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

Asian Stocks Plunge on Weak Factory Activity

Official survey finds China’s manufacturing sector contracted at its fastest pace in three years More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs