evening," said Imam Sayed.  "We will be feeding the poor at Iftar [fast breaking] and getting together to celebrate this great month in which the Koran was revealed for the benefit of mankind."

For Muslim Americans, Ramadan means improving self-discipline and helping others. Abbas Mohamed is a diplomat from Chad.  

"Ramadan is the greatest month of the year, a month of forgiveness, prayers and sharing everything with your neighbors," said Mohamed.

But as a minority living in a non-Muslim society, some Muslim Americans find Ramadan challenging.  "Mostly it is at work or school. For students it is harder because not everyone around you is fasting or understands what Ramadan is," said Mohamed.

However young Muslim Americans, like Belal Sayed, are finding ways to meet the challenges.  "I face many challenges, but I focus on the Koran and the challenges become easier for me to fast every day," said Sayed.

Imam Khouj believes the Ramadan greetings offered by American presidents have helped raise awareness about Ramadan among Americans.

"The president of a great country acknowledges the fact that people are fasting and somehow shares with them their feelings, and at the same time makes them feel that they are welcomed in this country," said Imam Khouj.  In addition, he says Ramadan is an opportunity to educate non-Muslims during interfaith Iftars.  He says the diversity among U.S. Muslims gives Ramadan in America a special flavor.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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