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Local Islamic community celebrating Ramadan differently this year

Community continues to take COVID precautions
Posted at 6:19 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 07:19:06-04

BRAZOS COUNTY — Ramadan is underway for the Islamic community.

The pandemic is still impacting the way local Muslims observe this holiday.

Ramadan is a time when the Islamic community comes together in their strides to become closer to God.

Even though the state is fully open, the Muslim community here is celebrating a little differently to keep health and safety a priority.

Ramadan typically revolves around daily prayer and fasting from sunrise to sunset.

"One of the purposes of fasting is to become closer to God to increase our love for him, to increase our connection with him," Anwer Ahmed, president of the Islamic Community of Bryan College Station said.

The floating holiday celebrates when the Quran was revealed to the prophet, Muhammad.

Traditionally hundreds flock to the Islamic community center in college station to observe this significance, strengthening their faith together, but they can't gather the same way they used to.

"In some ways, it is very almost traumatizing to us because our whole life, I mean that's what we look forward to in Ramadan- is this community and family coming together," Michael Thomson, outreach officer of the Islamic Community of Bryan College Station said.

Masks and social distancing guidelines are in place. There are additional nighttime prayer sessions to limit crowds at the mosque and they are breaking fast at home instead of together.

"Just the fact that we can have the mosque open this year, I think it is very special I think for people to come," Thomson said.

Last year, the pandemic stopped the Islamic community from gathering at the mosque altogether during Ramadan. The adjustments haven't altered the Islamic community's motivation to celebrate.

"For us, it's a very exciting time of year," Thomson said.

"This is the best month of the year for us. The whole month will pass so quickly. In a few days we will be getting ready for our end-of-the-year Ramadan celebration," Ahmed said.

The ending of Ramadan is commemorated with an Eid Al-Fitr celebration. It's usually held at the expo center because it draws in about 700 to 800 hundred people. At this point, the community is still unsure what they will do this year.

Muslims follow the lunar calendar, so they don't have the exact day of when Ramadan will be over but expect it to end around mid to early May.