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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs